"Let's get on with it before NBC replaces me with Jay Leno," Gervais cracked as he kicked off the proceedings.
Nicole Kidman, the first presenter, pointed out that a lot of the attendees were wearing ribbons in support of Haiti and plugged the upcoming George Clooney-organized concert to benefit the stricken country.
The most-nominated actor or actress in Globes history, Meryl Streep received her seventh Globe for "Julie & Julia," which Tom Hanks described as "the Meryl Streep movie where she doesn't end up in bed with Alec Baldwin, but does with Stanley Tucci -- by any measure a substantial move up." In fact, Streep's "Julie" win beat out her nomination in the same category for "It's Complicated."
"I just want to say, in my long career, I've played so many extraordinary women that basically I'm getting mistaken for one," she said, somewhat self-deprecatingly.
Mo'Nique took the first award of the evening, when she was named best supporting actress for her fierce performance as a monstrous mom in "Precious."
In an emotional acceptance, the comedian-turned-dramatic actress, first thanked God "for this amazing ride that you are allowing me to go on"; paid tribute to her husband, Sidney, whom she married when she was just 14; lavished praise on her director Lee Daniels and the movie's star Gabourey Sidibe; and dedicated the award to anyone who has ever been abused, saying: "It's now time to tell and it's OK."
Paul McCartney was called upon to present the award for best animated film, joking that animation isn't just for children, "it's also for adults who take drugs."
The winner was Pixar's "Up," released by Disney. Director Pete Docter accepted the award for the movie about an old man who hitches his home to some high-flying balloon, by testifying that when it came to finding the heart of the movie, "our inspiration was all around us -- our grandparents, our kids, our wives, our talking dogs."
"Up" also copped the award for best score for its composer Michael Giacchino.
The country-flavored tune "The Weary Kind" from "Crazy Heart" earned best song honors for Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett -- who beat out such nominees as McCartney and Bono.
The first TV award of the night went to Toni Collette, earning her first Globe after three previous nominations for best performance by an actress in a TV series comedy for playing a mom with seriously multiple personalities in "The United States of Tara."
Julianna Margulies, after six previous noms, won her first Globe for her new role as a wronged wife who re-enters the work force in CBS' "The Good Wife." In her thank-yous, she made a veiled reference to NBC's woes by thanking CBS execs Les Moonves and Nina Tassler "for believing in the 10 o'clock drama."
Michael C. Hall won his first Globe for playing the serial killer of the title in Showtime's "Dexter." "It's a hell of a thing to go to work in a place where everyone gives a damn," he said.
For playing a fellow serial killer in the same series, John Lithgow took home the prize for TV supporting actor.
"I've had the most wonderful time creeping out the entire country for the last six months," he said.
"Grey Gardens," HBO's movie about eccentric mother and daughter Big Edie and Little Edie Bouvier Beale, won its upteenth award as it was crowned best miniseries or movie made for TV.
While Jessica Lange won an Emmy over fellow nominee Drew Barrymore for "Grey Gardens," they traded places at the Globes, where they were both nominated as best actress in a miniseries or TV movie, as, this time around Barrymore took the prize.
Kevin Bacon became another first-time Globe winner when he prevailed in the category of actor in a miniseries or TV movies for playing a military escort officer in the true-life story "Taking Chance."
The list of nominees follows; all winners in bold.
"The Hurt Locker"
"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
"Up in the Air"
Best musical or comedy
"(500) Days of Summer"
"Julie & Julia"
Actor in a drama
Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"
George Clooney, "Up in the Air"
Colin Firth, "A Single Man"
Morgan Freeman, "Invictus"
Tobey Maguire, "Brothers"
Actress in a drama
Emily Blunt, "The Young Victoria"
Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side"
Helen Mirren, "The Last Station"
Carey Mulligan, "An Education"
Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker"
James Cameron, "Avatar"
Clint Eastwood, "Invictus"
Jason Reitman, "Up in the Air"
Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds"
Actor in a musical or comedy
Matt Damon, "The Informant!"
Daniel Day-Lewis, "Nine"
Robert Downey Jr., "Sherlock Holmes"
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "(500) Days of Summer"
Michael Stuhlbarg, "A Serious Man"
Actress in a musical or comedy
Sandra Bullock, "The Proposal"
Marion Cotillard, "Nine"
Julia Roberts, "Duplicity"
Meryl Streep, "It's Complicated"
Meryl Streep, "Julie & Julia"
Matt Damon, "Invictus"
Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger"
Christopher Plummer, "The Last Station"
Stanley Tucci, "The Lovely Bones"
Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds"
Penelope Cruz, "Nine"
Vera Farmiga, "Up in the Air"
Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air"
Mo'Nique, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Julianne Moore, "A Single Man"
"The Maid (La Nana)"
"The White Ribbon"
"Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs"
"Fantastic Mr. Fox"
"The Princess and the Frog"
Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, "District 9"
Mark Boal, "The Hurt Locker"
Nancy Meyers, "It's Complicated"
Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, "Up in the Air"
Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds"
Michael Giacchino, "Up"
Marvin Hamlisch, "The Informant!"
James Horner, "Avatar"
Abel Korzeniowski, "A Single Man"
Karen O, Carter Burwell, "Where the Wild Things Are"
"Cinema Italiano" (written by Maury Yeston), "Nine"
"I Want to Come Home" (written by Paul McCartney), "Everybody's Fine"
"I Will See You" (written by James Horner, Simon Franglen, Kuk Harrell), "Avatar"
"The Weary Kind (Theme from 'Crazy Heart')" (written by Ryan Bingham, T Bone Burnett), "Crazy Heart"
"Winter" (written by U2), "Brothers"
Best TV drama series
"Big Love," HBO
"Mad Men," AMC
"True Blood," HBO
Best TV comedy or musical series
"30 Rock," NBC
"Modern Family," ABC
"The Office," NBC
Best actor in a TV drama
Simon Baker, "The Mentalist," CBS
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men," AMC
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter," Showtime
Hugh Laurie, "House," Fox
Bill Paxton, "Big Love," HBO
Best actress in a TV drama
Glenn Close, "Damages," FX
January Jones, "Mad Men," AMC
Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife," CBS
Anna Paquin, "True Blood," HBO
Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer," TNT
Best actress in a TV comedy
Tina Fey, "30 Rock," NBC
Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie," Showtime
Toni Collette, "The United States of Tara," Showtime
Lea Michele, "Glee," Fox
Courteney Cox, "Cougar Town," ABC
Best actor in a TV comedy
Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock," NBC
Steve Carell, "The Office," NBC
David Duchovny, "Californication," Showtime
Matthew Morrison, "Glee," Fox
Thomas Jane, "Hung," HBO
Best actor in a supporting role
Jeremy Piven, "Entourage," HBO
Neil Patrick Harris, "How I Met Your Mother," CBS
William Hurt, "Damages," FX
John Lithgow, "Dexter," Showtime
Michael Emerson, "Lost," ABC
Best actress in a supporting role
Jane Lynch, "Glee," Fox
Rose Byrne, "Damages," FX
Janet McTeer, "Into the Storm," HBO
Jane Adams, "Hung," HBO
Chloe Sevigny, "Big Love," HBO
Best TV movie or miniseries
"Georgia O'Keeffe," Lifetime
"Grey Gardens," HBO
"Into the Storm," HBO
"Little Dorrit," PBS
"Taking Chance," HBO
Best actor in a miniseries or TV movie
Kevin Bacon, "Taking Chance," HBO
Kenneth Branagh, "Wallender," PBS
Chiwetel Ejiofor, "Endgame," PBS
Brendan Gleeson, "Into the Storm," HBO
Jeremy Irons, "Georgia O'Keeffe," Lifetime
Best actress in a miniseries or made-for-TV movie
Joan Allen, "Georgia O'Keeffe," Lifetime
Drew Barrymore, "Grey Gardens," HBO
Jessica Lange, "Grey Gardens," HBO
Anna Paquin, "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler," CBS
Sigourney Weaver, "Prayers for Bobby," Lifetime
– Nielsen Business Media