Sending big stars home empty-handed, the Golden Globes gave a boost to some television newcomers, particularly America Ferrera of ABC's "Ugly Betty" and Alec Baldwin of NBC's "30 Rock." It also was a big night for British actors who swept move of the TV drama categories.
Teary-eyed but smiling widely, Ferrera won the award Monday evening for best comic actress on TV just a few minutes after the show itself was named best comedy.
It was a true underdog's tale. Ferrera competed against four women who had all been nominated for Golden Globes in the past, including two desperate housewives. ABC had such little faith in "Ugly Betty," an international megahit that originated as a Colombian telenovela, that it initially was scheduled for the TV graveyard of Friday nights, until the network sensed a buzz and premiered it on Thursday, where it has flourished.
Ferrera said she hears every day from girls inspired by her character, Betty Suarez, saying it "truly brings a new face to television."
"30 Rock," a new NBC comedy, has not been noticed by many television viewers, but Baldwin's role as a megalomaniac TV network executive has enthralled critics. The Globes honored him as best actor in a comedy.
"I'm glad this isn't too heavy because I just had hernia surgery," Baldwin said after grabbing his trophy.
Television awards tend to be overshadowed by the movie winners at the Golden Globes, but they have a reputation for noticing newcomers' work before its bigger-named rival, the Emmys, and often the public itself.
One big exception is ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," the hospital series that has quickly become one of the most popular shows on television and was rewarded Monday by being named best drama.
Kyra Sedgwick of TNT's "The Closer" was named best actress in a drama, despite being up against two of ABC's most-featured players in top 10 shows Ellen Pompeo of "Grey's Anatomy" and Evangeline Lilly of "Lost."
Sedgwick plays a detective specializing in coaxing confessions in "The Closer." Her win was a coup for TNT, competing against broadcast networks and HBO, and seemed to leave Sedgwick genuinely moved as she rose from her seat beside her husband, Kevin Bacon.
"This show has been an amazing gift, an unexpected gift _ the best kind," she said.
A little-known BBC America film, "Gideon's Daughter," produced a supporting-actress winner in Emily Blunt. She toppled Elizabeth Perkins, Toni Collette and Katherine Heigl of "Grey's Anatomy." Bill Nighy was a best-actor winner for the same movie, playing Blunt's father.
Best-drama actor winner Hugh Laurie of Fox's "House" is well-known, but the British actor had to navigate a formidable category with Dr. McDreamy Patrick Dempsey of "Grey's Anatomy" and Kiefer Sutherland of "24."
Laurie said he had no acceptance speech prepared, even though he won the same award last year for playing a brilliant but flawed doctor. He managed to wing it, with his thanks extending to the show's "wonderful crew." He quickly realized his awards-show cliche, reports AP.
"Somebody somewhere is working with a crew of drunken thieves," he said. "But it's not me. They smell of newly mown grass."
Britain's Helen Mirren won the Golden Globe for best actress in a miniseries or movie for her starring role in HBO's "Elizabeth I." Among her competitors for the award? Helen Mirren, for her work in "Prime Suspect: The Final Act," a British production aired on the Public Broadcasting Service.
Another Brition Jeremy Irons won a supporting actor award for his work in "Elizabeth I."
"Why is it that the jobs that are the most fun are the ones that give you awards?" Iron said. "It's like you don't deserve them."