Independent and foreign language films were the big winners at this year's Golden Globes ceremony.

16 Jan 2012 - 12:00 AM  UPDATED 26 Feb 2014 - 4:10 PM

Family drama The Descendants starring George Clooney won the top best picture prize at the Golden Globe awards.

Hollywood veteran Clooney also won the best actor Globe for his performance in the Hawaii-based family drama, which had been nominated in five categories overall.

French-directed silent film The Artist won the Golden Globe for best musical or comedy film, its third award of the night.

The black-and-white movie, which had garnered the most nominations with nods in six categories, also won best actor for Jean Dujardin and best score for Ludovic Bource.

But it was beaten for best director by Martin Scorsese for Hugo, for best supporting actress by Octavia Spencer for civil rights drama The Help., and best screenplay, which went to Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris..

The film, billed as a tribute to the silent movie era, tells the story of silent star George Valentin (played by Dujardin) whose career is torpedoed by the arrival of the "talkies."

It won best film and best director at the New York Film Critics Circle awards in November, and has garnered a string of nods since -- including this week from the Directors Guild of America (DGA), seen as a key Oscars indicator.

It won yet another prize just three days before the Globes, taking the Critics' Choice best film award in Los Angeles on Thursday.

But it also drew unusually harsh criticism this week, when veteran star Kim Novak, in a full-page ad in industry daily Variety, accused Hazanavicius of "rape" for using music from the Alfred Hitchcock classic "Vertigo."

MOTION PICTURES - Click for SBS Film reviews
- Picture, Drama: The Descendants
- Picture, Musical or Comedy: The Artist
- Actor, Drama: George Clooney, The Descendants
- Actress, Drama: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady.
- Director: Martin Scorsese, Hugo.
- Actor, Musical or Comedy: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
- Actress, Musical or Comedy: Michelle Williams, My Week With

- Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners.
- Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help.
- Foreign Language: A Separation.
- Animated Film: The Adventures of Tintin.
- Screenplay: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris.
- Original Score: Ludovic Bource, The Artist.
- Original Song: Masterpiece (music and lyrics by Madonna, Julie
Frost, Jimmy Harry), WE.

Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award: Morgan Freeman.