The Hollywood Foreign Press Association held its annual Golden Globes awards ceremony last night, Sunday, January 11, 2009, after a forced hiatus last year due to the writers’ strike. Actors, directors, screenwriters and producers turned up at the The Beverly Hilton to celebrate the year in television and cinema and ended up with a few surprising turns of events and others that weren’t so.

The night, which was bookended with wins by Kate Winslet (who took home awards for Best Performance by a Supporting Actress for The Reader and Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for Revolutionary Road), was ultimately a party for the cast and crew of Slumdog Millionaire. Along with its win for Best Motion Picture – Drama, the Mumbai, India-set movie and festival favorite took home Best Director for Danny Boyle, Best Screenplay for Simon Beaufoy and Best Original Score for A.R. Rahman. With multiple awards in hand so far this year, the movie is almost certainly on the list of Oscar nominations to be announced later this month.

Other independent features also overcame their odds against A-list competition that included The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Mamma Mia! For their contributions to Darren Aronofsky’s independent feature, The Wrestler, Bruce Springsteen was awarded the Best Original Song award and Mickey Rourke brought home the gold for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama. Meanwhile, Sally Hawkins, who has been collecting awards from festivals and critics worldwide, received a Golden Globe for her leading role in Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky.

But the night, marked by jubilant winners overcome with emotion, was also a night which somberly celebrated the work of Heath Ledger, who won the Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role award for his work as The Joker in The Dark Knight. Accepting the award on behalf of the late actor, director Christopher Nolan remarked, “After Heath passed on, you saw a whole rift in the future of cinema. But with the extraordinary response to his work that we’ve seen all over the world, I, for one, started to be able to look a bit less at that gap in the future and little bit more at the incredible place in the history of cinema that he built for himself with his talent and with his dedication to his artistry.”