BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - The Golden Globes set up an Academy Awards rematch between Hilary Swank and Annette Bening, while Jamie Foxx firmed up his Oscar front-runner status.
And a win for "The Aviator" gave Martin Scorsese the edge for finally coming away with a best-picture win at the Oscars.
The Howard Hughes epic "The Aviator" was the big winner with three Globes, including best dramatic picture, but Sunday night's ceremony was a split decision for Scorsese, who lost the directing prize to Clint Eastwood for the boxing saga "Million Dollar Baby."
The road-trip comedy "Sideways" was named best musical or comedy film, while lead-acting honors went to Swank for "Million Dollar Baby," Bening for the theater farce "Being Julia," Foxx for the Ray Charles film biography "Ray" and Leonardo DiCaprio as Hughes in "The Aviator."
Clive Owen and Natalie Portman won supporting-acting honors for the sex drama "Closer." Their wins were a bit surprising given that Morgan Freeman for "Million Dollar Baby" and Cate Blanchett for "The Aviator" had been viewed as more likely favorites.
Foxx, considered the best-actor favorite for the Oscars Feb. 27, said backstage it was the best night of his life, winning the prize for his uncanny re-creation of singer Charles, who died last year.
"It's a beautiful thing for Ray and everything he leaves us," said Foxx, who won for best actor in a musical or comedy. Foxx had a record three Globe nominations going into Sunday but lost the other two, supporting movie actor for "Collateral" and TV movie or miniseries actor for "Redemption."
Bening won the musical or comedy actress prize for "Being Julia," playing a conniving 1930s stage diva exacting vengeance on the duplicitous men in her life. It was the first awards-worthy role Bening has had since "American Beauty" five years ago, when she was the front-runner but lost the Golden Globe dramatic prize and the best-actress Oscar to underdog Swank for "Boys Don't Cry."
Not wanting to jinx her Oscar chances, Bening sidestepped a question backstage at the Globes about what she would wear to the Oscars. "Trick question," Bening quipped.
Swank, playing a fighter whose life turns tragic, won the dramatic-actress Globe for "Million Dollar Baby." She downplayed the potential Oscar rematch with Bening.
"I don't really see it as competition," Swank said. "Annette's amazing, and she was so gracious to me five years ago when we were both nominated. She gave me good advice and she was gracious, and she's an inspiration.
"I think it's just unfortunate that things are seen as winners and losers, because in the end, the performances all speak for themselves and make everyone, I think, a winner. I'm just honored to have my name mentioned with her."
The Globes serve as the most prominent ceremony in Hollywood's pre-game show leading up to the Academy Awards. Globes are presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, whose small membership of about 90 people pales compared to the nearly 6,000 film professionals eligible to vote for the Oscars.
Yet the Globes historically serve as a solid forecast that helps set the odds for subsequent film honors.
Golden Globe winners gain attention that can put them on the inside track for prizes from acting, directing and other filmmaking guilds - momentum often sticks with them right through Oscar night.
"Million Dollar Baby" filmmaker Eastwood already has delivered a best-picture Oscar winner and won the academy's directing honor for "Unforgiven." But Scorsese is arguably the most-prominent contemporary director without a best-picture or directing Oscar to his credit.
DiCaprio, who also starred in Scorsese's "Gangs of New York," gushed praise for the director.
"Growing up in this business and truly wanting to be a part of the world of film, I'm a truly privileged person standing here today," DiCaprio said. "But I must say, the pinnacle, the pinnacle of all that has been to work alongside one of the greatest contributors to the world of cinema of our time, and that is the great Martin Scorsese."
"The Aviator" also earned Howard Shore the Globe for musical score. The award for best screenplay went to Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor for "Sideways."
In the TV categories, "Desperate Housewives" won for best musical or comedy series, and "Nip/Tuck" was honored as dramatic series, beating "The Sopranos," "24" and "Lost."
Teri Hatcher beat her show's co-stars Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman for best actress in a TV musical or comedy. Hatcher thanked ABC for giving "me a second chance at a career when I couldn't have been a bigger has-been."
William Shatner won for best supporting actor in "Boston Legal" and Jason Bateman for lead comic actor in "Arrested Development." Mariska Hargitay won lead drama actress honors for "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."