Golden Globes 2012: 5 Memorable Moments

It was a good night for Octavia Spencer and Morgan Freeman -- but a bad one for Eddie Murphy.

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The glitz-and-glamour season kicked into high gear Sunday when the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards were handed out in Beverly Hills, Calif.

British comedian Ricky Gervais handled hosting duties for a third time. After his scorched-earth performance last year, when he torched everyone from Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association -- the organization behind the awards -- many wondered why the HFPA invited him back. Oh yeah, because people tuned in to watch the train wreck.

This year Gervais promised to deliver more pain to Hollywood's bejeweled and bedazzled stars. He began by throwing a few barbs at NBC, the network airing the show: "Tonight you get Britain's biggest comedian hosting the world's second-biggest award show on America's third-biggest network ... it's four, it's four."

Gervais was also quick to point out that the Globes are the Oscars' boozier, more boisterous little cousin. "The Golden Globes are just like the Oscar but without all that esteem," he said. "The Golden Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton. A bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker and more easily bought."

Unfortunately, besides those and a few zingers about Eddie Murphy (see below), Gervais delivered a rather tame performance. His jokes were less snarky, less pointed and less interesting. After all the hype, he was a kinder, gentler host.

The awards show, honoring the best in television and film, gets a lot of credit for predicting Oscar front-runners (the complete list of Globe winners is here). How well that holds up for Sunday night's winners won't be known until Jan. 24, when the Academy Award nominations are announced.

Even though the three-hour show was a bit ho-hum, here are a few memorable moments.

Octavia Spencer Wins for The Help

By now everyone knows about all the controversy surrounding the film and the novel that inspired it, but just about everyone agrees that Viola Davis and Spencer gave inspirational performances as maids living and working in civil rights-era Mississippi. Both actresses scored Golden Globes nods and are expected to be among the Oscar nominees when they are announced.

Spencer received a big boost to her Oscar chances by winning the Golden Globe for best supporting actress. A clearly excited Spencer said, "With regard to domestics in this country now and then, I think Dr. King said it best: 'All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance,' and I thank you for recognizing that in our film."