Spielberg, whose film is a major contender for an Oscar, extended his thanks to "all the veterans that are out there that saved Western Civilization and stopped the Holocaust in 1945."
Shakespeare In Love won best comedy or musical film and picked up awards for star Gwyneth Paltrow best actress in a comedy and for screenplay.
Jim Carrey won best dramatic actor for The Truman Show, in which he played a man who realizes his whole life has been a TV show. His co-star, Ed Harris, was named best film supporting actor. Truman also won for best score.
"Oh, what a shocker," Carrey said about winning a non-comedy award. "I mean if you look back at some of my earlier dramatic work in films like Earth Girls Are Easy and Once Bitten, I might have seen this coming, but I really wasn't expecting it."
Cate Blanchette of Elizabeth won best dramatic actress for her role as the title character.
Michael Caine of Little Voice was best actor in a musical or comedy motion picture, and Lynn Redgrave of Gods and Monsters won the movie supporting actress trophy.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association voted The Practice as best television drama series, and Ally McBeal won as best television comedy series.
Spin City star Michael J. Fox, who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, was a funny but poignant winner for TV comedy actor. He thanked his doctors, including one he said had opened up his brain. "We're so lucky to do what we do ... and just take every day and enjoy it," Fox said.
Paltrow played the upper-crust lady who becomes the lover and muse of William Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love.
In Little Voice, Caine played a sleazy agent who tries to turn a meek woman with powerful musical gift for show tunes into a star. "Oh, what a shock," Caine said. "My career must be slipping. This is the first time I've been available to pick up an award."
Brazil's Central Station captured the foreign language film award.
Shakespeare in Love and The Truman Show were the leading movie nominees, with six apiece. Saving Private Ryan followed with five. Bulworth, Elizabeth, Gods and Monsters, and Little Voice had three nominations apiece.
The awards, broadcast from a hotel ballroom by NBC, were plagued by problems with sound cutting out and the picture freezing momentarily.
Harris set the tone for the notoriously freewheeling awards show by coming on stage with a toothpick in his mouth, saying, "Oh man, I just got through eating dinner."
Backstage he noted that The Truman Show came out in the summer, long before studios traditionally roll out their award-worthy product. "I'm glad that people didn't forget about it," he said.
Redgrave, who played the crusty but loving maid to an aging horror director in Gods and Monsters, said, "It's been 32 years since I stood one of these on a mantelpiece, and it's been crying out for a friend ever since."
In the television categories, Dylan McDermott of The Practice and Keri Russel of Felicity were named best actor and actress, respectively, in television dramatic series.
Jenna Elfman won best actress in a TV musical or comedy series for Dharma and Greg.
Tom Hanks, nominated for best actor in Saving Private Ryan, picked up an early honor for his From the Earth to the Moon, which won best miniseries or movie made for TV.
The Golden Globes, selected by reporters from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, are awarded for film and television in what can be a more colorful affair than the stuffy Academy Awards.
Last year, Christine Lahti was in the bathroom when she was announced as a winner for Chicago Hope. This year she showed up as a presenter with toilet paper stuck to a shoe.
The Golden Globes traditionally serve as predictors for the Academy Awards in March. In the last 16 years, 12 films that won best motion picture honors at the Golden Globes went on to take the same prize at the Oscars.
One award was announced before the ceremony: Jack Nicholson was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for his "outstanding contribution to the entertainment field." Nicholson has been nominated for 14 Globes and won five.
"What I like about this particular award is that it doesn't come from our peer groups," Nicholson said. "Hollywood Foreign Press [Association] is kind of a loose group of guys and gals. You almost feel like you could go out and have fun with them - probably because they don't have as much to lose as we do."
The awards had once been buffeted by allegations of corrupt voting and long suffered credibility problems, with the lowlight being the 1981 event that awarded Pia Zadora a statue for the bomb Butterfly. This year, NBC asked Golden Globe voters to sign waivers indicating they did not accept gifts or perks from Hollywood studios, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
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