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"Atonement," "Sweeney Todd" win Golden Globes

BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) - Film romance “Atonement” and movie musical “Sweeney Todd” claimed the top honors at the strike-plagued Golden Globe Awards on Sunday in a bare-bones news conference that lacked the usual Hollywood glamour.

“Atonement,” a World War Two epic about two lovers torn apart by a family betrayal and the conflict in Europe, won the Golden Globe honor for best film drama, and claimed a second award for best original score.

“Sweeney Todd,” which was based on the popular stage show about a vengeance-seeking barber, also won two of the most coveted awards -- best film musical and best actor in a musical for Johnny Depp, who starred as the barber.

In other film categories, Daniel Day-Lewis was named best actor in a drama for his portrayal of a hardscrabble oil prospector who gains enormous wealth in “There Will Be Blood,” and fellow Briton Julie Christie was best dramatic actress playing an Alzheimer’s disease sufferer in “Away From Her.”

French actress Marion Cotillard won the Golden Globe as best actress in a movie musical for her role as legendary singer Edith Piaf in the subtitled biopic “La Vie En Rose.”

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The film awards given out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are a key stop on the road to the world’s leading film honors, the Oscars, but this year’s gala dinner, which typically is a champagne-soaked affair with red carpet arrivals, was scaled way back due to the writers strike.

Some 10,500 Writers Guild members launched their walkout against the studios on November 5, throwing the TV season into disarray, derailing film productions and forcing several awards shows to change their formats.

WGA members threatened to picket the Globes, leaving nominees and presenters expected to boycott the ceremony rather than cross picket lines.

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Lacking star power, television network NBC and the HFPA scrapped the usual three-hour-plus gala broadcast, and in its place the news conference took just over 30 minutes to air with a string of hosts from cable TV entertainment shows reading the names of the winners.

Several commented on the night’s unusual proceedings. Lara Spencer of “The Insider” noted: “It’s a different Golden Globes than we are used to watching.”

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“I just wanted to point out that those of us announcing the award winners are not major movie stars, in case you didn’t notice,” she joked.

But the mood was mostly subdued in the press conference, filled with several hundred journalists, media executives, HFPA members and celebrity publicists. Spencer said the news conference was covered by 57 TV news crews from around the world, 125 print journalists and some 40 photographers.

In other film awards, best supporting acting honors went to Javier Bardem for playing a cold-blooded killer in grim crime thriller “No Country for Old Men” and to Cate Blanchett for her role as one of several versions of Bob Dylan in a quirky biopic about the singer, “I’m Not There.”

“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” about a paralyzed French journalist who dictates a book by blinking his eye, was named best foreign-language film, and Julian Schnabel earned the Golden Globe for best director for his work on the movie.

While the Golden Globes draw the most attention for their recognition of films, the HFPA also hands out a number of awards in television categories.

In that arena, cable network AMC’s “Mad Men,” about a group of Madison Avenue advertising executives in the 1960s, was named best TV drama, and HBO’s recently canceled Hollywood satire “Extras” was best comedy.

Editing by Steve Gorman and Eric Walsh