Premium cable rivals HBO and Showtime battled for supremacy throughout Sunday night's telecast. In the end, HBO pulled out a 5-4 victory.
"It's the only place to have made a show like this," Lena Dunham said backstage after the series she created for HBO, "Girls," won two Globes. "Cable television is the only place where I'm going to get the kinds of stories I want to tell funded."
"Girls" was named best comedy and Dunham, who stars as Hannah Horvath in the series about young women in their 20s navigating young adulthood in New York City, was named best comic actress. With the exception of fellow HBO actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus (star of "Veep"), the other nominees in the best actress category worked for broadcast networks: Golden Globe co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and Zooey Deschanel, star of Fox's "New Girl."
Dunham thanked her fellow nominees for helping her get through middle school, mono, a ruptured eardrum and "the acute anxiety that populates my entire life."
"This award is for everyone who felt like there wasn't a space for her," Dunham said. "This show has made a space for me."
Showtime's "Homeland" scored a sweep of the biggest drama awards, including best TV drama for the second year in a row. Co-stars Claire Danes, who plays CIA agent Carrie Mathison and Damian Lewis, who stars as Sgt. Nicholas Brody, both won top acting awards. Lewis emotionally dedicated his award to his late mother, while Danes paid to tribute to her baby son.
Alex Ganza, executive producer of "Homeland," recalled an arduous night of filming where star Claire Danes, eight months pregnant, had to do multiple takes being chased in a drainage pipe.
"We fairly killed ourselves trying to live up to the hype of that first season and this award tells that maybe, maybe, we didn't screw it up," he said.
Lewis said the last 18 months working on "Homeland" have been "an exciting, wonderful journey." He said that picking up "a piece of hardware like this is a great perk," holding up his Globe.
Danes said she was "very proud to be working in this medium in this moment in this company."
Showtime's fourth award went to Don Cheadle, named best comedy actor for his role as Marty Kaan, leader of a team of slippery management consultants in "House of Lies."
"Game Change" was named best TV movie or miniseries. Julianne Moore won as best actress in a miniseries or movie for her portrayal of Palin while Ed Harris — although he portrayed the man on the top of the ticket, presidential candidate John McCain — was the supporting actor winner.
Jay Roach, executive producer of the show, said Moore was brave to take on the role of a political polarizing figure in the film, which balances her appeal as a sudden national figure and the chaos backstage in the campaign.
"Now with you and Tina Fey, we have three of the most incredible impersonations of Sarah Palin," Roach said, "counting Sarah Palin."
Moore made it a point to thank Fey, Sunday's Golden Globes co-host known whose indelible Palin skits on "Saturday Night Live" enlivened the 2008 campaign, and newswoman Katie Couric, who had a contentious interview with Palin that year. She did not thank Palin. Harris did not attend the Golden Globes.
Makers of "Game Change" said they attempted to build a balanced portrait of Palin, and Moore said backstage Sunday that it was not a character assassination. Although Palin aides criticized the depiction, the former Alaska governor told ABC News that the film did not matter to her.
"One of the things I found in my research is that she's an incredibly devoted parent and cares very much about what she does," Moore said. "The conclusion I drew was she was simply unprepared for the vice presidency."
Kevin Costner won the Globe for best acting in a TV miniseries or movie for "Hatfields & McCoys." The History channel miniseries proved a big hit when it aired last spring. Costner, who won a Globe for directing "Dances With Wolves" in 1991, nostalgically recalled walking into the awards ceremony as a young actor.
Veteran actress Maggie Smith, who plays Violet Crawley, the Countess of Grantham in the PBS period piece "Downton Abbey," won as best supporting actress in a TV series.