American Beauty now officially leads the Oscar race after walking away with the Best Picture (Drama), Best Director and Best Screenplay prizes at the Golden Globe awards ceremony in Los Angeles last night. The DreamWorks SKG-produced film, which only cost $15m to produce, won prizes for producers Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks and British director Sam Mendes who made his directorial debut on the film.

Disney/Pixar's Toy Story 2 was surprise winner of the Best Picture (Musical or comedy) Globe. Pedro Almodovar scooped yet another award for his mantlepiece, winning the Best Foreign Language Picture Globe for All About My Mother. The film, which was almost unanimously named foreign language film of the year by US critics associations, now looks a dead cert to win the Academy Award in the same category.

Walking away empty-handed were other multiple nominees The Insider, The Talented Mr Ripley, Being John Malkovich and The End Of The Affair.

In acting categories, Denzel Washington beat out tough competition from Russell Crowe and Kevin Spacey to take the Best Actor (Drama) award, while Jim Carrey won his second consecutive Globe for playing Andy Kaufman in Man On The Moon.

Actress frontrunners Hilary Swank and Janet McTeer walked off with the Globes in their respective drama and musical/comedy categories. Their films Boys Don't Cry and Tumbleweeds were independently financed and both were acquired for distribution at last year's Sundance Film Festival by Fox Searchlight and Fine Line Features respectively. Fine Line had a good night, also taking the score prize for The Legend Of 1900.

And parent company New Line Cinema scored a win in the Best Supporting Actor category for Tom Cruise in Magnolia. Cruise, who has been nominated for the Best Actor Oscar twice before, now becomes the favourite to win the Academy Award. Angelina Jolie, an HFPA favourite, won the supporting actress category for her portrayal of a sociopath in Girl, Interrupted.

Full List Of Winners:

Film Categories

Best Motion Picture (Drama) American Beauty

Best Motion Picture (Musical or comedy) Toy Story 2,

Best Actor (Drama) Denzel Washington, The Hurricane

Best Actress (Drama) Hilary Swank, Boys Don't Cry

Best Actor (Musical or comedy) Jim Carrey, Man On The Moon

Best Actress (Musical or comedy) Janet McTeer, Tumbleweed

Best Supporting Actor Tom Cruise, Magnolia

Best Supporting Actress Angelina Jolie, Girl, Interrupted

Best Screenplay Alan Ball, American Beauty

Best Original Score, Ennio Morricone, The Legend Of 1900

Best Original Song, "You'll Be In My Heart" from Tarzan, music and lyrics by Phil Collins

TV categories

Best Series (Drama) The Sopranos

Best Actor (Drama Series) James Gandolfini, The Sopranos

Best Actress (Drama Series) Edie Falco, The Sopranos

Best Series (Musical or comedy) Sex And The City

Best Actor (Musical or comedy) Michael J Fox, Spin City

Best Actress (Musical or comedy) Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex And The City

Best Miniseries or TV Movie RKO 281

Best Actor (Miniseries or TV movie) Jack Lemmon, Inherit The Wind

Best Actress (Miniseries or TV movie) Halle Berry, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge

Best Supporting Actor (Series, miniseries or TV movie) Peter Fonda, The Passion Of Ayn Rand

Best Supporting Actress (Series, miniseries or TV movie) Nancy Marchand, The Sopranos