The Oscar prospects of Babel and Dreamgirls rose this week after the films took top honours for best drama and best musical or comedy at the 64th annual Golden Globes on Monday evening (January 15).

Helen Mirren was crowned best actress in a drama for her portrayal of Elizabeth II in The Queen, while Forest Whitaker won best actor in a drama for his mercurial rendering of the former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King Of Scotland. Babel was named best drama.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association bestowed its gifts across a wide field, and so it was that Dreamgirls emerged as the slender winner of the night with three awards that included popular supporting actor trophies for Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy.

Sacha Baron Cohen wowed the crowd with a typically outrageous acceptance speech for best actor in a musical or comedy for Borat ("Thank you to every American who has not sued me so far").

Meryl Streep took home the corresponding actress honour, signing off her words of thanks with a curt, "That's all", a la Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada.

Martin Scorsese won the best director award for The Departed. The result keeps him on track for that elusive first Academy Award, and was his second Globes win after Gangs Of New York in 2003.

Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima won best foreign-language feature, Cars drove off with the inaugural animated feature award, and Peter Morgan won the screenplay category for The Queen. Alexandre Desplat won best score for The Painted Veil, while Prince's The Song Of The Heart from Happy Feet took the song prize.

Mirren also won the award for best actress in a mini-series or a motion picture made for television for Elizabeth I, which won that overall category.

Warren Beatty collected the Cecil B DeMille Award from Tom Hanks, who said he admired Beatty's "balls", adding, "And by balls, I mean artistic vision."