Damian Lewis poses with the award for best performance by an actor in a television series (drama) for Homeland at the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday.

Beverly Hills - Austrian actor Christoph Waltz and Adele notched early wins at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, while Lincoln and Iran hostage thriller Argo were in a close race for the top honour, best movie drama.

Waltz carried off the Golden Globe for best supporting movie actor for his role as a dentist-turned-bounty hunter in Quentin Tarantino's quirky slavery Western Django Unchained.

“Let me gasp!” said Waltz. “It's extraordinary... Quentin, my indebtedness and gratitude to you know no words.”

British Grammy-winning singer Adele, in her first major public appearance since giving birth in October, shared the trophy for performing and co-writing the best original song, Skyfall, for the James Bond movie of the same name.

Comedians Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, hosting the Globes for the first time, got the ceremony off to a rollicking start with jokes about some of the top Hollywood stars in the audience, and impersonations of Johnny Depp and Julianne Moore.

Pointing out Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow at the glitzy dinner, Poehler said she had not been closely following the controversy over the torture scenes depicted in the thriller about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

But, she added, “when it comes to torture, I trust the lady who spent three years married to James Cameron”, Poehler quipped, to roars from the audience. Bigelow is the former wife of Cameron, director of blockbusters Avatar and Titanic.

“Meryl Streep is not here. I hear she has the flu, and I'm told she is amazing in it,” Poehler joked about the esteemed actress.

The Golden Globes, handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, has become the entertainment industry's second-biggest awards show after February's Oscars, or Academy Awards.

But its influence on the Academy Awards has been somewhat sapped this year because Oscar nominations were announced three days ago, instead of a week after the Globes awards show.

Unlike the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes also honour television dramas and comedies.

On Sunday they chose Showtime terrorism thriller Homeland as best drama series, and the show's Damian Lewis as best actor for his role as a Marine returning from Iraq who is turned by Muslim extremists.

HBO's drama Game Change about Sarah Palin's 2008 run for US vice-president won best TV film, while Moore won for her portrayal of the polarising former Alaska governor. - Reuters