BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- "Titanic" was named best dramatic picture and earned three other awards during Sunday night's Golden Globes, a presage for the upcoming Academy Awards.
"Does this prove that size matters?" cracked director James Cameron as he held aloft his statuette for best dramatic picture.
Cameron, who also earned the best directing trophy, almost single-handedly piloted the film through years of research and $200 million of 20th Century Fox's and Paramount's money.
The movie also won awards for best original score and song, "My Heart Will Go On."
In television, "Ally McBeal" beat out such highly rated shows as "Seinfeld" and "Frasier" for best musical or comedy, and its star, Calista Flockhart, won the best actress trophy.
"As Good As It Gets" proved the big winner in the comedy or musical film category, winning for best movie and earning trophies for stars Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt as well as director James Brooks.
Two veteran performers were honored as best dramatic actors: Judi Dench for her role as Queen Victoria in "(Her Majesty) Mrs. Brown," and Peter Fonda for his portrayal of a troubled father and beekeeper in "Ulee's Gold."
Ms. Hunt, who won last year's Golden Globe as leading actress in a TV musical or comedy series for "Mad About You," dedicated her award to Brooks: "You've made me a better actor forever," she said.
Ms. Hunt also expressed her gratitude to co-star Nicholson.
"They say never meet your idols, and then you blow that out of the water," she told the Beverly Hilton crowd during the nationally televised 55th Hollywood Foreign Press Association presentations. "You're my hero as an actor."
Burt Reynolds, the porno movie producer of "Boogie Nights," and Kim Basinger, the Veronica Lake look-alike call girl of "L.A. Confidential," won best supporting actor trophies for a drama, comedy or musical motion picture.
"Please remember, if you hang on to things long enough they get back in style, like me," Reynolds said.
Ms. Basinger kissed her husband, Alec Baldwin, and walked to the stage to say wonderingly as she looked at her Golden Globe: "So this is what these things look like up close."
Best foreign language film went to "My Life in Pink (Ma Vie en Rose.)
"Titanic" had a leading eight nominations and lost one to "Good Will Hunting," which won for best screenplay.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, best friends since childhood, wrote and starred in the coming-of-age tale about a genius.
"This is a little overwhelming for two guys who never even won a raffle," Affleck said.
The honors from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are considered a possible indication of winners at the Academy Awards on March 23. In the last 15 years, 11 films that won best motion picture honors at the Golden Globes went on to take the same prize at the Oscars.
The numbers are about the same for the best actor and best actress awards.
Unlike the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes honor television shows and split the movie awards for best picture, actor and actress between two categories -- drama and comedy or musical.
The best TV dramatic actor awards went to stars of medical shows -- Christine Lahti of "Chicago Hope" and Anthony Edwards of "ER."
Lahti was in the bathroom when her name was announced.
"I was just flushing the toilet when someone said 'you won' and I thought, `what a terrible joke,"' she said.
Also in the TV category, Michael J. Fox won best actor in a musical or comedy for his show "Spin City."
The trophies for the actors were somewhat of a surprise. Fox beat out such high-rated comedy stars as Paul Reiser and Jerry Seinfeld, who recently announced he would end his popular NBC series, "Seinfeld" at the end of this season. Ms. Flockhart bested comic mainstays Helen Hunt and Kirstie Alley.
Alfre Woodard won best actress in a TV miniseries for "Miss Evers' Boys" and Ving Rhames won the best actor trophy in that category for "Don King: Only in America."
Rhames came to the stage sobbing, "It's an honor and I'd like a hand of applause please for all of the other nominees."
In a surprise move, he invited veteran actor Jack Lemmon to come to the stage. Rhames handed the trophy to Lemmon, saying he deserved it, as the audience gave a standing ovation. Lemmon was nominated for the same award for his role in "12 Angry Men."
"George Wallace" won the best TV miniseries or made-for-TV movie, and one of its stars, Angelina Jolie, won for best supporting actress in that category. George C. Scott, who didn't attend the ceremonies, won the best supporting actor trophy for "12 Angry Men."
One award was announced before the ceremony: Shirley MacLaine was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for "outstanding contribution to the entertainment field." Forty-three years ago, she won her first of four Golden Globes as "new star of the year."
For the third straight year, NBC devoted three hours of prime time to the Golden Globes. The 1996 show ended a 14-year drought for major network exposure caused by accusations of corrupt voting practices by the Foreign Press Association. The association worked hard to regain respectability and lure network attention once again.