Ben Affleck-directed 'Argo' is inspired by the 1979 hostage crisis of US diplomats in Iran. Other nominees in the best drama category were 'Django Unchained', 'Life of Pi' and 'Zero Dark Thirty'.
Steven Spielberg-directed 'Lincoln', leading with seven nominations, had a disappointing run as it took home only the best actor trophy won by Daniel Day-Lewis for his turn as the 16th US president Abraham Lincoln trying to abolish slavery in a civil war-torn country.
The film may have better prospects at the Oscars next month where it is again leading with 12 nominations.
Globes also did not favour India-centric drama 'Life of Pi'. The film won a single trophy - best original score by Mychael Danna - but lost out in the best drama and best director categories.
Affleck missed out on a best director nod at the Oscars but the actor-director had a reason to rejoice at the Golden Globes as his political drama won him the best director and picture gong.
"Look, I don't care what the award is. When they put your name next to the names she just read off, it's an extraordinary thing in your life," Affleck said after actress Halle Berry read out the names of best director nominees – Spielberg, Lee, Kathryn Bigelow and Quentin Tarantino.
Day-Lewis beat fellow nominees Richard Gere in 'Arbitrage', John Hawkes in 'The Sessions' Joaquin Phoenix in 'The Master' and Denzel Washington in 'Flight'.
"My fellow nominees, boys and girls, such beautiful performances this year. I'm very proud to be one amongst you. You have given me an experience that I will treasure until the end of my life," said the actor, who has previously won a globe for the 2008 film 'There Will Be Blood'.
The highlight of the evening was a surprise appearance by former president Bill Clinton, who came to introduce the film.
"Are you sure there's room for another ex-president on the stage," Lewis joked while accepting his award.
Jessica Chastain, who won the best drama actress Golden Globe for playing a CIA agent in 'Zero Dark Thirty', a film on the US manhunt of Osama bin Laden, said, "I have auditioned and struggled and fought and been on the sidelines for years. To be here now in this moment is a beautiful feeling, to receive this encouragement and support."
Jennifer Lawrence beat veterans like Meryl Streep and Judi Dench to win the best actress trophy in the musical or comedy category for 'Silver Linings Playbook'.
Lawrence played a troubled widow in the film, which also starred Indian actor Anupam Kher in a key role. She is also in the race for the best actress trophy at the Oscars on February 24. "What does this say? I beat Meryl," Lawrence joked as she picked up her award.
Tom Hooper's 'Les Miserables' was named best musical or comedy, while Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway claimed best actor and best supporting actress prizes.
Jackman, who played Jean Valjean, said he had almost given up on the film but his wife talked him out of it.
"My wife talked me off the cliff like she talks me (down) most days. Baby, I will say it in front of the entire world – thank you for always being right, baby. I love you," said Jackman.
Hathaway, who had lost a lot of weight to play the role of doomed single mother Fantine in the film, said, "Thank you for this lovely blunt object that I will forever more use as a weapon against self-doubt."
Christoph Waltz won his second supporting actor globe for his role as Dr King Schultz in slave-revenge drama 'Django Unchained'. His earlier win was for 'Inglourious Basterds', also a Tarantino film.
"Quentin, you know that my indebtedness to you and my gratitude knows no words," said Waltz at the gala night hosted by comediennes Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
'Silence of the Lambs' actress Jodie Foster was honoured with the Cecil B DeMille award for her contribution to cinema.
Tarantino beat 'Argo' to win the best screenplay Golden Globe for 'Django'. The other nominees were Tony Kushner (Lincoln), David O Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) and Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty).
Austria's 'Amour' won the Golden Globe for best foreign language film beating out 'Rust and Bone', 'The Intouchables', 'A Royal Affair' and 'Kon-Tiki'. The Michael Haneke directed film is also a strong contender at Oscars with five nominations, including one in the best film category.
Best animated feature film globe went to 'Brave'. The other nominees in the category were 'Frankenweenie', 'Hotel Transylvania', 'Rise of the Guardians' and 'Wreck-It Ralph'.
In the television section, 'Homeland' won the best series Golden Globe in the drama category while 'Girls' won in the musical or comedy category.
'Homeland' was also a winner in the best actor and actress category with the awards going to Damian Lewis for his role as Nicholas Brody and for Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison.
The award for best performance in a television series - musical or comedy went to actor Don Cheadle for 'House of Lies' and Lena Dunham for 'Girls'.
'Game Change' won Best Miniseries award. Supporting performance in series, miniseries, or television film went to British actress Maggie Smith for her role as Dowager Countess of Grantham in 'Downton Abbey' and Ed Harris for 'Game Change'.
Best Performance in a Miniseries or Television Film went to actress Julianne Moore for her knock-out performance as Sarah Palin in 'Game Change'. Kevin Costner won the best actor nod in the same category for 'Hatfields & McCoys'.