The Kerry-raised actor, nominated for his performance as a sex addict in Shame, lost out in the best dramatic actor stakes to George Clooney, who teased Fassbender over the film and its frequent nudity.
“I would like to thank Michael Fassbender for taking over the frontal nude responsibility that I had,” said Clooney.
Black-and-white silent film The Artist led the Golden Globes with three wins on Sunday at a show that spread Hollywood’s love around among a broad range of films, including best drama winner The Descendants and its star, Clooney.
Wins for The Artist included best musical or comedy and best actor in a musical or comedy for Jean Dujardin, who beat Brendan Gleeson, who was nominated for The Guard.
Clooney’s The Descendants took best drama.
The dual best-picture prizes at the Globes could set up a showdown between The Artist and The Descendants for the top honour at next month’s Academy Awards.
Other acting winners included Meryl Streep, Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, and Octavia Spencer, while Martin Scorsese earned the headline directing honour.
“I gotta thank everybody in England that let me come and trample over their history,” said Streep, earning her eighth Globe, this time as dramatic actress for her portrayal of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
Williams won for actress in a musical or comedy as Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn, 52 years after Monroe took the same prize for Some Like It Hot.
The supporting-acting Globes went to Plummer as an elderly widower who comes out as gay in the father-son drama, Beginners, and Spencer as a brassy housekeeper joining other black maids to share stories about life with their white employers in the 1960s Deep South tale, The Help.
Scorsese won for the Paris adventure Hugo. It was the third directing Globe in the last 10 years for Scorsese, who previously won for Gangs of New York and The Departed and received the show’s Cecil B DeMille Award for lifetime achievement two years ago.
Williams offered thanks for giving her the same award Monroe once won and joked that her daughter had put up with bedtime stories for six months spoken in Monroe’s voice.
“I consider myself a mother first and an actress second, so the person I most want to thank is my daughter, my little girl, whose bravery and exuberance is the example I take with me in my work and my life,” said Williams.
Dujardin became the first star in a silent film to earn a major Hollywood prize since the early days of film. He won as a silent-era star whose career unravels amid the rise of talking pictures in the 1920s. It’s a breakout role in Hollywood for Dujardin, a star at home in France but little known to international audiences.
Directed by Alexander Payne, The Descendants provided a more down-to- earth role for Clooney, often known for slick, high-rolling characters such as those in his Ocean’s Eleven heist capers or the legal saga Michael Clayton.
Adapted from Kaui Hart Hemmings’ novel, The Descendants casts Clooney as Matt King, the scion of an aristocratic Hawaiian clan and a neglectful dad, forced to hold together his two spirited daughters after his wife falls into a coma from a boating accident.
Tonight you get Britain’s biggest comedian, hosting the world’s second biggest awards show on America’s third biggest network [NBC]. Sorry, is it fourth? it’s fourth.
Our next presenter is the queen of pop — not you Elton, sit down. Please welcome Madonna.
Who needs the Oscars? Not me and not Eddie Murphy [original host of next month’s Academy Awards]. When the man who said yes to Norbit says no to you, you know you’re in trouble.
[On Boardwalk Empire] It’s about a load of immigrants who came to America about 100 years ago, and they got involved in bribery and corruption and worked their way up into high society. But enough about the Hollywood Foreign Press.
[To winners] You don’t need to thank everyone you’ve ever met or members of your family, who have done nothing. Just the main two — your agent and God.
[On Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek] They’re ridiculously gorgeous specimens, they’re extremely talented and probably very interesting. I’m not sure — I couldn’t understand a fucking word they said.
For any of you who don’t know, the Golden Globes are just like the Oscars, but without all that esteem.
The Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton. A bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker and more easily bought. Allegedly.
What you don’t know about Colin Firth is he’s very racist. I’ve also seen him punch a little blind kitten.