Cameron celebrates double success for Avatar

Blockbuster science fiction spectacle Avatar has scooped a double victory including best film drama at the Golden Globes, paving the way for Oscar triumph.

James Cameron won the best director gong for the movie at the Los Angeles ceremony, in an echo of the film maker's success 12 years ago, when Titanic received best drama and the directing prize before sweeping the board at the Academy Awards.

The glitzy bash also showered Meryl Streep, Robert Downey Jr, Sandra Bullock and Jeff Bridges in glory.

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But British hopes were dashed at the 67th annual ceremony, which last year saw big Globe winner Slumdog Millionaire go on to dominate the Oscars.

Dame Helen Mirren, Emily Blunt and Carey Mulligan were up for best actress in a drama, but the prize was taken by Sandra Bullock for her role in The Blind Side as a woman who adopts a homeless black teenager.

Colin Firth, who was nominated for his role in A Single Man, was among those who lost out to Jeff Bridges, who received a standing ovation as he won the actor in a drama category for the country music movie Crazy Heart.

British funnyman Ricky Gervais hosted the night – and peppered his performance with a series of near-the-knuckle quips.

He told the cream of Hollywood: "On a serious note – just looking at all the faces here reminds me of the great work that's been done this year – by cosmetic surgeons."

The Office and Extras star also declared to laughter and applause: "I like a drink as well as the next man – unless the next man is Mel Gibson."

Robert Downey Jr picked up the actor, musical or comedy gong for his title role in the new Guy Ritchie film Sherlock Holmes.

The actress prize in that category went to Meryl Streep for her portrayal of television cook Julia Child in Julia & Julia.

George Clooney's latest film Up In The Air had been leading the nominations with six nods – but in the end it walked away with one prize, for screenplay.