updated 01/15/2012 AT 10:00 PM ET
•originally published 01/15/2012 AT 11:20 PM ET
Named best actress for the TV drama Homeland, Claire Danes said that when she won her first Globe, for 1994’s My So-Called Life, she was only 15 – and was so overwhelmed that she forgot to thank her parents.
She made up for that oversight on Sunday, and pointed out her mother, Carla, sitting in the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Danes also thanked her husband, Hugh Dancy, “who keeps me sane and happy.”
Throughout the evening, many winners took time to remember members of their families. The Artist’s best comedy actor, Jean Dujardin, thanked “my beautiful and talented wife.” (The movie was also named best picture comedy or musical.)
Kate Winslet and Michelle Williams both acknowledged their children, and Game of Thrones supporting actor winner Peter Dinklage gave a shout out to his new daughter, “who has her first babysitter tonight,” he said.
Not that everyone got in a plug for the folks or kids. Best dramatic actress Meryl Streep, who played former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, threw a kiss to fellow nominee Viola Davis of The Help. “I love you, Viola,” said Streep. “You’re my girl.”
George Clooney, picking up his best dramatic actor award for best dramatic picture winner The Descendants, thanked fellow nominee Brad Pitt for his humanitarian work, and nominee Michael Fassbender “for taking over the frontal nudity responsibility that I had.” Clooney also wisecracked that the Shame star could play golf “with your hands behind your back.”
A Surprised Madonna
The most stunned winner of the evening seemed to be Madonna for writing the best song, “Masterpiece,” from W.E., her biopic about the Duchess of Windsor. That is, until Octavia Spencer won her supporting actress Globe for The Help, insisting, “This is seriously nuts.”
Among the major TV honors, Globes went to supporting actress Jessica Lange, for American Horror Story, and to the mini-series Downton Abbey, the drama series Homeland and the comedy series Modern Family.
For the complete list of major category winners, click here.