LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Hollywood's 2013 awards season kicked off with a big dinner party and 26 trophies at the 70th annual Golden Globes show Sunday night.
With NBC sitcom stars Tina Fey and Amy Poehler sharing the hosting duties, the onstage humor is expected to be less brutal toward the celebrities than in the past three years when British comedian Ricky Gervais turned the show into a roast.
Poehler joked that Gervais proved that "when you run afoul of the Hollywood Foreign Press, they make you host the show two more times."
Poehler's best one-liner, based on the loud audience laughter, targeted Kathryn Bigelow, director of best movie nominee "Zero Dark Thirty," which is controversial because of its portrayal of the torture of terror detainees. "When it comes to torture, I trust the lady who spent three years married to James Cameron," Poehler said.
Thanks to the free-flowing alcohol, the mood in the Beverly Hilton ballroom is traditionally more relaxed than at the Academy Awards, but the lineup of stars is just as impressive.
George Clooney, one of the producers of "Argo," said he planned to wait until after he finishes his presenter duties before drinking. "I've learned to wait," Clooney said. "I have had a drink before I presented, and it was a disaster."
Adele, who has not been seen on a red carpet since she gave birth to a son last October, won the best original song in a movie award for writing and singing "Skyfall," the title song for the latest James Bond movie.
"Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God!" Adele exclaimed as she was handed the award. "It's very strange to be here. Thank you for letting me be part of your world tonight."
Mychael Danna, who composed the score for best movie nominee "Life of Pi," won for best original score in a movie.
The night's first Globe -- for best supporting actor in a movie -- went to Christoph Waltz for his role in Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained."
"Quentin, you know that my indebtedness to you knows no words," Waltz said in his acceptance speech.
Waltz also won a Globe and an Oscar two years ago for his portrayal of a German colonel in Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds."
"Argo," starring Ben Affleck, who also directed it, is nominated for five Globes, including best picture drama. The other contenders are Tarantino's "Django Unchained," Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty" and Ang Lee's "Life of Pi."
Affleck, Bigelow, Lee, Spielberg and Tarantino are also the five nominees for best movie director.
The best actor in a drama movie category includes Daniel Day-Lewis for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln, Denzel Washington for "Flight," Richard Gere for "Arbitrage," John Hawkes for "The Sessions" and Joaquin Phoenix for "The Master."
The best actress in a drama movie contender include Helen Mirren for her role as Alfred Hitchcock's wife in "Hitchcock," Jessica Chastain for her portrayal of a CIA analyst in "Zero Dark Thirty," Marion Cotillard for "Rust and Bone," Naomi Watts for "The Impossible" and Rachel Weisz for "The Deep Blue Sea."
Sally Field, who played the first lady in "Lincoln," is nominated in the best supporting actress in a movie category. Other nominees are Amy Adams for "The Master," Anne Hathaway for "Les Miserables," Helen Hunt for "The Sessions" and Nicole Kidman for "The Paperboy."
The Golden Globes put comedy and musicals in a separate category from dramas. Nominees include "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," "Les Miserables," "Moonrise Kingdom," "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" and "Silver Linings Playbook."
"Silver Linings Playbook" star Jennifer Lawrence won the best actress in a comedy or musical Golden Globe. "What does it say? 'I beat Meryl!'" Lawrence said, a reference to Meryl Streep, who was also nominated for "Hope Springs."
Globe producers put two surprise guests on the stage. Former President Bill Clinton appeared to introduce a clip of best picture nominee "Lincoln," which he said has lessons for how a president must lead today.
Former CIA agent Tony Mendez introduced "Argo," which was based on his successful mission to smuggle American diplomats out of Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis.
Unlike the Oscars, the Globes also honor television with 11 awards.
HBO's "Game Change" won for best made-for-TV miniseries or movie, and its star, Julianne Moore, was given the best actress in a made-for-TV miniseries or movie award for portraying former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Kevin Costner won the Globe for best actor in a made-for-TV miniseries or movie for the History Channel's "Hatfields & McCoys."
Showtime's "Homeland" claimed two Globes, including the best TV drama series trophy -- for a second consecutive year -- and best actor in a television drama series actor for Damian Lewis.
It is the first Globe for Lewis, who won an Emmy last fall for the same role. He dedicated the award to his late mother, who "I know is up there tonight, looking down, bursting with pride and telling everyone how well her son is doing in acting."
The best supporting actress in a TV series, miniseries or movie award went to Maggie Smith for "Downton Abbey: Season 2."
Hosts Fey and Poehler are also nominees, competing against each other in the best actress in a TV comedy series category.
The Globes launch the award season, which includes the Screen Actors Guild awards in two weeks, followed by the Grammys two weeks later and culminates on February 24 with the Academy Awards.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which includes a group of about 85 writers affiliated with publications outside of the United States, selected the nominees and winners of the Globes.