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A tamer Ricky Gervais leads predictable Golden Globes

The victory for "The Descendants" in the best drama category sets it up in an expected battle at the Academy Awards with "The Artist," which won the award for best musical or comedy.

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Actress Meryl Streep shows off her Golden Globe award for the best performance by an actress in a motion picture - drama for her work in " The Iron Lady" during her arrival at a party following the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California Sunday night.

Gus Ruelas/Reuters

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The Hollywood Foreign Press Association dared to let Ricky Gervais come back and host the Golden Globe Awards, a year after he insulted the organization and nearly everyone in the star-studded room with his lacerating wit.

But Gervais and the show seemed tamer and more predictable this year, not quite living up to outrageous reputations. Even the winners themselves, including "The Descendants" and its star, George Clooney, were predictable.

The victory for "The Descendants" in the best drama category sets it up in an expected battle at the Academy Awards with "The Artist," which won the award for best musical or comedy. Both had been frontrunners all along among people who are the business of prognosticating these things; Oscar nominations will be announced Jan. 24, with the ceremony itself coming Feb. 26.

Clooney won for his portrayal of a middle-aged husband struggling to raise his two daughters while their mother is in a coma. Jean Dujardin won the same award in the musical or comedy category for "The Artist" as a silent film actor whose career derails with the arrival of sound. ("The Artist" won the most film awards with three total, including one for Ludovic Bource's original score.)

It took the presenters and winners themselves to liven up the program – and that includes Uggie, Dujardin's scene-stealing Jack Russell terrier in "The Artist," who performed some of his signature tricks on stage toward the end of the night.

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