The Beverly Hills Hotel played host to the International Press Academy’s 16th annual Satellite Awards on Sunday night, a lively evening which saw prizes handed out recognizing the year’s best entertainment in film and television. After red carpet arrivals and some spirited cocktail conversation, the awards show proceeded at a nice clip before being capped off by a sumptuous dinner.

Some of the winners’ names were familiar just kicked-off awards season — Alexander Payne’s Hawaiian-set “The Descendants” was named Best Picture, as it also was recently by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association — but perhaps the biggest winner of the night was Nicolas Winding Refn’s neon-lit, criminally overlooked “Drive,” which sadly withered on the box office vine earlier this fall and yet sped off with the most trophies Sunday night. A Los Angeles-set neo-noir about a movie stunt car driver who gets mixed up in some shady business and tries to set things right with his in-over-their-heads neighbors, the film nabbed Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor prizes for Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks, respectively, while Refn (“Bronson”) took Best Directing honors. The movie was also awarded Best Sound Editing and Mixing. It sees DVD and Blu-ray release toward the end of January.

The other Satellite winners in the film acting categories were Jessica Chastain (“The Tree of Life”) and Viola Davis (“The Help”), the latter tabbed as a lead performance. In a crowded Foreign Film category, the sublime and deserving Portugese entry “Mysteries of Lisbon” won, while Formula One race driver biopic “Senna” (unfortunately overlooked on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Oscar shortlist) was honored as Best Documentary, and Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin” was named Best Animated or Mixed Media Motion Picture. “The Tree of Life” and “The Descendants” were named Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay, respectively, while Marco Beltrami’s score for “Soul Surfer” and “Lay Your Head Down,” from “Albert Nobbs,” were named Best Score and Best Original Song.

Director Peter Bogdanovich received the organization’s Auteur Award, while visual effects pioneer Douglas Trumbull was feted with the Nikola Tesla Award, whose previous winners include Rick Baker, Dennis Muren, Richard Donner, Stan Winston and James Cameron. Mitzi Gaynor, meanwhile, was given the Mary Pickford Award, the group’s most prestigious lifetime achievement honor.

On the television side, which spanned 10 awards, “Justified” was a surprise winner for Best TV Drama Series, while the deliciously ribald “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” now entering its seventh season, was named Best TV Comedy Series, knocking off last year’s winner, “The Big C.” Kate Winslet (“Mildred Pierce”) and Jason Isaacs (PBS’ “Case Histories”) were awarded Best Actress and Best Actor prizes in the Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television categories, while Vanessa Williams (“Desperate Housewives”) and Ryan Hurst (“Sons of Anarchy”) won supporting performance trophies, which span both TV movie and serial work.

For more information and a complete list of winners, visit

Written by: Brent Simon

Drive Nicolas Winding Refn

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By Brent Simon

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Brent Simon is a three-term president of LAFCA, a contributor to Screen International, Newsweek Japan, Magill's Cinema Annual, and many other outlets. He cannot abide a world without U2 and tacos.

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