Adams won best actress in a musical or comedy for her role as the conniving partner to a con-man played by Christian Bale, while Lawrence took best supporting actress for her turn as his loopy wife.
The film directed David O. Russell is one of the frontrunners for the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards, an important but not entirely accurate barometer for the film industry's highest honors, the Academy Awards to be held on March 2.
"David, you write such amazing roles for women," Adams told the star-studded room as she accepted the award. She starred in Russell's 2010 "The Fighter," while Lawrence won the best actress Oscar last year for his previous film, "Silver Linings Playbook."
Jared Leto took the best supporting actor Globe for his role as Rayon, a transsexual with AIDS in the drama "Dallas Buyers Club." Director Spike Jonze won best screenplay for his quirky computer-age comedy "Her."
"American Hustle" leads nominees with seven nods along with "12 Years a Slave," the brutal depiction of pre-Civil War slavery. They are competing for best motion picture in different categories, comedy or musical and drama, respectively.
The Golden Globes, under the purview of some 90 journalists in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), have outsized clout in the awards race as buzz around these first honors influences members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in their voting for the Oscars.
Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday, but voting has already concluded. The Globes have a mixed record when it comes to predicting the Oscar best picture, though last year's best drama winner, "Argo," did go on to win the Academy Award for best movie.
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The show, telecast live on Comcast Corp's NBC, was hosted by comic actors Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and reunited Hollywood's A-listers and its powerbrokers, who all took playful pokes from the duo in their second straight gig at the Globes.
The Golden Globes are also the opening salvo for red carpet fashion, and this year Hollywood's leading ladies appeared to favor shimmery champagne, silver and gold, along with bright reds and vibrant floral shades for their gowns.
This 2014 awards season will recognize a very good year for film, both commercially and critically. North American box office receipts totaled a record $10.9 billion in 2013 and top performers went beyond the typical blockbuster action movies to include acclaimed films such as space thriller "Gravity."
Sunday night could also boost the fortunes of smaller films that have fared well among critics, including Joel and Ethan Coen's paean to 1960s folk music "Inside Llewyn Davis" and Alexander Payne's homage to the heartland "Nebraska."
The HFPA will honor Woody Allen with the Cecil B. DeMille award recognizing outstanding contribution to the entertainment field. Allen, famously averse to awards shows, is not expected to collect the honor, but one of his favorite actresses, Diane Keaton, may stand in for him.
The Golden Globe for best score was awarded to Alex Ebert for "All is Lost," a film in which Robert Redford plays a sailor stranded in the middle of the ocean. Best original song went to U2 frontman Bono and collaborators for "Ordinary Love," from the biopic "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom."
"You know about the global statesman, you don't know about this man, that's why you should see this film," Bono said, referring to the recently deceased anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela.
In the television awards, "Breaking Bad" won best drama for its offbeat story about a school teacher turned drug kingpin, a show that concluded last year with its much acclaimed sixth and final season.
"This is such a wonderful honor and such a lovely way to say goodbye to the show that meant so much to me," said Bryan Cranston, who accepted the award for best actor in a drama series.
HBO's biopic on pianist Liberace, starring Michael Douglas in the title role, won for best the award for best TV miniseries or movie.