has beaten out Oscar favourite
to take the prize for best motion picture drama at the Golden Globes.
The thriller triumphed over a field which included Steve Spielberg's acclaimed Lincoln, Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty and Ang Lee's Life of Pi in the star studded ceremony in Beverly Hills.
The win caps a dream night for Affleck, who was controversially omitted from the best director race for the 2013 Oscars.
He earlier beat Spielberg to take the Globe for best director.
Les Miserables also had a great night, taking out best comedy or musical along with acting gongs for stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway.
As predicted, Hathaway won best supporting actress for her performance as Fantine.
She said she would always use the award as a weapon against self doubt.
Jackman won best actor in a comedy or musical for his star turn as Jean Valjean.
He joins fellow Golden Globe winners Adele, Quentin Tarantino and Jennifer Lawrence.
Lawrence, 22, was awed after beating out Meryl Streep and Dame Judi Dench to pick up best actress in a comedy or musical for her role in Silver Linings Playbook.
She thanked producer Harvey Weinstein by saying: "Harvey, thank you for killing whoever you had to kill to get me here."
Adele won best song for her performance in the title track for Bond film Skyfall.
She claimed not to have expected the win.
"We're new mums, we just came for a night out."
Director Quentin Tarantino won best original screenplay for Django Unchained.
The Globes began with a hilarious opening monologue from hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
The pair, who are nominated for best actress in a TV comedy for their respective roles in 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation, ripped into Hollywood royalty throughout the monologue.
In one joke, they linked best director nominee Kathryn Bigelow's failed marriage to James Cameron to a scandal over her portrayal of torture in Zero Dark Thirty.
"When it comes to torture I trust the lady who spent three years married to James Cameron," Poehler said.
Poehler also poked fun at Ang Lee's best drama-nominated Life of Pi.
"The Life of Pi, which is what I'm going to call the six weeks after I take this dress off," she said.
Fey likened Hathaway's performance as the doomed prostitute Fantine in Les Miserables to her disastrous performance hosting the 2011 Oscars with James Franco.
"I've never seen someone so abandoned and alone since you were on stage with James Franco," she said.
Red carpet glamour amid the cold
Looking glamorous but feeling frigid, stars from film and television stars arrived on the red carpet for the Globes ceremony.
Debra Messing from Smash came in a strapless black gown and goosebumps. Asked how she was coping with the cold, she replied, "Not well."
Melissa Rauch of The Big Bang Theory also shivered in her strapless red gown.
"I'm absolutely freezing!" she said.
Claire Danes of Homelandwas in Versace and Zooey Deschanel of New Girl came in a strapless Oscar de la Renta gown walked near heat lamps.
"I'm so cold. My legs aren't cold but my arms are," said Deschanel.
Golden Globes winners:
Best motion picture drama
Best musical or comedy
Best Actor, Comedy or Musical
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Ben Affleck, Argo
Best Supporting Actress
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Best original screenplay
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Best Actress, Comedy or Musical
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Best Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Best Original Score
Mychael Danna, Life of Pi
Best Original Song
Skyfall (music and lyrics by Adele and Paul Epworth), Skyfall
Best Series, Drama
Best Series, Musical or Comedy
Best Actor, Drama
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Best Miniseries or Movie
Best Actress, Miniseries or Movie
Julianne Moore, Game Change
Best Actor, Miniseries or Movie
Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
Best Supporting Actress
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
- additional reporting AP