(Adds details on viewer demographics, social media reaction to Lady Gaga's outfit)
By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES, Jan 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. television audience for the 2019 Golden Globe awards fell about 2 percent, but a slew of popular movies and celebrities among the nominees helped the ceremony buck a trend that has seen much steeper declines for big entertainment events.
The 18.6 million audience for Sunday's awards, where Queen biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" and pop star Lady Gaga were among the winners, was down from the 19.0 million viewers who watched the 2018 show on television, broadcaster Comcast Corp's NBC said on Monday, citing Nielsen ratings data.
The Golden Globes kicked off the Hollywood awards season leading to the Oscars, where nominations for the February ceremony will be announced on Jan 22.
The three-hour live ceremony, hosted by actors Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg, was the most watched telecast in primetime, excluding news and sports, since the Oscars in March last year, NBC said.
The small audience decline in total viewers bucked a trend that saw declines of 15 percent or more in viewership for the Oscars and the Grammy awards in 2018.
Golden Globe viewers in the 18-49 year-old demographic coveted by advertisers rose 4 percent, the data showed.
The Golden Globes nominated a slew of popular and diverse movies for awards, including Walt Disney Co superhero blockbuster "Black Panther," and AT&T Inc's Warner Bros movies "Crazy Rich Asians" and "A Star is Born," starring Lady Gaga in her first major role as a film actress.
"A Star is Born," went into Sunday's awards as the favorite for the biggest prizes but in a major upset came out with just one - for Lady Gaga's original song "Shallow" from the movie.
Golden Globe voters instead chose Twenty-First Century Fox Inc film "Bohemian Rhapsody" as the top drama and Rami Malek as best actor for his role as late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Focus Features, which is owned by Comcast, 1960s roadtrip movie "Green Book" was named best comedy movie.
Lady Gaga lost the coveted best actress Golden Globe to veteran Glenn Close for her role in "The Wife," but the singer, sporting blue hair and a lavender gown, captured most of the social media buzz, according to Twitter and Facebook. (Reporting by Jill Serjeant Editing by Bill Berkrot and Lisa Shumaker)