The 58th Annual Golden Globe Awards is shaping up to be one heck of a testosterone-charged run.
Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic" and Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" have emerged as the frontrunners in this year's race for the Globes, each receiving five nods apiece as nominations for the annual bash were announced this morning by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in Beverly Hills, Calif..
Trailing closely behind are Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical rock flick "Almost Famous," "Chocolat," "Wonder Boys" and Soderbergh's "Erin Brockovich," each earning four nominations.
Soderbergh's drug trafficking drama (which has yet to bow in theaters) picked up almost all the prized loot with a nod for best picture (drama), best director, best screenplay for scribe Stephen Gaghan and a best supporting actor and actress (drama) mention for Benicio Del Toro and Catherine Zeta-Jones, respectively.
Soderbergh and company will go up against Scott's brutish epic "Gladiator" in three other fronts: best picture (drama), best director and best supporting thanks to the lascivious performance by Joaquin Phoenix.
The Roman decadence film has also earned its rugged Australian star Russell Crowe a best actor (drama) nomination. Crowe was long favored by critics to receive a nomination for his performance. Rounding out the film's fifth nomination is a nod for best original score.
The usual suspects also turned up for the best actor (drama) category. Besides Crowe, there's Javier Bardem for his role as a gay Cuban poet in "Before Night Falls," Michael Douglas playing a mid-life-crisis-prone writer in "Wonder Boys," Geoffrey Rush as the decorum-defying Marquis de Sade in "Quills" and Tom Hanks -- who avenges his "The Green Mile" shutout last year -- with his turn as the modern-day Robinson Crusoe in "Cast Away."
But the most interesting race to watch is when Soderbergh goes up against himself. His "Traffic" and "Erin Brockovich" are nominated in both the best director and best picture (drama) categories. (Soderbergh, we might add, has also been named best director by the National Board of Review, the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association on the strength of both flicks).
Besides going head-to-head with Scott, Soderbergh will also have to fend off Ang Lee ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") and Istvan Szabo ("Sunshine"), also contenders in the best director race.
Joining "Traffic," "Brockovich" and "Gladiator" in the best picture (drama) race are boy ballet film "Billy Elliot," the Douglas late bloomer "Wonder Boys" and the surprise dark horse "Sunshine."
As everyone suspected, Julia Roberts secured a best actress (drama) nom for her bosom-enhanced role in "Erin Brockovich." She's up against Joan Allen ("The Contender"), Bjork ("Dancer in the Dark"), Laura Linney ( "You Can Count On Me") and a somewhat surprising nomination for Ellen Burstyn for what some folks thought was more of a supporting role in "Requiem For a Dream."
In the best supporting actor (drama) race, the HFPA picked "The Contender" co-star Jeff Bridges, Willem Dafoe as the stoic bloodsucker in "Shadow of a Vampire," Albert Finney from "Erin Brockovich" and, as mentioned before, Del Toro in "Traffic" and Phoenix for "Gladiator."
Their female counterparts in the best supporting actress (drama) are: Oscar and Golden Globe winner Judi Dench for her work in "Chocolat," Julie Walters for "Billy Elliot," Zeta-Jones in "Traffic." In that category, "Almost Famous" yielded two noms -- one for Frances McDormand and one for ingenue Kate Hudson.
Perhaps to show that drama is really different from comedy, the HFPA also has separate categories for films that are in the lighter and decidedly happier vein.
That said, "Almost Famous" was tapped a best picture (comedy) nom, along with dog show spoof "Best in Show," DreamWorks' "Chicken Run," "Chocolat" and the Coen brothers' epic laughfest "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
The Golden Globes continues to smile on annual Oscar snub Jim Carrey as the actor picks up his Globe nod for his interpretation as the Dr. Seuss miser the Grinch in "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (he won a Globe for both "The Truman Show" and "Man on the Moon" the past two years). Going up against Mr. Rubberface himself will be George Clooney ("O Brother, Where Art Thou?), John Cusack ("High Fidelity"), Robert De Niro ("Meet the Parents") and Mel Gibson ("What Women Want").
And if Carrey is the Globes golden boy, then Sandra Bullock might be the awards' dream girl. However uncannily, the actress (who was nominated for "While You Were Sleeping") picked up a best actress (comedy or musical) nom for "Miss Congeniality." Juliette Binoche from "Chocolat," Brenda Blethyn from the marijuana-minded "Saving Grace," Tracey Ullman from "Small Time Crooks" and Renee Zellweger from "Nurse Betty" are also nominees in the category.
Besides Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," the best foreign film category is filled with titles that are obscure at best, unknown in the least. Going fist-to-fist against Lee's martial-arts flick (which failed to nab a best film nod) are "Amores Perros" from Mexico, "The Hundred Steps" and "Malena," both from Italy, and the French flick "The Widow of St. Pierre."
On the television front, the best series (drama) race will pit ratings buster "ER" (NBC) against "CSI" (CBS), "The Practice" (ABC), "The Sopranos" (HBO) and multiple Emmy winner "The West Wing" (NBC).
And "Ally McBeal" (Fox), "Frasier" (NBC), "Malcolm in the Middle" (Fox), "Sex and the City (HBO) and "Will & Grace" (NBC) will duke it out in the best series (comedy) realm. "Will & Grace" is this year's Emmy champ.
The Globes, in somewhat of a surprise move, nominated Sarah Michelle Gellar for the WB's "Buffy the Vampire" and Jessica Alba of Fox's "Dark Angel" in the best actress (drama) category. Joining them are Lorraine Bracco (HBO's "The Sopranos"), Amy Brenneman (CBS' "Judging Amy") and Edie Falco (also HBO's "The Sopranos").
Of special note is Robert Downey Jr.'s nomination for best supporting actor for "Ally McBeal." His future, however, on the Fox comedy series has been hanging in the balance since his recent run-ins with drugs and the law. Downey is nominated along with Sean Hayes of "Will & Grace" (NBC) John Mahoney and David Hyde Pierce of "Frasier" (NBC), Christopher Plummer of "American Tragedy" (CBS) and Bradley Whitford of "The West Wing" (NBC).
Winners of the 58th Annual Golden Globes will be announced Jan. 21 in an NBC telecast.
Let the awards season begin!
The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, one of the Industry's high-profile Oscar indicators, has announced its top film picks this year, with the Marquis de Sade tale "Quills" nabbing the best film nod and helmer Steven Soderbergh earning the title of best director for films "Erin Brockovich" and the upcoming "Traffic" with newlyweds Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
The best actress nod went to "Brockovich" star Julia Roberts, and "Before Night Falls'" Javier Bardem, who played exile Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, picked up the best actor award.
As to the supporting role categories, Joaquin Phoenix was named best supporting male for his work in "The Yards," "Gladiator" and "Quills," and Lupe Ontiveros scored the best supporting female nod for the indie film "Chuck and Buck."
Ang Lee's martial-arts flick "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" starring Chow Yun-Fat was named best foreign film, and DreamWorks' hit "Chicken Run" was named best animated film.
The Board last year selected "American Beauty" as best film and "All About My Mother" as best foreign film. Both films went on to win Oscars for the same award.
Here's the National Board of Review's Top 10 films of the year:
4. "You Can Count On Me"
5. "Billy Elliot"
6. "Before Night Falls"
8. "Wonder Boys"
10. "Dancer in the Dark"
What is it they say about a Rosie by any other name?
Probably that it'd be a much easier life. At least that's what a Portland, Ore., radio station will tell you after it was sued by handlers for talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell.
The station KRSK-FM is being ordered to stop referring to itself as "Rosie 105" by Warner Bros. and Telepictures, who produce and distribute "The Rosie O'Donnell Show." They say KRSK is using the comedienne's trademarked name without her permission.
The radio station, meanwhile, offers their defense: "Rosie" is named for Portland, known as the Rose City. We're assured they will not be giving away Ring Dings and koosh balls.
OY VEY?: It wouldn't be a new week without a new Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas item, now would it?
After you've taken the weekend to recover from the baby news, here's a new humdinger: She is considering converting to Judaism, according to a British newspaper.
That's because Douglas' family is Jewish, and the 30-year-old actress is rumored to be "fascinated" by the religion, even speaking to a rabbi about converting, according to the Mail. An unnamed source close to Zeta-Jones told the paper that "Michael and his family are very proud of their Jewish heritage. In Judaism, the mother pays a pivotal role in raising the children to honor their faith."
The couple, who will marry this year and are expecting their first child, have agreed to raise the baby as a Jew. News of the pregnancy broke Friday; Douglas, 55, spoke up about it to TV Guide Online. "Both of us are very happy," he said. "We would have preferred to have had the opportunity to make the announcement ourselves when we wanted to, rather than [the tabloids] simply picking us apart when they want to."
ONE SMART COOKIE: Elisabeth Shue's now after the one thing that escapes her: a college degree.
So she's returning to her almost alma mater -- Harvard, thank you very much -- to complete the one semester she needs to finish her degree in government. She attended the school in the 1980s after transferring from the all-girl Wellesley College, leaving around the time she got her first big role, in 1987's "Adventures in Babysitting."
But when she'll run with the Crimson again is still up in the air. "The timing depends on one more movie role she wants to do," her representative, Steven Huvane, told the New York Daily News.
ALL ABOUT ALMODîVAR: Pedro Almod-var, who takes the Roberto Benigni award for Most Unintelligible But Exciting speech at the Golden Globes, took best director and best film honors at the Spanish Goya Awards on Sunday.
The Goyas, named for the 18th century Spanish painter, are Spain's equivalent of the Oscars, and Almod-var, despite his many critical hits, had always failed to nab the prize. But this year, his film "All About My Mother" swept seven awards and is the Oscar favorite for Best Foreign Film.
The 48-year-old director dedicated the award to his mother, who died just after the film was released.
"I read in the newspaper that (collecting other film awards) I've never mentioned my mother. I did it deliberately -- I was waiting for this occasion," he said.
STRAIGHT FROM STONE: That Sharon Stone can always be counted on for notable quotables. The 41-year-old actress, who co-stars with Ellen DeGeneres as a lesbian couple in a segment of HBO's "If These Walls Could Talk 2," declares to TV Guide, "I'm exactly like a gay woman except I don't have sex with women."
She goes on to say, "I have people who are prejudiced against me for all kinds of stupid things. Because I'm tall or because I'm an actress, whatever. You never walk into any environment that people don't decide as you walk through the door what they like and don't like about you. That's about life."
As for DeGeneres, she quips, "I learned that I'm exactly like a straight woman but I don't have sex with a man." Thank you both for sharing.
QUICK TAKES: Armyan Bernstein has been named ShoWest's Producer of the Year for his work on "The Hurricane," which he also co-wrote. The honor, given by the National Association of Theater Owners, will be awarded at ShoWest's convention March 9 in Las Vegas ...
... Atom Egoyan's "Felicia's Journey" won four Genies, Canada's equivalent to the Oscar, on Sunday. The film took honors for screenplay adaptation, actor (Bob Hoskins), cinematography and original score. Best motion picture went to "Sunshine," a Canadian-German-Austrian-Hungarian film starring Ralph Fiennes, which also won for overall sound and sound editing.