'Gladiator,' 'Traffic' Lead Golden Globe Nominations

The Roman epic Gladiator and the drug war drama Traffic led the motion picture Golden Globe nominations today with five each.

Traffic director Stephen Soderbergh received two best-director nominations, for that movie and for Erin Brockovich.

Traffic also received nominations for dramatic picture, supporting actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, supporting actor Benicio Del Toro and the screenplay by Stephen Gaghan.

Wide Range of Films Recognized

Gladiator was nominated for dramatic picture, best dramatic actor for Russell Crowe, supporting actor Joaquin Phoenix, director Ridley Scott and its musical score.

Four movies received four nominations apiece: the 1970s rock ’n’ roll reminiscence Almost Famous, the French provincial romance Chocolat, Soderbergh’s Erin Brockovich and the offbeat campus drama Wonder Boys.

The other best dramatic picture nominees were Billy Elliot, Erin Brockovich, Sunshine and Wonder Boys.

The nominees for best musical or comedy picture were Almost Famous, Best in Show, Chicken Run, Chocolat and O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Nominees for best actress in a dramatic movie were Joan Allen for The Contender, Bjork for Dancer in the Dark, Ellen Burstyn for Requiem for a Dream, Laura Linney for You Can Count on Me and Julia Roberts for Erin Brockovich.

Besides Crowe, the other dramatic actor nominees were Javier Bardem for Before Night Falls, Michael Douglas for Wonder Boys, Tom Hanks for Cast Away and Geoffrey Rush for Quills.

Acting nominee Bjork also received a nomination for best original song, “I’ve Seen It All” from Dancer in the Dark, for which she wrote the music. Other song nominees were Sting and David Hartley for “My Funny Friend and Me” from The Emperor’s New Groove, “One in a Million” by Steffan Olsson from Miss Congeniality, Bob Dylan for “Things Have Changed” from Wonder Boys and Garth Brooks and Jenny Yates for “When You Come Back to Me Again” from Frequency.

NBC Leads TV Nominees

NBC led television nominees with 15, followed by HBO with 12, then CBS, Fox and Showtime with seven each.

The best dramatic TV series nominees were CSI, ER, The Practice, The Sopranos and The West Wing.

The best musical or comedy series nominees were Ally McBeal, Frasier, Malcolm in the Middle, Sex and the City and Will & Grace.

Among notable TV acting nominees were Robert Downey Jr., who received a supporting actor nod for Ally McBeal. Downey came to the show after his release from prison in a drug case, but has since been arrested again.

Chocolat nominee Dench also got a TV nod for best actress in a miniseries or TV movie for Last of the Blonde Bombshells.

Oscar’s Crystal Ball

The Golden Globe nominations often serve as indicators for how the year’s movies will fare when Oscar nominees are announced in February. In past years, movies such as American Beauty, Saving Private Ryan or Titanic emerged as clear front-runners.

Nominees are chosen by the association’s roughly 90 members, who cover Hollywood for overseas publications.

Unlike the Oscars, top categories for the Golden Globes are divided into two sets, dramatic movies and musicals or comedies. Winners in the Globe dramatic categories are more likely to go on to win Oscars.

In the past 57 years, one of the two best-picture winners at the Golden Globes has taken the same honor at the Oscars 41 times, said Thomas O’Neil, author of Movie Awards, a book due out next month that examines film honors.

“The Golden Globe is a genuine crystal ball for the Oscars,” O’Neil said.

The 1999 Golden Globes correctly predicted Oscar wins for American Beauty and director Sam Mendes, Boys Don’t Cry star Hilary Swank and Girl, Interrupted supporting actress Angelina Jolie.

Denzel Washington in The Hurricane won a Golden Globe for best dramatic actor, and Tom Cruise won the supporting-actor honor for Magnolia. At the Oscars, Kevin Spacey won best actor for American Beauty and Michael Caine was named best supporting actor for The Cider House Rules.

The Golden Globe Awards will air live on NBC on Jan. 21.