Columbia/Castle Rock’s “A Few Good Men” tied with Buena Vista Pictures’ “Aladdin,” with five nods apiece, to lead the field in Golden Globe nominations, announced yesterday. But some of the loudest

cheers came from Miramax Films.

For what is believed to be the first time in the Golden Globes’ 50-year history, an indie distrib has garnered nine nominations, putting Miramax second only to Columbia Pictures’ 12 this year.

Records from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which gives out the awards, aren’t detailed enough to confirm if nine noms is an all-time indie mark. But reps said, “It’s a first as far as anybody can remember.”

“It’s way beyond our expectations and we hope it’s a precursor for the Oscars ,” beamed Miramax’s Jerry Rich, after the announcements were made yesterday.

Nominations were unveiled at the Beverly Hills Hilton by Stacy Keach, Paul Winfield and Drew Barrymore (who appeared shocked when her nomination for best actress in a vidpic or miniseries, for “Guncrazy,” was announced by Winfield).

Buena Vista Pictures Distribution nabbed seven; TriStar Pictures, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. each took six while Sony Pictures Classics garnered five.

Combo indie Spelling Films/Fine Line Features was neck-and-neck with Twentieth Century Fox and New Line Cinema, with four each. Paramount Pictures nabbed two, while Orion Pictures Corp. had one.

If considered under the corporate umbrella, Sony Pictures Entertainment was a heavy hitter with a total of 26 film and TV nominations, including Columbia’s 12 , TriStar’s six, and Sony Pictures Classics’ five.

Mark Canton, chairman of Columbia Pictures, noted: “This is another great indication about the strength and breadth of our first year with the new Columbia Pictures.”

Sony Pictures chairman/CEO Peter Guber said in a news release: “In a year when we have achieved 20.2% market share at the domestic box office — up from our industry-leading 20.0% last year — the 23 Golden Globe nominations for our Motion Picture Group show that our movies are generating tremendous critical recognition in addition to worldwide commercial success.”

In the TV contest, NBC grabbed 20 nominations, followed by CBS (15) and ABC ( 10), with HBO taking a respectable eight. Fox nabbed four, while Showtime and TNT made the list with one each.

CBS’ “Northern Exposure” (which won a Golden Globe as best drama series last year), ABC’s “Roseanne” and HBO’s sweeping biopic “Stalin” earned the most nominations among TV shows, with four each.

‘Cheers’ gets three

Grabbing three nominations were “Cheers,””I’ll Fly Away,””Miss Rose White” and the two-part “Sinatra” miniseries.

Newcomers included ABC’s “Civil Wars” and “Delta” and NBC’s “Mad About You.”

Among TV performers receiving Golden Globe nods was Roseanne Arnold, for lead actress.

The wide distribution of nominations among films made for few upsets. However , many insiders were surprised that Warner Bros./Largo’s “Malcolm X” got only one nomination, for Denzel Washington as actor in a motion picture drama.

Jack Lemmon missing

Other omissions include Jack Lemmon for “Glengarry Glen Ross” (best-actor winner from National Board of Review) and Clint Eastwood for best actor (winner of the L.A. Film Critics Assn.’s best actor award). However, the HFPA nominated Eastwood as best director of “Unforgiven,” a Warner Bros. release that also took a best screenplay (David Webb Peoples) and best motion picture drama nods.

Rounding out the best motion picture drama category are “A Few Good Men,” Merchant Ivory Prods.’ “Howards End,” City Light Films’ “Scent of a Woman” and Palace Pictures’ “The Crying Game,” the only title that received a spontaneous round of applause when it was announced.

To the surprise of some, Spelling Films/Fine Line’s “The Player” was classified as a “musical or comedy,” where it competes for best motion picture with Walt Disney Pictures’ “Aladdin,” Greenpoint’s “Enchanted April,” Castle Rock Entertainment’s “Honeymoon in Vegas” and Touchstone Pictures’ “Sister Act.”

The best director list includes Robert Redford for one of only two nods for his “A River Runs Through It.”

Another surprise was that “The Crying Game’s” Neil Jordan was overlooked as best motion picture director and screenwriter, even though pic has been on numerous top 10 critics’ lists in the nation.

Gloating for ‘Crying’

That doesn’t bother Miramax topper Bob Weinstein, who gloated to Daily Variety from New York, “‘The Crying Game’s’ Golden Globe nomination sets the scene for best picture for the Academy’s consideration.” He also said, “The media value, especially for an independent to get this nationwide publicity, is worth millions of dollars, which is more important to us than it is for the majors.”

A Robbins twin bill

Among the other unusual nominations was Tim Robbins’ double-header as best actor in a comedy motion picture for both Robert Altman’s “The Player” and his own “Bob Roberts.” Three are nominated in both leading and supporting actor categories: Jack Nicholson (for, respectively, “Hoffa” and “A Few Good Men”), Al Pacino (“Scent of a Woman” and “Glengarry Glen Ross”) and Miranda Richardson (“Enchanted April” and “Damage”).

Actress Joan Plowright was acknowledged in both film (best actress nod for “Enchanted April”) and in the TV category, for her supporting role in “Stalin.”

The 50th annual Golden Globe Awards will be presented Jan. 23 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, with Jane Seymour, Louis Gossett Jr. and Leslie Nielsen as masters of ceremonies. The show will be produced by Dick Clark Prods., with Gene Week directing and Ken Shapiro scripting. It airs live on TBS at 7 p.m.

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