‘Titanic’ tops Globe noms

James Cameron’s “Titanic” proved unsinkable, with eight Golden Globe nominations — more than any other film this season, and the most ever in the 55-year history of the awards from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.

In the announcement of noms Thursday morning, the seaborne adventure was cited for motion picture drama, director (Cameron), actress in a drama (Kate Winslet), actor in a drama (Leonardo DiCaprio), supporting actress (Gloria Stuart), screenplay, score and song.

Sailing close behind “Titanic” was James L. Brooks’ “As Good as It Gets.” The Jack Nicholson/Helen Hunt starrer was short-listed in six categories, including director, comedy or musical picture, actress, actor, supporting actor and screenplay.

The New Regency/Warner Bros. production “L.A. Confidential” continued its honeymoon, taking nominations for five gold dinguses. The Curtis Hanson-helmed ensemble pic was listed to compete for drama film, director, supporting actress, screenplay and score.

Sony, which is enjoying a billion-dollar year at the domestic B.O., grabbed 13 nominations, more than any other studio. Paramount had 11 noms, and Fox 12 — though each total includes the eight for their co-production of “Titanic.” Miramax garnered 10 nods, Warner Bros. seven, and New Line five. DreamWorks and Universal had four each.

On the television side, NBC easily dominated the noms with 23 — bettering last year’s 17, and far ahead of its closest competitor. Seven of its nods originated with “ER.” And four of the network’s “must-see” sitcoms contributed strongly, with three nominations apiece for the veteran comedies “Seinfeld” and “Frasier,” and two each for “Mad About You” and “3rd Rock From the Sun.”

In network tallies, ABC was next with 10 nominations, followed by CBS and Fox with six each (see separate story).

For Cameron, who has said the mega-budgeted “Titanic” is his first step toward more character-driven films, the Globe nominations came as a crucial vote of confidence in his different artistic direction.

“This is a windfall day for the film,” Cameron told Daily Variety. “People know ‘Titanic’ is a large-scale entertainment, but this nomination is a bit of a validation that there’s something else important of substance here, and that’s what Fox invested in — a movie that had different levels.”

Several contenders for the best picture and other film awards inched in just under the year-end deadline, including Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks pic “Amistad” (four nods) and Universal’s Daniel Day-Lewis starrer “The Boxer,” which pairs the lanky English actor again with Irish-born director Jim Sheridan for three award entries.

Miramax’s “Good Will Hunting,” scripted by actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and co-starring Robin Williams, also received four nominations, including dramatic picture and screenplay.

Remembered from its debut in March, the “Selena” biopic gave star Jennifer Lopez her first major award nomination. “There were so many outstanding movies this year, and so many that came out so late in the year that I thought everyone had forgotten about me — even I forgot, and I was in the movie,” said Lopez.

British indie “The Full Monty” was clothed in a single but important nomination for best comedy or musical motion picture. The low-budget pic about amateur male strippers has already won about 15 awards from festivals and critics around the world, said director Peter Cattaneo, including the European Film Awards’ Felix.”The Golden Globes is absolutely the biggest deal for us,” he said. “It’s great to be there with the big studios and with such good company.”

Seemingly perennial Globe contender Alan Menken is back for the 14th time, now hoping to win his eighth award. This year, he’s up for original song, “Go the Distance,” written with lyricist-partner David Zippel for Disney’s animated hit “Hercules.” But Fox’s debut animated feature “Anastasia” bested the Mouse in the song category, receiving nods for two tunes, “Journey to the Past” and “Once Upon a December.”

While the HFPA has raised eyebrows in the past for some of its Globe choices — especially in the organization’s comedy/musical tastes — this year showed few big shockers. Pics absent from the Globe list were the Mike Newell-directed mob tale “Donnie Brasco,” with Al Pacino and Johnny Depp, and “The Apostle,” which Robert Duvall wrote, directed, produced and starred in. Also among the missing were “The Sweet Hereafter,” “Seven Years in Tibet,” “Welcome to Sarajevo” and “Cop Land.”

The HFPA, comprised of L.A.-based members of the foreign press who cover the entertainment industry, makes nominations in 24 categories, with 13 in motion pictures, and 11 in television.

Though the Globes are often touted as Oscar predictors, they have a spotty record. (Last year, in seven categories — film, director, screenplay and four acting races — only two Oscar winners had won a Golden Globe.)

The Golden Globes’ benefit to the Oscar race is in the timing for nominations. GG noms were announced three weeks before Oscar ballots are mailed on Jan. 9; the Globe awards are handed out nearly two weeks before Oscar ballots close Jan. 30.

The prizes will be announced during a Jan. 18 ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, broadcast live on NBC.

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