'Gladiator' and 'Traffic' lead noms with five each

Click for the complete nomination list.

HOLLYWOOD — Roman emperors and drug czars paced the race for the 58th annual Golden Globe awards, as “Gladiator” and “Traffic” nabbed five nominations each.

Earning four apiece were “Almost Famous,” “Chocolat,” “Erin Brockovich” and “Wonder Boys.”

On the TV side, NBC was in front, with 15 noms, followed by HBO with 12. CBS, Fox and Showtime earned seven each.

The Peacock contenders are led by “The West Wing” and “Will & Grace,” with five apiece; grabbing four noms each were that web’s “Frasier,” plus HBO’s pair, “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos.”

The nominations are decided by the 84 voting members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. The org divides films and lead performances into two categories: drama and comedy/musical.

Best pic contenders in the drama slot are “Billy Elliot,” “Erin Brockovich,” “Gladiator,” “Sunshine,” “Traffic” and “Wonder Boys.” (In some categories, the group had six nominees. Nothing this year, though, matched last year’s music score race, which had nine contenders.)

Comedy/musical films are “Almost Famous,” “Best in Show,” “Chicken Run,” “Chocolat” and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

The Globe recognition is a big boost to films with Oscar hopes — particularly this year, when there are many serious contenders, but no shoo-ins. A big question mark in 2000 has been the flurry of potential biggies opening in December — often without a lot of advance screenings and, consequently, little buzz.

So for Academy Award campaigners, these awards and their timing are invaluable: The Globes’ nominations precede Oscar’s by a month; the HFPA hands out its awards in late January, while Oscar nom ballots are still in voters’ hands.

Year-end films dominated. Of the 16 films with more than one nom, 12 opened in the fourth quarter.

And you have to love any awards that combine Judi Dench, Bjork, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robert Downey Jr. and Bob Dylan.

There were a few surprises: “Sunshine” scored three noms, and also earning recognition were such dark horses as “Best in Show,” “High Fidelity” and “Nurse Betty.”

In a year with so many question marks, the non-nominees are almost as interesting as the ones that were anointed.

Studios have been pinning hopes on such films as “Finding Forrester,” “The Gift,” “House of Mirth,” “Pay It Forward,” “Pollock,” “Thirteen Days,” “Tigerland” and “Unbreakable,” though all came up empty-handed Thursday.

Still, those films shouldn’t give up hope. Two years ago, Fox’s “The Thin Red Line” was shut out of GG noms, and went on to garner seven Academy Award nominations; “Green Mile” and “The Cider House Rules” last year got Oscar best-pic noms, though they were omitted from that race in the Globes.

Though there were a handful of blacks, Asians and Latinos cited, the batch of nominees is overwhelmingly Caucasian. And while American and British names dominate, the Hollywood Foreign Press lived up to its international mandate in such categories as director: Steven Soderbergh (nominated twice, for “Erin Brockovich” and “Traffic”) was the only Yank in a field that includes a Taiwan-born helmer (Ang Lee, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), a Brit (Ridley Scott, “Gladiator”) and a Hungarian (Istvan Szabo, “Sunshine”).

In the foreign-lingo race, Italy got two of the five noms (“The Hundred Steps” and “Malena”); the other bids went to “Amores Perros” (Mexico); “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (Taiwan); and “The Widow of St. Pierre” (France).

Aside from Soderbergh — whose double noms may prove a dilemma for Oscar campaigners — two bids went to Dench and Bjork. The latter was oddly nominated as actress in a drama, rather than musical. According to a release, the singer-performer was in the dentist’s chair in Iceland when she heard the news of her noms.

And Jim Carrey — who won back-to-back Golden Globes the past two years but wasn’t able to get a nomination for Oscar — is again on the Globes roster, this time for “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

On Thursday, an enthusiastic Curtis Hanson praised Paramount for re-releasing “Wonder Boys,” which earned four noms, including best picture (drama).

Though the film was an underperformer in its mid-February release, he said the studio believed in “Boys” enough to cancel the video contract, in order to ensure it being seen on the bigscreen in its fall re-release.

It’s continuing in the cities where it was re-released five weeks ago, and Hanson said he’s crossing his fingers that it will expand soon: “I’m hoping this kind of award recognition serves as effective word of mouth — it’s a big shot in the arm.”

Hanson cited his 1997 “L.A. Confidential,” which doubled its box office to nearly $70 million domestically after award recognition, “and the Golden Globes were the beginnings of that.”

Walter Parkes of DreamWorks also emphasized the importance of the Globes. “They provide a platform for public attention — having a lot of noms is really good for a film if it’s in theaters. The awards themselves are also a boost — and they’re very important during this period.”

David Brown, a producer of “Chocolat,” said of all awards, “Like chicken soup, they can’t hurt.”

Unlike some year-end award hopefuls, “Chocolat” missed out on early buzz because the pic was only recently completed. “Our film was unobserved, but that’s fine. I’d rather have point-of-sale buzz. Buzz diminishes with time, you want to catch the wave.” The pic is currently playing in eight theaters, expanding soon.

The HFPA, composed of L.A.-based journos who write for overseas news orgs, said that 179 features, 110 TV series, 77 minis or telefilms and 41 foreign-lingo films qualified for kudos this year.

On the TV side, it was a case of reruns. Four of the five drama TV series contenders this year were repeats from last year: “ER,” “The Practice,” “The Sopranos” and “The West Wing.” First-year series “CSI” also got a mention (displacing last year’s “Once & Again.”)

The “CSI” nom was a major coup for Alliance Atlantis, which also scored noms in the motion picture category (“Sunshine”) and TV movie/mini (“Nuremberg”).

Among drama thesps, newcomer Jessica Alba (“Dark Angel”) and critics’ fave Gellar (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) face off with returning nominees Amy Brenneman (“Judging Amy”), Sela Ward (“Once and Again”) and Lorraine Bracco and Edie Falco (“The Sopranos”) in the actress category.

Best actor noms are all repeats, with the exception of Andre Braugher, who joins the list via freshman drama “Gideon’s Crossing.”

In the comedy series race, “Ally McBeal,” “Sex and the City” and “Will & Grace” are repeats from last year; while “Frasier” returns this year.

Newcomer to the best comedy list is hot Fox laffer “Malcolm in the Middle,” which racked up three noms — including comedy series leads Jane Kaczmarek and Frankie Muniz — in its first year of eligibility.

Last year’s comedy contenders “Dharma and Greg” and “Spin City” failed to make the cut this year.

Meanwhile, the entire cast of “Will & Grace,” who all landed noms last summer at the Emmys, again all picked up mentions, this time at the Golden Globes: Debra Messing (comedy actress), Eric McCormack (comedy actor), Sean Hayes (supporting actor) and Megan Mullally (supporting actress).

Besides Messing, returnees to the comedy actress roster include Calista Flockhart (“Ally McBeal”) and Sarah Jessica Parker (“Sex and the City”).

Kaczmarek is new to the list, as is “Bette” star Bette Midler.

Parker isn’t the only “Sex and the City” vixen to land noms: Kim Cattrall and Cynthia Nixon were nominated in the TV supporting actress role category. That’s the second year in a row those three were nominated while fellow “Sex”-er Kristin Davis was shut out.

On the comedy actor front, McCormack and “Everybody Loves Raymond” star Ray Romano repeat from last year, while “Malcolm’s” Muniz makes his first appearances while vets Ted Danson (“Becker”) and Kelsey Grammer (“Frasier”) return.

In quite an unusual set-up, the HFPA consolidates all supporting actor and actress roles into two categories, regardless of form. That’s why a weird contest is brewing between Cattrall and Nixon, “The West Wing’s” Allison Janney and “Will & Grace’s” Mullally, who at least appear on weekly programs, with one-time-only TV movie stars Faye Dunaway (“Running Mates”) and Vanessa Redgrave (“If These Walls Could Talk II”).

Ditto for the supporting actor category, where Robert Downey Jr.’s brief stint on “Ally McBeal” competes with comedy actors Hayes (“Will & Grace”), John Mahoney and David Hyde Pierce (“Frasier”), as well as drama actor Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing”) and telepic star Christopher Plummer (“An American Tragedy”).

Speaking of telepics and minis, cable offerings dominated, with four out of five noms: Showtime’s “Dirty Pictures,” HBO’s “For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story,” TNT’s “Nuremberg” and Showtime’s “On the Beach.” Only CBS’ “Fail Safe” made the cut from the broadcast side.

Feature thesps dominated the TV movie/mini actor and actresses categories, with names such as Dench, Holly Hunter, Alec Baldwin and James Woods making the cut.

Nominations were announced from the Beverly Hilton Hotel Thursday at 5:30 a.m. PDT.

Helping announce the noms were Kelsey Grammer, Christine Lahti — both, coincidentally, nominees this year — and Lara Flynn Boyle.

The awards will be handed out Jan. 21 at the BevHilton. NBC will air the show, produced by Dick Clark Prods. in association with the HFPA, live in the East starting at 8 p.m. Al Schwartz and Ken Shapiro are producers; Ron Weed is co-producer.

Here is a complete list of film and television nominees:

FILM

BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
“Billy Elliott”
“Erin Brockovich”
“Gladiator”
“Sunshine”
“Traffic”
“Wonder Boys”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Joan Allen (“The Contender”)
Bjork (“Dancer in the Dark”)
Ellen Burstyn (“Requiem for a Dream”)
Laura Linney (“You Can Count on Me”)
Julia Roberts (“Erin Brockovich”)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Javier Bardem (“Before Night Falls”)
Russell Crowe (“Gladiator”)
Michael Douglas (“Wonder Boys”)
Tom Hanks (“Cast Away”)
Geoffrey Rush (“Quills”)

BEST MOTION PICTURE – MUSICAL OR COMEDY
“Almost Famous”
“Best in Show”
“Chicken Run”
“Chocolat”
“O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Juliette Binoche (“Chocolat”)
Brenda Blethyn (“Saving Grace”)
Sandra Bullock (“Miss Congeniality”)
Tracey Ullman (“Small Time Crooks”)
Renee Zellweger (“Nurse Betty”)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Jim Carrey (“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”)
George Clooney (“O Brother, Where Art Thou?”)
John Cusack (“High Fidelity”)
Robert De Niro (“Meet the Parents”)
Mel Gibson (“What Women Want”)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Amores Perros”
“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”
“The Hundred Steps”
“Malena”
“The Widow of St. Pierre”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Judi Dench (“Chocolat”)
Kate Hudson (“Almost Famous”)
Frances McDormand (“Almost Famous”)
Julie Waters (“Billy Elliot”)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (“Traffic”)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Jeff Bridges (“The Contender”)
Willem Dafoe (“Shadow of the Vampire”)
Benicio del Toro (“Traffic”)
Albert Finney (“Erin Brockovich”)
Joaquin Phoenix (“Gladiator”)

BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE
Ang Lee (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”)
Ridley Scott (“Gladiator”)
Steven Soderbergh (“Erin Brockovich”)
Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic”)
Istvan Szabo (“Sunshine”)

BEST SCREENPLAY
Cameron Crowe (“Almost Famous”)
Stephen Gaghan (“Traffic”)
Steve Kloves (“Wonder Boys”)
Kenneth Lonergan (“You Can Count On Me”)
Doug Wright (“Quills”)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Tan Dun (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”)
Maurice Jarre (“Sunshine”)
Ennio Morricone (“Malena”)
Rachel Portman (“Chocolat”)
Marty Stuart, Kristin Wilkinson and Larry Paxton (“All the Pretty Horses”)
Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard (“Gladiator”)

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“I’ve Seen It All” from “Dancer in the Dark,” Lars Von Trier, Sjon Sigurdsson
“My Funny Friend and Me” from “The Emperor’s New Groove,” Sting
“One in a Million” from “Miss Congeniality,” Steffan Olsson
“Things Have Changed” from “The Wonder Boys,” Bob Dylan
“When You Come Back to Me Again” from “Frequency,” Garth Brooks, Jenny Yates

TELEVISION

BEST SERIES (DRAMA)
“CSI”
“ER”
“The Practice”
“The Sopranos”
“The West Wing”

BEST ACTRESS (DRAMA SERIES)
Jessica Alba (“Dark Angel”)
Lorraine Bracco (“The Sopranos”)
Amy Brenneman (“Judging Amy”)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”)
Sela Ward (“Once and Again”)

BEST ACTOR (DRAMA SERIES)
Andre Braugher (“Gideon’s Crossing”)
James Gandolfini (“The Sopranos”)
Rob Lowe (“The West Wing”)
Dylan McDermott (“The Practice”)
Martin Sheen (“The West Wing”)

BEST SERIES (COMEDY/MUSICAL)
“Ally McBeal”
“Frasier”
“Malcolm in the Middle”
“Sex and the City”
“Will & Grace”

BEST ACTRESS (COMEDY/MUSICAL SERIES)
Calista Flockhart (“Ally McBeal”)
Jane Kaczmarket (“Malcolm in the Middle”)
Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”)
Bette Midler (“Bette”)
Sarah Jessica Parker (“Sex and the City”)

BEST ACTOR (COMEDY/MUSICAL SERIES)
Ted Danson (“Becker”)
Kelsey Grammer (“Frasier”)
Eric McCormack (“Will & Grace”)
Frankie Muniz (“Malcolm in the Middle”)
Ray Romano (“Everybody Loves Raymond”)

BEST MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE
“Dirty Pictures”
“Fail Safe”
“For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story”
“Nuremberg”
“On the Beach”

BEST ACTRESS (SERIES, MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE)
Judi Dench (“Last of the Blond Bombshells”)
Holly Hunter (“Harlan County War”)
Christine Lahti (“An American Daughter”)
Frances O’Connor (“Madame Bovary (Exxonmobil Masterpiece Theater)”)
Rachel Ward (“On the Beach”)
Alfre Woodward (“Holiday Heart”)

BEST ACTOR (SERIES, MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE)
Alec Baldwin (“Nuremberg”)
Brian Cox (“Nuremberg”)
Brian Dennehy (“Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman”)
Andy Garcia (“For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story”)
James Woods (“Dirty Pictures”)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE)
Kim Cattrall (“Sex and the City”)
Faye Dunaway (“Running Mates”)
Allison Janney (“The West Wing”)
Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace”)
Cynthia Nixon (“Sex and the City”)
Vanessa Redgrave (“If These Walls Could Talk II”)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE)
Robert Downey Jr. (“Ally McBeal”)
Sean Hayes (“Will & Grace”)
John Mahoney (“Frasier”)
David Hyde Pierce (“Frasier”)
Christopher Plummer (“American Tragedy”)
Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing”)

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more