Globes set stage for Oscar melee

With noms looming, kudos are spread over lots of pix

There were three clear winners at the Jan. 19 Golden Globes: Miramax, HBO and the kudocast itself.

The 87 voting members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. spread the wealth wide, saluting seven films, with only triple winner “Chicago” earning more than two. The results obviously gave hope to many Oscar contenders.

Of the 13 prizes handed out, Miramax accounted for six — plus it has overseas rights on Paramount’s “The Hours,” which earned two wins, drama pic and actress (Nicole Kidman).

At the Globes, “Chicago” won as musical/comedy film (the HFPA divides a few contests into two categories). And 48 hours earlier, the Miramax musical took home the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. prize for best film.

Plus, it won a Producers Guild nomination for best pic and Rob Marshall became a contender for a Directors Guild of America prize .

But otherwise, it’s a bag of mixed messages — which gives hope to all films that garnered attention from the Globes, Producers Guild and DGA (as well as to some pics that didn’t).

Oscar nomination ballots are due Jan. 29 from Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voters, which means the open-season campaigning is at a lull until the announcement of noms on Feb. 11.

Some films boosted their kudos stock by winning in key Globe categories. “Gangs of New York’s” Martin Scorsese got the directing nod; Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor beat fierce competition for their screenplay of “About Schmidt.” And both supporting thesp trophies went to “Adaptation.”

Also in the winner’s circle was “Frida,” in another tight race, musical score. And Spain’s “Talk to Her” won as foreign-lingo film; although it’s ineligible in that category for an Oscar, its GG attention may boost its stock in other areas.

On the TV side, HBO won seven of the 11 prizes, and basic-cablers accounted for three more. But TV prizes are considered the kid brother (or sister) in Globe handouts, due to the fact that the Globes come smack dab in the middle of Oscar voting.

Over the years, Hollywood bigwigs have considered the Globes at various times to be quaint, charming or laughable. But the org works hard to earn respect, and the studios certainly pay attention.

For the past few years, its importance became clearer as more and more Oscar contenders showed up at the event. But this year, the Globes’ importance seemed to blossom, as evidenced by the number of parties centered around the event.

It used to be a studio tradition to hold a big bash on Oscar night. Then the majors and mini-majors began to spread things out, hosting a series of bashes the week before the Academy Awards.

Now the pre-Globe week is seeing nearly as much action as pre-Oscar week. More than 50 events — cocktail parties, tea parties, huge bashes — were held in that week, most of them boasting a jaw-dropping guest roster.

The lineup of presenters at the Globes was stellar and the turnout of nominees ranged from A to Z: Almodovar to Zellweger. In 25 categories, only one winner was not present (Albert Finney, for HBO’s “The Gathering Storm”).

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