'Brokeback' saddles up with 7 noms; a boon for Clooney

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This article was updated at 1:43 p.m.

Ang Lee’s cowboy romance “Brokeback Mountain” rode off with a herd-leading seven nominations for the 63rd annual Golden Globe Awards Tuesday as specialty divisions led by Universal’s Focus Features registered another strong showing in this year’s balloting.

In addition to “Brokeback,” Focus’ “The Constant Gardener” and Warner Independent’s “Good Night, and Good Luck” snagged best drama bids, along with New Line’s “A History of Violence” and DreamWorks’ Woody Allen-directed “Match Point.”

Between Focus and runner-up Universal, the NBC U studio garnered 22 Globe nominations. That said, the most glaring omission was likely Universal’s “Munich,” though the docudrama about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict did tally nominations for director Steven Spielberg as well as the screenplay by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth.

Focus also lassoed a musical/comedy film nom for its “Pride & Prejudice,” which is joined by the Weinstein Co.’s “Mrs. Henderson Presents,” Mel Brooks’ Universal-Columbia musical “The Producers,” “The Squid and the Whale” and Fox’s “Walk the Line.” “Squid” and “Walk” each received a pair of bids for their respective leads — Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney as the former’s divorcing parents, and Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon in the Johnny Cash biopic.

“Good Night,” “Match Point” and “The Producers” each amassed four noms, with “Good Night’s” George Clooney himself securing four Globe bids — as director, producer and co-writer of the Edward R. Murrow pic, plus a supporting actor nod for the political thriller “Syriana.”

Clooney expects the recognition will bolster ticket sales for both pro-jects, thus emboldening studios to make more issue-oriented films.

“You don’t set out to make a $7.5 million black-and-white for a bundle,” he said. “You do it because the subject matter is important. And the only way to make more of those (kinds of mov-ies) is to make money. Studios won’t keep doing saying ‘OK’ just because you ask them to.”

On the TV side, HBO as usual led the pack with 17 nominations, closely followed by ABC’s 16. The Alphabet’s “Desperate Housewives” scored five noms.

Newish shows overwhelmingly dominated the 11 series noms — five for drama, six for comedy — with HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” the only series that’s been on for more than two seasons.

Presented by the Hollywood For-eign Press Assn., the Globes generally are considered a significant bellwether for the Oscars, with 11 of the last 13 Academy Award-winning pictures having previously claimed a Globe. Last year was among the exceptions, however, when “The Aviator” flew off with the Globe for drama but lost to “Million Dollar Baby” at the Oscars.

Like last year, HFPA voters echoed critics groups by eschewing blockbust-ers in favor of smaller films. “King Kong’s” Peter Jackson, for example, broke through with one of the six director nods, but the big-budget remake’s only other reason for chest-pounding came for score. The trend could be a factor in lower ratings for upcoming kudocasts if audiences haven’t seen nominees in big enough numbers to develop a strong rooting interest.

“Brokeback’s” harvest included noms not only for director Lee, star Heath Ledger and co-star Michelle Williams but also screenplay, score and song. Its total ties last year’s leader, “Sideways,” but falls two short of the nomination record set by “Nashville” (which earned only one award, for song) in 1976.

Given that the subject matter ini-tially augured a limited release, Lee, reached on tour with the film in Min-neapolis as it’s being screened across the country, said the production was “very relaxed for me. No pressure.” The challenge now, he said, is getting people to see beyond the “gay cowboy” label.

“Culturally, it has a funny connota-tion, like ‘Blazing Saddles,’ ” Lee said. “It sounds like parody.”

Focus co-prexy James Schamus, who produced “Brokeback,” said early indications are that the appetite for the film is intense, and the plan remains to play under the big holiday movies before going wide in January. He also expressed satisfaction at the recognition for Fernando Meirelles’ John le Carre adaptation “Constant Gardener,” which was released before Labor Day.

“When people have intensely pleasurable experiences in the movies, they don’t forget them,” Schamus said.

A number of gay or transgender characters figure in this year’s balloting. In addition to Huffman and Ledger, Philip Seymour Hoffman is among the drama contenders for his perf as Tru-man Capote in “Capote,” while Cillian Murphy is part of the musical or comedy roster as a transvestite in Neil Jordan’s “Breakfast on Pluto.”

Tube ties

On the television side, the Globes smiled on several series that launched this fall, including comedies “Everybody Hates Chris,” produced by Chris Rock, and the pot-dealer-mom half-hour “Weeds” — representing the first best-series nominations for Viacom-owned nets UPN and Showtime, respectively.

Other newcomers included ABC’s “Commander in Chief,” which also garnered votes for Geena Davis and Donald Sutherland; HBO’s bawdy historical epic “Rome”; NBC’s much-ballyhooed comedy “My Name Is Earl” (along with title series lead Jason Lee); and the Fox drama “Prison Break,” as well as its star, Wentworth Miller.

ABC’s tally includes series bids for “Commander” and sophomore hits “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” With all four of its leading ladies (including Emmy oversight Eva Longoria) earning Globe mentions, “Housewives” amassed five Globe noms, more than any other program.

Among other notable tidbits, Shirley MacLaine’s supporting actress nomination for “In Her Shoes” affords her the opportunity to tie Jack Nichol-son, who owns a record six Golden Globes. Felicity Huffman and Suther-land were double nominees — the former adding a nom for her gender-bending role in feature “Transamerica,” the latter for Lifetime miniseries “Human Trafficking.”

HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Entourage” round out the TV comedy field, while the pay net ac-counted for half the movie or miniser-ies bids with “Empire Falls,” “Lacka-wanna Blues” and the FDR biopic “Warm Springs,” joined by TNT’s Western “Into the West,” Showtime’s terrorism-themed “Sleeper Cell” and BBC America’s musical “Viva Black-pool.”

The Globes will be presented in 24 categories on Jan. 16 — a Monday, thus avoiding competition with playoff football — and televised by NBC. Anthony Hopkins will receive the group’s Cecil B. DeMille award at the event.

(Jill Feiwell contributed to this report).

And the nominees are…

MOTION PICTURE

DRAMA
“Brokeback Mountain” — Focus Features/River Road Entertainment; Focus Features
“The Constant Gardener” — Potboiler Prods./Scion Films; Focus Features
“Good Night, and Good Luck” — Section Eight/2929 Entertainment/Participant Prods.; Warner Independent Pictures
“A History of Violence” — New Line Cinema; New Line Cinema
“Match Point” — Jada Prods.; DreamWorks Pictures

ACTRESS (DRAMA)
Maria Bello, “A History of Violence”
Felicity Huffman, “Transamerica”
Gwyneth Paltrow, “Proof”
Charlize Theron, “North Country”
Ziyi Zhang, “Memoirs of a Geisha”

ACTOR (DRAMA)
Russell Crowe, “Cinderella Man”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Capote”
Terrence Howard, “Hustle & Flow”
Heath Ledger, “Brokeback Mountain”
David Strathairn, “Good Night, and Good Luck”

MUSICAL OR COMEDY
“Mrs. Henderson Presents” — Heyman Hoskins Prods.; the Weinstein Co.
“Pride & Prejudice” — Working Title; Focus Features/Studio Canal
“The Producers” — Brooksfilms; Universal Pictures/Columbia Pictures
“The Squid and the Whale” — American Empirical/Peter Newman — Interal; Samuel Goldwyn Films/Sony Pictures Releasing Intl.
“Walk the Line” — 20th Century Fox; 20th Century Fox

ACTRESS (MUSICAL OR COMEDY)
Judi Dench, “Mrs. Henderson Presents”
Keira Knightley, “Pride & Prejudice”
Laura Linney, “The Squid and the Whale”
Sarah Jessica Parker, “The Family Stone”
Reese Witherspoon, “Walk the Line”

ACTOR (MUSICAL OR COMEDY)
Pierce Brosnan, “The Matador”
Jeff Daniels, “The Squid and the Whale”
Johnny Depp, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”
Nathan Lane, “The Producers”
Cillian Murphy, “Breakfast on Pluto”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Walk the Line”

FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
“Kung Fu Hustle” (China) – Columbia Pictures Film Prod. Asia Ltd./Huayi Brothers/Taihe Film Investment Co. Ltd./Star Overseas; Sony Pictures Classics
“Master of the Crimson Armor” aka “The Promise” (China) – Beijing 21st Century Sheng Kai/China Film Group/Capgen Investment Group/Moonstone Prods.; the Weinstein Co.
“Merry Christmas” (Joyeux Noel) (France) – Nord Quest Prods./Senator Film Prods./the Bureau/Artemis Prods./Media Pro Pictures/TF1 Films/Les Productions de la Gueville; Sony Pictures Classics
“Paradise Now” (Palestine) – Augustus Film/Lama Films/Razor Films/Lumen Films/Arte France Cinema/Hazazah Film; Warner Independent Pictures
“Tsotsi” (South Africa) – U.K./South African Prods.; Miramax Films

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Scarlett Johansson, “Match Point”
Shirley MacLaine, “In Her Shoes”
Frances McDormand, “North Country”
Rachel Weisz, “The Constant Gardener”
Michelle Williams, “Brokeback Mountain”

SUPPORTING ACTOR
George Clooney, “Syriana”
Matt Dillon, “Crash”
Will Ferrell, “The Producers”
Paul Giamatti, “Cinderella Man”
Bob Hoskins, “Mrs. Henderson Presents”

DIRECTOR
Woody Allen, “Match Point”
George Clooney, “Good Night, and Good Luck”
Peter Jackson, “King Kong”
Ang Lee, “Brokeback Mountain”
Fernando Meirelles, “The Constant Gardener”
Steven Spielberg, “Munich”

SCREENPLAY
Woody Allen, “Match Point”
George Clooney & Grant Heslov, “Good Night, and Good Luck”
Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco, “Crash”
Tony Kushner & Eric Roth, “Munich”
Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana, “Brokeback Mountain”

ORIGINAL SCORE
Alexandre Desplat, “Syriana”
James Newton Howard, “King Kong”
Gustavo Santaolalla, “Brokeback Mountain”
Harry Gregson-Williams, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
John Williams, “Memoirs of a Geisha”

ORIGINAL SONG
“A Love That Will Never Grow Old” — “Brokeback Mountain”
Music by: Gustavo Santaolalla, Lyrics by: Bernie Taupin
“Christmas in Love” — “Christmas in Love”
Music by: Tony Renis, Lyrics by: Marva Jan Marrow
“There’s Nothing Like a Show on Broadway” — “The Producers”
Music & Lyrics by: Mel Brooks
“Travelin’ Thru” — “Transamerica”
Music & Lyrics by: Dolly Parton
“Wunderkind” — “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”
Music & Lyrics by: Alanis Morissette

TELEVISION

DRAMA
“Commander in Chief” — Touchstone Television (ABC)
“Grey’s Anatomy” — Touchstone Television (ABC)
“Lost” — Touchstone Television (ABC)
“Prison Break” — Original Film and Adelstein/Parouse Prods. (Fox)
“Rome” – HBO Entertainment in association with BBC (HBO)

ACTRESS (DRAMA)
Patricia Arquette, “Medium”
Glenn Close, “The Shield”
Geena Davis, “Commander in Chief”
Kyra Sedgwick, “The Closer”
Polly Walker, “Rome”

ACTOR (DRAMA)
Patrick Dempsey, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Matthew Fox, “Lost”
Hugh Laurie, “House”
Wentworth Miller, “Prison Break”
Kiefer Sutherland, “24”

MUSICAL OR COMEDY
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” — HBO Entertainment (HBO
“Desperate Housewives” — Touchstone Television (ABC)
“Entourage” — Leverage and Closest to the Hole Prods. in association with HBO Entertainment (HBO)
“Everybody Hates Chris” — Chris Rock Enterprises and 3 Arts Entertainment in association with Paramount Network Television (UPN)
“My Name Is Earl” — Acme Prods. in association with 20th Century Fox Television (NBC)
“Weeds” — Lions Gate Television in association with Tilted Prods. (Showtime)

ACTRESS (MUSICAL OR COMEDY)
Marcia Cross, “Desperate Housewives”
Teri Hatcher, “Desperate Housewives”
Felicity Huffman, “Desperate Housewives”
Eva Longoria, “Desperate Housewives”
Mary-Louise Parker, “Weeds”

ACTOR (MUSICAL OR COMEDY)
Zach Braff, “Scrubs”
Steve Carell, “The Office”
Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Jason Lee, “My Name Is Earl”
Charlie Sheen, “Two and a Half Men”

MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE
“Empire Falls” — Mark Platt Prods., Aspetuck and Stone Village Pictures Prods. in association with HBO Films (HBO)
“Into the West” — DreamWorks Television (TNT)
“Lackawanna Blues” — Bellah Films and Good Shepherd Prods. in association with HBO Films (HBO)
“Sleeper Cell” — Showtime and Cardboard Guru Prods. (Showtime)
“Viva Blackpool” — BBC/BBC America (BBC America)
“Warm Springs” — Mark Gordon Prods. in association with HBO Films (HBO)

ACTRESS (MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE)
Halle Berry, “Their Eyes Were Watching God”
Kelly Macdonald, “The Girl in the Café”
S. Epatha Merkerson, “Lackawanna Blues”
Cynthia Nixon, “Warm Springs”
Mira Sorvino, “Human Trafficking”

ACTOR (MINISERIES OR TV MOVIE)
Kenneth Branagh, “Warm Springs”
Ed Harris, “Empire Falls”
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, “Elvis”
Bill Nighy, “The Girl in the Café”
Donald Sutherland, “Human Trafficking”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Candice Bergen, “Boston Legal”
Camryn Manheim, “Elvis”
Sandra Oh, “Grey’s Anatomy”
Elizabeth Perkins, “Weeds”
Joanne Woodward, “Empire Falls”

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Naveen Andrews, “Lost”
Paul Newman, “Empire Falls”
Jeremy Piven, “Entourage”
Randy Quaid, “Elvis”
Donald Sutherland, “Commander in Chief”

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