Indie distribs and biopics dominated the 54th annual Golden Globe nominations, as Miramax’s “The English Patient” led the roster with seven bids.
That was followed by a trio of biographies that nabbed five each: Columbia’s “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” Fine Line’s “Shine” and Buena Vista’s “Evita,” it was announced Thursday at the Beverly Hilton
Majors accounted for only two of the top six distributors. Sony Pictures Releasing had 14 (six for Col, seven for TriStar, one for Sony Pictures Classics). Following that were Miramax (11), Buena Vista (nine), Gramercy Pictures (six) and October Films and New Line/Fine Line (five apiece).
The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. spread the wealth wide: Out of 34 pics that garnered bids, 22 had only one nom.
Eight films got three or more bids, but only half of them were major-studio works: “Larry Flynt,” “Evita,” and a pair from TriStar, “The Mirror Has Two Faces” (four noms) and “Jerry Maguire” (three).
Indie pic leaders were “The English Patient,” “Shine,” Gramercy’s “Fargo” (four noms) and October Films’ “Secrets & Lies” (three).
‘Grateful for the indies’
“Patient’s” Anthony Minghella, nominated for writing and directing, told Daily Variety he is grateful to Miramax’s Bob and Harvey Weinstein and producer Saul Zaentz. The majors “can’t afford to nurse films and filmmakers in the way that indies can and must,” he said during a call from London on Thursday. “There are huge audiences for pieces like ‘Independence Day,’ but there are also audiences for small films. There’s a hunger for works that have emotional depth and that are about something.
“The lack of insurance policies in films like ‘English Patient’ and ‘Shine’ raises questions of business (for the studios); their priority is money, which is why we should be grateful for the indies,” Minghella said.
Bingham Ray, co-managing exec of October Films (which is distributing “Secrets & Lies” and “Breaking the Waves”), said, “Awards often go to more traditional, mainstream films. This year, the Golden Globes have gone out of their way to recognize films from outside the system. And it’s about time,” he said, laughing. “We’re grateful for this recognition.”
Phoenix Pictures, Mike Medavoy’s company, scored well, since its first two pictures, “Larry Flynt” and “Mirror,” chalked up nine noms.
The Globes feature 13 film and 11 TV categories. On the TV side, HBO paced the field with 19 bids, followed by NBC with 17. Trailing were CBS (with seven), Fox Broadcasting (six), ABC (five) and Showtime (four).
The networks were shut out of the vidpic/miniseries category, with HBO nabbing four bids and Showtime taking two. (In three TV races and one film competition, there are six nominees, due to ties in the voting.)
The longform race is an echo of July’s Emmy noms in which cablers grabbed all five vidpic nods and four of the five mini noms.
In the Globes race for comedy series, NBC won five of the six slots.
NBC’s “ER” led individual TV shows with five nominations, followed by two HBO bio-vidpics that took home four each: “Crime of the Century” about the Lindbergh kidnapping and “Rasputin.”
Nabbing three noms apiece were HBO telefilms “Gotti” and “If These Walls Could Talk”; NBC’s “Frasier,” “Mad About You” and “3rd Rock From the Sun”; Fox Broadcasting’s “The X-Files”; and Showtime’s telepic “Losing Chase.”
While the eligibility period for all projects is the calendar year, voters put a distinct emphasis on the fourth quarter for films: Of 12 pics with multiple nominations, only two (“Fargo” and “The Birdcage”) opened before September.
The studio count
Sony’s kudos were from “Flynt,” “Mirror,” “Maguire,” and single-bidders “Ghosts of Mississippi” and “Lone Star.”
Miramax’s 11 came from the seven for “English Patient” and one each for “Marvin’s Room,” “Everyone Says I Love You,” “Kolya” and “Ridicule.”
The five for “Evita” plus one each for “101 Dalmatians,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Ransom” and “Up Close and Personal” led to BV’s nine. (Buena Vista Intl. also has “Shine” overseas.)
Gramercy had “Fargo,” plus “The Portrait of a Lady” and “The Eighth Day” (with one apiece). October Films scored with “Secrets” (three) and “Breaking the Waves” (with two).
Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox had four each; Paramount nabbed three; MGM/UA two; and Universal, Orion and overseas indie Fox Italia one each.
In addition to Minghella, there were other double nominees. James Woods is in the race for film supporting actor for “Ghosts of Mississippi” and for actor in a vidpic/miniseries for “The Summer of Ben Tyler.”
“The Mirror” has two faces who are double nominees: Barbra Streisand is cited for actress in a musical/comedy and Marvin Hamlisch for original score; the two are also co-writers (with R.J. Lange and Bryan Adams) of the pic’s song “I’ve Finally Found Someone.”
Of 31 actors in the film categories, 15 are first-time nominees. The vets are led by Meryl Streep, who has 12 previous acting noms, and Streisand, with 14 previous bids (including actress, director and songwriter).
Three music divas are included in the actress lists: Streisand, Madonna (for “Evita”) and Courtney Love (“Larry Flynt”). A fourth thrush-turned-thesp, Whitney Houston, failed to score, however.
Familiar TV faces
In the six categories devoted to TV series, it was old-home week. Four of the five nominees are the same as last year in the categories of drama series, comedy/musical series and drama actress and actor; in the comedy actor and actress, three of the five nominees are returnees.
Repeating from last year’s drama-skein race are “Chicago Hope,” “ER,” “NYPD Blue” and “Party of Five”; for comedy, they are “Frasier,” “Friends,” “Mad About You” and “Seinfeld.”
Encores in the drama-series actress contest are Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files”), Heather Locklear (“Melrose Place”), Jane Seymour (“Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”) and Sherry Stringfield (“ER”).
Drama-series actor repeats are George Clooney (“ER”), David Duchovny (“The X-Files”), Anthony Edwards (“ER”) and Jimmy Smits (“NYPD Blue”).
Comedy-series leads who are encoring are Fran Drescher (“The Nanny”), Helen Hunt (“Mad About You”) and Cybill Shepherd (“Cybill”), as well as Tim Allen (“Home Improvement”), Kelsey Grammer (“Frasier”) and Paul Reiser (“Mad About You”).
Last year, “Murder One” was the only new series to get notice. This year, several newcomers joined the fray, including the midseason “3rd Rock From the Sun,” and fall frosh “Spin City,” “Millennium” and “Suddenly Susan.”
Prizes will be handed out Jan. 19 at the Beverly Hilton in L.A. The show will air live on NBC, produced by Dick Clark Prods. and the HFPA. The org consists of 85 voting members and 14 affiliates who cover showbiz for the foreign press.
As previously announced, Dustin Hoffman will be given the Cecil B. DeMille Award for his “outstanding contribution to the entertainment field.”
Lively ayem scene
The noms were unveiled Thursday at the BevHilton at about 5:20 a.m., with a portion broadcast live on NBC’s “Today” – the second consecutive year they were skedded at the early hour.
Making the announcements were thesps Laura Dern, Andy Garcia, Paul Sorvino, Blair Underwood, Ming-Na Wen and Scott Wolf, with producer Dick Clark and HFPA president Philip Berk also participating.
The crowd of several hundred has grown considerably since last year, with nearly 20 TV crews recording the announcements, in addition to print, radio and Internet reporters and dozens of publicists.
The gathering was much more subdued than last year, when the reading of names brought frequent cheers of delight and/or relief.
This year, everyone was politely quiet, except for a loud, lone “Yo!” for “Lone Star,” some applause for Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ed Norton, and a woman’s ecstatic “Yes!” that caused Garcia to freeze in the midst of announcing “The People vs. Larry Flynt.”