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Three deliciously dark topics — murder, suicide and Hollywood screenwriting — dominated the thoughts of Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. voters in nominations for the 60th annual Golden Globes.

“Chicago,” “The Hours” and “Adaptation” led the noms with eight, seven and six bids, respectively. But the biggest news was Miramax, which drew a whopping 19 nominations — an all-time HFPA record for any studio.

All studio tallies are squishy, due to co-productions and arthouse shingles. Sony, for example, received seven bids for the main company, another from Sony Pictures Classics and yet another for Columbia TriStar Films Distribution.

Paramount had eight; New Line, seven; and Focus Features landed six bids in its first awards derby.

HBO easily dominated the TV races, chalking up 26 bids, exactly double the number of runner-up NBC, with 13.

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Fox grabbed seven, and other cable and broadcast outlets earned anywhere from one to three apiece.

The Globes are often touted as a Oscar portent. But, after the diversity in recent critics’ choices, the Globe nominations again confirmed that there are no Oscar front-runners: This is a wide-open race.

The GG noms, announced Thursday at the BevHilton, split the film contenders into two categories. Aside from “Hours,” the drama nominees are “About Schmidt,” “Gangs of New York,” “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” and “The Pianist.” Vying in the musical/comedy category are “Chicago” and “Adaptation” as well as “About a Boy,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “Nicholas Nickleby.”

“Schmidt” and “Gangs” took home five citations apiece; “Far From Heaven” nabbed four. Six films earned two bids: “About a Boy,” “Frida,” “Igby Goes Down,” “The Two Towers,” “Greek Wedding” and “Pianist.” Twenty films nabbed one mention.

Of the 10 films in the two best-pic races, eight were December openers.

There were a few surprises: United Artists’ “Igby Goes Down” earned two bids, for supporting actress Susan Sarandon and comedy/musical actor Kieran Culkin; Lions Gate’s “Secretary” earned a lead comedy/musical nod for Maggie Gyllenhaal. Catherine Zeta-Jones was cited as lead, rather than supporting, for “Chicago”; and the HFPA nommed “Adaptation” for script, meaning the fictional Donald Kaufman was cited.

Some no-shows were interesting, such as Fox/DreamWorks’ “Minority Report,” Miramax’s “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” Disney’s “Signs” and Universal’s “The Emperor’s Club”; other films got fewer than expected (for example, DreamWorks’ “Road to Perdition,” with one bid).

But the biggest surprise was that Fox Searchlight’s “Antwone Fisher,” highly touted by the studio and praised by groups such as AFI, came up empty-handed.

Thursday’s underperformers should not give up hope. The 1998 pic “The Thin Red Line” is the most famous example of a film that found zero Globe nominations but went on to reap plenty of Oscar attention (seven noms, including best pic). And last year, director Ridley Scott (“Black Hawk Down”) was among the Oscar contenders who’d been MIA from the Globe list.

Fox Searchlight marketing prez NancyUtley said Thursday’s results “are not going to deter us in our passion and determination. Antwone Fisher’s story is about persevering through tough times, so we’re not giving up on accolades for the movie; we think there’s a good chance the Academy voters will embrace the film.”

Some people drew double nomina-tions: Meryl Streep, in both the lead drama and supporting categories, and Alexander Payne, for director and writer (sharing the latter nom with Jim Taylor).

Miramax’s noms came from seven films: “Chicago,” “Gangs,” two for “Frida,” one apiece for “City of God,” “Hero,” “The Quiet American” and “Rabbit-Proof Fence.” (The company also has a stake in “Hours.”)

Miramax co-prexy of production Meryl Poster said the Globes recognition will be a big boost to “Gangs” and “Chicago,” which open today and Dec. 27, respectively. “It feels like we’ve gotten a lot of knocks this year, and this is a great payoff.”

In addition to “Hours,” Par received one for “The Wild Thornberrys Movie.”

“I think it helps enormously,” said Par Motion Picture Group chair Sherry Lansing of the HFPA recognition. ” ‘The Hours’ is not conventional studio fare; this is a risky movie. It’s brave and it’s original. You can’t compare it to anything.”

Lansing said she’s happy the film is part of an “extraordinary” crop of films. “Hours,” she said, is an example of one of her credos: “If it’s original and good, I believe people will go see it.”

New Line’s seven came from “About Schmidt” (five) and “Two Towers” (two).

Russell Schwartz, prez of domestic marketing for New Line, was pleased that its pics earned two of the five drama-picture slots. “Schmidt” could be considered a comedy but was submitted as a drama: “The movie spans so many emotions that it seemed like the right fit.”

The vote for “Two Towers” was gratifying because it sends a message that this is not just a sequel. “The two nominations are hefty ones and they say ‘This is a separate movie; it’s a total standalone and should be taken as such.”

Sony’s noms included “Adaptation” (six) and “Punch-Drunk Love” (one). Focus Features’ noms came from “Far From Heaven” (four) and “Pianist” (two).

Focus co-prexy James Schamus on Thursday said he was “a whirling dervish” as he enjoyed the kudos attention. The Globe recognition “will have a wonderful impact in terms of keeping the films in front of the public. It’s a great moment before the holiday season to remind filmgoers that thoughtful people, who have seen every movie, thought a lot of these films.”

Schamus also praised the quality of this year’s crop of pics: “You rarely see an array this rich. There are a lot of films this year that are serious, ambitious and well-done, and that represent the work of very individual voices.”

His themes were echoed by Co-lumbia Pictures chair Amy Pascal, who said the Globes offer “wonderful recognition for (‘Adaptation’). I think it’s so important; it tells people they need to go see the movie. And,” she added with a laugh, “if people go see this movie, we get to make more movies like this.”

Aside from the “Igby” pair, MGM/UA had citations for “Nicholas Nickleby” and “Die Another Day.”

DreamWorks had one each for “Perdition,” “Catch Me if You Can” and “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”; Universal also had three: two for “About a Boy” (shared with Studio Canal) and one for “8 Mile.”

IFC scored a pair for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” Fox had one apiece for “Unfaithful” and Fox Searchlight’s “The Banger Sisters” and the studio shares in “Perdition.”

The HFPA nominated six foreign-language pics: France’s “Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress,” Brazil’s “City of God,” Mexico’s “The Crime of Father Amaro,” China’s “Hero,” Germany’s “Nowhere in Africa” and Spain’s “Talk to Her.” This is the third consecutive year that Mexico has earned a nomination (after “Amores Perros” and “Y tu mama tambien”).

(Interestingly, actor Gael Garcia Bernal appeared in all three pics.)

HFPA has an international outlook, since its 92 members are journalists who cover the entertainment biz for overseas news outlets. However, there were no foreign-language nominees in other categories.

The previous awards season offered hope that the film biz was marking a breakthrough for blacks, with a slew of nominations and historic Oscar wins for actor and actress Denzel Washington and Halle Berry. This year, though, Caucasians overwhelmingly dominated all the Globe races, in front of and behind the cameras. There were a few exceptions: Salma Hayek (drama actress contender for “Frida”) and Queen Latifah (supporting actress nominee, “Chicago”), Bernie Mac (lead in the TV comedy category) and Dennis Haysbert (TV supporting actor).

The Foreign Press often touts its accuracy as an Academy Awards bellwether. In truth, though, the Globes have a mixed batting average. At the 59th Globes ceremonies, the HFPA handed out 13 film awards, but only five of those victors ended up in Oscar’s winner’s circle.

The Globe salutes come right in the middle of film-kudos season. These noms are announced as Oscar voters are trying to catch up on a glut of year-end openers; the HFPA hands out its prizes Jan. 19, just as Oscar voters have their nomination ballots in hand. For these reasons, Oscar campaigners recognize the importance of an HFPA nom; it’s a way of saying, “You’d better see this film before you fill out your ballot.”

Due to the timing of the Globes, small-screen nominations are always upstaged by film contenders. Still, the TV results are often daring and interesting: The Globes saluted shows such as “The X-Files,” “24,” “Alias” and “Six Feet Under” before Emmy did.

This year, however, the TV races were paced by old reliables. NBC’s “The West Wing” and “Will & Grace” got five apiece. HBO’s duo of “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City” earned four each.

Also nabbing four were HBO’s tele-films “The Gathering Storm” and “Path to War.”

The new TV season hasn’t pro-duced any breakout freshman hits, reflected in the fact that no newcomer got a nomination for best series. But there were a couple of pleasant sur-prises in the noms for Bonnie Hunt and Tony Shalhoub for comedy-series actress and actor.

Every year, some media pundit will question the HFPA’s authority, mock its membership and again dredge up the fact that the org 20 years ago gave its best-newcomer award to Pia Zadora. But since then, the HFPA has worked hard to establish its legitimacy, and Hollywood now views the awards with a mixture of amazement, amusement and absolute gravity.

Whatever one thinks of the HFPA or its choices, it’s clear the org has made itself a force to be reckoned with. This past January, the kudocast drew 23.5 million viewers, ahead of the Emmys and the Grammys and second only to the Oscars in terms of showbiz-awards ratings. That’s pretty impressive for an org with only 87 voting mem-bers.

Nominations were announced by HFPA prexy Dagmar Dunlevy, Dick Clark, Rachel Griffiths (who turned out to be a nominee), Colin Farrell and Noah Wyle.

Globes will be handed out Jan. 19 at the BevHilton, with the ceremonies telecast live on NBC starting at 8 p.m. (EST). Event will be produced by Dick Clark Prods. in association with the HFPA. Dick Clark and Barry Adelman are executive producers. Al Schwartz and Ken Shapiro are producers; Ron Weed is co-producer.

As previously announced, Gene Hackman is the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

And the nominees are…

“About Schmidt” (New Line), Michael Besman/Harry Gittes Prod.
“Gangs of New York” (Miramax), Alberto Grimaldi Prods.
“The Hours” (Paramount), Paramount Pictures/Miramax Films
“The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” (New Line), Wingnut Films
“The Pianist” (Focus Features), R.P. Prods./Heritage Films/Studio Babelsberg Runteam Ltd./Canal+ and Studio Canal

“About a Boy” (Universal/Studio Canal), Tribeca/Working Title
“Adaptation” (Sony) Columbia Pictures/Intermedia Films
Chicago (Miramax) Producer Circle Co.,/Zadan-Meron Prods.
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding” (IFC), Gold Circle Films/HBO/Playtone
“Nicholas Nickleby” (MGM/UA), Hart Sharp Entertainment Prods./Cloud Nine Films

Salma Hayek, “Frida”
Nicole Kidman, “The Hours”
Diane Lane, “Unfaithful”
Julianne Moore, “Far From Heaven”
Meryl Streep, “The Hours”

Adrien Brody, “The Pianist”
Michael Caine, “The Quiet American”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Gangs of New York”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Catch Me if You Can”
Jack Nicholson, “About Schmidt”

Maggie Gyllenhaal, “Secretary”
Goldie Hawn, “The Banger Sisters”
Nia Vardalos, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”
Renee Zellweger, “Chicago”
Catherine Zeta-Jones, “Chicago”

Nicolas Cage, “Adaptation”
Kieran Culkin, “Igby Goes Down”
Richard Gere, “Chicago”
Hugh Grant, “About a Boy”
Adam Sandler, “Punch-Drunk Love”

“Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress” (France), Productions Internationales “Le Film” (BAC Films)
“City of God” (Brazil), 02 Filmes/VideoFilmes (Miramax)
“The Crime Of Father Amaro” (El Crimen del Padre Amaro) (Mexico), Alameda Films/Blu Films/Foprocine/Government of Veracruz-Llave/Wanda Vision/Artcam/Cinecolor/Videocolor (Samuel Goldwyn Films/Columbia TriStar Film Distr.)
“Hero” (China), Edko Films Ltd./Zhang Yuniy Studio (Miramax)
“Nowhere In Africa” (Germany), Bavaria Film/MTM Medien & Television Munchen (Zeitgeist Films)
“Talk To Her” (Spain), El Deseo S.A./A3Tv and Via Digital (Sony Pictures Classics)

Kathy Bates, “About Schmidt”
Cameron Diaz, “Gangs of New York”
Queen Latifah, “Chicago”
Susan Sarandon, “Igby Goes Down”
Meryl Streep, “Adaptation”

Chris Cooper, “Adaptation”
Ed Harris, “The Hours”
Paul Newman, “Road to Perdition”
Dennis Quaid, “Far From Heaven”
John C. Reilly, “Chicago”

Stephen Daldry, “The Hours”
Peter Jackson, “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”
Spike Jonze, “Adaptation”
Rob Marshall, “Chicago”
Alexander Payne, “About Schmidt”
Martin Scorsese, “Gangs of New York”

Bill Condon, “Chicago”
David Hare, “The Hours”
Todd Haynes, “Far From Heaven”
Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman, “Adaptation”
Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, “About Schmidt”

Elmer Bernstein, “Far From Heaven”
Terence Blanchard, “25th Hour”
Peter Gabriel, “Rabbit Proof Fence”
Philip Glass, “The Hours”
Elliot Goldenthal, “Frida”

“Die Another Day” – “Die Another Day,” Music by Madonna, Mirwais Ahmadzai, Lyrics by Madonna
“Father and Daughter” – “The Wild Thornberrys Movie,” Music & Lyrics by Paul Simon
“The Hands That Built America” – “Gangs of New York,” Music & Lyrics by U2
“Here I Am” – “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron,” Music by Hans Zimmer, Lyrics by Bryan Adams/Gretchen Peters
“Lose Yourself” – “8 Mile,” Music & Lyrics by Eminem

“24” (Fox), Imagine TV & 20th Century Fox TV i.a.w. Real Time Prods.
“The Shield” (FX), Fox TV Studios, Sony Pictrs. TV
“Six Feet Under” (The Greenblatt/Janollari Studios and Actual Size, Inc., in association with HBO Original Programming), HBO
“The Sopranos” (Chase Films/Brad Grey Television in association with HBO Original Programming), HBO
“The West Wing” (NBC), John Wells Prods. i.a.w. WB TV

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO Original Programming), HBO
“Friends” (NBC), Bright/Kauffman/Crane Prods. i.a.w. WB TV
“Sex And The City” (HBO Original Programming), HBO
“The Simpsons” (FOX), Gracie Films i.a.w. 20th Century Fox TV
“Will & Grace” (NBC), KoMut Ent. i.a.w. NBC Studios & Three Sisters Ent.

Edie Falco, “The Sopranos”
Jennifer Garner, “Alias”
Rachel Griffiths, “Six Feet Under”
Marg Helgenberger, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”
Allison Janney, “The West Wing”

Michael Chiklis, “The Shield”
James Gandolfini, “The Sopranos”
Peter Krause, “Six Feet Under”
Martin Sheen, “The West Wing”
Kiefer Sutherland, “24”

Jennifer Aniston, “Friends”
Bonnie Hunt, “Life with Bonnie”
Jane Kaczmarek, “Malcolm in the Middle”
Debra Messing, “Will & Grace”
Sarah Jessica Parker, “Sex and the City”

Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Matt LeBlanc, “Friends”
Bernie Mac, “The Bernie Mac Show”
Eric McCormack, “Will & Grace”
Tony Shalhoub, “Monk”

“The Gathering Storm” (A Scott Free Production in association with HBO Films), HBO
“Live From Baghdad” (An Industry Entertainment Production in association with HBO Films), HBO
“Path to War” (An Avenue Pictures/Edgar J. Scherick Associates, Inc. Production in association with HBO Films), HBO
“Shackleton” (A&E), A&E Network/Channel 4 Intl. i.a.w. Firstsight Films
“Steven Spielberg Presents: Taken” (SCI FI), DreamWorks TV

Helena Bonham Carter, “Live From Baghdad”
Shirley Maclaine, “Hell on Heels: The Battle of Mary Kay”
Helen Mirren, “Door to Door”
Vanessa Redgrave, “The Gathering Storm”
Uma Thurman, “Hysterical Blindness”

Albert Finney, “The Gathering Storm”
Michael Gambon, “Path to War”
Michael Keaton, “Live From Baghdad”
William H. Macy, “Door to Door”
Linus Roache, “RFK”

Kim Cattrall, “Sex and the City”
Megan Mullally, “Will & Grace”
Cynthia Nixon, “Sex and the City”
Parker Posey, “Hell on Heels: The Battle of Mary Kay”
Gena Rowlands, “Hysterical Blindness”

Alec Baldwin, “Path to War”
Jim Broadbent, “The Gathering Storm”
Bryan Cranston, “Malcolm in the Middle”
Sean Hayes, “Will & Grace”
Dennis Haysbert, “24”
Michael Imperioli, “The Sopranos”
John Spencer, “The West Wing”
Donald Sutherland, “Path to War”
Bradley Whitford, “The West Wing”