December 14, 2004
LOS ANGELES - The Golden Globes are shaping up as a reprise of "The Jamie Foxx Show." Foxx, star of the sitcom that aired from 1996 to 2001, earned a record three Globe nominations Monday, including one for best musical or comedy actor for his uncanny portrayal of singer Ray Charles in "Ray."
Also contending in that category: Paul Giamatti for his road-trip flick "Sideways," which earned a leading seven nominations, among them best musical or comedy. The Howard Hughes film biography "The Aviator" was next with six nominations, including best drama, actor and director.
The Globe honors help position those movies and other leading nominees for Hollywood's big party, the Academy Awards. (Those nominations come out Jan. 25.)
Along with "The Aviator," best-drama contenders were the caustic sex tale "Closer"; "Finding Neverland," exploring the inspirations of "Peter Pan" creator J.M. Barrie; "Hotel Rwanda," set against the 1990s genocide in that country; "Kinsey," a film biography of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey; and the boxing drama "Million Dollar Baby."
Besides "Ray" and "Sideways," best musical or comedy nominees were the romance "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"; the animated superhero tale "The Incredibles"; and the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "The Phantom of the Opera."
Foxx, considered a best-actor favorite at the Oscars, also earned nominations for supporting film actor as a cabbie taken hostage by a hit man in "Collateral" and as best TV movie or miniseries actor for the prison drama "Redemption."
The nominations came on Foxx's 37th birthday.
"What a great way to start the day with three birthday gifts," Foxx said. "I am honored to be mentioned in the same categories with such tremendously talented actors."
Joining Foxx and Giamatti in the musical or comedy actor field: Jim Carrey as a man trying to erase memories of his ex-girlfriend in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"; Kevin Kline as composer Cole Porter in "De-Lovely"; and Kevin Spacey as singer Bobby Darin in "Beyond the Sea."
Character actor Giamatti has managed to break into lead roles playing two back-to-back curmudgeons - "Sideways" follows his 2003 turn as comic-book grouch Harvey Pekar in "American Splendor." His "Sideways" character is such a loser he steals money from his mother, yet audiences end up rooting for him to find love and happiness.
"He's kind of an unlikable guy," Giamatti said. "I say that he's unlikable but I suppose he has an essential decency about him."
Carrey's "Eternal Sunshine" co-star Kate Winslet, playing his former girlfriend, and Kline's "De-Lovely" cast mate Ashley Judd, as Porter's wife, were among musical or comedy actress nominees. The others: Annette Bening as a London stage diva in "Being Julia"; Emmy Rossum as a theater ingenue in "Phantom of the Opera"; and Renee Zellweger as the title character in "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason."
All five dramatic actor nominees played real-life characters: Javier Bardem in "The Sea Inside," as Ramon Sampedro, who fought for his right to die after a paralyzing accident; Don Cheadle as innkeeper Paul Rusesabagina, who shelters refugees in "Hotel Rwanda"; Johnny Depp as playwright Barrie in "Finding Neverland"; Leonardo DiCaprio as Hughes in "The Aviator"; and Liam Neeson as the sex researcher in "Kinsey."
Dramatic lead actress nominees were Scarlett Johansson in "A Love Song for Bobby Long," playing a teen who finds an unlikely extended family; Nicole Kidman as a woman visited by a boy claiming to be her dead husband in "Birth"; Imelda Staunton as the title character in the abortion drama "Vera Drake"; Hilary Swank as a boxer in "Million Dollar Baby"; and Uma Thurman as a vengeful former assassin in "Kill Bill - Vol. 2."
Swank, a Golden Globe and Oscar winner for "Boys Don't Cry," trained six days a week for three months for "Million Dollar Baby," eating 210 grams of protein a day and gaining 19 pounds of muscle.
"It's amazing what a machine the body is, how it can adapt. I have a whole new respect for what my body can do," said Swank, also nominated for best actress in a TV movie or miniseries for the suffrage drama "Iron Jawed Angels."
Swank's co-star and director, Clint Eastwood, also received two Globe nominations, for directing and his "Million Dollar Baby" musical score.
Along with Eastwood, Globe directing nominees were Martin Scorsese, "The Aviator"; Marc Forster, "Finding Neverland"; Mike Nichols, "Closer"; and Alexander Payne," "Sideways."
An art-house favorite, "Sideways" is proving to be the year's critical darling. On Monday, the New York Film Critics Circle named it 2004's best picture. Over the weekend, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the New York Film Critics Online did the same.
Still, comedies tend to fare poorly at the Oscars, which favor sober drama. The six nominations for "The Aviator" solidify that film's prospects as a potential best-picture front-runner for the Oscars.
"The Aviator" has the epic historical scope that often catches academy voters' fancy, and it focuses heavily on Hughes' years as a movie producer, subject matter dear to Hollywood.
"It's the type of movie that really doesn't get made anymore," DiCaprio said. "It's not just the epic scope of the film, but to have a picture with this type of attention put into it. The backdrop, the setting of the time period, the lavish sets and characters."
And Scorsese may be a sentimental favorite, a beloved filmmaker whose movies have never won the best-picture or director Oscars.
For TV, the drama series picks were "24," "Deadwood," "Lost," "Nip/Tuck" and "The Sopranos," while the comedy nominees were "Arrested Development," "Desperate Housewives," "Entourage," "Sex and the City" and "Will & Grace."
Golden Globes are handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a comparatively small group of about 90 reporters for overseas news outlets. The Globe ceremony Jan. 16 will be televised live on NBC.
While the Globes boost Oscar chances for big-budget films, they also draw academy attention to smaller movies such as "A Love Song for Bobby Long," starring John Travolta as a hard-luck case who becomes father figure for nominee Johansson's character.
Johansson, a double Globe nominee last year for "Lost in Translation" and "Girl With a Pearl Earring," subsequently was invited into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, so she can vote on the upcoming Oscars.
"I'm certainly going to cast a vote for John, because it's one of the best performances of his whole career, and certainly for `A Love Song for Bobby Long,' because I think it's one of the best films of the year," Johansson said. "As far as nominating myself, I probably won't. However, my mother will probably check the box for me."