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'American Beauty' Smells Like a Rose to the Golden Globes

The movie leads in nominations with six; 'Insider' and 'Mr. Ripley' each get five, but only one for 'Eyes Wide Shut.'


In a wide open awards year, a quirky, ironic film helmed by a British theater director and written by a newcomer garnered the most nods Monday when the 57th Annual Golden Globe Awards nominations were announced in Beverly Hills. DreamWorks SKG's "American Beauty" got six nominations--the most ever for the studio--including best motion picture (drama), best director, best actress and actor (drama) and best screenplay.

Disney's "The Insider" and Paramount/Miramax's "The Talented Mr. Ripley" tied for second place, with five nominations each. But smaller, less star-studded films also broke through, with USA Films' "Being John Malkovich" and Fox Searchlight's "Boys Don't Cry," earning multiple nominations.

The Globe nominations also came up big for Sony Pictures' "The End of the Affair," which tied with "Malkovich" with four, and Universal Pictures' "The Hurricane" and "Notting Hill" with three nominations each.

Notably underrepresented were three Warner Bros. films. The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which bestows the Golden Globes, passed over the star of "The Green Mile," Tom Hanks, giving the film a single supporting actor nomination for Michael Clarke Duncan. "Eyes Wide Shut," Stanley Kubrick's final film, also received just one nod--for best original score--despite its A-list cast: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. And "Three Kings," a critical favorite, was ignored altogether.

Then there were the surprises: Sigourney Weaver got a best actress nomination (in the drama category) for her role in the indie film "A Map of the World," while her co-star, Julianne Moore, got two best actress nods for portraying Brits in other projects: the Miramax comedy "An Ideal Husband" and the drama "The End of the Affair."

"It's kind of overwhelming," said Moore, who said the chance to be in director Neil Jordan's "The End of the Affair"--her first love story--was a fantasy come to life. "I had 50 to 100 presents I was going to wrap today and suddenly my publicist is telling me I have so many calls to make. But it's a nice problem to have."

Winners of the Golden Globes will be announced Jan. 23 in a live telecast airing on NBC. The awards are commonly seen as early indicators for the Academy Awards, which are presented in March. But because the Globes split best picture, best actor and best actress nominations in two--giving nominees in both drama and in musical/comedy--there are many more Globe nominees than Oscar hopefuls.

For those involved with "American Beauty"--which was modestly budgeted and difficult to market--it was a blissful morning. In Los Angeles, nominated screenwriter Alan Ball (this is his first produced script) drank Dom Perignon over breakfast with the film's producers, while in New York, nominated director Sam Mendes was on his way to raise a glass with best actor nominee Kevin Spacey. A groggy Annette Bening, the best actress nominee who is 5 1/2 months pregnant with her fourth child, was awakened by the news, which she celebrated by indulging in a caffeinated cup of coffee.

"The thing that gets me that I haven't experienced before is the cross-section of people who really get the movie, and I don't take that for granted," she said. "I was in the park one day and a teenager came up to me and said, 'I've snuck into it five times.' "

For his part, Mendes said he hoped the nominations proved that "a story is the only special effect that will never go out of fashion."

Among the breakout performances of the year was Hilary Swank's portrayal of a young Nebraska woman who posed as a man in "Boys Don't Cry." Swank has swept the critics awards so far, yet she seemed surprised when she was nominated for best actress (drama).

"I never thought I was a shoo-in," said Swank, 25, who said switching genders was a challenge that taught her "a lot about humanity and a lot about myself." Before she accepted the role, she said, she experimented on her neighbors to see if she could pass for male.

"I'm a very feminine girl. There's times when I wear my Levi's, but I really like my makeup and my high heels and my skirts. So when I was offered this role I knew that if I couldn't pass for a boy on the street I couldn't do it," she said.

Another notable performance was that of 11-year-old Haley Joel Osment, who received a best supporting actor nod for playing a rivetingly haunted child in Disney's "The Sixth Sense." He'd stayed up late Sunday night--10 p.m.--so his dad let him sleep later Monday and delivered the good news when he got up.

"I'm awake now--this is a big honor," said the sixth-grader, who ate a bowl of Life cereal to help his nomination sink in. Asked how he managed to appear so terrified in the movie, he said, "I had to invent thoughts and feelings because he's so different than I really am."

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