- The Washington Times - Monday, December 13, 2004

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - The road-trip flick “Sideways” led Golden Globe contenders yesterday with seven nominations, while Jamie Foxx scored a record three acting bids.

The Howard Hughes biography “The Aviator” landed six nominations, including best dramatic feature, actor and director, solidifying its prospects as a potential best-picture front-runner at the Academy Awards.

Other best-drama nominees were the caustic sex tale “Closer”; “Finding Neverland,” the story of “Peter Pan” creator J.M. Barrie; “Hotel Rwanda,” a tale set against the genocide in that country; “Kinsey,” a film biography of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey; and the boxing saga “Million Dollar Baby.”

Along with “Sideways,” best musical or comedy nominees were the romance “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”; the animated superhero adventure “The Incredibles”; “The Phantom of the Opera,” adapted from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical; and the Ray Charles film biography, “Ray.”

Mr. Foxx was nominated for best musical or comedy actor for that film, for supporting actor for “Collateral” (as a taxi driver whose cab is hijacked by a hit man), and as best actor in a TV movie or miniseries for the prison drama “Redemption.”

Other stars have received two nominations in a single year, but Mr. Foxx is the first to receive three. The nominations came on his 37th birthday.

“What a great way to start the day, with three birthday gifts,” he said. “I am honored to be mentioned in the same categories with such tremendously talented actors.”

“The Aviator” star Leonardo DiCaprio earned a nomination as best dramatic actor for his role as Mr. Hughes. Other nominees were Javier Bardem as a paralyzed man seeking the right to die in “The Sea Inside,” Don Cheadle as a hotel manager sheltering refugees in “Hotel Rwanda,” Johnny Depp as playwright Barrie in “Finding Neverland,” and Liam Neeson as the title character in “Kinsey.”

Dramatic lead actress nominees were Scarlett Johansson for “A Love Song for Bobby Long,” in which she plays 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.”

Miss Swank is a previous Golden Globe winner for “Boys Don’t Cry,” an honor that helped position the actress for her best-actress Oscar win on that movie. She said she avoids thinking ahead about how her Globe nomination might affect her Oscar chances.

“I don’t put a lot of thought into that,” said Miss Swank, who also received a Golden Globe nomination for best actress in a TV movie or miniseries for the suffrage drama “Iron Jawed Angels.”

Along with Mr. Foxx, “Sideways” star Paul Giamatti was nominated for best actor in a musical or comedy for his role as a loser in love on a road trip with a buddy.

Mr. Giamatti said the sad-sack character doesn’t even like himself, which makes his appeal a mystery. “And he doesn’t like many other people either,” the actor said.

The other contenders are Jim Carrey as a man who pays to have memories of his ex-girlfriend erased 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.”

Musical or comedy actress nominees include Annette Bening as a London stage diva in “Being Julia,” Ashley Judd as composer Porter’s wife in “De-Lovely” and Emmy Rossum as a musical stage ingenue in “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Other nominees are Kate Winslet as Mr. Carrey’s ex-girlfriend in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and Renee Zellweger as the title character in the romantic sequel “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.”

Contenders for best film director include Alexander Payne for “Sideways” and Martin Scorsese for “The Aviator.”

The remaining directing nominees are Clint Eastwood for “Million Dollar Baby,” Marc Forster for “Finding Neverland” and Mike Nichols for “Closer.” Mr. Eastwood also was nominated for his musical score for “Million Dollar Baby.”

Nominations in the best-supporting-actor category went to Morgan Freeman as an ex-boxer in “Million Dollar Baby,” David Carradine as ringleader of a hit-man squad in “Kill Bill — Vol. 2,” Thomas Haden Church as a bridegroom on a pre-wedding spree in “Sideways,” and Clive Owen as a brutish lover in “Closer.”

Supporting-actress nominees were Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn in “The Aviator,” Meryl Streep as a scheming politician in “The Manchurian Candidate,” Laura Linney as the wife of the title character in “Kinsey,” Virginia Madsen as a deceived lover in “Sideways” and Natalie Portman as a stripper in “Closer.”

The Golden Globes are handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a comparatively small group of about 90 reporters for overseas news outlets. The awards will be presented Jan. 16 during a live telecast on NBC.

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