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Thursday, 21 December, 2000, 12:32 GMT
Hollywood awaits Globe hopefuls
Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire in Wonder Boy
Wonder Boys could be a contender for best picture
Hollywood's annual round of awards is to kick off on Thursday with nominations for the coveted Golden Globes - in what is widely considered a pretty poor year for films.

The Golden Globes honour the best of the year's movies and TV shows and are voted for by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Now in their 58th year, the awards are considered a good indication of which films stand a chance of being nominated in February for the Oscars.

Traffic
Traffic, featuring Catherine Zeta Jones, could earn its director a nomination

However, unlike previous years when films such as Titanic and American Beauty emerged as clear contenders, this time no one film has had major attention.

The Globes will be handed out in 13 film and 11 TV categories on 21 January. They split films into two categories - drama and musical/comedy - so more trophies are handed out than at the Oscars.

For now, film industry observers are offering tentative speculation on which films and performers might be shortlisted.

Julia Roberts has been mooted as a possible nominee for playing Erin Brockovich in the film of the same name.

She could face competition from Ellen Burstyn. Last week Burstyn was named best actress by the Boston Society of Film Critics for her tortured depiction of a woman who becomes addicted to speed, in Requiem for a Dream.

Erin Brockovich
Julia Roberts is a best actress hopeful for Erin Brockovich

The same society named Steven Soderburgh best director for Erin Brockovich, so he stands a reasonable chance of being nominated for a Golden Globe.

Soderburgh could also be recognised for his drug-war drama Traffic, starring newlyweds Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas.

Traffic could also earn Benicio Del Toro a nomination for best supporting actor.

Soderburgh could find strong competition from Ridley Scott for Gladiator, one of the year's most talked about blockbusters, starring Russell Crowe.

The Roman Empire epic could itself be a likely contender for a best film nomination as could Wonder Boys, again starring Michael Douglas.

Meanwhile, in the best actor category, Douglas - again for Wonder Boys - could be nominated, as could Crowe for Gladiator and Sir Sean Connery for Finding Forrester.

A best supporting actress nomination could also be winging its way to Marcia Gay Harden for Pollock - a portrayal of the celebrated American artist.

Marcia Gay Harden
Marcia Gay Harden has won attention for her role in Pollock

American singing legend Bob Dylan is a likely nominee for his song Things Have Changed, the theme song for Wonder Boys.

In the television categories, this year could again see nominations for mafia TV series The Sopranos.

Drama series Sex and the City could be favoured again, as could its star Jessica Sarah Parker.

And Wall Street drama series The West Wing, starring Martin Sheen, is also considered in with a good chance for top nominations.

Ultimately, winners in the dramatic film categories of the Globes are more likely to go on to win Oscars.

In the Globes' 57-year history, at least one of the two best-picture winners at the Golden Globes has gone on to win the same title at the Oscars 41 times.

The 1999 Golden Globes correctly predicted several Oscar wins.

They included those of American Beauty and its director Sam Mendes, Boys Don't Cry star Hilary Swank and Denzel Washington in The Hurricane.

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See also:

14 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Traffic wows New York critics
24 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Golden Globe winners
21 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Traffic hopes for jam tomorrow
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