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 Monday, 20 January, 2003, 09:32 GMT
Globes leave Oscars race wide open
Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt
About Schmidt is tipped for Oscar success

The Golden Globe awards have done little to narrow the field in one of the most diverse Oscar races for years.

The musical Chicago triumphed at last night's ceremony in Beverly Hills - taking three major awards for best musical or comedy, best lead actor (Richard Gere) and actress (Renee Zellweger).

It's a huge open field

Katy Haber, Bafta LA
But with many awards spread between a number of well-regarded movies, Hollywood is bracing itself for a keenly fought Oscars season.

Nominations for the Academy Awards will be announced on 11 February.

The results of the Globes suggest the main race will be between Chicago, Stephen Daldry's The Hours and Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York.

The Hours picked up best drama, with Nicole Kidman named best actress in a drama.

The Australian actress portrays the writer Virginia Woolf as she is penning the novel Mrs Dalloway.

"I think in terms of the Oscars it would be an amazing thing to happen," said Kidman, when asked after the ceremony about her chances at the Academy Awards.

Open in new window : Awards pictures
Stars dazzle on Hollywood's golden night

Kidman also voiced her appreciation for the movie that is likely to be a major rival for the best picture Oscar.

"Chicago has shown that people want to see musicals and it shows that Moulin Rouge wasn't a fluke," she said.

Martin Scorsese picked up the best director award for Gangs of New York - making the veteran filmmaker a firm favourite for the Oscars.

Martin Scorsese
Will 2003 be Scorsese's year?
But the only other award won by the 19th Century epic was best original song - U2's The Hands That Built America.

The film's failure to capture more major categories casts some doubt over its ability to storm the Oscars.

A number of wildcards have been thrown into the mix.

Among them, Hollywood favourite - and prolific award winner - Jack Nicholson is now considered a good bet for best actor.

Best dramatic film - The Hours
Best dramatic actress - Nicole Kidman
Best dramatic actor - Jack Nicholson
Best musical or comedy - Chicago
Best musical or comedy actor - Richard Gere
Best musical or comedy actress - Renee Zellweger
He picked up a gong last night for About Schmidt - the sentimental comedy that, for reasons apparently unknown to the actor, was placed in the drama category at the Globes.

Nicholson is likely to face competition from Gere and Daniel Day Lewis is probably still in with a shout for his role as Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York.

The failure of the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and its director Peter Jackson to win at the Globes suggests it will not make an impact at the Oscars.

The British film academy held its annual tea party on Saturday in Los Angeles - ahead of the Globes ceremony.

According to Katy Haber, BAFTA LA's managing director, there was an impressive turnout of stars suggesting that the British movie awards, along with the Oscars, are being keenly fought this year.

The British group's members are currently returning their ballot papers.

"There's a big violent epic in Gangs of New York, a quiet retrospective film like The Hours, that looks that inwardly at human nature - and the garish musical," said Ms Haber.

"It's a huge open field," she added.

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