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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 December 2005, 17:58 GMT
Lee's Brokeback leads Globes pack
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain
Brokeback Mountain won critics awards in New York and Boston
Ang Lee's cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain dominates the 63rd annual Golden Globe Awards shortlist with seven nominations including best drama.

Based on a 1997 novella by Annie Proulx, the film picked up nominations for director Lee and star Heath Ledger.

The film was also shortlisted for score, screenplay and best supporting actress for Michelle Williams.

The Globes, handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, are widely seen as a forerunner to the Oscars.

Unlike the Academy Awards, the Globes have separate categories for dramas, and comedies or musicals.

Competing with Brokeback Mountain for the coveted best film drama are McCarthy drama Good Night, And Good Luck, A History of Violence, Match Point and Britain's The Constant Gardener.

Brokeback Mountain - 7
Good Night, and Good Luck - 4
Match Point - 4
The Producers - 4

The nominations are being hailed as a triumph for smaller-budgeted films over big studio productions.

"This is the first time in the history of the Golden Globes that all of the best dramatic film nominees are independent movies made for under $30 million," said Philip Berk, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Powerful line-up

In the best musical or comedy shortlist, Britain's Pride and Prejudice goes head to head with fellow UK comedy Mrs Henderson Presents, Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line, The Producers and The Squid and the Whale.

Taiwanese director Ang Lee joins a powerful line-up of directors competing for the best director award, including Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Woody Allen, George Clooney and Brazil's Fernando Meirelles for The Constant Gardener.

Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener
The Constant Gardener also won a supporting nod for Rachel Weisz

Russell Crowe gained his fifth Golden Globe nomination, for best actor in a drama for his performance in Cinderella Man.

He faces competition from Heath Ledger, Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote, David Straithairn in Good Night, And Good Luck and Terrence Howard in Hustle and Flow.

Previous Oscar winners Gwyneth Paltrow and Charlize Theron find themselves vying for the best actress in a drama award with Maria Bello, for A History of Violence, Ziyi Zhang, for Memoirs of a Geisha and Felicity Huffman, for Transamerica.

British hopes

British hopes are riding high in the best actress in a musical or comedy category, with Dame Judi Dench receiving her sixth Globe nomination for Mrs Henderson Presents, alongside fellow Briton Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice.

Judi Dench in Mrs Henderson Presents
Dame Judi won a previous Golden Globe for Shakespeare in Love

They face strong competition from Reese Witherspoon, as June Carter in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line, Laura Linney in The Squid and the Whale and Sarah Jessica Parker in The Family Stone.

Knightley said she was "shell shocked" by her nomination.

"I think a bottle of champagne is going to be had tonight," she said.

"I phoned my mum and said I'd been nominated and she said, 'Oh, that's lovely. You won't win, but that's lovely'. I'm looking forward to the ceremony but I have no idea what I'm going to wear."

Transvestite singer

Witherspoon's Walk the Line co-star Joaquin Phoenix is also nominated in the best actor in a comedy or musical category, alongside former Bond Pierce Brosnan, for The Matador, and Johnny Depp for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Also in the running are Ireland's Cillian Murphy, who receives a nomination for his role as a transvestite singer in Breakfast on Pluto, Jeff Daniels for The Squid and the Whale and The Producers' Nathan Lane.

As previously announced, Sir Anthony Hopkins will receive the group's Cecil B DeMille Award for lifetime achievement.

The Globes also honour the television industry, with 11 separate categories including best drama and comedy series. Desperate Housewives leads the shortlist, with acting nominations for all four leading ladies.

Winners of the Golden Globes will be announced at a ceremony in Los Angeles on 16 January, five days before polls close for Oscar voters.

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