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Monday, 20 December, 1999, 14:27 GMT
Beauty's Golden Globe rush

Suburban satire: American Beauty's Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening

Kevin Spacey's latest film American Beauty has emerged as an early favourite for next year's Oscars after picking up six key Golden Globe nominations.

The dark satire on suburban family life won nominations for best motion picture, best actor for Spacey and best actress for Annette Bening.

It also picked up nods for its first-time director, British theatre's Sam Mendes, plus best screenplay and best score.

Can Mr Ripley star Matt Damon add to his trophy cabinet?
Though not as prestigious as the Oscars, the Golden Globes are seen as a predictor for the Academy Awards in March.

However, The Insider, based on a true story of tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffrey Wygand, and The Talented Mr Ripley - starring Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow - may give American Beauty a run for its money in the Oscar stakes. Both films garnered five nominations each.

Other movies in the running for best motion picture include The End of the Affair, The Hurricane and The Talented Mr Ripley.

Recognition: Notting Hill star Hugh Grant
Stars in the frame for drama category Golden Globes include Matt Damon for The Talented Mr Ripley, The Hurricane's Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep for Music of the Heart.

Perennial award nominee Tom Hanks was shut out for a widely acclaimed performance as a death row prison guard in The Green Mile - the film receiving only one nomination, for supporting actor (Michael Clarke Duncan).

Another star missing of the list was Matt Damon's Mr Ripley co-star Gwyneth Paltrow - winner of this year's best actress Oscar for Shakespeare in Love.

Best motion picture comedy nominees include British blockbuster Notting Hill, Being John Makovich, Jim Carrey's Man on the Moon and Disney's computer-animated hit, Toy Story 2.

Notting Hill stars Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant received best musical/comedy acting nominations, while other Britons in the frame include Rupert Everett for An Ideal Husband and Janet McTeer for Tumbleweeds.

Dawn chorus

The nominations in 24 categories - 13 for movies and 11 for television - were announced in Los Angeles before dawn by actresses Salma Hayek and Victoria Principal along with actors Martin Sheen and Beau Bridges.

The Golden Globes are chosen by the relatively small Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which has about 100 members.

Ally McBeal: Comedy series nominee
However, filmmakers, stars and studios covet Golden Globes because a win or even a nomination can improve a film's box-office numbers and an artist's salary.

Golden Globes do not always build Oscar momentum, though. Last year, Jim Carrey won the Golden Globe for best actor in a drama for The Truman Show, but he was not even nominated when Oscar time rolled around.

The ceremony, the 57th awards, will take place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles on 23 January 2000.

Streisand's special award

Barbra Streisand is this year's previously announced recipient of the Golden Globe's Cecil B DeMille Award for "outstanding contributions to the entertainment field".

In the TV categories, the nominees for best dramatic TV series were ER, Once and Again, The Practice, The Sopranos and The West Wing, starring Martin Sheen.

The nominees for best musical or comedy TV series were Ally McBeal, Dharma & Greg, Sex and the City, Spin City and Will & Grace.

"I don't remember ever having a year that offered so many different and unusual films," said Helmut Voss, head of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hands out the Golden Globes.

"We are not critics, and we are not members of the movie industry, so we definitely have a different perspective."

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See also:
17 Dec 99 |  Entertainment
Awards for Leigh's Topsy-Turvy
13 Dec 99 |  Entertainment
Double top for Hanks
16 Dec 99 |  Tom Brook
Carrey's taxi to an Oscar
09 Dec 99 |  Entertainment
McTeer tumbles towards Oscar
05 Nov 99 |  Tom Brook
Sam steals the show in Toronto

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