Two very different films look set to clean up at next year's Golden Globe awards, as the musical spectacular Chicago and Stephen Daldry's refined, literary drama The Hours head the field in today's nominations.
The Globes, which are announced in January, are regarded as the most reliable pointer towards Oscars success in March.
But each set of awards differs in the way its categories are ordered. The Globes set-up keeps this year's two heavyweights in different categories, with Chicago dominating the "musical or comedy" section and The Hours lording it over the "dramatic" category. The Academy awards, on the other hand, will force the two films head to head in the hunt for the major honours.
Elsewhere, the nominations strengthened the credentials of Jack Nicholson, nominated for best dramatic actor for his role in About Schmidt and Julianne Moore, nominated as best dramatic actress for Far From Heaven.
The nominations also spell good news for the Brits, with Daldry nominated for best director and Catherine Zeta-Jones shortlisted as best actress in a musical or comedy, for her role in Chicago. Hugh Grant is nominated for his role in About a Boy, while Michael Caine gets the nod for his work on The Quiet American. But the best hope for success in the acting categories may well be Daniel Day-Lewis, who is regarded as Nicholson's chief rival after his acclaimed turn as the villain of Martin Scorsese's The Gangs of New York.
Bafta film committee chairman Duncan Kenworthy warned the influence of Golden Globes decisions can be overstated, saying they are "the first indication in a changing picture. The game is not lost for the Oscars or Bafta awards if you're not nominated for the Golden Globes.
"The Globes are decided by a particular constituency, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and I think they're very star-driven, in that films with big stars in them tend to win out. I can see that Chicago will do well: they'll see Richard Gere tap-dancing, Renee Zellweger singing, and Catherine Zeta-Jones hoofing it. I think that will get more attention than Hugh Grant acting brilliantly."
For best director, Kenworthy says that while his personal hope is for Britain's Stephen Daldry, he wouldn't bet against Scorsese. "We all hoped that this year Scorsese would deliver his masterpiece. Gangs of New York, while not a great film, does have some extraordinary directorial touches, and I think they may give it to him, partly for emotional reasons, and partly from summing up his whole career - these things do have an influence."
Kenworthy also thinks the emotional attraction of seeing Martin Scorsese and Daniel Day-Lewis on stage together may be too much for the HFPA. "And to be honest, I'd love to see it too."
The Golden Globe awards will be announced on January 19, 2003.
The full list of nominees
Best dramatic film
The Gangs of New York
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Best dramatic actress
Salma Hayek - Frida
Nicole Kidman - The Hours
Julianne Moore - Far From Heaven
Meryl Streep - The Hours
Diane Lane - Unfaithful
Best dramatic actor
Adrian Brody - The Pianist
Michael Caine - The Quiet American
Daniel Day Lewis - Gangs of New York
Leonardo DiCaprio - Catch Me If You Can
Jack Nicholson - About Schmidt
Spike Jones - Adaptation
Peter Jackson - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Stephen Daldry - The Hours
Rob Marsall - Chicago
Alexander Payne - About Schmidt
Martin Scorsese - Gangs of New York
Best actress in a musical or comedy
Maggie Gyllenhaall - Secretary
Goldie Hawn - The Banger Sisters
Nia Vardalos - My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Renee Zellweger - Chicago
Catherine Zeta Jones -Chicago
Best musical or comedy
About a Boy
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Best actor in musical or comedy
Hugh Grant - About a Boy
Nicolas Cage - Adaptation
Kieran Culkin - Igby Goes down
Richard Gere - Chicago
Adam Sandler - Punch Drunk Love