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GOLDEN GLOBES MARK RETURN OF GLITZ
Copyright 2002 www.variety.com

[ January21st 2002 ]

Hollywood's biggest stars, such as Nicole Kidman and celebrity couple Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie, strolled the red carpet before the Golden Globe Awards Sunday amid unprecedented security for one of Hollywood's top awards show.

Each year the Golden Globes, which are given by 90 voting members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, narrow the odds of winning an Oscar - Hollywood's top film honors awarded in March by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. As the curtain rises on the 59th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Hollywood has returned to its trademark glamour after the television industry's subdued Emmy awards last November, which were delayed twice after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The stars were chauffeured to the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where the event is held, in limousines stocked with champagne. They donned tuxedos, sequined gowns and diamonds, a return to something like business as usual after Emmy organizers asked participants to forgo flashy fashion in deference to the national mood. Even so, the Golden Globes ceremony took place amid the tightest security in the event's history and the red carpet was ringed by police and private security.

This year's contest for Oscars is wide open in the race for best film with Crowe's drama A Beautiful Mind pitted against critical hits such as the musical Moulin Rouge, starring Kidman, and Ali with Will Smith playing the legendary boxer. Beautiful Mind and Moulin Rouge came into this year's Golden Globes with six nominations each, but they will be competing in different categories. Unlike the Academy Awards, which give out only one Oscar for best film, the Golden Globes split the best movie category in two parts - one for best drama and a second for top musical or comedy.

Director Ron Howard's Beautiful Mind faces tough competition for best dramatic film honors from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, which won the American Film Institute's best-picture award earlier this month. Critics have been split over three other films that all received widespread acclaim: dark drama In the Bedroom, the Coen brothers' offbeat The Man Who Wasn't There, and David Lynch's love story, Mulholland Drive.

Nominees for best actors in a drama are led by Beautiful Mind star Russell Crowe, who received his second straight nod in the best dramatic actor category for his portrayal of schizophrenic mathematician John Forbes Nash. Crowe faces a fight from Will Smith, who won praise for his performance as the prizefighter Muhammad Ali in Ali and from Denzel Washington for portraying a rogue cop in Training Day. Other nominees are Kevin Spacey in The Shipping News and critics' pick Thornton for The Man Who Wasn't There.

After taking most critics' awards, Sissy Spacek is the clear front-runner in the best dramatic actress category for her role as a grieving mother in In the Bedroom. She faces stiff competition from Halle Berry in the racial drama Monster's Ball, Judi Dench for love story Iris, Kidman in The Others, and Britain's Tilda Swinton in The Deep End.

In the best musical or comedy category, nominations included Moulin Rouge starring Kidman and Ewan McGregor as a pair of ill-fated lovers, and Robert Altman's Gosford Park, an upstairs-downstairs tale of murder amid English high society and its serving class. They are joined by computer-animated hit Shrek, Legally Blonde starring Reese Witherspoon as an unlikely Harvard Law student, and Bridget Jones's Diary with Renee Zellweger as a British writer.

Best actress in a movie musical or comedy nominees were Thora Birch for Ghost World, Cate Blanchett in Bandits, Witherspoon in Legally Blonde, and Zellweger in Bridget Jones's Diary, as well as Kidman. In the best actor in a musical or comedy, McGregor was joined by Gene Hackman for The Royal Tenenbaums, Hugh Jackman in Kate & Leopold, Thornton for Bandits, and John Cameron Mitchell in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

While the spotlight at the Golden Globes shines on movies and movie stars, the night also is filled with awards for television shows, actors and actresses. In those arenas, NBC White House drama The West Wing, named best dramatic TV series last year, squares off against HBO's The Sopranos, which took the title in 2000.

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