Looking at the winners in the musical and comedycategories of the Golden Globe Awards in the last five years, it is not such asurprising selection: most films and actors went on to win Oscar nominations.

But look at the nominations and the real surprisesappear. Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality,Robert De Niro in Meet The Parents,Jim Carrey in How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Mel Gibson in What Women Want, Hugh Jackman in Kate And Leopold, Brenda Blethyn in Saving Grace, Kieran Culkin in Igby Goes Down, John Cameron Mitchell in Hedwig And TheAngry Inch, Jack Black in SchoolOf Rock, Hugh Grant in About ABoy, Billy Bob Thornton in BadSanta, Jamie Lee Curtis in FreakyFriday, and so on.

Bravura comic performances such as these in mainstreamHollywood films rarely cross into the Oscar shortlist.

The Academy and most awards bodies with only one acting categorytend to favour tortured dramatic performances. Only rarely have comic turns -Tom Hanks in Big, Renee Zellweger in BridgetJones' Diary, Johnny Depp in PiratesOf The Caribbean - made the Oscarshortlist.

It is a smart move by the Hollywood Foreign PressAssociation (HFPA) to recognise these comic performances, bringing more A-listtalent into the Golden Globe show itself, while buying goodwill in the often-overlookedcomedy arena. After all, how often do actors say it is harder to play comedythan drama'

This year offers an unusually competitive array of comictalent prospects for the Globe categories which will compete with an unusuallyhigh number of musical entries. With Pride & Prejudice, Mrs HendersonPresents, Walk The Line, The Producers, Rent, The Squid And The Whale and Breakfast On Pluto all in the running, there will be little room forother films or performers from other films to get a look-in.

It is hard to imagine, for example, that Judi Dench willnot snag a Globe nomination for lead actress in Stephen Frears' MrsHenderson Presents.

In one of her most poignant and playful movieperformances to date, Dench manages to make a septuagenarian as compelling alead character as any twentysomething.

Similarly, it would be surprising if Jeff Daniels did notsecure a lead actor slot for Noah Baumbach's heartbreaking comedy of divorce TheSquid And The Whale.

As Bernard Berkman, Daniels embodied the hubris of aself-satisfied east coast intellectual.

Then there is Ireland's Cillian Murphy, who dons drag forvirtually the entire 129-minute running time of Neil Jordan's Breakfast OnPluto. As the soft-spoken transvestitedreamer Patrick 'Kitten' Braden, Murphy created a unique character and he is asaccomplished in illuminating Kitten's emotional baggage as he is walking inheels.

No end-of-year awards conversation is complete withoutdiscussion of Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon in James Mangold's WalkThe Line. As Johnny Cash and June Carterrespectively, the two actors are shoo-ins for Globe nominations. They both sangtheir own songs, and created fully-rounded characterisations that transcendedthe celebrity of their famous characters.

Nominations could go to either or both of the double actof Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick playing Max Bialystock and Leo Bloomrespectively in The Producers: The Movie Musical.

The HFPA has always favoured musical stars - witness thesweep for Chicago in 2002 and the win for Nicole Kidman for Moulin Rouge in 2001 - and Lane and Broderick should befavourably considered for the energetic recreations of their Broadway roles.

Of the individual comic male performances on show,several stand out.

Bill Murray won a Globe in 2003 for Lost InTranslation, a comedy whose subtle tone isnot dissimilar from his 2005 contender Broken Flowers in which he plays Don Johnston, a man on a tour ofhis ex-girlfriends. It is another variation on Murray's Lost In Translation persona - a cynical character run through withdisillusionment - but it is a fine performance nonetheless.

Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer both give memorable comicturns in Shane Black's witty directorial debut Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, a noir comedy which first played out of competitionat the Cannes film festival this year.

Downey is magnetic as petty thief turned would-be moviestar Harry Lockhart, but arguably Kilmer steals the show as private eye GayPerry, a tough guy and deadpan action man who happens to be gay.

Perhaps most startling of all in the male category isPierce Brosnan, who delivered one of the year's most satisfyingly subversiveperformances as a hitman on the verge of a nervous breakdown, in The Matador.

Brosnan gave the character a dissolute, sexuallyambiguous nature which turned his Bond persona on its head.

Vince Vaughn made an impression in the comic ensemble ofblockbuster hit Wedding Crashers.

Vaughn played perfectly to type as the brash,opportunistic Jeremy Grey, in the biggest comedy hit of the year (see boxoffice chart, right).

Other male leads who could qualify for their comedy workinclude Nicolas Cage for The Weather Man,Heath Ledger in Casanova, SteveCarell in The 40-Year-Old Virginand Billy Bob Thornton in Bad News Bears.

In the actress category, it is a battle between Dench andWitherspoon, although Dench's seniority and perennial popularity give her theedge. Otherwise, competition among the women is not as fierce as among the men.

Keira Knightley should comfortably secure a nominationfor her surprisingly good interpretation of Elizabeth Bennet in Joe Wright's Pride& Prejudice.

After a string of feisty pretty-girl roles in PiratesOf The Caribbean, King Arthur and LoveActually, Knightley finally demonstratedher acting chops.

She may not have been in the original Broadway cast of Rent, but Rosario Dawson proved winning as theHIV-positive junky erotic dancer Mimi in Chris Columbus' film.

Playing one of Rent'smore damaged characters - and singing up a storm - she could land an actressnomination after 10 years of solid work in films as diverse as Kids,Men In Black II, Alexander and SinCity.

Globe favourite Sarah Jessica Parker - she won four forTV's Sex And The City - has a shot at anomination for her performance in Fox holiday comedy The Family Stonein which she upstages Diane Keaton, DermotMulroney, Claire Danes and others as an uptight Manhattan executive given afrosty reception by her fiance's family one Christmas.

Uma Thurman has four Globe nominations to her credit andone win (for TV movie Hysterical Blindnessin 2002).

She could easily score another nomination for her elegantperformance as a 37-year-old divorcee having an affair with a 23-year-old manin Ben Younger's comedy Prime. She is also eligible in the supporting actresscategory for The Producers.

Other possible female lead comedy performances this yearinclude Jane Fonda in Monster-In-Law,Nicole Kidman in Bewitched andRadha Mitchell in Melinda And Melinda.

In the musical or comedy picture category of the Globes,there is further competition from animated comedies Wallace And Gromit: TheCurse Of The Were-Rabbit and Tim Burton's CorpseBride, which are both eligible this year.

At time of going to press, two major Hollywood comedies -Rumour Has It, starring Jennifer Anistonand Kevin Costner, and Fun With Dick And Jane, starring Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni - had yet to bescreened, although both the films and their stars are eligible for the Globesin the comedy and musical categories. 

Mike Goodridge is a member of the Hollywood ForeignPress Association, which votes on the Golden Globes

Golden Globes: and the winner was...


Best motion picture (musical or comedy)


Best actor (musical or comedy)

Jamie Foxx, Ray

Best actress (musical or comedy)

Annette Bening, Sideways


Best motion picture (musical or comedy)

Lost In Translation

Best actor (musical or comedy)

Bill Murray, Lost In Translation

Best actress (musical or comedy)

Diane Keaton, Something's Gotta Give


Best motion picture (musical or comedy)


Best actor (musical or comedy)

Richard Gere, Chicago

Best actress (musical or comedy)

Renee Zellweger, Chicago


Best motion picture (musical or comedy)

Moulin Rouge

Best actor (musical or comedy)

Gene Hackman, The Royal Tenenbaums

Best actress (musical or comedy)

Nicole Kidman, Moulin Rouge


Best motion picture (musical or comedy)

Almost Famous

Best actor (musical or comedy)

George Clooney, O Brother, Where Art Thou'

Best actress (musical or comedy)

Renee Zellweger, Nurse Betty

News round-up

Great Scots

On A Clear Day and Festival triumph at the BAFTA ScotlandAwards

Honours were equally shared between On A Clear Day andFestival at the BAFTA Scotland Awards, held in Glasgow on November 13. StarringPeter Mullan, On A Clear Day won both best film and best screenplay for AlexRose.

Having received six nominations, the bawdy ensemblecomedy Festival won best director for Annie Griffin and best actor for ChrisO'Dowd. The most prestigious award of the evening for outstanding achievementwent to Iain Smith, the Scottish producer whose long and varied careerstretches from Local Hero (1983) to The Mission (1986), Cold Mountain (2003)and Alexander (2004).


Best film: On A Clear Day

Best short film: Dupe

Best animation: A Bus Ride And Flowers In Her Hair

Best documentary: The Holyrood Files

Best screenplay: Alex Rose (On a Clear Day)

Best actress: Shirley Henderson (Frozen)

Best actor in a Scottish film: Chris O'Dowd (Festival)

Best director: Annie Griffin (Festival)

Cineworld audience award: Night People

Outstanding achievement in film:

Iain Smith


Best new work: Can't Stop Breathing

Best first-time director: Samir Mehanovic (The Way WePlayed)

Best new screenplay: Gregor Barclay (The ImmeasurableJoy)

Best first time performance: Kellyanne Farquhar (MonarchOf The Glen)

BAFTA/LA also hosted its Britannia Awards on November 10.

Hidden agenda

Michael Haneke dominates nominations for the EuropeanFilm Awards (Dec 3)


Brothers, Den-UK-Sweden-Norway

Hidden, France-Austria-Germany-Italy

Don't Come Knocking, Germany

The Child, Belgium-France

My Summer Of Love, UK

Sophie Scholl - The Final Days, Germany


Susanne Bier (Brothers)

Roberto Faenza (Come Into The Light)

Michael Haneke (Hidden)

Alex de la Iglesia (Ferpect Crime)

Pawel Pawlikowski (My Summer Of Love)

Cristi Puiu (The Death Of Mr Lazarescu)

Wim Wenders (Don't Come Knocking)


Juliette Binoche (Hidden)

Sandra Ceccarelli (The Life I Want)

Julia Jentsch (Sophie Scholl - The Final Days)

Connie Nielsen (Brothers)

Natalie Press (My Summer Of Love)

Audrey Tautou (A Very Long Engagement)


Daniel Auteuil (Hidden)

Romain Duris (The Beat That My Heart Skipped)

Henry Hubchen (Go For Zucker!)

Ulrich Matthes (The Ninth Day)

Jeremie Renier (The Child)

Ulrich Thomsen (Brothers)


Hany Abu-Assad and Bero Beyer (Paradise Now)

Mark O'Halloran (Adam And Paul)

Michael Haneke (Hidden)

Anders Thomas Jensen (Adam's Apples and Brothers)

Dani Levy and Holger Franke (Go For Zucker!)

Cristi Puiu and Razvan Radulescu (The Death Of MrLazarescu)


Christian Berger (Hidden)

Bruno Delbonnel (A Very Long Engagement)

Anthony Dod Mantle (Manderlay)

Ryszard Lenczewski (My Summer Of Love)

Franz Lustig (Don't Come Knocking)

Gyula Pados (Fateless)

Rent too late for BAFTA

Sony's Rent, directed by Chris Columbus, will not qualifyfor consideration in this year's Orange British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs)because of a change of UK release date. A Sony spokesperson said it will bereleased in the UK on a yet to be confirmed date next year.

The film is an adaptation of Jonathan Larson'slong-running musical about bohemians struggling to live and pay their rent inNew York's East village, against a backdrop of poverty, illness and AIDS. Itwill still be eligible for the Golden Globe and Academy Awards as it opens inthe US on November 23.