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    Globe Nominations, by George

    For one day at least, George Clooney stood about as tall as all of Brokeback Mountain.

    Clooney drew three Golden Globe nominations for two films Tuesday, setting himself up as a one-man challenge to the award-season frontrunner that is Brokeback Mountain.

    The tale of gay cowboys in 1960s Wyoming, Brokeback rounded up a field-best seven nods, including one for Best Drama. Director Ang Lee, Heath Ledger (Best Actor, Drama) and Michelle Williams (Best Supporting Actress), Ledger's real-life love interest, also were nominated. Jake Gyllenhaal, Ledger's on-screen love interest, was not.

    Big-budget, prestige pictures that failed to keep up with Brokeback, much less Clooney, included Peter Jackson's King Kong remake, Steven Spielberg's Munich, a look at the terrorism-tainted 1972 Summer Olympics, and the best-seller-based Memoirs of a Geisha, all cut down to size with just two nominations each, and all shut out of the potentially Oscar-defining Best Drama race.

    Minus heavy-hitters such as Kong, Brokeback's chief Best Drama competition figures to be Good Night, and Good Luck. The black-and-white, Clooney-directed tribute to crusading 1950s newsman Edward R. Murrow is up for a total of four awards.

    Get the complete list of contenders.

    For recap and reaction, tune in to E! News, tonight at 7.

    The rest of the Best Drama race is made up of films that, like Brokeback and Good Night, will not soon be confused for popcorn pictures: The Constant Gardener, the spy tale starring Ralph Fiennes; A History of Violence; and Match Point, Woody Allen's against-type thriller.

    Overall, Hollywood's popcorn pictures just didn't pop with the Hollywood Foreign Press. The year-to-date's top 20 money-makers combined for all of one nomination. The biggest blockbusters, Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and War of the Worlds, produced zip.

    Having much better luck were films such as Match Point, which, judging by Allen's recent track record at the box office, could well make zip.

    Like Good Night, the Allen drama was nominated for four Globes. And like Clooney, Allen is a multiple nominee, up for two awards as writer and director. The nods are Allen's first at the Globes in nearly 20 years--or, since before then-girlfriend Mia Farrow, to trace the career-sinking scandal to its point of origin, found naked pictures of daughter Soon-Yi Previn at the filmmaker's apartment.

    Also up for four Globes: the big-screen version of the Broadway hit The Producers. The Mel Brooks-penned musical leads the way among supposedly lighter-fare contenders. (Unlike the Oscars, the Globes makes such class distinctions.) It'll vie for the Best Musical or Comedy award against Mrs. Henderson Presents, Pride & Prejudice, The Squid and the Whale and Walk the Line, about country legends Johnny and June Carter Cash.

    In the Best Actor, Drama category, Ledger will face off against former winner Russell Crowe, up for the mostly ignored boxing biopic Cinderella Man; critics' choice Philip Seymour Hoffman, up for the otherwise ignored Capote; Terrence Howard, up for his breakthrough work in Hustle & Flow; and David Strathairn, up for representing Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck.

    The Best Actress, Drama race will make do without Kong's Naomi Watts, who, buzz or no, was snubbed by voters, as was every other actor in Jackson's giant-sized movie. (Even Jessica Lange's much-mocked performance in the 1976 Kong earned a Globe nod.) Instead, Maria Bello (A History of Violence), Felicity Huffman (Transamerica), Gwyneth Paltrow (Proof), Charlize Theron (North Country) and Zhang Ziyi (Memoirs of a Geisha) will try to up their respective Oscar stock with a win.

    As a thespian, Clooney's a contender in the Best Supporting Actor category for looking scruffy and puffy in the political thriller Syriana. The other nominees: Matt Dillon, for playing a racist cop with a heart of semi-gold in Crash; Will Ferrell, for playing a Nazi playwright in The Producers; Paul Giamatti, for staying in Crowe's corner in Cinderella Man; and Bob Hoskins, for backing Judi Dench's clothes-defying theatrical production in Mrs. Henderson Presents.

    TOP CONTENDERS
    Motion Picture
    Noms
    Brokeback Mountain
    7
    Good Night, and Good Luck
    4
    Match Point
    4
    The Producers
    4
    TV Program
    Noms
    Desperate Housewives
    5
    Empire Falls
    4

    As a writer-director, meanwhile, Clooney's on even footing now with Spielberg--not to mention a pair of Pulitzer Prize winners.

    The Spielberg showdown comes in the Best Director race, where it's Clooney (Good Night) and Spielberg (Munich) against Allen (Match Point), Jackson (King Kong), Lee (Brokeback) and Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener).

    As a Best Screenplay contender, Clooney, who penned the Good Night script with Grant Heslov, will match his wordplay against that of Allen (Match Point), Larry McMurtry, the Pulitzer-winning author and cowriter of Brokeback Mountain, and Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer-winning playwright and cowriter of Munich. Also nominated: Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco for Crash.

    Long a Golden Globe favorite for TV's Sex and the City, Sarah Jessica Parker netted her first recognition from the Hollywood Foreign Press as a film star for her turn in the upcoming The Family Stone. Parker's Best Actress, Musical or Comedy nod puts her in the same company as: Judi Dench (Mrs. Henderson Presents); Keira Knightley (Pride & Prejudice); Laura Linney (The Squid and the Whale); and Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line).

    Joaquin Phoenix, Johnny to Witherspoon's June, is a Best Actor, Musical or Comedy contender for Walk the Line. Also nominated: Pierce Brosnan (The Matador); Jeff Daniels (The Squid and the Whale); Johnny Depp (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory); Nathan Lane (The Producers); and Cillian Murphy (Breakfast on Pluto).

    In the Best Supporting Actress field, Williams is up against Scarlet Johansson (Match Point), Shirley MacLaine (In Her Shoes), Frances McDormand (North Country) and Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener).

    MacLaine was the lone nominee from In Her Shoes, a well regarded chick-lit tale that died at the box office, and now has failed to be revived at the Globes. Other movies in similar straits: Rent, the musical that didn't rate a nomination for Best Musical, nor for anything else; The Weather Man, the Nicolas Cage existential drama left to ponder nothingness as it pertains to award-show nominations; and Elizabethtown, the rare Cameron Crowe film with no Globe presence.

    Movies that have yet to open in theaters, but might have already seen their award-show hopes dashed include Freedomland and Jennifer Aniston's Rumor Has It..., which between them rated zero nominations.

    In the TV categories, Desperate Housewives beat back talk of a sophomore slump with five nominations, the most of any series or telepic. Four of the ABC soap's nods were hoarded by its quartet of stars: Teri Hatcher; Marcia Cross; Felicity Huffman, with her Best Actress, Drama entry for Transamerica, a double-nominee; and Eva Longoria, a snubee no more. All are up for Best TV Series Actress, Musical or Comedy.

    The fifth nominee in the category also plays a desperate suburbanite--Mary-Louise Parker is in the race for her turn as a pot-selling single mom on Showtime's Weeds.

    Not one Housewives husband, meanwhile, made the Globes cut. The same fate befell Housewives divorcée Nicollette Sheridan, previously a supporting TV actress hopeful.

    As a show, Housewives is nominated again as Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy. Its competition: HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm; HBO's Entourage; UPN's Everybody Hates Chris; NBC's My Name Is Earl; and Showtime's Weeds, the first ever such nod for the cable network.

    In the Best TV Series, Drama race, ABC's Lost is the veteran among newcomers Commander in Chief (ABC), Grey's Anatomy (ABC), Prison Break (Fox) and Rome (HBO). Usual-suspect contenders CSI, 24 and the various Law & Orders were not among this year's suspects.

    Donald Sutherland scored two nominations, one for his supporting role on Commander in Chief and one for his supporting role in the Lifetime made-for-cable movie, Human Trafficking. Son Keifer Sutherland is a Best TV Series Actor, Drama nominee for Fox's 24.

    Other notable contenders for Globes from the TV division include: Halle Berry, back from Catwoman and up for Best Actress, Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie for Their Eyes Were Watching God; Mira Sorvino, enjoying her first major award-show nomination in nearly a decade as a Best Actress, Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie hopeful for Human Trafficking; and Paul Newman, doing his timeless thing as a supporting actor nominee for the HBO miniseries Empire Falls. Newman's competition includes the TV nominee with arguably the loudest buzz: Entourage's uber-agent Jeremy Piven.

    The 63rd Annual Golden Globes, to be broadcast by NBC, are scheduled for Jan. 16 in Beverly Hills. Anthony Hopkins is the night's only assured trophy recipient, pencilled in for the honorary Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement.

    Complete list of nominees.

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