It's not the Oscars, but as far as Hollywood is concerned, it's pretty close. It's the Golden Globes--and nominations for the 55th annual edition were announced this morning in Hollywood.

Overall, James Cameron's $200 million gamble called Titanic, opening Friday, led all comers in the film categories, with eight nominations. The quirky As Good As It Gets, starring Jack Nicholson, scored six nods, making it the most honored movie comedy.

Early returns show that it's very good to be Matt Damon. The 25-year-old won actor and screenplay nominations (the writing honor shared with buddy/costar Ben Affleck) for his labor of love, Good Will Hunting. Damon also saw his film about a janitor genius win a place among the lofty likes of Titanic and Amistad as a Best Drama hopeful.

Early returns also show that it's pretty good to be Helen Hunt. The Emmy winner was honored (again) for her sitcom work in NBC's Mad About You (a best TV comedy actress nomination), and for her film work in James L. Brooks' As Good As It Gets, opening nationwide next week. (Brooks was a double nominee himself--scoring nods in the writing and directing categories.)

And while we're on the subject, it wasn't too bad of a morning for old vet Steven Spielberg, either. His maiden DreamWorks directing venture, Amistad--shut out of the recent critics' awards and bedeviled by a plagiarism lawsuit--scored four key nominations, including that aforementioned Best Drama nod. All in all, a pretty cool way to mark your 50th birthday--as the onetime boy wonder does today.

Among those not enjoying a blissful Thursday (depending, of course, on how much emotional investment one places in such things): Quentin Tarantino, personally snubbed for his work on the highly anticipated Pulp Fiction follow-up, Jackie Brown; Sylvester Stallone, who got his best reviews in about 20 years for Cop Land; Gus Van Sant, the forgotten director of Good Will Hunting; Mark Wahlberg, a flavor-of-the-month for Boogie Nights who melted when Matt Damon became the new favorite Hot Young Thing; Paul Thomas Anderson, the writer-director of the much-hyped and (mostly) ignored Boogie Nights; and Kevin Spacey, a critical favorite for L.A. Confidential.

Here is the complete list of the Golden Globe nominations for film:

Best Film (drama): Amistad; The Boxer; Good Will Hunting; L.A. Confidential; Titanic.

Best Film (comedy/musical): As Good As It Gets; The Full Monty; Men in Black; My Best Friend's Wedding; Wag the Dog.

Best Actor (drama): Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting); Daniel Day-Lewis (The Boxer); Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic); Peter Fonda (Ulee's Gold); Djimon Hounsou (Amistad).

Best Actress (drama): Helena Bonham Carter (The Wings of the Dove); Judi Dench (Mrs. Brown); Jodie Foster (Contact); Jessica Lange (A Thousand Acres); Kate Winslet (Titanic).

Best Actor (comedy/musical): Jim Carrey (Liar, Liar); Dustin Hoffman (Wag the Dog); Samuel L. Jackson (Jackie Brown); Kevin Kline (In & Out); Jack Nicholson (As Good As It Gets).

Best Actress (comedy/musical): Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy); Pam Grier (Jackie Brown); Helen Hunt (As Good As It Gets); Jennifer Lopez (Selena); Julia Roberts (My Best Friend's Wedding).

Best Supporting Actor: Rupert Everett (My Best Friend's Wedding); Anthony Hopkins (Amistad); Greg Kinnear (As Good As It Gets); Burt Reynolds (Boogie Nights); Jon Voight (The Rainmaker); Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting).

Best Supporting Actress (motion picture): Kim Basinger (L.A. Confidential); Joan Cusack (In & Out); Julianne Moore (Boogie Nights); Gloria Stuart (Titanic); Sigourney Weaver (The Ice Storm).

Best Director: James L. Brooks (As Good As It Gets); James Cameron (Titanic); Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential); Jim Sheridan (The Boxer); Steven Spielberg (Amistad).

Best Screenplay: As Good As It Gets; Titanic; Good Will Hunting; L.A. Confidential; Wag the Dog.

Best Foreign Language Film: Artemisia (France); The Best Man (Italy); Lea (Germany); My Life in Pink (Belgium); The Thief (Russia).

Best Original Score: Philip Glass, Kundun; Jerry Goldsmith, L.A. Confidential; James Horner, Titanic; Michael Nyman, Gattaca; John Williams, Seven Years in Tibet.

Best Original Song: "Go the Distance," Hercules; "Journey to the Past," Anastasia; "My Heart Will Go On," Titanic; "Once Upon a December," Anastasia; "Tomorrow Never Dies," Tomorrow Never Dies.

If some of these films--As Good As It Gets, Wag the Dog, The Boxer, included--sound mysterious, it's because they don't open, even in limited release, until next week.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Golden Globes honor both TV and film. But it's the film categories that are most closely scrutinized--Oscar aficionados always looking for clues as to who (and what) will be deigned worthy of the little bald guys come the spring.

The TV categories are a little early in the game to be considered accurate precursors for next fall's Emmy Awards, but awards are awards--and Hollywood will take 'em all, thank you very much.

In the TV division, NBC led all networks with 23 overall nominations. ABC followed with 10, CBS and Fox with six each, TNT with five, and HBO and Showtime with four.

Here is the complete lineup of the Golden Globe nominations for TV:

Best Series (drama): Chicago Hope (CBS); ER (NBC); Law & Order (NBC); NYPD Blue (ABC); The X-Files (Fox).

Best Series (comedy/musical): 3rd Rock from the Sun (NBC); Ally McBeal (Fox); Frasier (NBC); Friends (NBC); Seinfeld (NBC) Spin City (ABC).

Best Mini-Series or TV-movie: 12 Angry Men (Showtime); Don King: Only in America (HBO); George Wallace (TNT); Miss Evers' Boys (HBO); The Odyssey (NBC).

Best Actor (drama series): Kevin Anderson (Nothing Sacred); George Clooney (ER); David Duchovny (The X-Files); Anthony Edwards (ER); Lance Henriksen (Millennium).

Best Actress (drama series): Gillian Anderson (The X-Files); Kim Delaney (NYPD Blue); Roma Downey (Touched By an Angel); Christine Lahti (Chicago Hope); Julianna Marguilies (ER).

Best Actor (comedy/musical series): Michael J. Fox (Spin City); Kelsey Grammer (Frasier); John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun); Paul Reiser (Mad About You); Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld).

Best Actress (comedy/musical series): Kirstie Alley (Veronica's Closet); Ellen DeGeneres (Ellen); Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg); Calista Flockhart (Ally McBeal); Helen Hunt (Mad About You); Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan).

Best Actor (mini-series or TV-movie): Armand Assante (The Odyssey); Jack Lemmon (12 Angry Men); Matthew Modine (What the Deaf Man Heard); Ving Rhames (Don King: Only in America); Gary Sinise (George Wallace).

Best Actress (mini-series or TV-movie): Ellen Barkin (Before Women Had Wings); Jena Malone (Hope); Vanessa Redgrave (Bella Mafia); Meryl Streep (...First Do No Harm); Alfre Woodard (Miss Evers' Boys).

Best Supporting Actor (series, mini-series or TV-movie): Jason Alexander (Seinfeld); Michael Caine (Mandela and DeKlerk); Eriq LaSalle (ER); David Hyde Pierce (Frasier); George C. Scott (12 Angry Men); Noah Wyle (ER).

Best Supporting Actress (series, mini-series or TV-movie): Joely Fisher (Ellen); Angelina Jolie (George Wallace); Della Reese (Touched by an Angel); Gloria Reuben (ER); Mare Winningham (George Wallace).

The awards, to be broadcast on NBC, will be handed out January 18.

(UPDATED at 12:50 pm on 12/18/97)

Discuss the nominations in backtalk

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