SA’s Theron, Tsotsi nominated for Golden Globes

South African-born actress Charlize Theron was nominated for best actress for North Country, and director Gavin Hood’s Tsotsi — based on the Athol Fugard novel and portraying six days in the life of a young Johannesburg gang leader — was nominated for best foreign film on Tuesday when the list of nominations for the Golden Globes was announced.

The belief that Hollywood loves nothing more than a minority was given a boost when the gay cowboy drama Brokeback Mountain topped the list. The film, made by the genre-hopping director Ang Lee, received seven nominations, for best drama, director, actor, supporting actress, screenplay, score and song.

The big surprise of the nominations, announced in the early morning in Los Angeles, was that Steven Spielberg’s much-hyped Munich was overlooked in the best-drama category, receiving recognition instead for best director and best screenplay. But while one veteran director may have felt snubbed, Woody Allen, whose career has been in freefall, did make the best-drama list for his latest film, Match Point.

The other films in the best-drama category were the thriller The Constant Gardener, David Cronenberg’s edgy A History of Violence and George Clooney’s political drama Good Night and Good Luck.

The Globes are viewed as the second-most-important film awards after the Oscars, and are often interpreted as a guide to the likely destination of the Oscars. On Tuesday, they followed the early lead in the awards season given by Los Angeles and New York film critics, who have already voted Brokeback Mountain their film of the year.

This year’s nominations overlook the blockbusters churned out by the Hollywood industry, with King Kong, directed by Peter Jackson, the man responsible for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, being the only big-budget film to gain a nomination in a leading category, for best director.

In a tilt at the big studios, the Globes’ organisers took pleasure in declaring that all the best-film nominees were independents, made for less than $30-million.

Unlike the Oscars, the Golden Globes divide films into categories for best drama and best comedy or musical. The nominees for best musical or comedy included Pride and Prejudice, the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line and Mrs Henderson Presents, the story of a British aristocrat who opens a nude theatrical review. That performance earned nominations for Judi Dench for best actress and Bob Hoskins for supporting actor.

The best-actor category, which included a nomination for Brokeback Mountain star Heath Ledger, was dominated by actors impersonating historical figures: Philip Seymour Hoffman got a nod for his depiction of Truman Capote, David Strathairn for his performance as newsman Ed Murrow and Russell Crowe as boxer Jim Braddock in Cinderella Man.

But Brokeback Mountain stole the headlines. Based on a short story by Annie Proulx that was first published in the New Yorker, the film tells the story of two cowboys who have a long-running affair. Michelle Williams received a nomination for her performance as the wife of one of them, who chooses to ignore the affair to keep her family together.

After winning best film at the Venice film festival, Brokeback Mountain has only had a limited opening in the US, where it has received ecstatic reviews.

Anthony Hopkins will be honoured with the Cecil B DeMille Award for lifetime achievement.

The Golden Globes will be presented in Los Angeles on January 16.

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Elvira Van Noort
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