BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – The movie musical Chicago received a leading eight Golden Globe nominations Thursday, while the film version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Hours got seven and the comedy Adaptation had six.
Along with Chicago and Adaptation, a comedy of in-jokes about its writers' attempts to fashion its screenplay from the nonfiction book The Orchid Thief, movies competing for best musical or comedy were the Dickens classic Nicholas Nickleby, Hugh Grant's About a Boy and the surprise hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Besides The Hours — a story about three women whose lives are linked to Virginia Woolf's novel Mrs. Dalloway — the contenders for best film drama were the Jack Nicholson road-trip saga About Schmidt, director Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York, the fantasy sequel The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Roman Polanski's The Pianist.
In television, perennial award nominees The Sopranos and The West Wing competed again for best drama along with Six Feet Under, The Shield and 24. TV comedy nominees were The Simpsons, Will & Grace, Sex and the City, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Friends.
Meryl Streep received two film nominations, competing with The Hours co-star Nicole Kidman for best dramatic actress, and in the supporting actress category for Adaptation.
Other dramatic actress nominees were Salma Hayek for Frida, Diane Lane for Unfaithful and Julianne Moore for Far From Heaven.
Nicholson's turn as a bedraggled widower in About Schmidt earned him a dramatic actor mention, along with Leonardo DiCaprio as a con artist in Catch Me If You Can, Daniel Day-Lewis' crime lord in Gangs of New York, Michael Caine's weary journalist in The Quiet American and Adrien Brody as a musician evading Nazis in The Pianist.
"It was a tremendous journey both physically and emotionally," Brody said. "I immersed myself in a state of isolation, went on extreme diet. ... I lost 30 pounds and I'm kind of thin already. And I had to learn to play Chopin so there was a lot. And I had to do that in basically six weeks."
"Thank God," Caine told E! in a phone interview from England. "I always feel it's a miracle."
The 69-year-old actor has been nominated for Golden Globes 11 times before, and won three: for 1983's Educating Rita, the 1988 TV movie Jack the Ripper and 1998's Little Voice.
Nicolas Cage's role as screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and his fictional twin brother in Adaptation placed him against Grant in About a Boy, Kieran Culkin in Igby Goes Down, Richard Gere in Chicago and Adam Sandler in Punch-Drunk Love in the comedic or musical actor category.
Besides Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones in Chicago, nominees for actress in a musical or comedy were Nia Vardalos in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Goldie Hawn in The Banger Sisters and Maggie Gyllenhaal in Secretary.
"I'm so excited you have no idea," Zellweger said.
When she saw the film scoring other multiple nominations "across the ticker at the bottom of the television screen, my head almost popped off," she added.
Directing nominees were Scorsese for Gangs of New York, Peter Jackson for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Stephen Daldry for The Hours, Spike Jonze for Adaptation, Rob Marshall for Chicago and Alexander Payne for About Schmidt.
In a blur between reality and fiction, Kaufman was credited along with his fictional twin brother "Donald" in the screenplay category for Adaptation. Also nominated: Bill Condon for adapting the stage musical Chicago, David Hare for The Hours, Todd Haynes for Far From Heaven, and Payne and Jim Taylor for About Schmidt.
"Every musical in the world has the weight of the world on its shoulders," Condon said. "With two in a row (after Moulin Rouge), maybe it's a trend."
Kathy Bates in About Schmidt, Cameron Diaz in Gangs of New York, Queen Latifah in Chicago and Susan Sarandon in Igby Goes Down joined Streep in the supporting actress category.
Supporting actor nominees were Chris Cooper for Adaptation, Ed Harris for The Hours, Paul Newman for Road to Perdition, Dennis Quaid for Far From Heaven and John C. Reilly for Chicago.
Golden Globe nominees are chosen by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's roughly 90 members, who cover Hollywood for overseas publications. The awards are in 13 movie and 11 television categories, and will be awarded Jan. 19 during a live telecast on NBC.
They are regarded by some as indicators of front-runners for the Academy Award nominations in February.
HBO led television networks with 26 nominations for its shows The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and the movies Path to War, Live from Baghdad and The Gathering Storm. NBC had 13, followed by Fox with seven and CBS and FX with three each. ABC and TNT had two apiece.