‘Aviator’ soars ‘Sideways’


BEVERLY HILLS, California:

The Howard Hughes epic ‘The Aviator’ and the road-trip romp ‘Sideways’ earned best-picture Golden Globes, boosting their status as front-runners for the upcoming Academy Awards.

‘The Aviator’ won for best dramatic film, giving it an edge at the Oscars, which favour heavyweight drama. Doing battle for the best drama statuette with ‘The Aviator’ and ‘Closer’ were Clint Eastwood’s ‘Million Dollar Baby’, ‘Finding Neverland’ starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslett, ‘Hotel Rwanda’ and ‘Kinsey’ starring Liam Neeson.

‘Sideways’ won for comedy film. ‘Sideways’ faced competition from the animated superhero film ‘The Incredibles’, as well as the story of singer Ray Charles in ‘Ray’, psychological comedy ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ and ‘Phantom of the Opera’.

Jamie Foxx of the Ray Charles film biography ‘Ray’, Hilary Swank of the boxing saga ‘Million Dollar Baby’, Annette Bening of the showbiz comedy ‘Being Julia’ and DiCaprio of ‘The Aviator’ also boosted their Oscar odds by winning the top acting Globes.

Earning a record three Globe nominations, Foxx lost in his other two categories, supporting movie actor for ‘Collateral’’. Bening won for best actress in a movie musical or comedy, playing an aging stage diva in 1930s London who plots gleeful revenge against the men in her life.

Swank’s and Bening’s Golden Globe wins set up an Oscar rematch between the actresses, who competed against each other five years ago for best actress. Underdog Swank won the Golden Globe and Oscar for ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ over Bening, who had been considered the favourite for ‘American Beauty’. Former Oscar-winner Swank was tipped to snatch the best actress in a drama Globe for ‘Million Dollar Baby’. Also running were British actress Imelda Staunton, nominated for the 1950s abortion drama ‘Vera Drake’, Scarlett Johansson for ‘Love Song for Bobby Long’, Uma Thurman for Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill Vol 2’ and Nicole Kidman for ‘Birth’. ‘In ‘Million Dollar Baby’, Swank plays a determined boxer whose life takes a tragic turn.

As Hughes in ‘The Aviator’, DiCaprio reunited with his ‘Gangs of New York’ director Martin Scorsese. Eastwood won the directing honour for ‘Million Dollar Baby’, solidifying his chances to win the same honour at the Oscars. Eastwood, who previously won the directing Oscar for ‘Unforgiven’, thanked the “great Hilary Swank and the world’s greatest actor, Morgan Freeman,” who co-starred with him in ‘Million Dollar Baby’. Natalie Portman and Clive Owen won supporting-actor honours for the sex drama ‘Closer’, their wins coming as something of a surprise. Both offered profuse thanks to ‘Closer’ director Mike Nichols.

The oddball romance ‘Sideways’ won the screenplay honour for Jim Taylor and director Alexander Payne, who thanked the cast for “servicing our screenplay so beautifully.”

‘The Aviator’ earned composer Howard Shore the Globe for film score, while Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart won the song honour for ‘Old Habits Die Hard’ from ‘Alfie’. Spain’s ‘The Sea Inside’ - starring Javier Bardem in the real-life story of Ramon Sampedro, a paralyzed man who fought a decades-long battle for his right to die - was picked as best foreign-language film.

Robin Williams, a five-time Globe winner for such films as ‘The Fisher King’ and ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’, received the Cecil B DeMille award for career achievement. Williams ended by dedicating his award to the late ‘Superman’ star Christopher Reeve, who died last year. Receiving the award for career achievement Robin Williams made a typically frenzied speech, in which he took humorous swipes at the Hollywood Press Association and his fellow actors.

The ceremony included a videotaped message from former US president Bill Clinton, thanking the entertainment industry for its fund-raising efforts in the wake of the Asian tsunami disaster.