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Globes for Chicago on way to Oscars

Los Angeles, Jan. 20 (Reuters): The lines were drawn and the battle joined for Oscars as one of the hottest contests for Hollywood’s top honours narrowed at the Golden Globes with the drama The Hours and musical Chicago taking top awards.

The Hours claimed the title of best dramatic film and earned star Nicole Kidman the award for best actress in a drama for playing writer Virginia Woolf fighting mental illness.

Chicago, based on the popular stage show about an aspiring actress whose murderous ways make headlines, claimed three awards, more than any film. It won for best musical or comedy, while stars Richard Gere and Renee Zellweger won for best actor and actress in a musical or comedy. Jack Nicholson was named best dramatic actor, his sixth Golden Globe for acting, as a retired insurance actuary pondering if his life was wasted in About Schmidt.

In television awards, the cop show The Shield won the Golden Globe for drama, Beverly Hills satire Curb Your Enthusiasm was best comedy and The Gathering Storm, about Winston Churchill, was named best TV movie or mini-series.

To play Virginia Woolf, Kidman wore a prosthetic nose that gave even her most ardent fans a hard time recognising her. Onstage, Nicholson took note of the difference in Kidman: “Doesn’t Nicole look lovely with her own nose,” he said.

Backstage with reporters, Nicholson, who is known for cutting up at the often raucous Golden Globe ceremony, spent more time talking about Kidman than himself: “What about Nicole Kidman' She’s kind of shy, but what a body of work she’s evolving.”

As for his own award, Nicholson said onstage: “I don’t know whether to be happy or ashamed because I thought we made a comedy.” But About Schmidt is a serious drama that now has a real shot at doing well in the Oscars along with the offbeat comedy, Adaptation, which earned awards for Meryl Streep as best supporting actress and co-star Chris Cooper as best supporting actor. Streep, who also has a starring role in The Hours, said she had more fun in Adaptation than The Hours.

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