Golden Globes turn into the Judi v Keira show

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The Independent Culture

One is a national treasure, the other is one of Britain's most glittering rising stars. But while half a century of experience separates Dame Judi Dench from Keira Knightley, they will go head to head for a Golden Globe award in the US next month.

Dame Judi, who turned 71 last week, has been nominated as best actress in a musical or comedy for her enchanting performance as a vaudeville theatre proprietor in Mrs Henderson Presents. Knightley, 20, wins her place on the red carpet for her portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet, the romantic heroine of the latest version of Pride and Prejudice.

Knightley was effusive and said she would be celebrating with champagne. "This is completely unexpected and I'm a bit shell-shocked really," she said.

She admitted she had to be talked into taking on such a well-known character from English literature and that her mother had already warned her she would not win. But she said: "I tend to think you have got to count your triumphs and this is a triumph, I can't ask for more. It's terrifying to be among such amazing actresses as Dame Judi Dench. It's really exciting to have two Brits in the nominations. We're doing all right. We're waving the flag."

After one previous Golden Globe victory with Mrs Brown, Dame Judi said: "I'm absolutely thrilled, delighted and terribly honoured."

Bob Hoskins, her co-star in the Stephen Frears film which is based on a true story of nude revues, is also nominated, for best supporting actor. It was a good year for smaller budget films over big studio productions, with all the best dramatic film nominees made for under £25m. Among them were a number of British films including The Constant Gardener, a political thriller, and Match Point, Woody Allen's tale of infidelity, which was his first movie to be shot outside his native America. It has an almost entirely British cast.

Both were nominated for best drama picture against films including Good Night, and Good Luck, which was written by, directed and starred George Clooney, and Brokeback Mountain, the most-fêted movie of this year's Globes. It took seven nominations including honours for its lead Heath Ledger and for its director Ang Lee, though observers seem uncertain how a gay cowboy romance will fare in the final polls.

Three films took four nominations each - Good Night, and Good Luck, The Producers, Mel Brooks' new film of his stage musical, and the BBC-backed Match Point. Match Point is nominated for best dramatic film, Allen himself is up for best director and for writing the screenplay while Scarlett Johansson is shortlisted for supporting actress.

In the television categories, Rome, the BBC's blockbuster co-production with HBO, is nominated for best drama with its star, Polly Walker, up for best actress.

A clutch of British names including Hugh Laurie, Kenneth Branagh, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Bill Nighy are in the running. The awards, which are given out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, will be presented on 16 January, five days before polls close for Oscar voters. They are traditionally viewed as an indication of likely Oscars success.