'Brokeback Mountain' looks unstoppable after four wins at Golden Globes

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The Independent US

Ang Lee's gay cowboy movie, Brokeback Mountain, was the uncontested belle of the ball at this year's Golden Globes, picking up four accolades in what now looks like an unstoppable tear through the Hollywood awards season.

The film, which charts the doomed romance between two farmhands in rural Wyoming in the Sixties and Seventies, was named best dramatic film and picked up awards for its director, Lee, screenwriters (Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana), and theme song (co-written by Elton John's lyricist, Bernie Taupin).

In a year marked by plummeting box-office receipts and anxiety in Hollywood about the explosion in digital entertainment, the Golden Globes followed the industry buzz in just about every awards category.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was named best dramatic actor for his title-role performance in Capote. Felicity Huffman, one of the principals in Desperate Housewives, won best dramatic actress for her performance as a transsexual in Transamerica. Both are favourites for the Oscars.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the 85-strong group of journalists behind the Golden Globes, also lavished considerable favour on the Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line, naming it best film in the musical or comedy category and handing out acting awards to its leads, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon.

That left little or nothing for such films as Good Night, and Good Luck, George Clooney's critically-acclaimed portrayal of America's best-loved television news anchor at the height of the McCarthy anti-Communist witch hunts, Stephen Frears' latest, Mrs Henderson Presents, or Match Point, the Woody Allen psychological thriller set in London. Also glaringly absent was King Kong, Peter Jackson's extravagant remake that might or might not find greater favour with the Oscars.

Every year, Hollywood wrestles over the question of how seriously to take the Golden Globes, since the Hollywood Foreign Press Association - which includes few reporters of note - is held in almost universal disdain. But every year, qualms are overcome by the marketing power of the occasion and the publicity generated by its broadcast on prime-time television.

A panoply of stars turned up on a picture-perfect afternoon at the Beverly Hilton hotel, including a pregnant Gwyneth Paltrow, a typically dishevelled Johnny Depp wearing a red open-neck shirt beneath his dinner jacket, and a jovial George Clooney.

When Clooney was named best supporting actor for his turn as a disillusioned CIA operative in Syriana, he first complained he had not had time to have a drink, then scored a political point about Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist at the centre of a growing corruption scandal in Washington. " Who would name their kid Jack with 'off' at the end of their last name?" he mused.

It was, as ever, a tacitly rewarding night for British talent. Jonathan Rhys Meyers might not have been able to join in any celebrations for Match Point, in which he stars, but he was named best actor in a television mini-series for his portrayal of Elvis. Rachel Weisz won best supporting actress for The Constant Gardener, based on the John le Carré novel, and Hugh Laurie won another accolade for his turn as a doctor in the television drama House.

Desperate Housewives, meanwhile, was named best television comedy for the second year - an award that carried a certain irony, since last year's broadcast of the Golden Globes was pummelled in the ratings because the show was playing simultaneously on another channel.

This year's ceremony took place on a Monday night instead of Sunday, when Desperate Housewives still rules the airwaves.

The winners

* BEST FILM (DRAMA): 'Brokeback Mountain' (also best screenplay and best song)

* BEST FILM (MUSICAL/COMEDY): 'Walk the Line'

* BEST ACTRESS (DRAMA): Felicity Huffman

* BEST ACTOR (DRAMA): Philip Seymour Hoffman

* BEST ACTRESS (MUSICAL/COMEDY): Reese Witherspoon

* BEST ACTOR (MUSICAL/COMEDY): Joaquin Phoenix

* BEST DIRECTOR: Ang Lee

* BEST TV DRAMA SERIES: 'Lost'

* BEST TV MUSICAL/COMEDY SERIES: 'Desperate Housewives'

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