The entertainment award season gets under way this Sunday when Hollywood foreign reporters present the Golden Globe awards. Leading films this year include the musical Chicago and a multi-layered story of three women called The Hours.
The top contender is Chicago, a high-energy musical about murder in the "jazz age" of the 1920s.
Based on a 1970s Broadway musical revived in the 1990s, Chicago earned eight Golden Globe nominations, including acting nods for stars Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger.
The drama The Hours received seven nominations, including one for Nicole Kidman, who plays the author Virginia Woolf, and another for Meryl Streep, who plays one of two women later affected by her writing.
To look life in the face; to know it for what it is; to love it for what it is; 'tis the right of every human being.
Leading dramas this year include About Schmidt, which stars Jack Nicholson as an ordinary man on a soul-searching journey.
"My name is Warren R. Schmidt. I live in Omaha, Nebraska. I am 66 years old and recently retired as assistant vice president and actuary at Woodman of the World Insurance Company."
Jack Nicholson is a nominee for best dramatic actor, but he faces competition from Michael Caine, among others. The British actor earned critical acclaim for his role as a weary journalist in The Quiet American.
Other film contenders at this year's Golden Globes include Adaptation, a comedy about the inner workings of Hollywood.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the surprise hit of the season, is also a nominee for best musical or comedy. The low-budget film takes a humorous look at an Greek immigrant family in America.
The holocaust drama The Pianist is leading nominee in the drama category. So is the second installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Two Towers. The fantasy tells of a perilous journey through the Middle Earth, at the behest of the wizard Gandalf.
Martin Scorsese's epic Gangs of New York is another multiple nominee at the Golden Globes. The drama tells of anti-immigrant feelings in the 19th century.
The Golden Globes are presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of some 90 reporters who cover entertainment. The awards often suggest winners at the more prestigious Oscars, which are handed out each March, and so Hollywood pays attention. The ceremony is televised in 130 countries.