The Second World War saga Atonement and its stars Keira Knightley and James McAvoy were among a host of British nominees for the Golden Globe awards announced today.
The stars of the British historical romance - which received seven nominations in all - are now in contention for the prestigious awards which are seen in Hollywood as a strong pointer to who will triumph at the Oscars.
Jorge Camara, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, read out the list of nominees at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles, alongside “Pulp Fiction” director Quentin Tarantino.
Other British nominees included Julie Christie, who was nominated for best actress for Away From Her, in which she played a woman whose marriage is turned upside down by the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Tilda Swinton and Tom Wilkinson were nominated for best supporting roles in the thriller Michael Clayton, setting them against the A-list Hollywood stars and Academy Awards veterans Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman, each nominated for Charlie Wilson’s War. Seymour Hoffman, who won both the Golden Globe and the Oscar for best actor in 2006 for his performance as Truman Capote, was also nominated as the best actor in a musical or comedy.
The British director Ridley Scott is meanwhile in the running to win best drama for American Gangster.
Among the nominees in the category for best actress in musical or comedy television was Anna Friel, who stars in the American romantic comedy Pushing Daisies, while Ricky Gervais was nominated for best comedy actor for his series Extras. Jim Broadbent and Samantha Morton were also nominated for their roles in Longford.
Adapted from the novel by the British author Ian McEwan, Atonement earned dramatic actress and actor nominations for Knightley and McAvoy, who play lovers whose newfound romance is shattered after Knightley’s jealous younger sister (Saoirse Ronan) falsely accuses McAvoy of a crime.
Atonement also had nominations for Ronan as supporting actress, best director for Joe Wright, best screenplay for Christopher Hampton and best musical score for Dario Marianelli.
In a special category, Steven Spielberg will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement.
No clear front-runners have yet emerged in the long buildup to the Academy Awards race, so the big nominations haul could make an early favourite out of Atonement.
The Oscar nominations are announced nine days after the Golden Globes ceremony in Beverly Hills on Jan 13.