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Gladiator" is Golden Globes' best picture

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Jan. 22 -- The epic drama, "Gladiator," was named best motion picture of 2000 at the 58th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills Sunday night, installing it as a favorite to win the Academy Award for best picture.

In 16 out of the last 20 years, the winner of the Golden Globe for best motion picture -- or best motion picture, musical or comedy -- has gone on to win the Oscarfor best picture. The Golden Globes have been a less reliable predictor of acting Oscar winners.

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The Hollywood Foreign Press Association honored Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks with Golden Globes for best actress and actor in a motion picture drama for their work in "Erin Brockovich" and "Cast Away."

Roberts won for her portrayal of a crusading paralegal who takes on powerful interests. She said: "Erin Brockovich -- the real Erin Brockovich -- is awesome. She taught us we are all powerful and can make a difference in the world."

Roberts' elation was virtually uncontrollable. She finished her acceptance speech by proclaiming: "I won! I'm just shamelessly filled with joy!"

Hanks was honored for his role as a man who survives a plane crash and escapes from a desert island, only to face the challenge of rebuilding his life. In his acceptance speech, Hanks honored two fellow artists who had picked up Golden Globes earlier in the evening.

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"I watched Al Pacino movies and I wanted to be an actor," said Hanks. "Listening to Bob Dylan records, I wanted to say something that might last for more than a couple of days."

The award for best motion picture, comedy or drama, went to "Almost Famous," writer-director Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical account of his early days in rock journalism.

Renee Zellweger won for best actress in a motion picture, comedy or drama, for "Nurse Betty," and George Clooney was named best actor in a motion picture, comedy or drama, for "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

Zellweger, who won for her work as a crazed soap opera fan in "Nurse Betty," was not in the room when she was announced as the winner. Like Christine Lahti when she won a Golden Globe for "Chicago Hope" in 1998, Zellweger was in the restroom when her named was called, but made it to the podium in time to accept the award on live TV.

She said it was "a moment I'll never forget ... a moment I almost didn't have."

Clooney, who played an escaped chain-gang prisoner in the deep South, mentioned the other nominees -- Jim Carrey, John Cusack, Robert De Niro and Mel Gibson -- and joked: "I think when you list the names of the actors in this category that you've got to figure I'm going to win this. What have they done?'

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Ang Lee's mystical, epic, martial arts romance, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," was named best foreign language film, and Lee won for best director.

Kate Hudson and Benicio Del Toro won for best actress and actor in a supporting role in a motion picture. Hudson, the daughter of actress Goldie Hawn and musician Bill Hudson, played a 1970s groupie in "Almost Famous." Del Toro played a Mexican police officer in "Traffic," the intense drama about the war on drugs.

Stephen Gaghan won for best screenplay, motion picture, for "Traffic."

The Golden Globe for best original score, motion picture went to Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard for "Gladiator." Bob Dylan won for best original song, for "Things Have Changed" from "Wonder Boys."

In his acceptance speech, the venerable folk-rocker was a man of few words.

"This is quite something really," said Dylan. He thanked "Wonder Boys" director Curtis Hanson, his band, his record company and everybody in his family ... "and that's about it, really."

In the television categories, "The West Wing" won for best drama series, and its star, Martin Sheen, was named best actor in a television series, drama. Sela Ward was named best actress in a television series, drama, for "Once and Again."

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Sheen -- who plays the fictional president Josiah Bartlett on the NBC drama -- mined the political nature of the show for his acceptance speech.

"I am quite certain that there has been a big mistake," he said, "but I'm going to keep this until the recount is final."

"Sex and the City" and its star, Sarah Jessica Parker, both won for a second straight year for best television series, musical or comedy, and best actress in a television series, musical or comedy.

"I am the most content employee ever," said Parker. "I love working for HBO."

Kelsey Grammer, the star of "Frasier," won for best actor in a television series, musical or comedy.

The Golden Globe for best mini-series or motion picture made for television went to the Showtime production, "Dirty Pictures."

Judi Dench won for best actress in a mini-series or motion picture made for television, for "Last of the Blonde Bombshells." Brian Dennehy won for best actor in a mini-series or motion picture made for television, for "Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman"

The awards for actress and actor in a supporting role in a series, miniseries or motion picture made for TV went to Vanessa Redgrave and Robert Downey Jr., for their work in "If These Walls Could Talk II" and "Ally McBeal."

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Downey thanked "Ally McBeal" creator-producer David E. Kelley "for creating such a great character." He also thanked "the deliciously hilarious Calista (Flockhart)." He told her from the stage, "Sweetheart, this is ours."

Earlier in the evening, appearing as a presenter, Downey cracked a joke in reference to his well-publicized criminal record for drug and weapons violations, thanking Clooney for not using him as "technical adviser for his role as a convict" in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association presented its highest honor, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, to Al Pacino, in recognition of his "outstanding contribution to the entertainment field."

In a rambling speech, Pacino recalled that his earliest training came when he was a small child and his mother took him to movies, including Cecil B. DeMille epics. He said one of his greatest inspirations was a teacher who gave him a Bible when he was 12-years-old and encouraged him to read the stories.

"A few years later I was in Greenwich Village trying to be an actor," said Pacino. "They (teachers) really make lives happen. I love teachers."

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