Gay cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain looks a likely winner at next year's (06) Academy Awards after picking up seven Golden Globe nominations today (13DEC05) - the traditional precursor to Oscar success.

The film, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, received nods for Best Picture - Drama, as well as acting mentions for Ledger and Supporting Actress and real-life partner Michelle Williams, whose career has soared since her days in teen soap DAWSON'S CREEK. Director Ang Lee was also tipped for a gong.

Ledger will battle Russell Crowe (Cinderella Man), Terrence Howard (Hustle and Flow), Philip Seymour Hoffman (CAPOTE) and David Strathairn (GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK) for Best Actor in a drama.

Other films hailed for Best Drama include GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK, which is nominated alongside A History of Violence, The Constant Gardener and Match Point. The latter two also pick up mentions for their Supporting Actresses Rachel Weisz and new Woody Allen muse Scarlett Johansson.

Meanwhile, Maria Bello (HISTORY OF VIOLENCE), Felicity Huffman (TRANSAMERICA), Gwyneth Paltrow (PROOF), Charlize Theron (North Country) and Ziyi Zhang (Memoirs Of A Geisha) are all up for Best Actress in a drama.

Huffman picks up a second nomination in the acting category, she's up alongside her Desperate Housewives co-stars MARCIA CROSS, Eva Longoria and Teri Hatcher for Best Performance By An Actress In A Television Series - Musical Or Comedy.

In other categories British comedy MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS will fight PRIDE + PREJUDICE, The Producers, The Squid and the Whale and Walk the Line for Best Motion Picture - Musical Or Comedy.

As went to press the full list of nominees, including television mentions, had not yet been revealed.

The Globes are decided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), a select group of approximately 90 reporters. Winners will be announced at a televised ceremony on 16 January (06), just five days before voting closes in the Oscar races.