By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated December 19, 2002 01:00 PM

“Chicago” was on fire with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Thursday, as the as-yet unreleased movie adaptation of the 1975 stage musical picked up a field-best eight Golden Globe nominations, including best comedy/musical and nods for its stars, Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere.

The film’s two supporting actors, Queen Latifah and John C. Reilly, also scored nominations.

On the drama side, “The Hours,” about the lives of women linked to a novel by author Virginia Woolf, picked up seven nominations, including best motion picture, drama, best actress for Nicole Kidman and supporting actor for Ed Harris. The film will compete for best drama alongside Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York,” the tragi-comedy “About Schmidt,” “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” and Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist.”

For best comedy/musical, “Chicago” is nominated alongside the quirky meta-movie “Adaptation,” the touchy-feely (for the English) Hugh Grant film “About a Boy,” the little-movie-that-could “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and the adaptation of Charles Dickens’s “Nicholas Nickleby.”

Meryl Streep, 53, received two nominations in two separate categories: for her starring role in “The Hours” and for her supporting role as a homicidal author in “Adaptation.”

Other dramatic actress nominations went to Salma Hayek (“Frida”); Diane Lane (“Unfaithful”) and Julianne Moore (“Far From Heaven”).

Oddly, Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated in the dramatic actor category for Steven Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can” — which could be termed a comedy. As such, he is up against leading Oscar contenders Jack Nicholson (“About Schmidt”), Michael Caine (“The Quiet American”) and Daniel Day-Lewis (“Gangs of New York”), as well as Adrien Brody (“The Pianist”).

Besides “Chicago”‘s Zellweger and Zeta-Jones, the musical/comedy actress nominees are Maggie Gyllenhaal for “Secretary,” Goldie Hawn for “The Banger Sisters,” and Nia Vardalos for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”

Adam Sandler was a surprise nominee in the comedy actor race, for “Punch-Drunk Love.” His competition includes Gere for “Chicago,” Nicolas Cage in “Adaptation,” Kieran Culkin in “Igby Goes Down” and Grant in “About a Boy.”

Colin Farrell, Noah Wyle and Rachel Griffiths announced the Globe nominations — often seen as a barometer for the Oscars — in an early-morning ceremony in Beverly Hills.

And, in the spirit of the informal nature of the Globes, the trio often joked as they read the list of names. (Farrell, in particular, stumbled twice upon pronouncing the name of the nominated movie “The Pianist.”)

But seriously, folks, the Globes — unlike the Oscars — honor accomplishments on both big and small screens.

In the TV race, “The Simpsons” is back on the list of nominees for best comedy series, competing against “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Friends,” “Sex and the City” and “Will and Grace.”

Competition between “The West Wing” and “The Sopranos,” especially fierce at the Emmys, again reared its ugly head, with both shows in the running for best dramatic series. Its stars — martin Sheen and Allison Janney from the former, James Gandolfini and Edie Falco from the latter — are up for acting honors.

As had been earlier announced, Gene Hackman, 72, will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. The 60th annual Globes ceremony will be broadcast live on NBC from the Beverly Hilton Hotel’s Grand Ballroom on Jan. 19.

Here’s a rundown of the major nominees:

Best Film, Drama
“The Hours”
“About Schmidt”
“Gangs of New York”
“The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”
“The Pianist”

Best Film, Comedy/Musical
“About a Boy”
“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”
“Nicholas Nickleby”

Best Actor, Drama
Adrien Brody, “The Pianist”
Jack Nicholson, “About Schmidt”
Michael Caine, “The Quiet American”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Gangs of New York”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Catch Me if You Can”

Best Actress, Drama
Nicole Kidman, “The Hours”
Salma Hayek, “Frida”
Diane Lane, “Unfaithful”
Julianne Moore, “Far From Heaven”
Meryl Streep, “The Hours”

Best Actor, Comedy/Musical
Adam Sandler, “Punch-Drunk Love”
Nicolas Cage, “Adaptation”
Kieran Culkin, “Igby Goes Down”
Richard Gere, “Chicago”
Hugh Grant, “About a Boy”

Best Actress, Comedy/Musical
Maggie Gyllenhaal, “Secretary”
Goldie Hawn, “The Banger Sisters”
Nia Vardalos, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”
Renee Zellweger, “Chicago”
Catherine Zeta-Jones, “Chicago”

Best Supporting Actor
Chris Cooper, “Adaptation”
Ed Harris, “The Hours”
Paul Newman, “Road to Perdition”
Dennis Quaid, “Far From Heaven”
John C. Reilly, “Chicago”

Best Supporting Actress
Kathy Bates, “About Schmidt”
Cameron Diaz, “Gangs of New York”
Queen Latifah, “Chicago”
Susan Sarandon, “Igby Goes Down”
Meryl Streep, “Adaptation”

Best Director
Stephen Daldry, “The Hours”
Peter Jackson, “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”
Spike Jonze, “Adaptation”
Rob Marshall, “Chicago”
Alexander Payne, “About Schmidt”
Martin Scorsese, “Gangs of New York”

Best Screenplay
Bill Condon, “Chicago”
David Hare, “The Hours”
Todd Haynes, “Far From Heaven”
Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman, “Adaptation”
Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, “About Schmidt”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress” (France)
“City of God” (Brazil)
“The Crime of Father Amaro” (Mexico)
“Hero” (China)
“Nowhere in Africa” (Germany)
“Talk to Her” (Spain)

Best Original Score
Elmer Bernstein, “Far From Heaven”
Terence Blanchard, “25th Hour”
Peter Gabriel, “Rabbit Proof Fence”
Philip Glass, “The Hours”
Elliot Goldenthal, “Frida”

Best Original Song
“Die Another Day,” Madonna (“Die Another Day”)
“Father and Daughter,” Paul Simon (“The Wild Thornberrys Movie”)
“The Hands that Built America,” U2 (“Gangs of New York”)
“Here I Am,” Bryan Adams (“Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”)
“Lose Yourself,” Eminem (“8 Mile”)

Best Series, Drama
“The Sopranos,” HBO
“Six Feet Under,” HBO
“The West Wing,” NBC
“The Shield,” FX
“24,” FOX

Best Series, Comedy/Musical
“The Simpsons,” FOX
“Will & Grace,” NBC
“Sex and the City,” HBO
“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” HBO
“Friends,” NBC

Best Miniseries or TV Movie
“The Gathering Storm,” HBO
“Live from Baghdad,” HBO
“Path to War,” HBO
“Shackleton,” A&E
“Steven Spielberg Presents: Taken,” Sci Fi

Best Actor, Drama
Michael Chiklis, “The Shield”
James Gandolfini, “The Sopranos”
Peter Krause, “Six Feet Under”
Martin Sheen, “The West Wing”
Kiefer Sutherland, “24”

Best Actress, Drama
Edie Falco, “The Sopranos”
Jennifer Garner, “Alias”
Rachel Griffiths, “Six Feet Under”
Marg Helgenberger, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”
Allison Janney, “The West Wing”

Best Actor, Comedy/Musical
Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Matt LeBlanc, “Friends”
Bernie Mac, “The Bernie Mac Show”
Eric McCormack, “Will & Grace”
Tony Shalhoub, “Monk”

Best Actress, Comedy/Musical
Jennifer Aniston, “Friends”
Bonnie Hunt, “Life with Bonnie”
Jane Kaczmarek, “Malcolm in the Middle”
Debra Messing, “Will & Grace”
Sarah Jessica Parker, “Sex and the City”

Best Actor, Miniseries or TV Movie
Albert Finney, “The Gathering Storm”
Michael Gambon, “Path to War”
Michael Keaton, “Live from Baghdad”
William H. Macy, “Door to Door”
Linus Roache, “RFK”

Best Actress, Miniseries or TV Movie
Helena Bonham Carter, “Live From Baghdad”
Shirley Maclaine, “Hell on Heels: The Battle of Mary Kay”
Helen Mirren, “Door to Door”
Vanessa Redgrave, “The Gathering Storm”
Uma Thurman, “Hysterical Blindness”

Best Supporting Actor
Alec Baldwin, “Path to War”
Jim Broadbent, “The Gathering Storm”
Bryan Cranston, “Malcolm in the Middle”
Sean Hayes, “Will & Grace”
Dennis Haysbert, “24”
Michael Imperioli, “The Sopranos”
John Spencer, “The West Wing”
Donald Sutherland, “Path to War” Bradley Whitford, “The West Wing”

Best Supporting Actress
Kim Cattrall, “Sex and the City”
Megan Mullally, “Will & Grace”
Cynthia Nixon, “Sex and the City”
Parker Posey, “Hell on Heels: The Battle of Mary Kay”
Gena Rowlands, “Hysterical Blindness”