BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) _ Steven Spielberg was named best director for the brutally realistic World War II drama ``Saving Private Ryan,'' and ``Shakespeare in Love'' won honors as best comedy film, best screenplay and best actress for Gwyneth Paltrow at Sunday's 56th Golden Globes.

Paltrow and Michael Caine of ``Little Voice'' were honored as best actors in musical or comedy motion pictures, and Ed Harris of ``The Truman Show'' and Lynn Redgrave of ``Gods and Monsters'' were named best motion picture supporting actors.

Spielberg, whose film is a major contender for an Oscar, extended his thanks to ``all the veterans that are out there that saved Western Civilization and stopped the Holocaust in 1945.''

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association voted ABC's ``The Practice'' as best television drama series, and Fox's ``Ally McBeal'' won as best television comedy series.

``Spin City'' star Michael J. Fox, who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, was a funny but poignant winner for TV comedy actor. He thanked his doctors, including one he said had opened up his brain. ``We're so lucky to do what we do ... and just take every day and enjoy it,'' Fox said.

Paltrow played the upper-crust lady who becomes the lover and muse of William Shakespeare in ``Shakespeare in Love.'' In ``Little Voice,'' Caine played a sleazy agent who tries to turn a meek woman with powerful musical gift for show tunes into a star.

``Oh, what a shock,'' Caine said. ``My career must be slipping. This is the first time I've been available to pick up an award.''

Brazil's ``Central Station'' captured the foreign language film award.

``Shakespeare in Love'' and ``The Truman Show'' were the leading movie nominees, with six apiece. ``Saving Private Ryan'' followed with five. ``Bulworth,'' ``Elizabeth,'' ``Gods and Monsters'' and ``Little Voice'' had three nominations apiece.

The awards, broadcast from a hotel ballroom by NBC, were plagued by problems with sound cutting out and the picture freezing momentarily.

Harris set the tone for the notoriously freewheeling awards show by coming on stage with a toothpick in his mouth, saying, ``Oh man, I just got through eating dinner.''

Backstage he noted that ``The Truman Show'' came out in the summer, long before studios traditionally roll out their award-worthy product. ``I'm glad that people didn't forget about it,'' he said.

Redgrave, who played the crusty but loving maid to an aging horror director in ``Gods and Monsters,'' said, ``It's been 32 years since I stood one of these on a mantelpiece and it's been crying out for a friend ever since.''

In the television categories, Dylan McDermott of ``The Practice'' and Keri Russel of ``Felicity'' were named best actor and actress, respectively in television dramatic series.

Jenna Elfman won best actress in a TV musical or comedy series for ``Dharma and Greg.''

Tom Hanks, nominated for best actor in ``Saving Private Ryan,'' picked up an early honor for his ``From the Earth to the Moon,'' which won best miniseries or movie made for TV.

The Golden Globes, selected by reporters from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, are awarded for film and television in what can be a more colorful affair than the stuffy Academy Awards.

Last year, Christine Lahti was in the bathroom when she was announced as a winner for ``Chicago Hope.'' This year she showed up as a presenter with toilet paper stuck to a shoe.

The Golden Globes traditionally serve as predictors for the Academy Awards in March. In the last 16 years, 12 films that won best motion picture honors at the Golden Globes went on to take the same prize at the Oscars.

One award was announced before the ceremony: Nicholson was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for his ``outstanding contribution to the entertainment field.'' Nicholson has been nominated for 14 Globes and won five.

``What I like about this particular award is that it doesn't come from our peer groups,'' Nicholson said. ``Hollywood Foreign Press (Association) is kind of a loose group of guys and gals. You almost feel like you could go out and have fun with them _ probably because they don't have as much to lose as we do.''

The awards had once been buffeted by allegations of corrupt voting and long suffered credibility problems, with the lowlight being the 1981 event that awarded Pia Zadora a statue for the bomb ``Butterfly. The association worked to regain respectability, and after a 14-year absence from network exposure the program was back on the air in 1996.

This year, NBC asked Golden Globe voters to sign waivers indicating they did not accept gifts or perks from Hollywood studios, the Washington Post reported Saturday.