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Golden Globe Nominees Announced

Friday, December 15----Nominations for the Golden Globe Awards were announced yesterday morning in Los Angeles. The Awards, given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a membership group of less than 100 international journalists whose beat is coverage of Hollywood and the American film scene, has grown in stature over the past few years, making them almost the most stellar in a glut of end-of-the-year honors. Now broadcast on a major television network in the US and seen via satellite throughout the world, the Awards are described as "Hollywood's coolest party" for their unpredictable choices, the casual formality of the proceedings and the unexpected behavior of a group that is, well frankly, sometimes very drunk indeed. Awards plus alcohol equals some surprise moments for film fans to cherish.

One of the reasons that the Globes are so popular is that they are so far-ranging, offering nominations in both Drama and Comedy/Musical categories. This allows for twice the number of nominations and wins than in the Oscar race and allows the Globes to "spread the wealth" among more films and talents. Also, the announcements coming on the eve of the Holiday season, when filmgoing reaches a fever pitch, gives an added frisson of excitement to films that are just opening theatrically or have already begun to taper off from their first weekend's glory. Either way, a Golden Globe nomination may, in the end, be more important than a Golden Globe win for the studios involved.

In the Best Picture--Drama category, most of the films that have secured critics award nods are represented, including Martin Scorsese's THE DEPARTED, Stephen Frears' THE QUEEN and Todd Fields' LITTLE CHILDREN. Added to that list are BABEL, the multi-story, multi-cultural zeitgeist tale of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and, a surprise addition, Emilio Estevez's BOBBY, a film that received only mixed reviews on its release last month. Missing in action on this list: UNITED 93, LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, APOCALYPTO, THE PAINTED VEIL, THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, BLOOD DIAMOND, NOTES ON A SCANDAL, MARIE ANTOINETE, THE ILLUSIONIST, THE GOOD GERMAN and THE GOOD SHEPHERD (or as industry wags have termed them, THE GOOD GERMAN SHEPHERD).

For Best Picture---Comedy/Musical, all the expected titles make an appearance, including BORAT, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, DREAMGIRLS, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE and, one of my personal favorites of the year, THANK YOU FOR SMOKING. No shows include FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION, RUNNING WITH SCISSORS, STRANGER THAN FICTION, A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION and VENUS.

In the Best Actor--Drama category, there were several surprises. Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated twice...for his work as an undercover cop in THE DEPARTED and as a ruthless diamond hunter in BLOOD HUNTER. Will Smith received a nod for his portrayal of a father trying to improve his economic lot in THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS. Forest Whitaker, who won most film critics association honors, seems the front-runner in this category for his portrayal of the Ugandan strongman Idi Amin in THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND. A surprise choice, in this category anyway, is Peter O'Toole for his career-capping work as a scoundrel in the film VENUS (a mostly comedic performance that should have been honored in the comedy category, methinks). Conspicuous by their absence: Matt Damon for his parallel undercover role in THE DEPARTED; indie fave Ryan Gosling in the micro-budget HALF NELSON; George Clooney in the neo-noir THE GOOD SHEPHERD; Edward Norton in the indie sleeper THE ILLUSIONIST and Ken Wattanbe in LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA. And what...no Daniel Craig for his yeoman effort to turn around the sagging James Bond franchise in CASINO ROYALE?

Actors who made the list for Best Actor---Comedy/Musical include: Sacha Baron Cohen as the outrageously inappropriate Kazahkstani journalist in BORAT; industry fave Johnny Depp for his reprise of the crusty pirate in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST; Aaron Eckhart as the amoral tobacco lobbyist in THANK YOU FOR SMOKING; surprise choice Chiwetel Ejiofor as the towering black drag queen in KINKY BOOTS; and Will Ferrell as the fictional subject in a writer's novel in the hilarious STRANGER THAN FICTION. Long shots who did not make the cut include: Greg Kinnear as the put-upon head of a seriously dysfunctional family in LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE and Jamie Foxx as the unscrupulous manager in DREAMGIRLS.

For Best Actress--Drama, the Golden Globe nods went to Penelope Cruz, for her voluptuous performance in Pedro Almodovar's VOLVER; Dame Judi Dench as the psychotic schoolmistress in NOTES ON A SCANDAL; Kate Winslet as the emotionally desperate soccer mom in LITTLE CHILDREN; clear front-runner Dame Helen Mirren for her stiff upper lip portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in THE QUEEN, and a surprise choice of Maggie Gyllenhaal for the low budget Sundance sleeper SHERRYBABY. Missing in action on this list: Kirsten Dunst as the doomed queen MARIE ANTOINETTE; Cate Blanchett in the black-and-white nod to Hollywood film noir THE GOOD GERMAN ; Naomi Watts in the costumer THE PAINTED VEIL; and Sienna Miller in FACTORY GIRL.

Actresses out in front for the Golden Globe for Best Actress--Comedy/Musical include: Annette Bening as the slightly psycho mother in RUNNING WITH SCISSORS; Toni Collette as the melancholy mater in LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE; music superstar Beyonce Knowles for her schemer in DREAMGIRLS; the forever fabulous Meryl Streep as the boss from hell in THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA; and Golden Globe fave Renee Zellweger as children's author Beatrix Potter in the Holiday-friendly MISS POTTER. Longshots in this category that did not make the cut: Catherine O'Hara as the over-the-hill actress dreaming of Oscar glory in FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION; Cameron Diaz as the goofy spouse in THE HOLIDAY; and Gretchen Mol as the clueless sexpot in THE NOTORIOUS BETTIE PAGE.

The Golden Globes do not distinguish between Drama and Comedy/Musical in its supporting actor/actress categories, thus limiting the field of nominees. For Best Supporting Actor, the nods went to: Ben Affleck, for his Venice Film Festival winning performance as the doomed George Reeves in HOLLYWOODLAND; Eddie Murphy as the sleazy concert promoter in DREAMGIRLS; Jack Nicholson as the Irish mob chieftain in THE DEPARTED; Mark Wahlberg as the hot-tempered cop in THE DEPARTED and, a surprise, Brad Pitt as the desperate stranger in a strange land in BABEL. Missing in action from the list: Alan Arkin as the foul-mouthed grandfather with a taste for heroin in LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE; Jackie Earle Haley as the pedophile with his own addiction for youngsters in LITTLE CHILDREN; Steve Carrell as the gay aesthete in LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE; Djimon Hounsou as the hapless pawn in a high stake game of diamond hunting in BLOOD DIAMOND; Adam Beach as the noble Native American soldier in FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS; Stanley Tucci as the gay fashion editor in THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA; and Michael Sheen as the Cheshire cat grinning Tony Blair in THE QUEEN.

For Best Supporting Actress, the Golden Globes reached out to two actresses from the multi-character drama BABEL: Adriana Barraza as the Mexican nanny who crosses the US/Mexican border and Rinko Kikuchi as the deaf mute teenager with a secret. Other nods included: Emily Blunt as the ambitious fashion magazine assistant in THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA; Cate Blanchett as the target of blackmail for her sexual indiscretions in NOTES ON A SCANDAL ; and Jennifer Hudson as the vulnerable pop singer in the adaptation of the 1970s Broadway musical sensation DREAMGIRLS. Not to be found on this list: Sharon Stone as the hotel hairdresser in BOBBY; Demi Moore as the boozy chanteuse in BOBBY; Emma Thompson as the neurotic writer in STRANGER THAN FICTION; and Jill Clayburgh as the depressed mother of the crazy clan in RUNNING WITH SCISSORS.

If it was not clear before, it is clear now....the Globes just love Clint...Eastwood, that is. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association honored the veteran actor/director with two nominations for his companion films FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS and LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA. Others singled out for their directorial achievements include: Stephen Frears for his intimate portrayal of the Royal Family in crisis in THE QUEEN; Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for his multi-character, interlocking-story parable BABEL and veteran director Martin Scorese for his return-to-form in the crime thriller THE DEPARTED. Absent from the list: Pedro Almodovar for the femme fest VOLVER; Todd Field for his intimate direction of suburban ennui in LITTLE CHILDREN; Paul Greengrass for his intense 9-11 docudrama UNITED 93; Bill Condon for the musical extravaganza DREAMGIRLS; Stephen Soderberg for his neo-noir THE GOOD GERMAN; Robert DeNiro for his CIA flashback film THE GOOD SHEPHERD; and Robert Altman for his affectionate swan song A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION.

Being locked out of the Golden Globe nominations does not mean that an Oscar nod is impossible, but certainly places the films and talent in a front-runner position for those honors. A perfect example: last year's eventual Best Picture Oscar winner CRASH was not even nominated for a Golden Globe. So, expect a few surprises when the Globes are given out at a lavish ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hilton on January 15, 2007.


Sandy Mandelberger
Awards Watch Editor


GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINEES

BEST PICTURE---DRAMA
BABEL
BOBBY
THE DEPARTED
LITTLE CHILDREN
THE QUEEN

BEST ACTRESS---DRAMA
Penelope Cruz, VOLVER
Judi Dench, NOTES ON A SCANDAL
Maggie Gyllenhaal, SHERRYBABY
Helen Mirren, THE QUEEN
Kate Winslet, LITTLE CHILDREN

BEST ACTOR---DRAMA
Leonardo DiCaprio, BLOOD DIAMOND
Leonardo DiCaprio, THE DEPARTED
Peter O'Toole, VENUS
Will Smith, THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS
Forest Whitaker, THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND

BEST PICTURE---COMEDY/MUSICAL
BORAT
THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA
DREAMGIRLS
LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
THANK YOU FOR SMOKING

BEST ACTRESS---COMEDY/MUSICAL
Annette Bening, RUNNING WITH SCISSORS
Toni Collette, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE
Beyonce Knowles, DREAMGIRLS
Meryl Streep, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA
Renee Zellweger, MISS POTTER

BEST ACTOR---COMEDY/MUSICAL
Sacha Baron Cohen, BORAT
Johnny Depp, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST
Aaron Eckhart, THANK YOU FOR SMOKING
Chiwetel Ejiofor, KINKY BOOTS
Will Ferrell, STRANGER THAN FICTION

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Adriana Barraza, BABEL
Cate Blanchett, NOTES ON A SCANDAL
Emily Blunt, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA
Jennifer Hudson, DREAMGIRLS
Rinko Kikuchi, BABEL

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Ben Affleck, HOLLYWOODLAND
Eddie Murphy, DREAMGIRLS
Jack Nicholson, THE DEPARTED
Brad Pitt, BABEL
Mark Wahlberg, THE DEPARTED

BEST DIRECTOR
Clint Eastwood, FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS
Clint Eastwood, LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA
Steven Frears, THE QUEEN
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, BABEL
Martin Scorsese, THE DEPARTED

BEST SCREENPLAY
Guillermo Arriaga, BABEL
Todd Field and Tom Perrotta, LITTLE CHILDREN
Patrick Marber, NOTES ON A SCANDAL
William Monahan, THE DEPARTED
Peter Morgan, THE QUEEN

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
APOCALYPTO (USA)
LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA (USA/Japan)
THE LIVES OF OTHERS (Germany)
PAN'S LABYRINTH (Mexico)
VOLVER (Spain)

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