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Golden Globes nominations 2013: 'Lincoln' leads the pack

Steven Spielberg's biography gets seven nominations. 'Argo' and 'Django Unchained' get five apiece.

December 14, 2012|By John Horn and Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times

Spreading its praise between accessible, star-driven movies and a handful of challenging films, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. bestowed a leading seven Golden Globe nominations on Steven Spielberg's biography "Lincoln" while handing five nods apiece to Ben Affleck's international thriller, "Argo," and Quentin Tarantino's slavery revenge tale, "Django Unchained."

Even though HFPA voters nominated the demanding Osama bin Laden manhunt film "Zero Dark Thirty" in four categories on Thursday, including drama, they ignored the critically acclaimed Louisiana bayou drama "Beasts of the Southern Wild." "The Master," a complex story about a charismatic spiritualist and an alcoholic drifter, received nominations in three acting categories but didn't make the cut for drama, director or screenplay.

The Golden Globes are chosen by fewer than 90 self-described L.A.-based entertainment journalists who often favor films with an international flair and big-name stars. Though their tastes do not align perfectly with Oscar voters', the HFPA can give a boost to late-charging awards contenders.

PHOTOS: All nominees | Top nominees | Snubs & surprises | Celeb reactions | Full coverage

A day after "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" was nominated by the Screen Actors Guild for its prestigious ensemble prize, the light movie about British pensioners received Golden Globe nominations for best film and lead actress for Judi Dench in the comedy/musical division. (The Globes, unlike the Oscars, split films and the top acting categories into dramas and comedies/musicals.)

Globes voters always make a few head-scratching picks that seem orchestrated to attract celebrity wattage to their mid-January awards broadcast — think of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie's nominations for the 2010 critical dud "The Tourist."

This year, perhaps the biggest surprises were a supporting actress pick for Nicole Kidman (for her role as a hot-to-trot Southern belle in the little-seen "The Paperboy") and a leading actress nod for Meryl Streep (for her turn as an unhappy wife in the modestly received "Hope Springs"). When Streep's name was announced — marking her 27th Golden Globe nomination — someone in the audience at the Beverly Hilton remarked, "Are you kidding?" in a stage whisper that carried over the crowd.

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Yet clearly it was "Lincoln's" morning. The film about the 16th U.S. president was nominated for dramatic film, dramatic actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), supporting actress (Sally Field), supporting actor (Tommy Lee Jones), director (Spielberg), screenplay (Tony Kushner) and score (John Williams). It was the most nominations a Spielberg film has received from the HFPA.

"Every one of the nominations landed equally with a great deal of gratitude from all of us," Spielberg said. He said that even though his movie is unmistakably American, Abraham Lincoln's life nevertheless is connecting to an international audience looking for leadership role models, including, it's safe to say, the HFPA's correspondents. "They understand that he did what he had to do," the director said.

The same could be said of Tony Mendez, the CIA operative played by Affleck at the center of "Argo," which traces Mendez's rescue of six Americans hiding during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. The film has been in theaters longer than most award contenders — "Argo" opened Oct. 12 — but has not faded in the minds of awards voters and like "Lincoln" is a box-office hit with more than $100 million in domestic ticket sales. In addition to picking up five Golden Globe picks (including drama and director for Affleck), "Argo" received two SAG nominations, including ensemble.

"There are plenty of mornings when I've not been nominated, so it makes me pretty happy," Affleck said. "When you're dealing with Iran and the United States you're walking a minefield — militarily, politically and culturally."

Though heavily attended by Hollywood stars, the Golden Globes have not been in recent years a reliable predictor of the winners of the Academy Awards.

PHOTOS: All nominees | Top nominees | Snubs & surprises | Celeb reactions | Full coverage

A year ago, the HFPA presented its top film awards to "The Descendants" (drama) and "The Artist" (musical or comedy), and "The Artist" won the best picture Oscar. But in trophies presented for 2010 movies, the Globes selected "The Social Network" as best drama and "The Kids Are All Right" as best musical or comedy, but "The King's Speech" won the top Oscar.

Still, there is a fair amount of overlap when it comes to nominations in major categories. In each of the last four years, for instance, the Globes and Oscars agreed on four of five director nominees.

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