'Atonement' Leads the Pack With 7 Golden Globe Nominations

By Desson Thomson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 13, 2007; 12:08 PM

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association gave foreign-fisted pumps in the air for British prestige picture "Atonement" this morning. The tony production took seven nominations for the association's Golden Globes, including for Best Picture and three out of the four acting categories.

The association also showed its appreciation for Denzel Washington, nominating both "American Gangster," which stars Washington, and "The Great Debaters," which he directed and starred in, as Best Picture contenders. Washington's role in "Gangster" garnered him a Best Actor nomination as well.

The Golden Globe awards will be telecast live Jan. 13 on NBC, long the electronic home of the awards, which were established in 1943.

Nominees for both movies and television were announced in Los Angeles shortly after 5:30 a.m., even as the prospect of a continued writers' strike threatened to overshadow both the Globes ceremony and the Oscar fest that comes a month later..

Among other things, the striking writers would normally write the script for the awards ceremony itself. If the strike is still underway, they could end up picketing the event instead.

The Globes, sponsored and hosted by the HFPA, are considered something of an Iowa straw poll for Hollywood's politically-equivalent awards campaign, which this season culminates with the Oscar awards on Feb. 24. The HFPA's voting body consists of more than 80 journalists who cover the industry for foreign media outlets as far flung as Brazil and Singapore. And their votes -- which many observers suggest skew to foreign films and performers -- are sometimes as interesting for how much they foreshadow or misrepresent what Hollywood will nominate, as for the picks themselves.

Rounding out the Globe nominations for Best Picture were "Eastern Promises," "Michael Clayton" and two movies set in Texas-- the Coen brothers' crime-thriller "No Country For Old Men" and Paul Thomas Anderson's oil saga "There Will Be Blood."

"Michael Clayton" and "No Country for Old Men" took four nominations in all, while "American Gangster" and David Cronenberg's Russian gangster chiller, "Eastern Promises" both claimed three.

Tim Burton's forthcoming "Sweeney Todd," " Hairspray," "Across the Universe," "Charlie Wilson's War" and the audience cult hit "Juno" were nominated for the Globes' quirky, other-best-picture category, "Best Motion Picture -- Comedy Or Musical."

In the television category, HBO and ABC were big winners with 18 and 11 nods, respectively, although the Hollywood Foreign Press Association judges didn't wax nostalgic for HBO's final season of "The Sopranos." Edie Falco was the only "Soprano" nominee, for Best Actress.

CBS -- the most-watched broadcast network in the country -- was typically under-represented. (It received one nomination for one of the long-form TV derbies.) Among the cable-centric Globe voters, CBS shows are usually considered programming for popular, as opposed to critically sumptuous, taste.

This year's nominees for drama series are HBO's "Big Love," F/X's "Damages," ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," Fox's "House," AMC's "Mad Men" and Showtime's "The Tutors." The comedy series category were NBC's "30 Rock," Showtime's "Californication," HBO's "Entourage" and "Extras," and ABC's "Pushing Daisies."

The HFPA also announced that director Steven Spielberg will be honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for his "outstanding contribution to the entertainment field."

The HFPA has attracted some negative publicity for its unequivocal embrace of Hollywood junkets and swag-fests for its stars, sponsored by studios looking for ways to endear themselves to Golden Globes judges.

And it has drawn fire for refusing to allow membership of august European publications, such as The London Times and Le Monde, into its membership. Some observers have ridiculed past award winners such as Pia Zadora, whose "New Star of the Year" award in 1982 is considered the epitome of fawnfest folly.

A full list of Globe nominees is available here.

Oscar nominations will be announced Jan. 22.

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