The Golden Globe Awards: An in-depth look at nominations

The British monarchy tale "The King's Speech" led Golden Globe contenders Tuesday with seven nominations, including best drama and acting honors for Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush.
By Dan Zak
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 14, 2010; 7:27 PM

Let's uncork a bottle of champagne in the face of the Golden Globes, the Kathie Lee Gifford of awards shows. What other trophy trolley would lurch between a high-falutin British period piece starring Colin Firth as a stuttering King George VI and a Lifetime movie featuring Jennifer Love Hewitt as a Texas beauty queen who selflessly turns to prostitution to support her family?

It's a side-swipe of culture, grazing the best of 2010: It's the Golden Globes! Johnny Depp had such an amazing year that the squirrelly Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominated him twice. Twice!

Quick: Name the two movies.

Exactly.

"The King's Speech," the one with the tongue-tied monarch, snagged seven Globe nominations Tuesday morning, just ahead of Facebook creation myth "The Social Network" and lacerating boxing drama "The Fighter," which scored six each. The psychological ballet thriller "Black Swan" and the confounding sci-fi epic "Inception" rounded out the nominees for best motion picture drama.

The entire main cast of "The Fighter" was nominated, including Mark Wahlberg for best actor in a drama and Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo in the supporting actor categories, which are divided by gender but not genre. Such is the way of the Globes, which also honor television but officially kick off the season of film-awards excess, when stars shower each other with praise and Hollywood conspires with the media to promote films regardless of quality.

Is this awards show only about publicity and a lavish dinner, or is there a whiff of actual merit to a nomination? Melissa Leo, who plays Wahlberg's hard-bitten mother, thinks it's both.

"The more people hear about it, the more [butts] we get in seats," says Leo, feisty as always, by phone. "As for the Hollywood Foreign Press, I've met several of them. They are a very particular, fussy bunch of people, and I'm hugely honored to recognized by them."

The nominees for best motion musical or comedy are a less acclaimed bunch: Tim Burton's bilious, CGI-drenched "Alice in Wonderland," the showgirly Cher comeback vehicle "Burlesque," the elders-with-guns action flick "Red" and "The Tourist," the umpteenth espionage potboiler starring a dangerous sexy couple - in this case Depp and Angelina Jolie, who were both nominated for their performances as an American traveling in Italy and a mystery woman who enchants him.

The out-of-nowhere nomination for "Red" probably won't jump-start an Oscar campaign, admits its producer, Lorenzo di Bonaventura. It just means that it'll boost box-office receipts in regions where "Red" has yet to open.

Members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association "were at our junket, and all of us have known all those guys for a while," di Bonaventura says. "If you've been in Hollywood for a while, you've seen them. . . . Filmmakers enjoy them because they come from a very simple sort of laudatory place instead of what the critics will often do to us."

In terms of critical approval, the sole gem in the comedy or musical category is the family dramedy "The Kids Are All Right," which also won nominations for best actress in a comedy or musical for its stars, Julianne Moore and Annette Bening, who play partners whose children seek their sperm-donor father.


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