66th Golden Globes Emphasize Star Power With Film Nominations

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CHICAGO – The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced the nominees for The 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards this morning and jaws dropped at some of their choices and some of their exclusions. Somewhat surprisingly, “The Dark Knight” was left out of the Best Picture category, but far more shockingly, “Milk” was also off the short list. Both films did get a single acting nomination - for Heath Ledger and Sean Penn, respectively - but the confusing awards season was made increasingly more so this morning by the HFPA.

The big films of the year for the HFPA were “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “Doubt”, and “Frost/Nixon”, all of which landed five nominations. “The Reader”, “Revolutionary Road”, “Slumdog Millionaire”, and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” all followed with four nods a piece.

Regarding the nominations for “Benjamin Button”, Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement, “We’re thankful to the Hollywood Foreign Press for recognizing our film with these nominations. Throughout the journey to make this movie, Benjamin Button has been a labor of love for all of us, and particularly David, who brought so much of himself to the story. We’re tremendously proud of the film and the work of Cate, Brad and the wonderful cast and crew, and delighted to be honored with this nomination.”

Stars like Tom Cruise, Robert Downey Jr., Meryl Streep, Penelope Cruz, Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and even Mickey Rourke will all walk the red carpet as film nominees. A pair of fantastic actresses landed two nominations with Meryl Streep picking up nods for “Doubt” and “Mamma Mia!” with Kate Winslet up for two with her turns in “Revolutionary Road” and “The Reader”.

Winslet was ecstatic about her double nominations and the success of her pictures, saying through a statement, “Playing April Wheeler and Hannah Schmitz, two strong and complex characters was a true gift. To be recognized by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for both performances is a genuine honor and I am incredibly grateful. I am forever thankful to my husband Sam Mendes, Leo and fellow cast members and for Justin’s beautiful script. I am equally proud to share this day with Stephen Daldry and David Hare.”

Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) greets an audience while David Frost (Michael Sheen) looks on.
Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) greets an audience while David Frost (Michael Sheen) looks on.
Photo credit: Ralph Nelson Copyright: © 2008 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

On the dramatic side of the nominations, “Milk” and “The Dark Knight” were replaced by somewhat surprising nominees “The Reader” and “Revolutionary Road” for Best Picture (Drama), alongside the more expected choices of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “Frost/Nixon”, and “Slumdog Millionaire”.

Many of the Best Picture nominees were represented in the acting choices with both stars of “Revolutionary Road”, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, making the top five in their respective categories. Brad Pitt for “Benjamin Button” and Frank Langella for “Frost/Nixon” will compete with DiCaprio along with Sean Penn in “Milk” and Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler”. Winslet will go up against Streep in “Doubt”, Anne Hathaway in “Rachel Getting Married”, Angelina Jolie in “Changeling”, and Kristin Scott Thomas in “I’ve Loved You So Long”.

Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” was clearly well-liked by the HFPA, awarding the film nominations for Best Picture (Comedy/Musical), Javier Bardem for Best Actor in a Comedy, Rebecca Hall for Best Actress, and Penelope Cruz for Best Supporting Actress. “Vicky” will compete with “Burn After Reading”, “Happy-Go-Lucky”, “In Bruges”, and “Mamma Mia!” for the big prize.

Javier Bardem released a statement through The Weinstein Company and said, “I am very happy to receive such support from the HFPA and truly thankful to Mr. Allen for allowing me the amazing experience of working with him and such an outstanding cast”

Angelina Jolie stars as Christine Collins in the provocative drama from director Clint Eastwood,
Angelina Jolie stars as Christine Collins in the provocative drama from director Clint Eastwood, “Changeling”.
Photo credit: Tony Rivetti, Jr. Copyright: © 2008 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Two actors from “In Bruges”, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleason, will compete with Bardem for Best Actor with James Franco in “Pineapple Express” and Dustin Hoffman in “Last Chance Harvey”. Hall will have to beat Sally Hawkins in “Happy-Go-Lucky”, Frances McDormand in “Burn After Reading”, Streep in “Mamma Mia!”, and Emma Thompson in “Last Chance Harvey” to take home the Golden Globe.

Hawkins spoke out after her nod, saying in a statement, “Wow, wow, wow – what a surprise, I cannot describe how I feel, so appreciative of it all and so very pleased!! Such an honor to be in the same category as Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson. They are great, iconic women that I’ve watched for years – they have definitely inspired and influenced me in my decision to pursue acting. So proud to be in this film and having the chance again to work with Mike Leigh. These past couple of days have been a whirlwind but I am feeling quite lucky and blessed at the moment.”

Supporting nominees included a shocking nomination for Tom Cruise in “Tropic Thunder”, Robert Downey Jr. in the same movie, Ralph Fiennes in “The Duchess”, Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt”, and Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight”. Cruise was funny in “Thunder” but nominating him over Eddie Marsan or any of the acclaimed supporting cast in “Milk” was the biggest shock of the morning. On the actress side, Penelope Cruz will compete with Amy Adams and Viola Davis in “Doubt”, Marisa Tomei in “The Wrestler”, and Kate Winslet in “The Reader”.

Both of the “Doubt” ladies had something to say about their supporting nods with Amy Adams revealing in a statement, “I am so honored to be nominated by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for Doubt along with John Patrick Shanley, Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Viola Davis. Helping to bring John’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play to the screen was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.”

Viola Davis added, “I cannot even believe it! I feel so blessed and grateful to the HFPA for honoring my work. It’s more than I have ever dreamed. First working with Meryl, Phillip, Amy and John and now THIS!! Thank you! Thank you!”

The nominees for Best Director mirrored the nominees for Best Picture (Drama) and left Christopher Nolan and Gus Van Sant without a chance to win - Danny Boyle for “Slumdog Millionaire”, Stephen Daldry for “The Reader”, David Fincher for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, Ron Howard for “Frost/Nixon”, and Sam Mendes for “Revolutionary Road”.

David Fincher said in a statement, “I would like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Kathy Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Cean Chaffin, Paramount and Warner Bros. for allowing me to make this movie that I’ve wanted to make for so many years. I am indebted to the entire cast and crew, and so pleased with this acknowledgment of everyone’s hard work and love for the movie. A special thanks to the people of New Orleans for embracing the production and giving us so much support and inspiration.”

Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Father Flynn.
Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Father Flynn.
Photo credit: Andrew Schwartz/Miramax Film Corp

The nominees for Best Foreign Language Film are “The Baader Meinhof Complex”, “Everlasting Moments”, “Gomorrah”, “I’ve Loved You So Long”, and “Waltz With Bashir”.

The screenplays in competition are close to the same as Best Picture (Drama) with one change - “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “Doubt”, “Frost/Nixon”, “The Reader”, and “Slumdog Millionaire”.

TV nominees for the Golden Globes were a lot more predictable with “30 Rock” and “Mad Men” leading the comedy and dramatic sides with relatively few newcomers. HBO’s “True Blood”, nominated for Best Drama, was the only freshman candidate in the Best Drama category. “Entourage”, “In Treatment”, “Recount”, “Californication”, “The Office”, “Weeds”, “Dexter”, and “House” were all nominated as well.

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Staff Writer
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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