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Golden Globes surprises: ‘Burlesque’ but no ‘True Grit’



The Golden Globes are like a moth, forever drawn to the flame of star wattage.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of about 85 critics and reporters for overseas outlets, have always proved eager to bring prime red carpet fodder to its televised award show. On Tuesday, they made sure they’ll have a glitzy lineup for the Jan. 16 event.

A few surprises, snubs and notable trends:

“THE TOURIST”? REALLY? Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s thriller opened last week to generally poor reviews and weak box office, but the film still won three nominations, including best film (comedy or musical), best actress for Angelina Jolie
 and best actor for Johnny Depp. Depp is twice nominated in the category (best actor in a comedy or musical) for “Alice in Wonderland.” The Globes, it would seem, REALLY want Depp at the show.

SORRY, PARTNER: “True Grit,” the Coen brothers’ new take on the John Wayne Western, has been considered a top awards contender. Best director, best screenplay (by Joel and Ethan Coen), best actor (Jeff Bridges) and best supporting actress (Hailee Steinfeld) have all been pegged as possibilities to varying degrees. The film’s late release could have hurt its chances with the Globes. Perhaps the
Hollywood foreign press are big John Wayne fans, and are loath to see one of his films remade -- especially an Oscar-winning role. Or maybe they just feel like they honored Bridges enough last year, when they gave him best actor for “Crazy Heart.” Bridges was even a guest on “Today” immediately after NBC’s live broadcast of the Globes picks, but the Dude seemed to be abiding just fine.

FEW LAUGHS FOR COMEDY: Judging from the Globes nominees for best film, comedy or musical, 2010 was a bad year for laughs. “The Tourist,” “Burlesque,” “Alice in Wonderland” or “Red” were not particularly well received, and some were plainly panned. (The acclaimed fifth nominee, the lesbian family drama “The Kids Are All Right,” will be the category favorite by a landslide.) Comedies
that might have been included: the British dramatization of a 1968 strike over sexual discrimination, “Made in Dagenham”; Noah Baumbach’s “Greenberg”; the breezy, high-school updating of “The Scarlet Letter”; “Easy A” (whose star Emma Stone was nominated); the goofy romance “Love and Other Drugs” (which earned nominations for Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway); or the coarsely hilarious “Barney’s Version” (which earned a nod for Paul Giamatti).

ACTRESS UPSET: It came as a considerable surprise that among the actresses nominated, there was no Lesley Manville, whose performance in Mike Leigh’s “Another Year” as a lonely, desperate friend has been widely hailed and considered a favorite for
 an Oscar nomination.

BUMP IN ROAD TO OSCAR: The based-on-a-true-survival-story “127 Hours” and the rural crime drama “Winter’s Bone” both saw their
momentum slowed by the Globes. The star of each -- James Franco and Jennifer Lawrence, respectively -- was nominated, but neither caught on in other categories.

LOVE REKINDLED: Just two weeks ago, the prospects of the indie romance “Blue Valentine” looked bleak. The MPAA had slapped it with
an NC-17 rating, dooming its distribution. But last week, the MPAA changed its rating to an “R” and now both its leads, Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, received Globes nominations.

THE LAST DIRECTOR: Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”), David Fincher (“The Social Network”), Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”) and Christopher Nolan (“Inception”) were all more or less locked in as nominees for best director. Candidates for the fifth spot have ranged from Roman Polanski for “The Ghost Writer” to Ben Affleck for “The Town.” But David O. Russell (“The Fighter”) edged them out, perhaps a sign that O’Russell has finally put the image problems from his on-set dustup with Lily Tomlin (which landed on YouTube in 2007) behind him.

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