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Posted at 7:56 AM ET, 12/14/2010

'The King's Speech' leads Golden Globe movie nominations

By Dan Zak

Colin Firth stars as Britain's King George VI in "The King's Speech." | Watch the trailer

"The King's Speech," a British period piece starring Colin Firth as a stammering King George VI, snagged seven Golden Globe nominations Tuesday morning, just ahead of the Facebook origin story "The Social Network" and the 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 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.

The nominees for best picture musical or comedy are a less acclaimed bunch: Tim Burton's trippy 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 Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, who were both nominated for their performances as an American traveler and a mystery woman who enchants him.

(TV Column: Big kiss to 'Glee' )

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 -- playing partners whose children seek their sperm-donor father. "Kids" director Lisa Cholodenko was also cited for her screenplay.

Firth was nominated alongside Wahlberg, who portrays real-life welterweight "Irish" Micky Ward, Jesse Eisenberg as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in "The Social Network," James Franco as a hiker who must amputate his own arm in "127 Hours" and Ryan Gosling in the boozy marital drama "Blue Valentine," which initially earned an NC-17 rating.

The actress in a drama category teems with glamorous vet­erans: Halle Berry as a woman with disassociative identity disorder in the Canadian film "Frankie and Alice," Nicole Kidman as a grieving mother in the film adaptation of the stage play "Rabbit Hole," Natalie Portman as an unhinged ballerina in "Black Swan" and Michelle Williams as the other half of the tumultuous marriage in "Blue Valentine." The sole newcomer in the category is Jennifer Lawrence, who plays a fearless 17-year-old hunting for her drug-dealing father in a harsh Ozark landscape in the Sundance favorite "Winter's Bone."

(Celebritology: The surprises and snubs)

Joining Depp in the best actor in a comedy or musical category is Depp himself, name-checked again for "Alice in Wonderland," Paul Giamatti in "Barney's Version," Jake Gyllenhaal in "Love and Other Drugs" and Kevin Spacey as Jack Abramoff in "Casino Jack." Joining Bening, Moore and Jolie in the best actress in a comedy or musical category is Anne Hathaway in "Love and Other Drugs" and Emma Stone in "Easy A."

Telegenic B-list triptych Blair Underwood, Josh Duhamel and Katie Holmes announced the nominations at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, officially kicking off the season of awards excess, when stars shower each other with praise and trophies and Hollywood and the media conspire to promote films of varying scope and quality. The Golden Globes are conferred by an exclusive, oft-maligned group called the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is made of about 90 journalists who write about film for readerships in such remote locales as Latvia, Malaysia and Tahiti.

The group, despite instituting some ethics reforms in recent years, has never been able to shake its reputation as star-worshippers with shaky journalism creds who enjoy the perks of studios' PR machines.

"One thing that can't be bought is a Golden Globe -- officially," Ricky Gervais said while hosting the show last January, when he wavered his hand in jest and won uproarious, complicit laughter from the audience of nominees and execs. This, after blatantly peddling the DVDs of his movie "The Invention of Lying" and the British version of "The Office" from the podium.

Historically, the telecast earns hundreds of thousands of dollars for NBC and, according to past IRS documents, millions for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Nevertheless, the telecast is often more freewheeling than the perennially staid Academy Awards -- due perhaps to the Globes' dinner-style seating, the cascading champagne and the general consensus that the awards don't have much value beyond publicity.

The baubles will be conferred Jan. 16 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel with Gervais returning as host. A Golden Globe win provides momentum but hardly a guarantee for Oscar victory. Last year, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association bestowed its top honors on "Avatar" and its director, James Cameron, while the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences -- a more expansive group, with 5,000 or so members practicing actual cinematic trades -- opted for "The Hurt Locker" and its director Kathryn Bigelow. A best picture Golden Globe has translated into a best picture Oscar five times in the past 10 years.

More on this story:

By Dan Zak  | December 14, 2010; 7:56 AM ET
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Aren't The Golden Globes the biggest sham in a factory town whose No. 1 product is fakery?

What exactly are the Golden Globes and who is exactly is the 'Hollywood Foreign Press?'

It does seem that the 'Hollywood Foreign Press' exists solely to give out the 'awards.'

Is it possible that the entire money-making engine of Hollywood bows each year to a group of a few dozen bloggers and wannabes, who then gather up millions in TV rights and endorsements generated by their boring broadcast?

And it is it further possible that Hollywood has agreed to this sham because of:
1. It's lust for self-congratulations
2. The mythology that Golden Globes? somehow influence the Oscars(R), which actually boost revenue for the winners?

Imagine, an entire American industry strung like puppets to be played by people who may not actually be journalists, or anything else.

And they, like Liberace said, laughed all the way to the bank.

Posted by: 1EgoNemo | December 14, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Is it possible that the entire money-making engine of Hollywood bows each year to a group of a few dozen bloggers and wannabes, who then gather up millions in TV rights and endorsements generated by their boring broadcast?

This is pretty much the whole Golden Globes thing in a nutshell.

I just watch it for the fashion now. They also tend to have better speeches because they serve alcohol at the Globes, so there's that drunken factor to any & all speeches or interviews which does make for fun TV.

Posted by: wadejg | December 14, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Now if they would only releast "The King's Speech" in the Washington DC area. But oh no, we have to have more screens for "The Social Network" (now there's an enriching experience.)

Posted by: Georgetowner1 | December 14, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Great. Another movie about 50 people saw.

Posted by: 1911a1 | December 14, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Seriously? Social Network for best film? Inception, too? There are some supreme idiots making these the nominations. Not only were actual good movies snubbed (where's I Love You, Philip Morris??), but barely decent movies had noms. Inception had zero story and relied on artistic settings to inspire. Social Network retold a lie; you could've put a muppet in Eisenberg's role and it would've been nominated.

By far, the worst nominations I have ever seen for an awards show.

Posted by: exdcn | December 14, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Er? How did "The Tourist" make it into the comedy/musical category?

Posted by: forgetthis | December 14, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

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