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Posted at 9:33 AM ET, 12/14/2010

Golden Globe nominations 2011: Surprises and snubs

By Jen Chaney

"Toy Story 3," you're a best picture contender in our book. (Pixar) | Gallery: The best picture nominees

The Golden Globe nominees are out. And some surprises (um, how about that best actor in a comedy category?) as well as snubs most definitely emerged.

Let's examine the biggies, all of which fall in the film category, and also figure out which of my bold Globe predictions came true. Also, feel free to peruse the complete list of nominees.

The Surprises

Nominations for ... "The Tourist"?: Both Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp were nominated for their work in this film -- in the musical or comedy category, of course -- despite the fact that their performances were largely slammed by every critic in America. And the film even gets a best picture nomation? These choices smack of the Foreign Press Association sucking up to a pair of big stars who shot a movie in Europe, where the majority of Association members are based.

Virtually the entire lead actor in a musical or comedy category: Depp's second nomination for "Alice in Wonderland" and Jake Gyllenhaal's nod for "Love & Other Drugs" were not terribly surprising. But Kevin Spacey for "Casino Jack"? A bit unexpected. And Paul Giamatti for "Barney's Version," a film that hasn't built up much buzz in the awards season blogosphere? Totally out of left field.

"Red" for best comedy or musical?: I personally wasn't bowled over by this aging crime fighters story, so I was surprised to see it get this level of recognition, even with the presence of trophy bait like Helen Mirren.

Also, "Burlesque" for best comedy or musical?: The Foreign Press always nominates at least one musical. As I suggested yesterday, this would likely be it. But perhaps that doesn't make it less surprising to see a Christina Aguilera movie being dubbed a "best picture contender."

Mark Wahlberg for best actor: I predicted plenty of acting nominations for "The Fighter." But I wasn't sure Wahlberg would creep into the nominees' circle. His inclusion made it a clean sweep, as Melissa Leo, Christian Bale and Amy Adams also were recognized this morning.

Halle Berry for best actress: Her performance as a woman with multiple personalities in "Frankie and Alice" has garnered attention on the awards season circuit, but most mainstream moviegoers don't even know this film exists. So her nomination qualifies as a surprise, too.

David O. Russell for best director: Again, wasn't sure he'd sneak in the final five. But this development -- and "The Fighter's" nomination for best drama -- officially pushes that movie even further forward in the Oscar race.

Emma Stone for "Easy A": Stone's arrival as a contender in the lead actress in a comedy category technically qualifies as a surprise, even though I totally called it yesterday.

The Snubs

Danny Boyle and "127 Hours": Boyle was left off the list for his direction and, while James Franco was nominated for his performance, the film itself didn't get recognized as best picture. That's a shame. While Franco's work is excellent, the movie wouldn't have worked without Boyle's skillful approach to telling a story that might otherwise have been inert.

"True Grit" totally ignored: The latest Coen Brothers film was completely shut out: no best drama, no nomination for supporting actress and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, nothing for the Coens and no nomination for Jeff Bridges. Which made it kind of awkward when Bridges appeared on the "Today" show right after the nominations were announced.

"Toy Story 3" fails to earn a best picture nomination: This should have been included in the musical or comedy category instead of "Red" or "The Tourist." It may be animated but that doesn't make it any less deserving.

No best picture nomination for "Winter's Bone": Jennifer Lawrence was recognized in the best actress category but, like "True Grit," the bleak "Bone" couldn't quite earn its way into the best drama category.

No nominations for Lesley Manville, Jim Carrey and Clint Eastwood: Not sure if these qualify as snubs, but I had thought each of these people might sneak their way into the Foreign Press's hearts. No dice.

So what was the biggest surprise? The biggest snub? Vote in the polls below and weigh in by posting a comment.

By Jen Chaney  | December 14, 2010; 9:33 AM ET
Categories:  Awards Season, Movies  
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What about the TV categories? Piper Perabo, "Covert Affairs"??

Posted by: sjcpeach | December 14, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

The HFPA is the biggest joke of awards season. I really wish the critics and media would stop giving this obviously inept and miniscule collection of voters publicity. The Golden Globes are no longer an Oscar predictor, but a laughing stock of film.

Firstly, considering "The Tourist" as a comedy/musical is just plain farsical. There were funnier moments in "Misery," "Silence of the Lambs," and "The Hurt Locker" than there were in this utterly predictable and silly film that wasn't an even a decent remake of the original french film. It seems as though the film was pushed into the comedy/musical category just to fill out the category and to allow the HFPA to laud addulation upon Jolie and Depp so they'll show up to the ceremony for big ratings. What the HFPA doesn't seem to understand is that people aren't that enamoured with the two stars as evidenced by the pathetic box the pair pulled in its opening week.

The complete shaft of "True Grit" is completely shocking to me. It is clearly one of the top two or three movies of 2011, and the oversight must simply be because the HFPA didn't actually screen it. It is at the top or near the top of just about every best film list, except of course this one.

The musical/comedy category needs to go, becuase when "Red" and "The Tourist" are getting recognition while being some fo the worst reviewed movies of the year, something needs to be done. Other true comedies that were overlooked include: "Scott Pigrim vs. the World," "Kick A$$," and "Toy Story 3."

Someone really needs to take the HFPA to task, and stop allowing them to kick off the awards season with with completely illegitimate nominees.

Posted by: Russtinator | December 14, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Russtinator, astute analysis!

I'd only differ with you re the existence of the musical/comedy film category, because the Oscars tend to devalue such films unjustly, so it's nice that they have the potential to receive their due from the Globes. OTOH, their omission of "Toy Story 3," combined with the inclusion of certain others, is nothing short of appalling, and diminishes the category's potential worth.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | December 14, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Winter's Bone is out on DVD already. Great Film and I agree should have received best picture nomination.

Posted by: kvs71 | December 14, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, it sorta changes my mind about the Oscars moving to an earlier date.

The Globes are all about fashion & drunken acceptance speeches for me. I stopped caring who won or who was nominated ages ago when I learned that the HFP was a sham.

Posted by: wadejg | December 14, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I would agree Nosy_Parker, but since the Best Picture category has expanded to 10 nominees, I don't think you'll see as many oversights of truly good musicals or comedies. It just makes the awards illigitimate when it's clear that a nominating group (a very small one in this case) selects films based on its stars as opposed to their actual content. I could see "Red" as a comedy, but "The Tourist" is as much of a comedy as "Knight and Day," "A Team," and "Sex and the City 2," which were ALL better than the Jolie and Depp spy thriller.

Posted by: Russtinator | December 14, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Interesting points, Russtinator. The problem with the Academy Awards allowing for 10 candidates to compete against one another for Best Picture is that the winner could receive the Oscar with as little as a single vote over 10% (an even less ringing endorsement than 20% + 1 vote, like before).

Nominating a film based on star-power in the cast is a tricky issue, because presumably some of those stars' fans will go see it no matter how poor it is artistically, while you and I (and most Lizards) likely wouldn't.

Just because the Globes nominated one or more poor (in our shared opinion) choices for the musical/comedy category doesn't mean the category should be abolished, just that if the Globes wish to be taken (slightly) more seriously they should nominate better selections in the future.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | December 14, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Uh, the winner could THEORETICALLY receive the Oscar with as little as a single vote over 10%.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | December 14, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Uh, the winner could THEORETICALLY receive the Oscar with as little as a single vote over 10%.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | December 14, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Not only that, but the new Oscar vote counting rules could have a film that is really only the 9th most favorite film amongst voters come out on top. The rules were detailed very well by USA Today in February, but the link escapes me right now.

Hey, at least Globes are not shy in letting everyone know that they are truly a popularity contest, not a merit-based award.

Posted by: Russtinator | December 14, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Count me as one who is GLAD "True Grit" got shut out, with all due respect to the those involved in the project.

It is high time the defeatist, cynical, crap of the Coen brothers got the TRUE recognition they deserve. THANK YOU Foreign Press Association, at least you are far less interested in racing toward social self-destruction than your counterparts in America.

Posted by: ethanquern | December 14, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute: how in the world did "Treme" not get nominated in the television category? Or was it ineligible, for some reason?

Posted by: JJinArlington | December 15, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

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