The Golden Globes kick off the frenzy surrounding awards season. Fiona Williams takes a look at the main films in contention.
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12 Dec 2008 - 9:27 AM  UPDATED 7 Nov 2012 - 12:30 AM

We’re still several weeks away from the pointy end of Awards season, but with the Golden Globe nominations now out, it\'s time to start tracking the frontrunners.

Here is a quick rundown of the films you\'ll be hearing more of in the coming weeks...


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button


David Fincher’s CGI-laden fantasy about star-crossed lovers has been generating awards heat ever since the first sneaks of the trailer made their way onto the net many months ago. The film\'s many obvious references to Forrest Gump may divide audiences but that clearly hasn’t harmed its appeal for voters. If nothing else, it definitely warrants recognition in technical and craft categories come Oscar time, not least for making Brad Pitt age from 80 to early teens.

As expected, the film has received several Golden Globe nominations, including best film, an acting nod for Pitt in the title role, a directing nomination for Fincher, a screenwriting nod to Eric Roth, and original score for Alexadre Desplat.



Doubt

This film is yet to be previewed in Australia but it has snagged five nominations for its 'Did he or didn’t he’ tale of a Catholic priest and a young student, and its wider philosophical exploration of the clash between conservative and progressive religious values. Disney is releasing the film in January.

Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis scored acting nominations for their performances, and writer/director John Patrick Shanley earned a nod for his screenplay (which was adapted from his own play).



Frost/Nixon

Ron Howard’s depiction of the landmark interview series between a disgraced former President and an ambitious television interviewer, both with large egos and clashing agendas, is an obvious candidate for Awards season kudos. Accordingly, it has snagged five Golden Globe nominations: for best film; actor (Frank Langella), director; screenplay (Peter Morgan); and score (for seasoned Oscar hopeful Hans Zimmer).





The Reader

No screenings have taken place in Australia yet, but there is much hype surrounding Stephen Daldry’s story about the second generation of post-war Germans, coming to terms with falling in love in a society that has shown itself to be capable of creating a holocaust.

It’s up for four Golden Globes, including best film, director, supporting actress (Kate Winslet, in the role she took over from a pregnant Nicole Kidman) and screenplay (David Hare).



Revolutionary Road

This film is also yet to be screened in Australia but it comes highly recommended; it’s an adaptation of Richard Yates’ tragic story of two idealistic young marrieds who are terrified of becoming complacent in 1950s suburbia.

It has garnered a best film nomination, acting honours for both Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, and a directing nod for Sam Mendes.



Slumdog Millionaire


Danny Boyle’s urban fairytale is a real gem and has already fared well with early awards in the UK. The story of a young man from the slums of Mumbai who goes on TV’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, as a way to be reunited with his lost love, it has struck a chord with critics and audiences and is bound to snare some gongs.

The largely unknown cast received no acting nominations in the Golden Globes but it is up for best film, directing, screenplay (Simon Beaufoy) and score (A.R. Rahman).



Changeling and Gran Torino

Changeling
has \'Oscar bait\' all over it, for Angelina Jolie’s teary performance as an aggrieved mother searching for her missing son. She duly received a Golden Globe nomination for her role in the Clint Eastewood-directed film.

Eastwood’s own expected nomination for acting in Gran Torino failed to eventuate but if it is his swansong acting performance, as has been widely suggested, he’s got a bright future in music ahead of him, given his dual nominations in the music categories for both Changeling and Gran Torino (he’s up for best original song category, for the Gran Torino title song he penned with Jamie Callum, Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens, and is a sole nominee for his original score of Changeling).



Wall-E

Wall-E is a dead cert to win best animated film in the Golden Globes – the question is whether it can convert its win into a landmark victory for an animated film in the overall best film category on Oscar night.

An achingly beautiful love story that ranks as one of the best examples of yearning ever depicted on screen, Wall-E took top honours at this week’s LA Critics Awards, and has deservedly snagged an additional nomination for Peter Gabriel’s original song.




The Wrestler

Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler is a revelation, not least for its resurrection of long-forgotten Hollywood bad-boy Mickey Rourke.

Aronosfky is a noteworthy omission from the Golden Globe nominees but Rourke is a hot favourite for best actor, for his honest portrayal of a man past his prime, battling his demons and trying to find a new way of life when the one he knows becomes untenable. It’s a raw and gutsy performance that will be hard to top, come Oscar time.

Marisa Tomei is also up for best supporting actress, and Bruce Springsteen is in the running for best original song for the title track.



Milk

Sean Penn is barely recognisable as Harvey Milk in Gus Van Sant’s biopic of the trailblazing politician. Who knew the surly actor had a megawatt smile? He is a deserved acting nominee in the Golden Globes for his transformation from closeted lawyer to out-and-proud activist, shot down in his prime by a jealous and conflicted rival.

It’s no criticism to say Milk marks a conventional turn for Van Sant, but this may explain his absence in the directing category for the Globes.


The full list of Golden Globe nominees is as follows:

HOLLYWOOD FOREIGN PRESS ASSOCIATION
2008 GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS NOMINATIONS
FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2008

1. BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
a. THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
Warner Bros. Pictures and Paramount Pictures; Warner Bros. Pictures and Paramount Pictures
b. FROST/NIXON
Imagine Entertainment, Working Title, Studio Canal; Universal Pictures
c. THE READER
Mirage Enterprises; The Weinstein Company
d. REVOLUTIONARY ROAD
An Evamere Entertainment BBC Films Neal Street Production; DreamWorks Pictures in Association with BBC Films and Paramount Vantage
e. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
Fox Searchlight Pictures and Warner Bros.; Fox Searchlight Pictures and Warner Bros.

2. BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
a. ANNE HATHAWAY – RACHEL GETTING MARRIED
b. ANGELINA JOLIE – CHANGELING
c. MERYL STREEP – DOUBT
d. KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS – I\'VE LOVED YOU SO LONG (IL Y A LONGTEMPS QUE JE T’AIME)
e. KATE WINSLET – REVOLUTIONARY ROAD

3. BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
a. LEONARDO DICAPRIO – REVOLUTIONARY ROAD
b. FRANK LANGELLA – FROST/NIXON
c. SEAN PENN – MILK
d. BRAD PITT – THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
e. MICKEY ROURKE – THE WRESTLER

4. BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
a. BURN AFTER READING
Working Title/Releasing Company; Focus Features in association with Studio Canal
b. HAPPY-GO-LUCKY
Summit Entertainment, Film4, Ingenious Film Partners, Miramax Films; Miramax Films
c. IN BRUGES
Blueprint Pictures; Focus Features
d. MAMMA MIA!
Relativity Media, Playtone, Littlestar; Universal Pictures
e. VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA
Mediapro; The Weinstein Company

5.BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
a. REBECCA HALL – VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA
b. SALLY HAWKINS – HAPPY-GO-LUCKY
c. FRANCES MCDORMAND – BURN AFTER READING
d. MERYL STREEP – MAMMA MIA!
e. EMMA THOMPSON – LAST CHANCE HARVEY

6. BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
a. JAVIER BARDEM – VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA
b. COLIN FARRELL – IN BRUGES
c. JAMES FRANCO – PINEAPPLE EXPRESS
d. BRENDAN GLEESON – IN BRUGES
e. DUSTIN HOFFMAN – LAST CHANCE HARVEY

7. BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
a. BOLT
Walt Disney Pictures; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
b. KUNG FU PANDA
DreamWorks Animation SKG; Paramount Pictures
c. WALL-E
Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

8. BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
a. THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX (GERMANY)
(DER BAADER MEINHOF KOMPLEX)
Constantin Film Produktion GmbH; Summit Entertainment, LLC
b. EVERLASTING MOMENTS (SWEDEN/DENMARK)
(MARIA LARSSONS EVIGA ÖGONBLICK)
Final Cut Productions Aps; IFC Films
c. GOMORRAH (ITALY)
(GOMORRA)
Fandango; IFC Films
d. I\'VE LOVED YOU SO LONG (FRANCE)
(IL Y A LONGTEMPS QUE JE T’AIME)
UGC YM/UGC Images/France 3 Cinema/Integral Film; Sony Pictures Classics
e. WALTZ WITH BASHIR (ISRAEL)
Bridgit Folman Film Gang/Les Films D\'Ici/Razor Films/Arte France/ITVS International; Sony Pictures Classics

9. BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
a. AMY ADAMS – DOUBT
b. PENELOPE CRUZ – VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA
c. VIOLA DAVIS –DOUBT
d. MARISA TOMEI – THE WRESTLER
e. KATE WINSLET – THE READER

10. BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
a. TOM CRUISE – TROPIC THUNDER
b. ROBERT DOWNEY JR. –TROPIC THUNDER
c. RALPH FIENNES – THE DUCHESS
d. PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN – DOUBT
e. HEATH LEDGER – THE DARK KNIGHT

11. BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE
a. DANNY BOYLE – SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
b. STEPHEN DALDRY – THE READER
c. DAVID FINCHER – THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
d. RON HOWARD – FROST/NIXON
e. SAM MENDES – REVOLUTIONARY ROAD

12. BEST SCREENPLAY – MOTION PICTURE
a. SIMON BEAUFOY – SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
b. DAVID HARE – THE READER
c. PETER MORGAN – FROST/NIXON
d. ERIC ROTH – THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN
e. JOHN PATRICK SHANLEY – DOUBT

13. BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – MOTION PICTURE
a. ALEXANDRE DESPLAT –THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
b. CLINT EASTWOOD – CHANGELING
c. JAMES NEWTON HOWARD – DEFIANCE
d. A. R. RAHMAN – SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
e. HANS ZIMMER – FROST/NIXON

14. BEST ORIGINAL SONG – MOTION PICTURE
a. 'DOWN TO EARTH" — WALL-E
Music by: Peter Gabriel, Thomas Newman
Lyrics by: Peter Gabriel
b. 'GRAN TORINO" — GRAN TORINO
Music by: Clint Eastwood, Jamie Cullum, Kyle Eastwood, Michael Stevens
Lyrics by: Jamie Cullum
c. 'I THOUGHT I LOST YOU" — BOLT
Music & Lyrics by: Miley Cyrus, Jeffrey Steele
d. 'ONCE IN A LIFETIME" — CADILLAC RECORDS
Music & Lyrics by: Beyoncé Knowles, Amanda Ghost, Scott McFarnon, Ian Dench, James Dring, Jody Street
e. 'THE WRESTLER" — THE WRESTLER
Music & Lyrics by: Bruce Springsteen


NOMINATIONS BY MOTION PICTURE
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON – 5
DOUBT – 5
FROST/NIXON – 5
THE READER – 4
REVOLUTIONARY ROAD – 4
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE – 4
VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA – 4
IN BRUGES – 3
THE WRESTLER – 3
BOLT – 2
BURN AFTER READING – 2
CHANGELING – 2
HAPPY-GO-LUCKY – 2
I\'VE LOVED YOU SO LONG (IL Y A LONGTEMPS QUE JE T\'AIME) – 2
LAST CHANCE HARVEY – 2
MAMMA MIA! – 2
TROPIC THUNDER – 2
WALL-E – 2
BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX (DER BAADER MEINHOF KOMPLEX) – 1
CADILLAC RECORDS – 1
THE DARK KNIGHT – 1
DEFIANCE – 1
THE DUCHESS – 1
EVERLASTING MOMENTS (MARIA LARSSONS EVIGA ÖGONBLICK) – 1
GOMORRAH (GOMORRA) – 1
GRAN TORINO – 1
KUNG FU PANDA – 1
MILK – 1
PINEAPPLE EXPRESS – 1
RACHEL GETTING MARRIED – 1
WALTZ WITH BASHIR – 1