Get ready for a Golden Globes show dominated by a silent movie and a host who won't shut up.
Michel Hazanvicius' pre-talkies spoof The Artist led all films with six nominations Thursday, including best comedy/musical, strengthening its position as the movie to beat at the Academy Awards. The nearly wordless, black and white mash note to Hollywood's past also earned nominations for direction, lead actor Jean Dujardin and supporting actress Berenice Bejo.
The list of nominees also includes plenty of celebrities for razor-tongued returning host Ricky Gervais to deflate on national television. The British comedian's most recent turn hosting was deemed "mean-spirited" on stage by Robert Downey Jr., after numerous barbs sounded uncomfortably personal.
Just consider Gervais' rudeness as the cover charge for entrance to Hollywood's liveliest dinner party, where bottomless champagne bottles fuel a spontaneity the Oscars sorely lack.
At the same time, the Globes sometimes appear more concerned with glamour than getting it right. Dividing major categories into dramatic and comedy/musical balloting doubles the number of celebrities to invite. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association deciding the awards are 85 reporters for overseas media, and they love making nice with the day's hottest movie stars.
That may explain why George Clooney is nominated twice for co-writing and directing The Ides of March, in addition to one he truly deserves, for his performance in The Descendants. Or how Ryan Gosling makes the short list for both drama (The Ides of March) and comedy/musical (Crazy Stupid Love). Neither film has been on the radar for awards season analysts but their stars are dreamy.
And you can't convince me that nominating the song Masterpiece from the obscure period drama W.E. isn't bait for its co-composer Madonna to show up. Same goes for Elton John and his song Hello, Hello from Gnomeo and Juliet. Voters even tabbed Angelina Jolie's In the Land of Blood and Honey in the foreign language category, in case she considered staying home while Brad Pitt learns if he wins a Globe for Moneyball.
Nominees who gained most Thursday? Start with Kristin Wiig as lead comedy actress in Bridesmaids, thrusting her into Oscar consideration.
Michael Fassbender's nomination for portraying a sex addict in Shame brings a bit of mainstream support to his fringe NC-17 film. Rooney Mara received confirmation that she's a capable second Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Jonah Hill (Moneyball) took a big step toward never playing a lumpy stoner again.
The biggest losers? Anyone associated with Terrence Malick's navel-gazing The Tree of Life, the spy non-thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, the Wall Street drama Margin Call, and Take Shelter's psychological horror. All of those films were shut out by Globes voters.