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‘Up in the Air’ flies high with six Golden Globe nominations

Meryl Streep, left, and Sandra Bullock were double nominees for the Golden Globes. Meryl Streep, left, and Sandra Bullock were double nominees for the Golden Globes.
By Ty Burr
Globe Staff / December 16, 2009

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The 2009 Golden Globe nominations are in, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has glitzed up the room. After a string of critics’ organizations spent the weekend throwing bouquets to Kathryn Bigelow’s Iraq bomb-squad drama “The Hurt Locker’’ (great reviews, little-seen, no big names), the Globes yesterday reasserted the pre-Oscar awards-season priorities: Art’s great but stars and lavishness are so much more fun.

The plangent frequent-flier tale “Up in the Air’’ led the Globe pack with six nominations, for best drama, director Jason Reitman, actor George Clooney, the screenplay, and two supporting actress nominations, one for Vera Farmiga and the other for up-and-comer Anna Kendrick (top that, Kristen Stewart). Meryl Streep got nominated twice in the same category - best actress in a musical or comedy - for “It’s Complicated’’ and “Julie & Julia,’’ and the actress now has 25 career Globe nominations.

Sandra Bullock got nominated twice, too, but in separate categories: best actress, drama (“The Blind Side’’) and best actress, musical or comedy (“The Proposal’’). No mention of “All About Steve’’ - that will have to wait for the Razzies. Stanley Tucci was nominated, too, but for the wrong movie - “The Lovely Bones’’ rather than “Julie & Julia.’’

This year the Globes may foreshadow the eventual Academy Awards nominations (due Feb. 2, 2010) more closely than before. Recent changes in Oscar rules will yield a slate of 10 best picture nominees, which parallels the HFPA’s five-and-five nominations in drama and musical/comedy. Those movie fans who can’t imagine last summer’s raucous hit “The Hangover’’ getting into the Academy’s magic circle should fasten their seatbelts; the film was nominated for a Globe and now anything’s possible.

The Globe acting nominations also tend to solidify the field, especially with films that have yet to see wide release. Jeff Bridges was nominated for best actor in a drama for his burnt-out country singer in “Crazy Heart,’’ and both Helen Mirren (best actress, drama) and Christopher Plummer (best supporting actor) were nominated for “The Last Station,’’ about the final days of Leo Tolstoy. Both have yet to be released.

What got shut out? “Invictus,’’ for one - Clint Eastwood was nominated for best director, and Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon picked up lead actor and supporting actor nods, but the film wasn’t mentioned in the best picture (drama) category. (Damon also got nominated for lead actor in a comedy, for “The Informant!’’)

“The Hurt Locker’’ did squeak in, picking up nominations for Bigelow and the screenplay, but star Jeremy Renner went unnoticed. “Avatar’’ got a best picture (drama) nomination and James Cameron picked up a nod but the film went unrewarded elsewhere. But “Avatar’’ isn’t really the Globes’ kind of movie. The foreign press likes stars and they likes ’em big.

Like Bullock - really, a nomination for “The Proposal’’? Or Julia Roberts, who picked up a best actress (comedy) nomination for “Duplicity,’’ a perfectly fine 2009 movie that nobody saw. Or Tobey Maguire, who probably wouldn’t have been nominated as best actor (drama) for “Brothers’’ if not for his marquee stature as Spider-Man.

On the other hand, the Golden Globes can mint stars, too. Who would have thought that Joseph Gordon-Levitt of “(500) Days of Summer’’ and Michael Stuhlbarg of “A Serious Man’’ would get nominations for best actor in a musical or comedy? Wait, is “A Serious Man’’ even a comedy? In the lavish, old-school worldview of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, apparently so.

In the far-less-influential TV categories, the Globes usually make room for newcomers, and this year was no different. “Glee’’ stars Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison were nominated; their series is up for best comedy, as is ABC’s first-year hit “Modern Family.’’

The awards will be telecast on Jan. 17 on NBC. For a complete list of nominees go to www.goldenglobes.org.

Ty Burr can be reached at tburr@globe.com.

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'Up in the Air'
Photos

And the nominees are ...

"Up in the Air" leads the pack with six nominations.

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