Golden Globe Nominations: Pitt and Clooney In, Spielberg and Malick Out

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Columbia Pictures / Everett; Merie Wallace / Fox Searchlight

They love George Clooney, Ryan Gosling and of course Brangelina. They’re so over Spielberg. And they didn’t care at all for The Tree of Life.

This morning, when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe award nominations were announced, Steven Spielberg was ignored as Best Director for either War Horse or The Adventures of Tintin, though the first film was a finalist for Best Drama and the second for Animated Feature. And lo and behold, a bio-pic directed by Madonna received two more nominations citations than did Terrence Malick’s micro/cosmic drama. If you’re playing at home, the score was 2 for W.E., 0 for Tree.

(READ: Why The Tree of Life should be on the HFPA Best list)

The silent film The Artist led the field with six nominations: Best Comedy or Musical (it’s both!), Actor-Comedy or Musical (Jean Dujardin), Supporting Actress (Bérénice Bejo), Director and Screenplay (Michel Hazanavicius for both) and Original Score (Ludovic Bource). No surprise here, as this tribute to American movies is the story of a Frenchman who conquers Hollywood, and was made in L.A. by foreigners; it could be the HFPA’s dream of itself.

Clooney, who might be Hollywood’s dream of itself, did especially well, adding a Director slot for his political drama The Ides of March (four nominations in all) to his Actor-Drama citation for The Descendants. The Clooney magic also adhered to Gosling, who scored a rare double nomination for his star turns in The Ides of March (Drama) and Crazy, Stupid, Love (Comedy or Musical). As for Pitt, a favorite for Best Actor-Drama, he might also have been named in the Supporting category for The Tree of Life. But even if they’d like Pitt in the movie, the HFPA members might have reasoned, “Hell, he’s already in the room. And his director [the famously reclusive Malick] hasn’t appeared in public since his own baptism.”

(READ: The Descendants—Clooney’s tropical tragedy)

Just behind The Artist, with five nominations, were The Help, with nods for Best Drama, three of its actresses (Viola Davis, Olivia Spencer and Jessica Chastain) and its closing-credits song, and The Descendants for Drama, Actor-Drama (Clooney), Supporting Actress (Shailene Woodley) and Director and Co-screenwriter Alexander Payne.

Three nominations each went to two other examples of transatlantic movie love. My Week With Marilyn, a drama about the friction between Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier on the set of their 1957 film The Prince and the Showgirl, was a finalist for Best Musical or Comedy plus Actress-Musical or Comedy (Michelle Williams) and Supporting Actor (Kenneth Branagh). And Hugo, an American’s British-made valentine to French silent-film magician Georges Méliès, picked up nominations for Best Picture Drama, Musical Score and director Martin Scorsese — or, as actress Sofia Vergara pronounced his name at this morning’s announcement ceremony, “Marlina Scorsez.”

(READ Why Marlina Scorsez’s Hugo deserves a bunch of awards)

That blunder could be a two-word summary of the Golden Globes, an event that each year merits the movie industry’s fascination, contempt and delight. The HFPA has committed blunders and been accused of corruption — most gleefully by Ricky Gervais, who will be back for his third stint as host — but Hollywood doesn’t care because the event, which will be aired Jan. 15 on NBC, gives free publicity to films in the midst of their awards-groveling frenzy. By splitting films into Drama and Comedy or Musical categories, the Globes contain twice as many nominees for Best Picture, Actor and Actress, while ignoring less glamorous crafts like cinematography, art direction and documentary filmmaking.

The HFPA is particularly suited to pleasing the big actors and studios. The members of the two dozen regional and national critics’ groups are full-time appraisers of movies; the main job for the 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — most of them part-time stringers for international outlets — is to file stories about movie stars. So the Globe nominations are less an honor roll than a guest list for the most fabulous Hollywood party. And the people they invite are the very movie royalty they try to get interviews with the rest of the year. (The HFPA also gives eight prizes for TV performances, which lures another 40 famous people to the big bash.)

(READ ABOUT the most recent Golden Globes show—where the stars got Social with their stalkers)

Hence this morning’s nominations for Angelina Jolie (Best Foreign Film, In the Land of Blood and Honey) and Madonna (co-composer of the Best Song nominee “Masterpiece” from W.E.). The song category is a celebrity catchall: Mary J. Blige is a finalist for “The Living Proof” from The Help, as is Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell for “The Keeper” from the immortal Machine Gun Preacher — total box-office gross: $538,690; Rotten Tomatoes critics’ score: 29%. The HFPA wants people under 40 to watch too.

Aping the Oscar format even in its 5:38 a.m. time for nomination announcements, the Globe show is also watched as early tips to the Academy Awards. Lately, though, it hasn’t been. Only once in the past seven years (with the very globular Slumdog Millionaire) has the Golden Globe choice for either of its top categories gone on to win the Best Picture Oscar. It happens that, in awards issued this season by actual film-critics’ groups, The Artist has copped the most prizes for Best Film. So this unique delight should get serious consideration from the Academy members — movie lovers like the rest of us, just better paid.

(SEE: the all-TIME 100 Movies list)

Be warned, though: last year the HFPA and virtually all of the critics’ societies picked The Social Network as their best, and it lost at the Oscars to The King’s Speech. So nobody knows anything. And nothing matters.

The list of Golden Globe nominations in the movie categories, as reported by the In Contention website:

Best Picture – Drama
The Descendants
The Help
The Ides of March
War Horse

Best Picture – Musical or Comedy
The Artist
Midnight in Paris
My Week With Marilyn

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
George Clooney, The Ides of March
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

Best Actor – Drama
George Clooney, The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Best Actor – Musical or Comedy
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Brendan Gleeson, The Guard

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50
Ryan Gosling, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris

Best Actress – Drama
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Best Actress – Musical or Comedy
Jodie Foster, Carnage
Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
Kate Winslet, Carnage

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method
Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Best Supporting Actress
Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Best Screenplay
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, The Descendants
George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon, The Ides of March
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian, Moneyball

Best Foreign Language Film
The Flowers of War, Zhang Yimou, China
In the Land of Blood and Honey, Angelina Jolie, Bosnia
The Kid With a Bike, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Belgium
A Separation, Asghar Farhadi, Iran
The Skin I Live In, Pedro Almodóvar, Spain

Best Animated Feature
The Adventures of Tintin
Arthur Christmas
Cars 2
Puss in Boots

Best Original Score
Ludovic Bource, The Artist
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Howard Shore, Hugo
John Williams, War Horse
Abel Korzeniowski, W.E.

Best Original Song
“Lay Your Head Down,” Albert Nobbs
“Hello Hello,” Gnomeo and Juliet
“The Living Proof,” The Help
“The Keeper,” Machine Gun Preacher
“Masterpiece,” W.E.