The Artist

The Artist led the field with six Golden Globes nominations this morning, cementing its status as the front-runner for eventual Oscar honors. The status of the Globes as precursors to the Academy Awards is questionable — the tastes of the membership of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association don’t necessarily jibe with those of the Academy professionals, and the group is sometimes accused of being seduced by star power. (George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Brad Pitt are all nominated actors, while Glenn Close and Meryl Streep are very familiar faces in the actress category.) But its selections are still a key pivot point for the awards conversation.

Another point that should be made: The Globes don’t spend time on craft categories like cinematography, sound, or visual effects, but if they help turn industry attention onto a given film, that film can see increased Oscar action across all categories — for one thing, it makes Academy members more likely to check out their screeners for a given film while giving that film a more prestigious aura.

So what do the nods for The Artist signify? The film is widely loved, already earning plaudits from critics groups in New York, Washington (DC), Boston, Las Vegas, and Indiana. And it seems hard to imagine that the Academy will be any less taken by its glowing, classically framed tribute to classical filmmaking. The Globes did hedge their bets in an interesting way, categorizing the melodramatic nostalgia piece as a “comedy or musical” — it will compete primarily with the similarly old-fashioned Midnight in Paris in that category. (It’s hard to imagine 50/50, Bridesmaids, or My Week with Marilyn beating either The Artist or the well-loved Woody Allen film for the prize.)

Given the attention it has received to date, it’s hard to imagine The Artist not getting a Best Picture nomination from the Academy — and nods for cinematography and art direction would seem well earned.

Along with The Artist, the biggest winners in the Globes nominations were The Descendants and The Help, which scored five nominations each. Surprising snubs include shut-outs of The Tree of Life and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, both considered Oscar contenders. Spielberg’s War Horse managed a nod for Best Motion Picture and Score, but not director or screenplay. Director David Fincher was hot lost year with The Social Network, but The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was only recognized for Rooney Mara’s performance as the title character and the score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. And animation fans are already lamenting the absence of Kung Fu Panda 2 in the animated feature film category.

The Globes also honor achievements on television, and the leaders in this year’s line-up are the miniseries Downton Abbey (PBS) and Mildred Pierce (HBO), with four nominations each.

The full nominations line-up is available at the HFPA site: