Golden Globe Nominations: How They Alter Oscar Race

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So, the 2013 Golden Globe Nominations were announced today and even though they are only voted on by a mere 80 foreign journalists here in Hollywood, their work has an enormous effect on the race for Oscar gold. The Academy Award nominations will be announced January 13, but this year -- more so than in past years -- the Golden Globe nominations can serve as a crystal ball of sorts.

Lincoln Still: Daniel Day Lewis
With Lincoln scoring seven nods and Argo, Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook and Les Miserables each earning six nominations, the field for Oscar Best Picture has come closer into view. But, that doesn't mean that the notoriously "interesting" Globe nominations don't add a little muddle to the mix.

The heartwarming Salmon Fishing in the Yemen shocked Hollywood today with its Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture... although most believe it doesn't stand a chance at any Oscar love. And although nobody is expecting last year's winner (Meryl Streep) to score an Oscar nod for her work with Tommy Lee Jones, Streep's role in Hope Springs earned her her umpteenth Golden Globe nomination. See... that Hollywood Foreign Press Association tends to have its own version of taste.

In terms of the Best Picture race, the fact that the Golden Globes breaks that category into two parts has always complicated things.

Best Picture, Drama nominees -- Django Unchained, Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln and Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty -- are all favorites in the Academy Awards Best Picture race. And in the Golden Globes' Best Picture, Comedy or Musical category we find Les Miserables, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Silver Linings Playbook.

All except Salmon Fishing in the Yemen have a shot at the granddaddy of award shows when those Oscar nods are released in January -- especially now with the Oscars allowing up to 10 Best Picture nods. Yet, history has shown that few from the Golden Globes' Best Picture, Comedy or Musical actually make that final Oscar list. Les Miserables and Silver Linings Playbook will certainly be on the list, and although they are worthy contenders, the rest of this category is likely to wake up January 13 at the crack of dawn and be disappointed.

However, one could argue that The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has the type of elements that Oscar loves: A strong British cast, exotic locales and a message about how the older generation is far from finished with this world. It's been on the bubble through this award season of nominations, and the Golden Globe nod may help its chances, but this Movie Fanatic believes when all is said and done... Hotel shouldn't get its hopes up.

Denzel Washington Flight
In terms of the acting categories, Daniel Day Lewis has been thought of as a lock for Best Actor and you know he got a Golden Globe nomination. The rest of his Best Actor, Drama brothers are all contenders for Oscar gold, save for Richard Gere in Arbitrage. But, that is good news for Gere because although many in Hollywood believe he did his best work in the film (we agree... check out our Arbitrage review), with the crowded Best Actor field in 2012... don't look for him to repeat a nomination with Oscar.

But the rest of this category, we would classify as a lock. John Hawkes astounded in The Sessions, Joaquin Phoenix mesmerized in The Master and you know we adored Denzel Washington in Flight.

Here again, those pesky Hollywood Foreign Press people split their main acting categories into Drama and Comedy/Musical. So, we get five more to consider for Oscar gold. Bradley Cooper scored for Silver Linings Playbook, Bill Murray for Hyde Park on the Hudson, Jack Black got a well-deserved nod for Bernie, Ewan McGregor rode that Salmon Fishing in the Yemen wave with a nod and Hugh Jackman sang his way to a nomination for Les Miserables. Of those, Murray is the only one we see having a chance at a Best Actor nomination from the Academy.

The Oscar Best Actress category is notoriously light in terms of competition this year. So, the 10 who scored in the Best Actress, Drama and Best Actress, Comedy/Musical all are considered to have an equal shot at earning that coveted Best Actress nomination. There are no locks for the prize this year, like Streep last year for Iron Lady. So, this is the one Golden Globes category that has the makings of shaping things in terms of the acting race for Oscar.

If you ask Movie Fanatic, Jessica Chastain is a front-runner for her steely turn in Zero Dark Thirty. She is joined in the Best Actress, Drama category by Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone), Helen Mirren (Hitchcock), Naomi Watts (The Impossible) and Rachel Weisz (Deep Blue Sea). Meanwhile, on the Comedy or Musical side, Emily Blunt mirrored her co-star McGregor's nod for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Judi Dench rode that Best Exotic Marigold Hotel love, Jennifer Lawrence scored for Silver Linings Playbook, Maggie Smith nailed one for Quartet and lastly the aforementioned Streep for Hope Springs earned her 1,000th nomination.

Jessica Chastain Zero Dark Thirty
When it all shakes out January 13, look for the Best Actress nominees to be Chastain, Cotillard, Mirren, Watts and Lawrence.

And on a side note... where's the love for Mirren's Hitchcock co-star and the man who played the icon -- Anthony Hopkins? That has to be a huge snub. Look for Oscar to correct that wrong. Oh yeah, and where's Skyfall in all this? Some believe (us included) that the latest Bond film deserves an Oscar Best Picture nomination. Perhaps its chances were dashed by the foreign press, who usually adore 007.

Time will tell... all we know is it's getting exciting!

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