'The Artist' tops Golden Globes nominations
French-directed silent film "The Artist," a tribute to the era before "talkies," won six nominations Thursday for the Golden Globes to lead the field as Hollywood gears up for its annual awards season.
Tied for second were "The Help," about black servants in the pre-civil rights era US south, and "The Descendants" starring George Clooney, both nominated in five categories for the Globes, to be presented next month.
Clooney-directed political thriller "The Ides of March" garnered four Globes nods, as did Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" and baseball movie "Moneyball" starring Brad Pitt.
But "The Artist" was the big winner, triggering elation from its French director Michel Hazanavicius.
"I feel like a have a big, stupid smile on my face. I made this movie out of desire, and never expected this sort of response," he told the Hollywood Reporter.
"People really love the movie, and I guess there's something special about it for people in the United States, because it's about your movie history," added the filmmaker, who said he was in a cafe when told the news.
The Golden Globe winners will be announced on January 15, in a show hosted for a third time by provocative British comic Ricky Gervais, invited back despite allegedly ruffling feathers at last year's show.
"The Artist" was nominated for categories including best comedy or music film, best comedy or music actor, best director, and best supporting actress -- for Hazanavicius's wife Berenice Bejo.
The movie had already created a buzz after winning best film and best director at the New York Film Critics Circle two weeks ago.
Distributed by The Weinstein Company -- veteran Oscar-backers who produced last year's winner "The King's Speech" -- it tells the story of silent film star George Valentin whose career is torpedoed by the arrival of speech.
As his fortunes plummet, a young dancer and actress who initially idolizes him -- Peppy Miller, who catches his eye, and heart -- is on her way up to Hollywood stardom in the new movies-with-sound era.
Jean Dujardin, who plays Valentin, said: "I was proud and thrilled. Its such an honor to be nominated alongside such great actors. I feel like a spoiled child."
"The Help" won the most nominations -- four -- on Wednesday for the Screen Actors Guild awards, which along with the Globes are seen as a key indicator to success in the all-important Oscars.
On Thursday, the movie was nominated for best drama picture, best actress for Viola Davis, best supporting actress for Jessica Chastain, and best song for "The Living Proof" sung by Mary J. Blige.
"I got up and watched the nominations live. I cheered out loud," its director Tate Taylor told the Hollywood Reporter from Martha's Vineyard, where is working on his latest project.
Notable absentees from the Globes shortlists were Terrence Malick's critically acclaimed "The Tree of Life" -- which won the Palme d'Or in Cannes -- as well as Cold War thriller "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."
They could yet win gongs though: nominations for the Oscars are due to be announced on January 24, ahead of the 84th Academy Awards show which climaxes Hollywood's awards season on February 26.
On the small screen, the most nominations went to Emmy-winning British period drama "Downton Abbey" with four, while other top nominees included HBO drama "Boardwalk Empire," NBC's "30 Rock" and Fox's "Glee."
Here are nominations for the two main movie categories at the Globes:
- best film, drama: "The Descendants," "The Help," "Hugo," "The Ides of March," "Moneyball," "War Horse."
- best film, comedy or musical: "50/50," "The Artist," "Bridesmaids," "Carnage," "Midnight in Paris," "My Week With Marilyn."
© 2011 AFP