Golden Globe presenters be warned: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is coming to a TelePrompTer near you.
Borat, the lengthily titled, lawsuit-inspiring, candid-camera comedy, earned a serious Best Motion Picture, Comedy/Musical nomination Thursday as the field for the 64th Annual Golden Globes was announced. (Get the complete list of nominations, the photo gallery of contenders and the nominees' reactions.)
Sacha Baron Cohen, the film's Kazakh-impersonating star, was represented with a Best Comedy/Musical Actor nomination.
Overall, Babel, the multilingual crisis drama, played best to Globe-trotting members of the Hollywood Foreign Press, who rewarded it with seven nominations—tops among all films. Its septet of nods included one for Best Motion Picture, Drama and one for Brad Pitt, up for Supporting Actor.
In the television categories, NBC's Heroes was a breakthrough Best TV Drama Series nominee; ABC's Ugly Betty, a breakthrough Best TV Comedy/Musical Series nominee; and Matthew Perry, Evangeline Lilly and Ellen Pompeo, breakthrough acting nominees.
Borat's two nominations generated laughs at the early morning Globes press conference in Beverly Hills. There wasn't necessarily anything funny about the critically acclaimed film being an awards-show contender. There was just apparently something funny in hearing its broken-English, 12-word title read in full. Twice.
Bobby, Emilio Estevez's Robert F. Kennedy-inspired drama, generated audible gasps when it nabbed one of the spots in the Best Picture, Drama race. Up until Thursday, the ensemble period piece, ignored by the award-distributing critics' groups, seemed to have left its Oscar buzz behind in Italy, where it won a top prize at the Venice Film Festival last summer.
Its mojo restored, at least for the purposes of the Globes, an event with an affinity for star-studded projects, the Sharon Stone-sporting Bobby will face off against Babel, the mob hit The Departed, the molester-marked Little Children and the royal portrait The Queen.
While Babel's international outlook apparently appealed to Globe voters, United 93 and World Trade Center's American-centric takes on the 9/11 terror attacks apparently didn't. Neither made the Best Picture, Drama field; neither rated a single nomination in any field.
Home of the Brave, a big, would-be prestige picture about U.S. soldiers returning home from the Iraq War, also failed to impress the Hollywood Foreign Press—it netted but one nomination for Best Original Song.
In the Best Motion Picture, Comedy/Musical category, Borat will go up against movies with much shorter titles, specifically: The Devil Wears Prada, the chick-lit comedy made good; Little Miss Sunshine, the indie pick to click; Thank You for Smoking, the tobacco-industry satire; and the singular Dreamgirls, the lone musical entry.
Cohen, lauded for his thespian skills by Los Angeles film critics, might just be the frontrunner in the Best Comedy/Musical Actor race. His competition: Johnny Depp, for reprising his Keith Richards shtick in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest; Aaron Eckhart, for peddling cigarettes with glee in Thank You for Smoking; Will Ferrell, for running for his fictional life in Stranger Than Fiction; and Brit Chiwetel Ejiofor, also a TV nominee for the HBO miniseries Tsunami: The Aftermath, for being a drag in Kinky Boots.
With Cohen already a credible awards-show prospect, the Globe film acting categories were shorter on surprise inclusions. They were even shorter on mildly surprising exclusions—namely, Dreamgirls' Jamie Foxx, as well as The Good Shepherd's Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie (Robert De Niro's upcoming and completely shut-out CIA opus).
With things proceeding in an orderly fashion, Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker were able to cement their Oscar frontrunner status with Globe nominations for channeling Queen Elizabeth and Idi Amin, respectively.
The Queen's Mirren will go for the Best Drama Actress Globe opposite Volver's Penélope Cruz, Notes on a Scandal's Judi Dench, Little Children's Kate Winslet and Sherrybaby's Maggie Gyllenhaal, the only American of the bunch.
The Last King of Scotland's Forest Whitaker is vying for the Best Drama Actor Globe opposite Venus' faded Peter O'Toole, The Pursuit of Happyness' inspiring Will Smith and Leonardo DiCaprio squared. As expected, DiCaprio's a double nominee for his turns in Blood Diamond and The Departed.
While DiCaprio had a good day, Mirren had an even better one. The stage and screen vet scored a total of three nominations, including a DiCaprio-esque two in the TV movie/miniseries Best Actress category. If that weren't notable enough, one of Mirren's TV nominations is for playing the 16th century forerunner of her Queen character in HBO's Elizabeth I.
Compared to Mirren, Annette Bening, Beyoncé Knowles and Toni Collette notched a mere two nominations each.
Bening, who was probably going to the Globes, anyway, on account of husband Warren Beatty's previously announced lifetime achievement award, now has extra incentive to find a gown. She's in the Best Comedy/Musical Actress race for her matriarchal role in the dysfunctional-family comedy Running with Scissors.
Knowles is nominated in the same category for her diva turn in Dreamgirls, and she's nominated again for her songwriting effort on "Listen," a new tune written especially for the born-on-Broadway musical.
Like Knowles and Bening, Collette's a Best Comedy/Musical Actress hopeful. And like Bening, she's in the race for playing mom to an unconventional clan, via Little Miss Sunshine. Squaring off against Bening, Knowles and Collette: The Devil Wears Prada's editorial maven Meryl Streep and Miss Potter's bunny-tale-telling Renée Zellweger.
Bening's second nomination, in the TV-movie/miniseries Best Actress category opposite Mirren's, is for appearing in more than 15 seconds of HBO's Mrs. Harris. Collette's second nomination, in the TV-movie/miniseries/series Best Supporting Actress category, is for lending a hand in Tsunami: The Aftermath.
Clint Eastwood was another double nominee. The 75-year-old icon, who's racked up about as many honors as birthday candles of late, is in the Best Director race twice for his companion pieces, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima—even though neither film is in the Best Motion Picture, Drama race.
In the case of the Flags of Our Fathers' snub, the movie about American fighters in World War II apparently didn't generate enough votes to crack the top five. In the case of the Letters from Iwo Jima's snub (which really wasn't a snub), the movie about Japanese fighters in WWII simply didn't qualify for the category. Instead, the film, featuring an all-Japanese cast, speaking all-Japanese dialogue, was slotted in the Best Foreign-Language Film category. Mel Gibson's all-Mayan, all-the-time Apocalypto, likewise, was categorized and nominated as a foreign-language film. Come the Oscars, both Flags and Apocalypto will be eligible for the top Best Picture prize.
Gibson's road to the Oscar, however, would appear to be much a longer one than Eastwood's. Aside from the not-inconsiderable Best Foreign-Language Film nod, Apocalypto was shut out of all other Globe fields.
With Eastwood grabbing two Best Director nominations and Gibson grabbing none, the field was rounded out by The Queen's Stephen Frears, Babel's Alejandro González Iñárritu and The Departed's Martin Scorsese—who, should he win, would presumably have several unused Oscar acceptance speeches at the ready.
Best Supporting Actor proved to be the starriest category of them all, with Pitt going A-list to A-list with Hollywoodland's Ben Affleck, Dreamgirls' Eddie Murphy, The Departed's Jack Nicholson and Mark Wahlberg.
Cate Blanchett, up for Notes on a Scandal, is the biggest name in the Best Supporting Actress race, but Jennifer Hudson, up for working out her American Idol rejection complex in Dreamgirls, is the favorite. Also nominated: Babel's Adriana Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi; and The Devil Wears Prada's Emily Blunt, the British newcomer who also was included in the TV-movie/miniseries/series Best Supporting Actress category for BBC America's Gideon's Daughter.
The Best Original Song category was good for making Globe nominees of Seal ("A Father's Way" from The Pursuit of Happyness), Bryan Adams ("Never Gonna Break My Faith" from Bobby), Prince ("The Song of the Heart" from Happy Feet) and Sheryl Crow ("Try Not to Remember" from Home of the Brave). All four will go up against Knowles.
Given Globes' voters love of all things shiny and new, Heroes, not quite three months old, might have the edge in the Best TV Drama Series field. The new-style superhero show will do battle with Fox's 24, ABC's Grey's Anatomy, HBO's Big Love and ABC's Lost, the defending Globes champ.
Ugly Betty is the baby among the Best TV Comedy/Musical Series nominees. Still, a resurgent Desperate Housewives, which remained in good standing with Globe voters, even when second-season storylines turned off viewers, should be considered a formidable opponent. Fellow nominees HBO's Entourage, NBC's The Office and Showtime's Weeds have all had their awards-show successes, too.
House's Hugh Laurie will be around to defend his statuette for Best TV Drama Series Actor. Grey's Patrick Dempsey and 24's Kiefer Sutherland will serve as familiar competition. Lost's Matthew Fox and Prison Break's Wentworth Miller, their flavors-of-the-month documents apparently revoked by Globe voters, are not in the category this year, replaced by Bill Paxton of the new Big Love, and Michael C. Hall of the even newer Showtime series Dexter.
Lost's Lilly and Grey's Pompeo are first-time nominees in the wide-open Best TV Drama Series Actress race. Also nominated: Medium's Patricia Arquette, The Closer's Kyra Sedgwick and The Sopranos' Edie Falco, the HBO mob saga's only Globe prospect. Reigning champ Geena Davis won't be back on account of a bad case of cancellation.
At the last Globes, Weeds' Mary-Louise Parker had to smoke four Desperate Housewives stars to get to the podium as Best TV Comedy/Musical Series Actress. This time out, she'll only have to top two, Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman, plus Ugly Betty's America Ferrera and The New Adventures of Old Christine's Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who could be praying for a loss to avoid the inevitable Michael Richards-themed backstage press conference.
The Office's Steve Carell, the Best TV Comedy/Musical Series Actor defending champ, will go for consecutive wins opposite 30 Rock's Alec Baldwin, Scrubs' Zach Braff, My Name Is Earl's Jason Lee and Monk's Tony Shalhoub.
Matthew Perry scored his first-ever Globe nomination—for playing a teacher in the TNT TV movie The Ron Clark Story—not for playing a TV writer in NBC's Studio 60.
In need of a boost, Perry's struggling Studio 60 got one in the form of a supporting actress nomination for Sarah Paulson, but missed out on the drama series category.
The 64th Annual Golden Globes Awards are scheduled to be presented Jan. 15.