‘Carol’ Leads Golden Globe Nominations With Five Nods

  • `The Big Short,' `The Revenant,' `Steve Jobs' each get four
  • Hollywood's awards season is in full swing leading to Oscars

“Carol,” a movie about two women who fall in love, led the Golden Globe nominations with five, including best dramatic film, pushing ahead of the other contenders as Hollywood’s annual awards race moved into full swing.

Three films received four nominations each: “The Big Short,” about the 2008 financial crisis, “The Revenant,” a frontier revenge story starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and “Steve Jobs,” the biopic about Apple Inc.’s co-founder. The nominees were announced Thursday on NBC, which will carry the awards on Jan. 10 in a ceremony hosted by Ricky Gervais.

The Golden Globes, handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, mark the unofficial start of office pools and water-cooler debates that will reach a crescendo with the Academy Awards on Feb. 28. The publicity helps the film industry sell tickets and can turn a niche film like “Carol” into a strong earner.

“It is a terrific film,” said Matt Atchity, editor-in-chief at Rottentomatoes.com, a website that aggregates reviews. “It is easy to see why that gets nominated, and it’s got the glam factor. The movie is beautifully shot.”

“Carol” was already chosen as best picture by the New York Film Critics Circle. Set in 1950s New York, the picture features Rooney Mara as a department store clerk who falls in love with a married older woman played by Cate Blanchett. Todd Haynes received a nomination for his direction of the Weinstein Co. movie, which is based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith. Blanchett and Mara were both nominated for best actress in a drama.

Drama, Comedy

The Globe nominations include two categories of pictures -- best drama and best comedy or musical -- and sometimes the differences between the two are hard to discern. There are also two categories each for best actor and best actress.

“The Big Short” was nominated for best musical or comedy, where it will compete with “Joy,” “The Martian,” “Spy,” and “Trainwreck.”

“The Big Short,” distributed by Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures, tells the story of a group of investors who foresee the collapse of the U.S. housing market and credit crisis. Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and Steve Carell feature as investors and traders who seek to profit from the greed and ignorance that surrounds the bubble. Bale and Carell each are up for best comedic actor.

The film was directed by Adam McKay, who infused it with humor and cameos by celebrities like Anthony Bourdain. It is based on the book of the same name by author and Bloomberg View columnist Michael Lewis. 

Nine pictures garnered three or more nominations. With the candidates bunched up, the competition is more evenly matched than in previous years, Atchity said. Awards watchers will also look to upcoming nominations from the producers and directors guilds to narrow the odds on potential Oscar contenders.

‘The Revenant’

Contending with “Carol” for best drama are “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Room,” “Spotlight” and “The Revenant.”

Set in the 1820s, “The Revenant” features DiCaprio as frontiersman Hugh Glass, who is seeking revenge against those who left him for dead. The violent drama comes from the filmmakers behind last year’s Oscar best-picture winner “Birdman.” Released by 20th Century Fox and co-produced by New Regency Pictures, it is directed and co-written by Alejandro González Iñárritu, who took home last year’s Academy Award for best director, and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. Tom Hardy and Domhnall Gleeson also star in the picture, which opens Dec. 25.

Heading into Thursday’s announcement, “Spotlight” was the award pundits’ favorite to win the Oscar best picture, with 9-2 odds, according to industry website GoldDerby.com. That would be a first for theater-backed distributor Open Road Films.

The film was nominated in three Golden Globe categories. It stars Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams as the Boston Globe journalists who exposed the complicity of the Catholic Church in the pedophile priest scandal. The movie, directed and co-written by Tom McCarthy, is being distributed by Open Road Films, a joint venture of Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., the two biggest theater owners. McCarthy is up for the directing award.

“The Martian,” from 21st Century Fox Inc., is one of the the year’s top-grossing movies with $221 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales. It was ranked second at at GoldDerby at 15-2, and “The Revenant” was third at 8-1. “The Martian” received three nominations, including best musical or comedy.

The company’s film studios, 20th Century Fox, led the others with 12 nominations. The studio “can certainly use the box-office bump that often accompanies critical recognition,” said Paul Sweeney, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. This year, Fox is in fourth place at the domestic box office, down 25 percent.

The television nominations highlighted the growing impact of digital distributors. Netflix Inc. led the pack with eight, not counting the one it received for its feature film “Beasts of No Nation.” Time Warner Inc.’s HBO followed with seven. Only two of the six nominees for best television series, musical or comedy, were actually on TV.  

HBO’s “Veep” and Silicon Valley” were nominated in that category, along with “Casual” for Hulu LLC, “Mozart in the Jungle” and “Transparent” from Amazon.com Inc. and “Orange is the New Black” from Netflix.

“That’s a crazy shift in the balance,” Atchity said.

Best Motion Picture, Drama

  • Carol
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

  • The Big Short
  • Joy
  • The Martian
  • Spy
  • Trainwreck

Best Director - Motion Picture

  • Todd Haynes - Carol
  • Alejandro Iñárritu - The Revenant
  • Tom McCarthy - Spotlight
  • George Miller - Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Ridley Scott - The Martian

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama

  • Cate Blanchett - Carol
  • Brie Larson - Room
  • Rooney Mara - Carol
  • Saoirse Ronan - Brooklyn
  • Alicia Vikander - The Danish Girl

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

  • Jennifer Lawrence - Joy
  • Melissa McCarthy - Spy
  • Amy Schumer - Trainwreck
  • Maggie Smith - The Lady in the Van
  • Lily Tomlin - Grandma

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama

  • Bryan Cranston - Trumbo
  • Leonardo DiCaprio - The Revenant 
  • Michael Fassbender - Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne - The Danish Girl
  • Will Smith - Concussion 

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

  • Christian Bale - The Big Short
  • Steve Carell - The Big Short
  • Matt Damon - The Martian
  • Al Pacino - Danny Collins
  • Mark Ruffalo - Infinitely Polar Bear
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