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December 13, 2007
Golden Globes; tarnished hopes

The small but powerful Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which announced its Golden Globe nominations this morning, is certainly inclusive. And that can be a bad as well as a good thing.

The shutout of my beloved "Into the Wild" in the best-drama category would have been hard enough to take if the category contained the typical five slots. But this year, the HFPA included seven movies, and still didn't find room for "Into the Wild."

Oh, the picture did get two nominations. Both in music categories.

That stings, Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Whoever you are.

Sometimes, the inclusiveness is wonderful. Awards for musical-comedy as well as dramatic categories means recognition for worthy performances usually ignored by the oh-so-serious Oscars.

This year, I'm particularly pleased by the nominations for the wonderful Amy Adams from "Enchanted" and Nikki Blonsky from "Hairspray." These actresses elicit a smile every time you think of them.

I am puzzled, however, by the inclusion of Marion Cotillard in the musical/comedy category. There are songs, of course, in "La Vie en Rose" because Cotillard plays Edith Piaf. But her fully immersive performance has to be the most dramatic of the year.

Plus, I would hate to think that Cotillard took my beloved Keri Russell's("Waitress") spot in this category. And no, I won't just give it up already.

The Golden Globe best-actor fields, dramatic and comedy-musical, are rich with talent. But I have a feeling (bolstered by critics' awards) the Oscar race will come down to George Clooney in "Michael Clayton" and Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" (opening in Sacramento in January).

This would be such a fascinating matchup. Whereas Clooney seems to embrace his role as a Hollywood insider, Englishman Day-Lewis is rarely heard from between films. And the films themselves aren't frequent.

I have seen both films, and Clayton and Day-Lewis' approaches could not be more different. Day-Lewis' portrayal of a turn-of-the-century oil man is highly stylized - a daring actor's gambit like the one he made with "Gangs of New York." Clooney's turn as an embattled law-firm "fixer" is far more subtle, and its power not fully evident until the end of the film.

The great part - and what makes the men's acting race so juicy - is that each is a truly superb performance.

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