The Golden Globe nominations are here

Every year Hollywood is abuzz with awards fever. The season culminates in the Academy Awards but ultimately begins with the Golden Globes held by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. It honours the best of cinema and television from around the world.

The 67th Annual Golden Globes are slated to be held in January 2010, but the nominations that were recently announced have started to create buzz not only for the winners of the awards but also the eventual nominees for the Academy Awards. Take for instance the Best Picture (Drama) category. Though traditionally an honour bestowed upon heavy dramas, this year however there is a complete outsider in the group: James Cameron’s Avatar. A CGI heavy action adventure that tells the story of a clash between humanity and an alien race, Avatar seems completely out of place when you consider its competitors in this category; Inglorious Basterds, The Hurt Locker, Up in the Air, and Precious.

Whereas Avatar seems to be the complete outsider, it is Up in the Air and Precious that are clearly the favorites for the critics. Up in the Air stars George Clooney and Vera Farmiga, and is directed and co-written by Jason Reitman, son of director Ivan Reitman. Precious stars Gabourey Sidibe, Mariah Carey, Mo’Nique and Lenny Kravitz and tells the story of a young single mother whose life drastically changes with her second pregnancy. Both Precious and Up in the Air have characters that have their lives changed because of a single moment or decision. It’s that kind of conflict, both inner and outer that the Golden Globes, and even the Oscars, love to see.

Reitman, Cameron and Tarantino have also earned nods for Best Director, along with Eastwood for Invictus, and Kathrine Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. As always, the Best Screenplay category produces some of the finest collections of script writers, and this year it is no different. Another nod for Quentin Tarantino and Jason Reitman, who now have two nominations each, along with Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell for District 9, another surprise that caught almost everyone off guard. Besides Reitman and Tarantino earning multiple nods, Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep are heating things up in the Best Actress category. Both actresses have been nominated twice and if anything, it will be the most hyped about award of the night. Matt Damon also enjoys two nominations, one for Invictus, the story about how Rugby united South Africa and the other a comedy called The Informant!

The Best Animated Feature nominations include some of the highest grossing movies of the year. Both Up and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs have enjoyed tremendous box office success. More recent releases include Fantastic Mr Fox and The Princess and the Frog, which is the only traditionally 2D animated feature in the awards. Finally, there is Coraline, another surprise hit that may have not stirred much at the box office but definitely did well with DVD sales.

Over at television, things are as equally — if not more — exciting. Best Drama nominees include some of the year’s finest dramas, which include the highly popular Mad Men and Big Love. Also included here are two equally gory and fantastic dramas, Dexter and True Blood. Finally, what would drama be without House? The Hugh Laurie drama about a doctor inspired by Sherlock Holmes is also nominated.

Over in the Best Comedic TV show, awards include 30 Rock, Entourage, Glee, Modern Family and The Office. The favourite is 30 Rock, a TV show which has already been nominated 79 times and has won 29 awards out of which five have been Golden Globes. New shows Glee and Modern Family — while outsiders to the group of previous winners (30 Rock, Entourage and The Office) just might tip the balance in their own favour with their unique show formats.

Finally, after all the nominations, the Cecil B. DeMille Award; an award presented for lifetime achievement in motion pictures. This year this honour will be bestowed upon Martin Scorsese. After being avoided by the Academy Awards, Scorsese finally earns the highest honour from the Hollywood Foreign Press after an epic career in Hollywood. His critics have not accepted this quietly, stating that Scorsese had to sell out with films like The Departure and The Aviator; a considerable deviation from the man that showed us films like Raging Bull, Goodfellas and Casino. Nevertheless, his achievements cannot be ignored and hence him receiving the Cecil B. DeMille award this year. Robert DeNiro and Leonardo DiCaprio will be presenting the director with the award. Both DiCaprio and DeNiro have made landmark movies with Scorsese and it seems only fitting that they honour the man who gave them those opportunities.

All in all, this year at the Golden Globes will prove to be riveting, thanks in part to the inclusion of Avatar. Critics question the film, which has swept more than $73 million at its opening weekend, for its nomination. If such a film — which is clearly more hype that substance — can be allowed to get a nomination, then why not films like, for example, New Moon be nominated as well? The answer of course is not that simple, however it is the right of the Hollywood Foreign Press to nominate whom they choose to be the best of the year.

The Golden Globes will be held in January 2010 with comedian Ricky Gervais set to host the ceremony.