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Tarantino, Spielberg and Affleck vie for Golden Globes

The Golden Globes nominations offered early indications of the movies that may be prominent in the 2013 Academy Awards. The nominations were dominated by three high-profile and big budget films, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln biopic, Querntin Tarantino’s typically controversial Django Unchained and Ben Affleck’s thriller Argo.

Lincoln is the obvious frontrunner, with its typically reverential Spielberg treatment of the great emancipator. It has seven nominations including Spielberg for director, Daniel Day-Lewis for lead actor and Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field for supporting roles.

Django Unchained is a more surprising inclusion given that Tarantino’s provocative take on US history and racial politics is rather less palatable to the Hollywood establishment than Spileberg’s. The film has received rave reviews from some UK critics who suggest it is a return to form for the director. Its five nominations include supporting actor mentions for Christoph Waltz and Leonardo Di Caprio.

Argo’s true-life subject matter, about the rescue of hostages from Iran in 1979 also helped it to attract five nominations. The recognition acknowledges a career turning point for Affleck. Once regarded as a mere eye-candy actor, he has worked hard to establish himself as a serious and politically-engaged filmmaker.

Conspicuous by their relative absence from the main awards were three blockbusters, The Hobbit, The Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall. Bond fans will be shaken (not stirred) by the Globes’ surprising disdain for the latest film, with neither director Sam Mendes nor actor Daniel Craig mentioned. The only nomination came for Adele’s theme song.

British interest in the Golden Globes was heavily-concentrated on the best actress category, which included nominations for Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Rachel Weisz, Emily Blunt and Helen Mirren. If it comes down to a popularity contest, Smith, nominated for her role in Dustin Hoffman’s Quartet, might be able to trade on the unaccountable popularity of Downton Abbey in the US.

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