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This image released by Fox Searchlight shows Bryan Batt (left), and Chiwetel Ejiofor in a scene from ‘12 Years A Slave.’ (AP)
H’wood’s finest vie for Golden Globe Wide-open awards season launched

LOS ANGELES, Jan 10, (Agencies): Hollywood’s finest hit the red carpet Sunday for the Golden Globes, launching Tinseltown’s most fiercely-contested awards season in years with a wide open field of hotly-tipped movies. Historical drama “12 Years a Slave” and crime caper “American Hustle” are among the top contenders at the Globes, the first big show of a season which climaxes with the Oscars on March 2.
But others hoping for gold include 3D space spectacular “Gravity,” Somali piracy movie “Captain Phillips,” bleak family drama “August: Osage County” and Martin Scorsese’s three-hour financial scandal epic “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Frontrunners in the best drama actor field include Briton Chiwetel Ejiofor for the title role in “12 Years a Slave,” which could also earn a best director Globe for his compatriot Steve McQueen.

For best actress in a drama, the smart money is on Australian Cate Blanchett in Woody Allen’s latest “Blue Jasmine,” although others tipped include Sandra Bullock for “Gravity” and Emma Thompson taking on Walt Disney in “Saving Mr Banks.” On the small screen — increasingly important as big-screen stars and money migrate to television — Netflix’s pioneering “House of Cards” could win more gold, as could cult hit “Breaking Bad,” after its finale in September. Going into Sunday night’s show in Beverly Hills, “12 Years a Slave” and “American Hustle” have the most nominations with seven nods each, followed by five for black and white road movie “Nebraska.” Both frontrunners garnered nods for their main actors, including Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o and Michael Fassbender for “12 Years a Slave,” and Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence for “American Hustle.”

“Captain Phillips” starring Tom Hanks in a real-life tale of a US cargo ship attacked by Somali hijackers, and “Gravity”, with Bullock as an astronaut abandoned in space with George Clooney, won four nods apiece. Nominees for best motion picture drama, announced last month, were “12 Years a Slave,” “Captain Phillips,” “Gravity,” “Philomena” and “Rush.” But there was a snub for “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” another historical epic that had been widely tipped for honors for star Oprah Winfrey. Nominated for best drama actor are Ejiofor, Hanks, Idris Elba for “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom,” Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club” and Robert Redford for “All Is Lost.” Three Britons are up for best drama actress: Thompson, Judi Dench for “Philomena” — about an Irish Catholic’s search for her long-lost son — and Kate Winslet for “Labor Day,” as well as Blanchett and Bullock.

Nominees for best musical or comedy film are “American Hustle,” “Her,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Nebraska” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” On the foreign film front, sexually explicit Cannes-winning French movie “Blue is the Warmest Color” is up against Iran’s “The Past,” Italy’s “The Great Beauty,” Denmark’s “The Hunt” and animated Japanese film “The Wind Rises.” “American Hustle” and “12 Years a Slave” have had a series of boosts in recent weeks, winning nominations from the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and the Directors Guild of America (DGA). In the last 10 years, all but one of the winners of the DGA’s top prize went on to win the best director Oscar. “12 Years a Slave” also topped nominations for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards, announced last month. Best director nominees are Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity,” David O. Russell for “American Hustle,” Alexander Payne for “Nebraska,” Paul Greengrass for “Captain Phillips” and McQueen for “12 Years a Slave.”

On the small screen, nominations for best TV drama have gone to “Breaking Bad,” which appeared to be the frontrunner, as well as to “Downton Abbey,” “The Good Wife,” “House of Cards” and “Masters of Sex.”
Meanwhile, if Woody Allen attends the Golden Globe Awards, he’d rival Bill Clinton as its biggest surprise guest. Allen will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award at Sunday’s ceremony. The writer-director famously avoids awards shows, though, and skipped those for his previous 12 Golden Globe nominations. “We’ve read that Woody’s not going to be here,” said executive producer Barry Adelman, who kept Clinton’s appearance under wraps until airtime last year. “We’ve heard rumors there may be some surprises.” Though the 71st annual Golden Globes are just days away, the show is still coming together. Sounds of buzzing drills and beeping scissor lifts fill the Beverly Hilton’s International Ballroom, where workers are busy hanging chandeliers, assembling a stage and installing some of the 18 cameras that will capture the starry action on show night.

Apart from Allen, most of the stars supplying that action are confirmed: Emma Stone, the lead of Allen’s latest film, will present his DeMille award, and Diane Keaton “is going to join in,” Adelman said. Chris Hemsworth and Formula One driver Niki Lauda will introduce best picture nominee “Rush.” Laura Dern will present best picture nominee “Nebraska,” which stars her dad, best actor candidate Bruce Dern. Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon will introduce their daughter, Sosie Bacon, who’s serving as this year’s Miss Golden Globe.

Other presenters announced this week include Tom Hanks, Melissa McCarthy, Channing Tatum, Jennifer Lawrence, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Downey, Jr, Mark Ruffalo and Emma Watson. With such a high celebrity quotient, there’s a great image in every lens, said Globes director Louis J. Horvitz, who will call the shots broadcast worldwide from a giant truck parked behind the Beverly Hilton. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler return as hosts for a second time after winning raves and ratings last year. They work without restriction with their own writing teams, Adelman said. His first look at their material will be Friday. They also write and improvise throughout the show. When Clinton left the stage last year, Poehler quipped: “Wasn’t that Hilary Clinton’s husband?” “That was a total ad-lib,” Adelman said.

Best film, drama: “12 Years A Slave”, “Captain Phillips”, “Gravity”, “Philomena”, “Rush”,
Best film, musical or comedy: “American Hustle”, “Her”, “Inside Llewyn Davis”, “Nebraska”, “The Wolf Of Wall Street”
Best actor, drama: Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years A Slave”, Idris Elba, “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom”, Tom Hanks, “Captain Phillips”, Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”, Robert Redford, “All Is Lost”.
Best actor, musical or comedy: Christian Bale, “American Hustle”, Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”, Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”, Oscar Isaac, “Inside Llewyn Davis”, Joaquin Phoenix, “Her”.
Best actress, drama: Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”, Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”, Judi Dench, “Philomena”, Emma Thompson, “Saving Mr. Banks”, Kate Winslet, “Labor Day”.
Best actress, musical or comedy: Amy Adams, “American Hustle”, Julie Delpy, “Before Midnight”, Greta Gerwig, “Frances Ha”, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Enough Said”, Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”.
Best supporting actor: Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”, Daniel Bruhl, “Rush”, Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”, Michael Fassbender, “12 Years A Slave”, Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”.

Best supporting actress: Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”, Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”, Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years A Slave”, Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”, June Squibb, “Nebraska”.
Best director: Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”, Paul Greengrass, “Captain Phillips”, Steve McQueen, “12 Years A Slave”, Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”, David O. Russell, “American Hustle”.
Best foreign language film: “Blue is the Warmest Color”, “The Great Beauty”, “The Hunt”, “The Past”, “The Wind Rises”.
Best animated feature: “The Croods”, “Despicable Me 2”, “Frozen”
Best drama series:  “Breaking Bad”, “Downton Abbey”, “The Good Wife”, “House of Cards”, “Masters of Sex”.
Best drama actor: Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”, Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”, Michael Sheen, “Masters of Sex”, Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”, James Spader, “The Blacklist”.
Best drama actress: Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”, Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”, Taylor Schilling, “Orange Is the New Black”, Kerry Washington, “Scandal”, Robin Wright, “House of Cards”.
Best comedy series: “The Big Bang Theory”, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”, “Girls”, “Modern Family”, “Parks and Recreation”.
Best comedy actor: Jason Bateman, “Arrested Development”, Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”, Michael J. Fox, “The Michael J. Fox Show”, Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”, Andy Samberg, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”.
Best comedy actress: Zooey Deschanel, “New Girl”, Lena Dunham, “Girls”, Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”, Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”.
Best mini-series or TV movie: “American Horror Story: Coven”, “Behind the Candelabra”, “Dancing on the Edge”, “Top of the Lake”, “The White Queen”.
Best mini-series or TV movie actor: Matt Damon, “Behind the Candelabra”, Michael Douglas, “Behind the Candelabra”, Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Dancing on the Edge”, Idris Elba, “Luther”, Al Pacino, “Phil Spector”.
Best mini-series or TV movie actress: Helena Bonham Carter, “Burton and Taylor”, Rebecca Ferguson, “The White Queen”, Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Coven”, Helen Mirren, “Phil Spector”, Elisabeth Moss, “Top of the Lake”.

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