‘Atonement,’ ’30 Rock,’ Cate Blanchett Score Most Golden Globe Nods

'Charlie Wilson's War,' 'Michael Clayton' also grab several nominations.

And the awards season is officially underway! The nominations for the 65th annual Golden Globes were announced Thursday morning (December 13) in Los Angeles, and the list includes such familiar names as Johnny Depp, Cate Blanchett … Nikki Blonsky and Eddie Vedder? Never let it be said that the Globes are predictable.

The dominant films were the Keira Knightley drama “Atonement” (leading the way with seven nominations), the Tom Hanks-starring “Charlie Wilson’s War” (five nominations) and — with four nods each — “Michael Clayton,” “Sweeney Todd” and “No Country for Old Men.” (Check out the full list of Golden Globe nominees here.)

The two big contenders early on in the acting categories are double nominees Philip Seymour Hoffman for “Charlie Wilson’s War” and “The Savages,” and Blanchett for “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” and “I’m Not There.”

Amid all the high-wattage stars, the Globes found room to highlight a few hot young talents. Among the younger faces mingling with the likes of Jodie Foster and Denzel Washington this year are Ellen Page for her star-making turn in “Juno,” Amy Adams for bringing an animated princess to life in “Enchanted” and Nikki Blonsky, the one-time Cold Stone Creamery scooper who belted it out in “Hairspray.”

The Hollywood Foreign Press loves to honor the stars, and this year’s list of nominees is no exception, with names like Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie competing with critical darlings like Ryan Gosling and Daniel Day-Lewis.

The Globes decided to truly spread the wealth this year by honoring an unprecedented seven films in the Best Drama category. The crowded field includes “American Gangster,” “Atonement,” “Eastern Promises,” “The Great Debaters,” “Michael Clayton,” “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will be Blood.”

Because the Globes honor musical/comedy actors and films with separate categories, there was also room for them to love “Across the Universe,” “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “Hairspray,” “Juno” and “Sweeney Todd” in the companion top category.

As expected, two front-running contenders for the Supporting Actress award were featured in the category: Blanchett in a gender-bending role as a Bob Dylan-esque character in “I’m Not There” and scene-stealing unknown Amy Ryan in Ben Affleck’s directing debut, “Gone Baby Gone.” Lending a bit of star power to the category is Julia Roberts, acknowledged for her role in “Charlie Wilson’s War.” Tilda Swinton (“Michael Clayton”) and Saoirse Ronan (“Atonement”) round out the category.

Over in the Supporting Male category, the creepiest villain of the year, “No Country for Old Men” ‘s Javier Bardem, will face off against Casey Affleck (“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”) and surprise nominee John Travolta, who gamely donned a dress for “Hairspray.” Tough competition in the category will come from critical favorites Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Charlie Wilson’s War”) and Tom Wilkinson (“Michael Clayton”).

Eddie Vedder received two nominations for his musical contributions to “Into the Wild” (the film itself however was overlooked in the acting and directing categories).

The three-way Animated category race sees a rat (“Ratatouille”) battling a swarm of bees from Jerry Seinfeld’s “Bee Movie” and the Simpsons from, you guessed it, “The Simpsons Movie.” Think someone was snubbed? So do we. Check out one writer’s take on the Golden Globe film nominees and weigh in with your own opinion at the MTV Movies Blog.

In the television categories, the Globes truly spread the love around, with only one series earning four nominations, the FX drama “Damages.” Newcomers “30 Rock” and “Pushing Daisies” each carry three nominations into the January ceremony. Katherine Heigl, continuing the hot streak that started with “Knocked Up,” earned a supporting nod for her work on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Meanwhile the Best Actress (Drama) category looks like a who’s who of former Oscar contenders with Glenn Close (“Damages”), Sally Field (“Brothers & Sisters”) and Holly Hunter (“Saving Grace”) among the nominees.

Last year’s surprise winner in the Best Actress in a Television Series — Comedy or Musical category, “Ugly Betty” star America Ferrera, will take on a group led this year by Mary-Louise Parker (“Weeds”), Tina Fey (“30 Rock”) and Christina Applegate (the freshman comedy “Samantha Who?”).

While the Golden Globes more than compete with the Oscars in terms of excitement, the awards are actually only a spotty predictor of Oscar success. Last year the two lead-performance winners in the dramatic-acting categories, Forest Whitaker and Helen Mirren, followed up their wins with Academy Award statues. “Babel” and “Dreamgirls,” the Globes’ winners in the Best Picture categories, however, failed to follow up with Oscar glory.

The Globes are often thought of as a looser alternative to the sometime stuffy Oscar affair. The Globe ceremony may not feature a high-profile host like the Oscars, but it more than makes up for it with the dose of personality that comes with serving liquor to celebrities at a live ceremony. It all makes for a sometimes wild ceremony (by tuxedo-clad awards show standards at least), with incidents like Jack Nicholson mooning the crowd (ah, 1999 …), Christine Lahti running to the stage from the bathroom and Ving Rhames giving his statue to Jack Lemmon.

The Golden Globes will be handed out Sunday, January 13, at 8 p.m. EST on NBC. Steven Spielberg will receive the Hollywood Foreign Press’ Cecil B. DeMille Award at the ceremony.

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