Golden Globes Nominations Honor ‘Benjamin Button,’ ‘Doubt,’ ‘Frost/Nixon’ — And ‘Tropic Thunder’!

Tom Cruise, Brangelina, Miley Cyrus, Heath Ledger and other big names stack the list of nominees.

[movieperson id="50260"]Brad Pitt[/movieperson] and [movieperson id="31834"]Angelina Jolie[/movieperson] have just set a date night for January 11, when they’ll be dressed to the nines with a lot to celebrate. That’s right, the nominations for the 66th Golden Globe Awards have been announced, and, as we predicted , both superstars made the cut.

The star factor will be high that night even if you miss the biggest couple since Bogart and Bacall. [movieperson id="257378"]Anne Hathaway[/movieperson], [movieperson id="16710"]Leonardo DiCaprio[/movieperson] and [movieperson id="93819"]Sean Penn[/movieperson] all will be there too, with best actress and actor nominations for critically lauded leading roles in [movie id="360881"]“Rachel Getting Married,”[/movie] [movie id="345049"]“Revolutionary Road”[/movie] and [movie id="374161"]“Milk”[/movie] respectively. There was also a nod to the shattering performance as the Joker by the late [movieperson id="233661"]Heath Ledger[/movieperson] in [movie id="306605"]“The Dark Knight,”[/movie] earning what many felt was an inevitable and well-deserved supporting-actor nomination.

But it’s never just about the drama at the Globes. Will [movieperson id="76079"]Tom Cruise[/movieperson] don a fat-suit and [movieperson id="17609"]Robert Downey Jr.[/movieperson] slap on the heavy makeup for their trip down the red carpet? They weren’t very recognizable in their gut-busting performances in [movie id="339067"]“Tropic Thunder,”[/movie] but that didn’t stop the Hollywood Foreign Press from acknowledging their work. They’re going up against each other, Ledger, [movieperson id="28930"]Philip Seymour Hoffman[/movieperson] and [movieperson id="20625"]Ralph Fiennes[/movieperson] for best supporting actor.

(Head here for a complete list of Golden Globes nominees — and our take on them.)

A few giants of music will be well-represented in the Best Original Song — Motion Picture category: [artist id="1236911"]Beyoncé[/artist], [artist id="2408193"]Miley Cyrus[/artist], [artist id="1114"]Peter Gabriel[/artist] and [artist id="975"]Bruce Springsteen[/artist] all got nods for their contributions to [movie id="379404"]“Cadillac Records,”[/movie] [movie id="330763"]“Bolt,”[/movie] [movie id="328529"]“WALL-E”[/movie] and [movie id="371022"]“The Wrestler.”[/movie] But don’t count out a Hollywood legend in that race — [movieperson id="78111"]Clint Eastwood[/movieperson] is nominated for a song he co-wrote and performed in [movie id="384597"]“Gran Torino.”[/movie]

A trio of serious flicks were the big winners on Thursday morning. Pitt’s [movie id="280659"]“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”[/movie] earned five nods in all, equal to the number tallied by fellow nominees for Best Motion Picture — Drama, [movie id="345180"]“Doubt”[/movie] and [movie id="324234"]“Frost/Nixon.”[/movie]

“30 Rock,” “Entourage” and “Mad Men” each earned three nominations, but it was a cancelled HBO series, “In Treatment,” that led the TV pack with five nods.

Say what you will about the Globes, they’re not the Oscars. Most viewers don’t know (or probably care) how the awards are even determined by the infamous Hollywood Foreign Press Association. But when it comes to putting on a show, nobody but nobody does it like the Globes. It is a more relaxed ceremony than some of its stiffer competition. The tuxes come out, but so does the liquor, for the affair, which is held as a dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Toss in the fact that the Globes acknowledge dramas and comedies in separate categories, as well as television shows and stars right alongside their big-screen brethren, and year in and year out, the result tends to be a pretty irreverent affair by Hollywood awards-show standards.

Of course, for some, the Globes are the simply ultimate warm-up act for the Academy Awards which will happen over a month after the Globes are handed out in January. Traditionally, the Globes can be seen as a decent indicator for Oscar success. Last year, for instance, both [movieperson id="15539"]Daniel Day-Lewis[/movieperson] (“[movie id="295792"]“There Will Be Blood”[/movie]“) and [movieperson id="163517"]Marion Cotillard[/movieperson] (“[movie id="300477"]“La Vie en Rose”[/movie]“) took home Globes before attaining Oscar glory.

Last year’s Globes were stripped down to an awkward news conference due to the writers’ strike. Some have feared that an impending work stoppage by the Screen Actors Guild could once again interfere with the festivities, but the current timetable of the potential strike looks more likely to affect the Oscars than the Globes this time around. If all goes according to plan, the Globes will be broadcast live on NBC on January 11.

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