A British fanfare to launch the 2011 awards season

And so the 2011 awards season is all ready upon us. The nominations for the Golden Globes – the film awards deemed to be the most prestigious after the Oscars – were unveiled in Los Angeles yesterday afternoon.

British film The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter, about the arrival of George VI on the English throne, leads the field with a dazzling seven nominations including best drama, best actor and best supporting actress. Australian star Geoffrey Rush was nominated for best supporting actor for his role as King George VI’s speech therapist Lionel Logue.

Colin Firth has long been tipped for an acting honour for what critics have been calling a stand-out performance as the stuttering Duke of York who suddenly found himself King following the abdication of his brother Edward VIII.

Helena Bonham Carter makes a return to costume drama after a decade’s absence playing Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The film’s director, Tom Hooper, and screenwriter, David Seidler, were also nominated in their respective categories and it was also nominated for best original score. The film’s seven nominations put it ahead of its nearest rival, The Fighter, which won six nominations.

Boxing drama The Fighter is out in Britain during the first week of February and has divided critics. Based on the early years of the boxer “Irish” Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg, it features a startling supporting performance from Christian Bale, who threatens to steal the film as the brother who helps Ward train. Melissa Leo has gained a well deserved nomination as Micky Ward’s hard as nails drug addict mother but several critics have raised their eyebrows at Mark Wahlberg’s best actor nomination as several complained that his role could have been replaced by a cardboard cut-out.


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The Fighter represents a return to form by director David O Russell who was showered with acclaim for his 1999 Desert Storm movie Three Kings and has struggled to find a similar high profile project since.

The other movie in with a serious chance of walking away with some high profile prizes is David Fincher’s acclaimed The Social Network. Written by Aaron Sorkin, who gave the world The West Wing and A Few Good Men, this has been showered with both critical praise and commercial success – always a winning combination when it comes to awards nights.

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The Social Network achieved the seemingly impossible, when it made the story of a computer geek, embroiled in a complex legal battle compelling viewing. It tells the story of how in 2003 Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius Mark Zuckerberg sat down after a date went spectacularly wrong to create the beginnings of what became the social networking site Facebook.

Six years later and 500 million friends later, Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in history. It’s an unlikely story for cinema and Fincher has turned it into one of the must-see films of the year. Fincher has a huge following among critics and cinephiles but has yet to pick up a major award, so this may be his turn.

However, this year’s dark horse is Darren Aronofsky’s psycho-sexual dance thriller ‘Black Swan,’ starring Natalie Portman. Portman, a trained dancer as well as an actress, has been nominated in the best actress category for her performance as a driven ballet dancer. Several critics in the US have remarked on how she has delivered an intense, committed portrayal of an obsessive professional and has created a character which appears to be “well outside her comfort zone.”

Like Fincher, Aronofsky is well regarded by critics and art-house audiences and has a raft of acclaimed movies to his name including: Pi, The Fountain, Requiem For A Dream and the Mickey Rouke comeback movie The Wrestler. Although Rouke won loads of awards for The Wrestler, Aronofsky didn’t, and there is a feeling that this may be his year – particularly as all the elements, story, acting and cinematography are all exceptional.

British director Christopher Nolan picked up the other major Best Drama nomination for his bizarre psychological thriller Inception starring Leonardo di Caprio.

The Golden Globes are among the film world’s oldest and most prestigious awards, after the Oscars, and are seen as a reliable indicator of the way that the Academy Awards will go five weeks later. The Globes, have been presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press each year since 1944, and provide a guide to the way that the people in Tinsel Town are thinking.

The biggest difference between The Golden Globes and the Oscars is the fact that the Golden Globes have always had separate nominations for Drama and Musicals/Comedy. Until last year The Oscars merely had five Best Picture candidates which invariably favoured meaningful drama over frivolous comedy. Last year however, The Oscars took a leaf out of the Golden Globes book and not only doubled its Best Picture nominees but also boosted the variety of genres represented.

Ricky Gervais will host the ceremony on January 16, nine days before nominations for the Oscars are released.

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Black Swan

The Fighter

Inception

The King’s Speech

The Social Network

Best Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical

Alice in Wonderland

Burlesque

The Kids Are All Right

Red

The Tourist

Best Director – Motion Picture

Darren Aronofsky - Black Swan

David Fincher - The Social Network

Tom Hooper - The King’s Speech

Christopher Nolan - Inception

David O Russell - The Fighter

Best Performance By An Actor In A Motion Picture – Drama

Jesse Eisenberg - The Social Network

Colin Firth - The King’s Speech

James Franco - 127 Hours

Ryan Gosling - Blue Valentine

Mark Wahlberg - The Fighter

Best Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture – Drama

Halle Berry - Frankie and Alice

Nicole Kidman - Rabbit Hole

Jennifer Lawrence - Winter’s Bone

Natalie Portman - Black Swan

Michelle Williams - Blue Valentine

Best Performance By An Actor In A Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical

Johnny Depp - Alice in Wonderland

Johnny Depp - The Tourist

Paul Giamatti - Barney’s Version

Jake Gyllenhaal - Love And Other Drugs

Kevin Spacey - Casino Jack

Best Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical

Annette Bening - The Kids Are All Right

Anne Hathaway - Love and Other Drugs

Angelina Jolie - The Tourist

Julianne Moore - The Kids Are All Right

Emma Stone - Easy A

Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role In A Motion Picture

Christian Bale - The Fighter

Michael Douglas - Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Andrew Garfield - The Social Network

Jeremy Renner - The Town

Geoffrey Rush - The King’s Speech

Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role In A Motion Picture

Amy Adams - The Fighter

Helena Bonham Carter - The King’s Speech

Mila Kunis - Black Swan

Melissa Leo - The Fighter

Jacki Weaver - Animal Kingdom

Best Animated Feature Film

Despicable Me

How To Train Your Dragon

The Illusionist

Tangled

Toy Story 3

Best Foreign Language Film

Biutiful (Mexico/Spain)

The Concert (France)

The Edge (Russia)

I Am Love (Io Sono L’amore) (Italy)

In A Better World (Denmark)

Other British nominations include Hugh Laurie for his role as grumpy doctor Gregory House in the television drama House and Idris Elba for his role in the BBC detective drama Luther. Former Lovejoy star Ian McShane also picked up a nomination for his part in the mini-series Pillars Of The Earth.

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