Globes lift 'Avatar's' Oscar prospects

'Hurt Locker' faces uphill battle in wake of shut-out

With Oscars looming -- Academy members must turn in their ballots Saturday, and the noms will be announced Feb. 2 -- "Avatar's" Academy Awards prospects are looking formidable in the wake of its Golden Globe wins.

Globes provided part of the momentum that propelled Cameron's last dramatic feature, the sweeping, romantic drama "Titanic," to Oscar glory a decade ago. ("Titanic," in fact, took home four Globes, including score and song, to "Avatar's" two.)

But while "Titanic" was the kind of movie that older Academy voters have shown love for over the years, science fiction is a category of movies rarely nominated in Oscars topline categories.

Its validation from the Globes is, however, likely to propel the blue people toward Oscar gold. It will almost certainly be one of the 10 best picture nominees; Cameron, already a DGA nominee, should be a directing nominee; and tech noms are assured.

Its biggest weakness is sure to be in the acting categories, even though Cameron took time Sunday to praise the movie's actors.

Meanwhile, "The Hurt Locker," which has been riding a wave of critics' awards, hit a speed bump as a result of its Globes shut-out. While it is still likely to be an Oscar best picture nominee, it faces an uphill battle to take home the top award.

And "Up in the Air," which had more Globe noms (six) than any other film, had to settle for just one win: the screenplay nod to Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner. While it's still expected to figure in lots of Oscar categories, winning gold is another thing.

Things do look positive for several other contenders: the two best supporting actor winners, Mo'Nique in "Precious" and Christoph Waltz in "Inglourious Basterds" as well as the best foreign-language picture winner "The White Ribbon."

And the wins for Disney/Pixar's hit "Up" for best animated film and its musical score add to its inevitable nom for best animated film and will fuel speculation it will also be nommed for best picture.

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Among performers, both Jeff Bridges, for "Crazy Heart," and Sandra Bullock, for "The Blind Side," got a boost -- the popular actress should get her first Oscar nom after years of being ignored.

The Globes comedy category doesn't often contribute as much to Oscar recognition. "The Hangover" remains a longshot and Robert Downey Jr. probably won't make it into the best actor circle for "Sherlock Holmes." But Meryl Streep, rewarded for "Julie & Julia," is looking like she's positioned to secure a nom.
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