Three films nab 5 noms as HFPA shares wealth

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. refused to anoint a front-runner Thursday morning as it doled out five nominations each to the romantic fable "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," the political showdown "Frost/Nixon" and the church-set struggle "Doubt."

As the nominations for the 66th annual Golden Globes were unveiled, "Button" and "Frost/Nixon" were recognized for best drama, as were "The Reader," "Revolutionary Road" and "Slumdog Millionaire."

In the comedy/musical category, the best picture nominees are "Mamma Mia!," "Burn After Reading," "Happy-Go-Lucky," "In Bruges" and "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."

On the TV side, a pair from HBO — series "In Treatment" and film "Recount" — led the pack with five noms apiece.

In the competition for studio bragging rights, a dominant Paramount had a hand in producing and/or distributing films that collected 14 nominations: Its homegrown "Button," which it produced with Warner Bros., led the list, while specialty label Paramount Vantage contributed four for "Road," which it produced with DreamWorks.

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A multi-tasking Meryl Streep took home two nominations — as best dramatic actress for her rigid nun in "Doubt" and as best musical/comedy actress for her free spirit in "Mamma Mia!" With 23 Globes noms on her resume, she became the most-nominated actor in Globes history, with one more than Jack Lemmon.

Kate Winslet also managed a double whammy, winning recognition as best actress for her unhappy housewife in "Revolutionary Road" and supporting actress for her German prison guard in "The Reader."

Winslet's "Road" co-star Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated for best dramatic actor along with Frank Langella, who plays Richard Nixon in "Frost/Nixon"; Brad Pitt, who ages backward in the "Button" title road; Sean Penn, who plays gay rights activist Harvey Milk in "Milk"; and Mickey Rourke, who attempts a comeback in the ring in "The Wrestler."

In addition to Streep and Winslet, best dramatic actress noms went to Anne Hathaway, who disrupts the proceedings as a recovering alcoholic in "Rachel Getting Married"; Angelina Jolie, who plays a mother searching for her missing son in "Changeling"; and Kristin Scott Thomas, who plays a former prisoner attempting to reconnect with her family in "I've Loved You So Long."

Among the comedy/musical contenders, Streep will face off against Rebecca Hall, who plays an American abroad in "Barcelona"; Sally Hawkins, who looks at life through rose-colored glasses in "Happy-Go-Lucky"; Frances McDormand, who gets caught up in espionage in "Burn"; and Emma Thompson, playing a frustrated single woman in "Last Chance Harvey."

The best actor in a comedy or musical lineup consists of Javier Bardem, who stars as a seductive artist in "Barcelona"; Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, who play a team of hit-men in "In Bruges"; James Franco, who spaces out as a stoner in "Pineapple Express"; and Dustin Hoffman, who finds love unexpectedly in "Harvey."

The late Heath Ledger scored a best supporting actor nom for his performance as the Joker in "The Dark Knight," the sole nom bestowed on the year's biggest boxoffice hit. His competition consists of Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr., who both appeared in heavy make-up in "Tropic Thunder," Ralph Fiennes ("The Duchess") and Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Doubt"). Fiennes picked up a second nom for the HBO movie "Bernard and Doris."

"Doubt" extended its run of acting noms in the supporting actress category, where both Amy Adams and Viola Davis earned mentions. The category also includes Winslet; Penelope Cruz, for her tempestuous ex-wife in "Barcelona"; and Marisa Tomei, who plays a feisty stripper in "The Wrestler."

The five best dramatic picture nominees also earned noms for their respective directors: Danny Boyle ("Slumdog"), Stephen Daldry ("The Reader"), David Fincher ("Button"), Ron Howard ("Frost/Nixon") and Sam Mendes ("Revolutionary Road").

Four of the five best dramas also led to screenplay noms for their writers: Simon Beaufoy ("Slumdog"), David Hare ("The Reader"), Peter Morgan ("Frost/Nixon") and Eric Roth ("Button"). However, instead of Justin Haythe's screenplay for "Road," the fifth nom went to John Patrick Shanley for "Doubt."

The Globes will be broadcast live by NBC from the Beverly Hilton on Jan. 11.