They're slights for sore eyes

'Milk,' 'Dark Knight,' 'Sex,' Eastwood suffer HFPA snubs

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. didn't get "Milk." It barely acknowledged "The Dark Knight." And though in past years it loved "Sex and the City" the TV series, it ignored "Sex and the City" the movie.

It also challenged Clint Eastwood to prove he's a good sport.

The 81 active voting members of the HFPA, the highly idiosyncratic group behind the Golden Globes, decided that Eastwood didn't deserve a directing nom for "Changeling" or "Gran Torino." And his performance as "Torino's" angry ex-Marine also didn't merit a spot among the best dramatic actor nominees — even though the National Board of Review, an equally idiosyncratic lot, has proclaimed Eastwood the year's best actor.

Instead, the Globe-trotters, always eager to attract as many A-list celebrities as possible to their televised awards dinner, issued Eastwood an invitation by way of two music nominations: best score for "Changeling" and best song for "Torino."

Now, Eastwood is as serious about his music as he is about his movies, but that's the equivalent of asking him to sing for his supper.

Even more of a surprise Thursday was the poor showing for "Milk," even though Sean Penn, taking home his fourth nomination, was included among the best dramatic actor noms for playing the late gay activist. While the New York Film Critics Circle hailed the film as the year's best, the HFPA didn't include it in the best drama category and ignored director Gus Van Sant.

A number of HFPA members actually attended the movie's world premiere at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco and applauded the film. "But a lot of them seemed to think the movie is just all about Sean," one insider theorized.

Often criticized for promoting popular hits over art house fare, the HFPA did reward mega-musical "Mamma Mia!" with two noms but allowed "Knight" — the year's boxoffice powerhouse that is nearing a worldwide gross of $1 billion — only a supporting actor nom for the late Heath Ledger.

"This nomination is deeply appreciated and is not lost on those of us who continue to love and miss him," said Ledger's father, Kim.

But the Globes didn't extend that love to include "Knight" writer-director Christopher Nolan or Batman's alter ego Christian Bale.

Perhaps most puzzling of all: The movie version of "Sex" failed to register in the comedy categories.

During the run of the TV series, the Globe voters lavished their attention on star Sarah Jessica Parker (seven noms, four wins) and the show (six noms, three wins). But the movie? Nada.

Must have been a case of been there, done that. (partialdiff)