• Surrounded by scandal, Globes turn to old favs & fresh faces

    By: JAKE COYLE, AP Film Writer

    Updated:
    NEW YORK (AP) - Guillermo del Toro's Cold War-era fairytale "The Shape of Water" swam away with a leading seven Golden Globes nominations on Monday and the HBO drama "Big Little Lies" came away with six nods. But nobody made landing a Globe nomination look easier than Christopher Plummer.

    Just two weeks after shooting his scenes in Ridley Scott's "All the Money in the World," Plummer was nominated for best supporting actor - a nod that was once considered a possibility for the actor he replaced, Kevin Spacey. An unfinished version of the film was screened last week for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the Globes.

    "They pulled off a miraculous feat over the last month and I'm delighted to have been a part of this unique experience," Plummer said in a statement.

    The nomination for Plummer - which was joined by nods for Scott's directing and Michelle Williams as best actress - was just the latest, and most last-minute, twist in an awards season that has been rocked by the industry's continuing sexual harassment scandals. Even Monday's nominations, announced from Beverly Hills, California, were, as is customary, carried live on the "Today" show, which recently fired Matt Lauer after allegations of sexual misconduct.

    As the most prominent platform yet in Hollywood's awards season to confront the post-Harvey Weinstein landscape, the Globes seemed eager to turn the page not just in its love for "All the Money in the World" but by shunning previous favorites like "House of Cards" and "Transparent." The latter remains in limbo following sexual harassment allegations against star Jeffrey Tambor, charges that he has denied.

    Instead, the Globes lavished nominations on some tried-and-true favorites - Meryl Streep scored her 31st Globe nod - and some new faces, like the 21-year-old breakthrough of "Call Me By Your Name," Timothee Chalamet.

    In what's has been a wide-open Oscar race so far, several films followed closely behind "The Shape of Water," including Steven Spielberg's Pentagon Papers drama "The Post," with six nominations, including best actress for Streep and best actor for Tom Hanks. Martin McDonagh's revenge drama "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" also got a major boost in the nominations announced Monday in Beverly Hills, California, with six nods, including best actress for Frances McDormand and supporting actor for Sam Rockwell.

    Along with "The Shape of Water," ''Three Billboards" and "The Post," the nominees for best drama were the tender young romance "Call Me By Your Name" (which also landed a nod for Armie Hammer) and Christopher Nolan's World War II epic "Dunkirk."

    But setting itself apart from the pack was the monster fable "The Shape of Water," which stars Sally Hawkins as a mute cleaning woman who falls in love with a captive amphibious creature. No film was more widely celebrated by the press association, including nods for del Toro's directing and Alexandre Desplat's sumptuous score.

    "We are really in need of believing in something other than the headlines and the skepticism and the cynicism that we're getting so used to reading in every arena, politically in terms of fearing the other, not being able to believe in love or hope," said del Toro. "It's beautiful to be able to do it, to believe in it by disarming that skepticism with the words 'Once upon a time.'"

    The best picture comedy or musical category was led by a handful of Oscar favorites - Greta Gerwig's mother-daughter tale "Lady Bird," Jordan Peele's horror sensation "Get Out" - as well as several wildcards: James Franco's comedy "The Disaster Artist," about the making of "The Room"; the upcoming musical "The Greatest Showman"; and the Tonya Harding comic-drama "I, Tonya." The stars of all five, including Margot Robbie ("I, Tonya") and Franco, also landed acting nominations.

    Despite considerable backlash, "Get Out" ended up on the comedy side of the Globes after being submitted that way by Universal Pictures. (The HFPA ultimately decides genre classification.) Peele himself slyly commented on the controversy, calling his social critique of latent racism "a documentary." The Globes passed over Peele's script, but newcomer Daniel Kaluuya was nominated for best actor in a comedy.

    Though some predicted and feared an acting field lacking diversity, the nominees were fairly inclusive. Among the 30 film acting nominees were Denzel Washington ("Roman J. Israel, Esq."), Mary J. Blige ("Mudbound"), Hong Chau ("Downsizing") and Octavia Spencer ("The Shape of Water").

    But if the Globes hoped to present a group of nominations that looked beyond the likes of Weinstein - so long a dominant force at its annual awards - they failed in one notable category. As the press association and the Academy Awards have historically done, it nominated five men for best director.

    Many have hoped for a different story in a year where a parade of sexual harassment scandals has laid bare Hollywood's gender imbalances. But contenders like Gerwig (whose film garnered four nominations, including nods for star Saoirse Ronan, supporting actress Laurie Metcalf and Gerwig's screenplay), Patty Jenkins ("Wonder Woman") and Dee Rees ("Mudbound") were overlooked for a group of Spielberg, del Toro, Nolan, McDonagh and Scott.

    "I'm so heartened by the group of women and what great work they've been doing and being able to talk to them and being in the conversation," Gerwig said Monday when asked about being passed over. "The feeling is: It's about making it so the next generation of female filmmakers, it's easier to get their work made and their voices heard and to be in positions of power."

    Apart from the success of "All the Money in the World," the morning's biggest surprise was the complete omission of the romantic comedy "The Big Sick," penned by real-life couple Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. Another Oscar underdog, "The Florida Project," emerged with only one nomination, for Willem Dafoe's supporting performance as the manager of a low-rent motel.

    In the television categories, the Emmy-winning "Big Little Lies" earned a host of acting nods (Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgard, Laura Dern) as well as best limited series. HBO, which recently announced a second season for "Big Little Lies," led TV networks with 12 nominations overall; Netflix followed with nine nods.

    FX's Bette Davis and Joan Crawford chronicle "Feud: Bette and Joan" landed four nominations, including nods for Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon. Amazon's just-debuted "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" scored two nods, including best comedy series. Also with multiple nominations were Netflix's "Stranger Things," Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale" and NBC's "This Is Us." HBO's "Game of Thrones" received a nod for best drama series, but nothing for its cast.

    Geoffrey Rush was nominated for best performance by a lead actor in a limited series or TV movie for his Albert Einstein in Nat Geo's "Genius." Rush on Friday filed a defamation suit against the Daily Telegraph for a since-deleted report that the Sydney Theatre Company received a complaint of "inappropriate behavior" by the actor.

    The Globes haven't traditionally predicted the Oscars, but they did last January. The Globes two best-picture winners - "Moonlight" and "La La Land" - both ultimately ended up on the stage for the final award of the Oscars, with "Moonlight" emerging victorious only after the infamous envelope flub. The press association, which has worked in recent years to curtail its reputation for odd choices, is composed of about 90 freelance international journalists.

    The last Globes broadcast, hosted by Jimmy Fallon, averaged 20 million viewers, an upswing of 8 percent, according to Nielsen. This year, Seth Meyers, will host the January 7 ceremony. He will have his hands full trying to keep a famously frothy show light amid such dark scandals for the movie industry.

    Last year's Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement honoree, Streep, spoke forcefully against then President-elect Donald Trump, shortly before his inauguration. Trump the next day criticized the actress as "overrated." This year, Streep - along with Spielberg and Hanks - will return with a pointed and timely drama about the power of the press to counter lies emanating from the White House.

    Streep said in a statement: "I'm thrilled for the movie, for Steven and Tom, and for the incredible ensemble of actors who made this movie need its moment in history."

    ___

    Associated Press' Lindsey Bahr, Sandy Cohen and Ryan Pearson contributed to this report from Los Angeles.

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