2012 is winding down to a close, which means it’s time for respected critic circles and industry organizations to begin recognizing the best film and TV entertainment over the past twelve months. Thus, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has formerly announced the nominations for next years 70th Golden Globes ceremony, which will be co-hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (the former being a two-time Globe winner, the latter a nominee).

The Golden Globes are, traditionally, a good litmus test for the Oscars, in terms of which films are lining up to be recognized (and which ones appear destined to be left in the dust). So, are there any significant surprises this year – be it in terms of movies and/or television?

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is the front-runner on the film side, with seven nods in total – including, for Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones’ lauded performances as well as Tony Kushner’s screenplay and Spielberg’s direction. Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained is right behind Lincoln with five nods; however, on a curious note, both Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio are up for Best Supporting Actor (despite the former being more main character than supporting player). Both films address the issue of slavery in America – albeit, Django tackles it more directly through the lens of a Tarantino-esque fairy tale in the Antebellum South, whereas Lincoln is more an example of political theater that dramatizes the passage of the 13th amendment.

Similarly, the two have momentum and the benefit of controversy on their side; though, that’s also true for Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama bin Laden thriller Zero Dark Thirty, which snagged four Globe nominations. Meanwhile, Ben Affleck’s historical thriller Argo tied with Django for five nods total; Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables racked up four nods on the musical side; and both Ang Lee’s Life of Pi and David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook secured three nods apiece. So, all in all, it’s a pretty tight race, in terms of which movies could land the big(gest) prizes.

On a related note:

  • Acclaimed independent productions such as The Master and The Sessions were recognized in the acting categories, but did not make the cut for the top awards.
  • Similarly, lauded blockbusters like The Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall were left out (or snubbed, take your pick). That should change at the Oscars.

‘Lincoln’ leads the pack with 7 Globes nominations

Meanwhile, on the television side, things are pretty much business-as-usual. That’s to say, revered series such as Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire and Homeland are thriving in the drama categories, as are leading cast members Bryan Cranston, Steve Buscemi, Claire Danes and Damien Lewis. The same holes true for awards show comedy favorites like Modern Family, Girls and Big Bang Theory competing for Best Series (not to mention, 30 Rock and Louie being recognized in the acting categories).

A few other things worth noting:

  • Jessica Lange was nominated for American Horror Story: Asylum, while Benedict Cumberbatch received his first nod for Sherlock.
  • Mad Men was NOT nominated for Best Drama, with The Newsroom taking its place.
  • HBO’s political drama Game Change and Alfred Hitchcock memoir The Girl both racked up a couple of nods.
  • Game of Thrones was shut out this year, despite landing a Best Drama nod for its first season (and Peter Dinklage winning for his fan-fave role as Tyrion Lannister).

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