(NOTE ADDED ON 11/21 — While much of the info in this report below turns out to be accurate, two key details are no longer true: "Volver" will not compete in the comedy lineup and Cate Blanchett will be eligible in supporting, not lead, for "Notes on a Scandal." At least one of these changes was made as a result of a studio appeal, but I don't know what's behind my erroneous report that "Volver" would be deemed a comedy. Perhaps my source was misinformed, but, strangely, he got all other info correct prior to at least one appeals flip-flop. Maybe two. Here's the original report —)
If a tip-off I just received from a usually trusty source turns out to be true, the qualification committee of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is really shaking up the Golden Globes derby.
Rumor has it that the panel has pooh-poohed Fox Searchlight's plea to put Cate Blanchett into the supporting actress race for "Notes on a Scandal." Instead, she'll compete for best lead drama actress opposite costar Judi Dench — and herself, too, as star of "The Good German."
The panel has also nixed the studio's recommendation to put "Little Miss Sunshine" star Abigail Breslin in supporting. Instead, she'll be in the lead race for comedy/musical actresses where she'll compete against — hold your horses, Derbyites; this news is a doozy — Penelope Cruz. Apparently, the panel believes that "Volver" is a comedy (even though that corpse in a freezer is no laughing matter), but don't expect to it to be nommed for best comedy/musical picture. Being in Spanish, it's not qualified for that race, just the separate category for best foreign-language film.
In the race for best lead comedy/musical actress, Breslin and Cruz will compete against Meryl Streep ("The Devil Wears Prada"), Annette Bening ("Running with Scissors"), Renee Zellweger ("Miss Potter"), Catherine O'Hara ("For Your Consideration" — unless the HFPA put her in supporting, which I haven't heard any tattle about), Kirsten Dunst ("Marie Antoinette") and Dakota Fanning ("Charlotte's Web").
Plus Beyonce Knowles, but not "Dreamgirls" costar Jennifer Hudson. This is great news for Hudson fans who are cheering her on for the supporting Oscar, which she'll now probably win after nabbing the supporting Globe first. Had HFPA hiked Hudson to the lead race, it could've caused huge kudos chaos.
HPFA will not release final word about which categories films have been placed in until close to the announcement of nominees on Dec. 14. Nonetheless, I have formally asked HFPA to comment on this news we've heard and I expect a response on Monday.
Photos: Fox Searchlight/ Sony Pictures Classics/ DreamWorks-Paramount