The reason that "Up in the Air" soared off with the most Golden Globe nominations is obvious: Everybody's gone Clooney-crazy this year. So doesn't that mean that George will automatically win best drama actor?
Hold your horses, Derbyites! Golden Globe voters like to spread their gold around. As things stand now, most pundits predict that "Up in the Air" will win best drama picture. Sometimes voters give out a best-actor bookend with the Globe prize (Leo DiCaprio won for best picture champ "The Aviator," Russell Crowe won for best pic "A Beautiful Mind"), but often they don't (Crowe didn't win for best pic "Gladiator").
Globe voters like big, hambone performances, the showier the better, like the last two previous winners: Mickey Rourke ("The Wrestler") and Daniel Day-Lewis ("There Will Be Blood"). If that same pattern repeats, then Jeff Bridges has the edge for stumbling around drunk, flashing lots of ham while shirtless and howling hillbilly tunes and acting all angst-beset and doomed in "Crazy Heart."
Bridges is Globeless in addition to being Oscarless, having lost both contests four times. Clooney won both awards in the supporting slot for "Syriana" and in the lead Globe race for "O Brother Where Art Thou."
If votes split between Clooney and Bridges, there's a slight chance that Morgan Freeman ("Invictus") could prevail. It's a grand portrayal, packed with pork, of a real person (saintly Nelson Mandela) — that's always a plus — but voters don't seem to like "Invictus" much. They didn't nominate it for best picture. Freeman won a Globe for "Driving Miss Daisy."
Apologies to Tobey Maguire and Colin Firth, but I don't think they have a prayer. Firth maybe. Sometimes voters like to take surprising artsy turns, but we tend to see that more in the actress race (Brendan Blethyn in "Secrets and Lies," Felicity Huffman in "Transamerica"). Both are Globeless, both now enjoying their first bids.
Left photo: A scene from "Up in the Air." Credit: Paramount
Right photo: A scene from "Crazy Heart." Credit: Fox Searchlight