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Inside track: Golden Globes' race for best drama picture

December 5, 2009 | 10:24 am

Three films are ahead to win best drama picture at the Golden Globes: "Up in the Air," "Inglourious Basterds" and "Precious." "Up in the Air" has the momentum right now. On Thursday night, members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. again were hanging out with George Clooney, chumming it up, getting their photos taken, but they do that often. In fact, they did so with Clooney twice earlier this year. He's old hat for Globers.

Support for "Basterds" is strong within HFPA. It'll certainly be nominated for best picture, director, screenplay and supporting actor (Christoph Waltz), but renewed hoopla must be whipped up for a movie released four months ago. Expect that to occur with the debut of the DVD on Dec. 15. Not only will Harvey Weinstein mount new ballyhoo big time, but he'll also blitz Hollywood with cheap, nonwatermarked DVDs, "Crash"-style — as Gold Derby reported months ago. My rival kudos bloggers who recently shrugged off "Basterds" as a top Oscar contender -- not even including it in their predix for 10 best-pic nominees (one of them even bragged about snubbing it) -- should start getting very nervous very soon.

"Up in the Air," "Precioius," Inglourious Basterds"

Globe voters love "Precious," but it doesn't have the same fanatical backing you see elsewhere. Some kudos watchers blame that on the fact that HFPA has no black members, but that suggests prejudice. That's ridiculous. The group has embraced African American films much more often than the Oscars. Heck, the Golden Globes even nominated "The Great Debaters" for best picture! (Deservedly.) Obviously, "Precious" will be nominated too, but can it win?

And whatever triumphs, can it repeat at the Oscars?

In general, Oscar voters rubber-stamp one of the two best-pic champs at the Globes (drama, musical/comedy) two-thirds of the time, historically speaking, but not lately. The Oscars and Globes disagreed on best picture four times in the last five years.

Predicting the Globes is hard for many reasons, starting with the difficulty of getting inside the heads of nearly 100 quirky mavericks with funny foreign accents. Furthermore, they don't vote in sweeps like you see at the Oscars. They like to spread their gold around. Two years ago, for example, "Atonement" won best drama picture, but the helmer's prize went to Julian Schnabel ("The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"). The previous year "Babel" won best picture, but Martin Scorsese ("The Departed") snatched the directors' laurels. However, sometimes the two categories do agree — like last year when "Slumdog Millionaire" and Danny Boyle romped.

If Globe voters divvy up trophies again, Quentin Tarantino will certainly win something. At least helmer's gold, maybe screenplay too. Does that take "Basterds" out of the running for picture? No, not if he wins just one of them. Ditto "Up in the Air," which will probably reap George Clooney the lead actors' accolade. That shouldn't hurt "Up in the Air's" separate shot at the top prize. Voters named Leonardo DiCaprio best actor when "The Aviator" (2004) won best picture. Ditto Russell Crowe and "A Beautiful Mind." But Crowe lost when "Gladiator" slew rivals for best pic of 2000 and Kevin Spacey lost when "American Beauty" took the top Globe (1999).

If votes split between "Up in the Air" and "Basterds" for best drama picture, beware: "Precious" could prevail.

Here's how that race looks now. To see our handicapping of the race for best comedy-musical picture, click here. Nominations will be unveiled Dec. 15.

BEST DRAMA PICTURE
FRONT-RUNNERS
"The Hurt Locker"
"Inglourious Basterds"
"Invictus"
"Precious"
"Up in the Air"

POSSIBLE
"Avatar"
"Brothers"
"District 9"
"A Single Man"

RELATED LINKS

Inside track: Golden Globes' race for best comedy/musical picture

Pssst ... Here's "Inglourious Basterds" secret Oscar campaign strategy

More experts predict Oscars' best-picture derby

Oscar experts clash over 'Up in the Air' and 'Precious' to win best picture

Inside track on the Golden Globes' race for best drama actor

National Board of Review goes crazy for Clooney and Clint again. ... Will disaster follow at the Oscars?

Everybody loses: Gotham Awards vs. Indie Spirits ('Hurt Locker' vs. 'Precious')

Photos: "Up in the Air" (Paramount), "Precious" (Lionsgate), "Inglourious Basterds" (Weinstein Co.)

NOTE: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified "No Country for Old Men" as the Globes' best-pic winner two years ago.

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Comments

I think Avatar is going to pull an upset. something will fall out. Invictus is just a Hallmark channel movie and it shouldn't be in top 5 anything

everyone seems to forget about Public Enemies! (i know alot of people didnt like it that much)...but it's a fantastic movie (my favorite movie and best movies of 2009)...<(thats my opinion)...it should be nominated!!

What about An Education? The film should be showing some love for Carey Mulligan, Alfred Molina, Nick Hornby, and maybe even Peter Sarsgaard or Lone Scherfig. I definitely think it is a contendor.

Tom, what about The Lovely Bones' chances for BP Drama? Have the HFPA seen it yet?

Good catch, Austin. Fixed now and change cited with editor's note

"Two years ago, for example, "No Country for Old Men" won best drama picture, but the helmer's prize went to Julian Schnabel ("The Diving Bell and the Butterfly")."

"Atonement" won Best Drama Picture in 2007, not "No Country for Old Men". - I know it is still baffling.


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