"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Frost/Nixon" and "Doubt" led the Golden Globes with five nominations each this morning, though the former two had a leg up with best-drama slots.
Other best-drama nominees: "The Reader," "Revolutionary Road" and "Slumdog Millionaire."
Meryl Streep had two nominations, best dramatic actress for "Doubt" and musical or comedy actress for "Mamma Mia!"; and Kate Winslet also had two, best dramatic actress for "Revolutionary Road" and supporting actress for "The Reader."
Also chosen for dramatic actress were: Anne Hathaway, "Rachel Getting Married"; Angelina Jolie, "Changeling"; and Kristin Scott Thomas, "I've Loved You So Long."
Nominees for dramatic actor were Leonardo DiCaprio, "Revolutionary Road"; Frank Langella, "Frost/Nixon"; Brad Pitt, "Benjamin Button"; Sean Penn, "Milk"; and Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler."
The year's biggest hit, the Batman blockbuster "The Dark Knight," came in with strong awards buzz across the board but had only one nomination, supporting actor for Heath Ledger as the Joker. Ledger died of an accidental prescription drug overdose on Academy Awards nominations day last Jan. 22.
"This nomination is deeply appreciated and is not lost on those of us who continue to love and miss him," said father Kim Ledger in a statement on behalf of the actor's immediate family. "We are so proud that our boy's work is being recognized in this way."
"Happy-Go-Lucky" star Sally Hawkins capped a big week of Hollywood honors with a Globe nomination for best actress in a musical or comedy. Over the previous two days, Hawkins was chosen as the year's best film actress by both the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the New York Film Critics Circle.
Hawkins was riding in a taxi in London when she got the Globe news in a cell-phone text from her mother.
"I don't know how she knew before anyone else, but she's plugged in pretty well," said Hawkins, who stars as an eternally cheery schoolteacher whose optimism is put to the test in "Happy-Go-Lucky." "I didn't really believe it till I got the official call. I didn't believe her initially when I got the text. I just sent a text back saying, 'Are you sure?' Then the phone went ballistic with all the calls."
"Doubt," which got four acting nominations in all, also scored supporting nominations for Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis, plus a screenplay slot for director John Patrick Shanley, who adapted his Pulitzer Prize-winning play.
Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr. were nominated as supporting actor for "Tropic Thunder." Each played odd roles: Cruise's psychotic movie producer in a bald cap, beard and fat suit, and Downey playing a white actor who undergoes a skin-tinting procedure to play a black man.
The Harvey Milk film biography "Milk" also had been at the top of awards watchers' lists but only grabbed an acting nomination for Penn. And one of the year's biggest comedy hits, "Sex and the City," was shut out completely.
While the hit "Mamma Mia!" was among best musical or comedy nominees, the category was dominated by smaller movies. The other contenders are "Burn After Reading," "Happy-Go-Lucky," "In Bruges" and "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."
Clint Eastwood had two music nominations for his "Changeling" score and for co-writing the title song for "Gran Torino," part of which he also sang. But he missed out on directing nominations for both films and for an acting slot in "Gran Torino."
The animated hits "WALL-E" and "Bolt" had two nominations apiece, for best animated picture and best song, the "WALL-E" tune co-written by Peter Gabriel and the "Bolt" song co-written by Miley Cyrus, who also lent her voice to one of the film's lead characters.
The song category was loaded with big names, including Bruce Springsteen for the title tune of "The Wrestler" and Beyonce Knowles for co-writing a song in "Cadillac Records."
"Vicky Cristina Barcelona" earned a supporting-actress nomination for Penelope Cruz, and her co-stars Javier Bardem and Rebecca Hall each grabbed lead-acting slots in the musical or comedy categories.
Joining Hall, Hawkins and Streep in the musical or comedy actress lineup were Frances McDormand for "Burn After Reading" and Emma Thompson for "Last Chance Harvey."
Along with Bardem, "In Bruges" stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson both were nominated for best musical or comedy actor. Also chosen were James Franco for "Pineapple Express" and Dustin Hoffman for "Last Chance Harvey."
Ralph Fiennes had two nominations, supporting film actor for "The Duchess" and best actor in TV movie or miniseries for "Bernard and Doris." Tom Wilkinson earned two TV nominations, actor in a movie or miniseries for "Recount" and supporting actor in a series, movie or miniseries for "John Adams."
The Globes are the second-biggest film awards show after the Academy Awards and often set the tone for the Oscars by singling out key performances and achievements. The Globe ceremony is scheduled for Jan. 11, 11 days before Oscar nominations.
The glitzy Globes were canceled last year after celebrities said they would boycott the show in honor of a strike by the Writers Guild of America. Winners were announced at a hasty news conference instead.
Hollywood faces labor strife again with a potential strike by the Screen Actors Guild. But a strike-authorization vote early next month would come too late to affect the Globes this time.
The awards are presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of about 85 critics and reporters for overseas outlets.