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Movies

Ty Burr

Thoughts on the Golden Globe nominations

"12 Years A Slave."

Fox Searchligh/Associated Press

"12 Years A Slave."

And they indicate many things while throwing a couple of new pigs into the awards season pig pile. (For full list click here)

First of all, “12 Years A Slave,” with seven Globe noms and four in yesterday’s Screen Actors Guild nominations — not to mention winning over a number of critics’ groups over the weekend — is the all but official Oscar frontrunner.

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Second, “American Hustle,” which with seven nods shares the top honors with “Slave,” is looking to be the season’s spoiler — a movie that isn’t yet in theatrical release but is rolling up nominations and plaudits. (”The Wolf of Wall Street” may still turn out to be the spoiler’s spoiler as far as Oscar goes, but it only received two Globe nominations, for best musical or comedy and for Leonardo DiCaprio’s lead performance. Director Martin Scorsese, the script, and supporting actor Jonah Hill got skunked.) From the acting standpoint, the largess for “American Hustle” makes sense -- with big, broad performances from Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence (all nominated), the movie’s a gift that keeps on giving. It’s also kind of a mess, so the best directing and screenplay noms are... let’s say generous, not to mention a mark of how much the Globes have loved David O. Russell in the past.

Third, Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” may in fact have come out too early in the year and not gathered quite enough momentum to sustain it into the awards season. Despite some expectations for Forest Whitaker’s lead role and Oprah Winfrey’s supporting turn, the film came up emptyhanded.

Fourth, The distinction between what counts as a “drama” and what counts as a “comedy” barely exists in a number of the year’s best movies, so it’s not surprising that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is as confused as anyone else. How, exactly, is “Her” a comedy? (To my mind it’s one of the most gently tragic films of the season.) Do “Nebraska” and “Inside Llewyn Davis” count only because we’re used to bleak cosmic laffs from Alexander Payne and the Coen brothers? (Oh, right, “Inside Llewyn Davis” counts because it’s a musical -- and the only such contender this year.) Julie Delpy breaks your heart in “Before Midnight” and Meryl Streep is the Mother From Hell in “August: Osage County” -- how’s that comedy? Emma Thompson makes you laugh out loud with delight and gratitude in “Saving Mr. Banks” -- how’s that drama? The point is that genre is besides the point, especially in a year with as many strong and ambitious movies as 2013. The HFPA should maybe reconsider their categorical thinking.

Fifth, it’s nice to see Robert Redford get some love in the best dramatic actor race after being snubbed by the Screen Actors Guild, and it’s especially gratifying to see Alex Ebert’s score for “All is Lost” receive a nomination -- soundtrack music so eerily subtle and supportive that a lot of moviegoers didn’t even realize there was a score. And there’s that moonshot best song nomination for the goofball “Please Mr. Kennedy” number from “Inside Llewyn Davis” -- here’s hoping that Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake, and Adam Driver turn up at the show to perform it.

Sixth: Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Wind Rises” gets a nomination for best foreign film but not for best animation? How is that even possible, especially in as weak a year for ‘toons as this?

The Golden Globe Awards will air January 12 on NBC with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting.

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