David Fincher, the director of The Social Network, made a lot of new friends this week. His biopic of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg swept the early Oscar precursors, as awards season kicks into high gear. The New York Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and a handful of other groups have all declared The Social Network the best film of the year. This morning the Hollywood Foreign Press Association handed the movie six Golden Globe nominations, including best picture, best director, best screenplay, and best actor (Jesse Eisenberg).
The Golden Globes are determined by a group of 90 or so journalists, who wield an unusual amount of clout. Now is the time that members of the Academy start filling out their Oscar ballots, and the Globe selections are like a Facebook status update that says "Watch me!" Here are five big winners, losers, and surprises:
1. The Social Network and The King's Speech are going to duke it out until Oscar night. Each film picked up nods in all the key categories (picture, director, screenplay, acting). But The King's Speech, about King George VI of England, has the edge when it comes to performances, which could ultimately tip the Academy Awards race in its favor. All its lead actors—Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter—were recognized, and it led all films with seven nominations.
2. Don't underestimate The Fighter. David O. Russell's boxing biopic surprisingly tied The Social Network with six nominations. It also landed more acting nods than any other film—Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, and notably, Christian Bale, who is the Oscar frontrunner for best supporting actor. This ensemble drama about grit and determination plays very well in front of actors, the largest voting branch of the Academy. Expect it to clean up when the SAG nominations are announced Thursday.
3. Speaking of grit ... True Grit, the Coen brothers' remake of the John Wayne classic, was shut out completely. Not even Jeff Bridges made the cut. His Oscar chances just dipped.
4. Johnny Depp is the best actor of the year. Huh? How else to explain him as the only double nominee—he's competing against himself in the best actor in a comedy/musical category for Alice in Wonderland and The Tourist. The Golden Globes love celebrity, and it will recognize stars for mediocre performances just to have them walk its red carpet. Among this year's nominated-for-being-famous list: Angelina Jolie (The Tourist), Michael Douglas (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps), and Halle Berry (Frankie and Alice), who clocks in her worst work since Catwoman, as a patient with multiple-personality disorder. However, the most frequent NFBF recipient, Julia Roberts, was snubbed for Eat Pray Love.
5. And finally ... Burlesque was nominated for best picture of the year! Nice work, Hollywood Foreign Press Association. It will also, no doubt, simultaneously be competing for worst picture of the year, when the Razzie nominations are announced on Jan. 24.
For the full list of this year's Golden Globe nominees, including the TV categories, click here.