The western was shut out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., with even lead actor Jeff Bridges (who has been nominated on four previous occasions by the group) getting no attention. The shunning of "Grit," which hits theaters next week, comes even as the film has been generating strong award buzz, landing on the American Film Institute's list of top 10 films of the year and garnering 11 Critics' Choice nominations this week.
Pixar's "Toy Story 3" received only one nomination, for best animated feature, but that was mainly a function of Golden Globe rules that group the animated films apart from dramas, comedies and musicals.
The trapped-hiker saga "127 Hours," starring James Franco as stranded canyoneer Aron Ralston, drew three nominations but didn't make the cut in the best picture category nor in best director. That was a reversal of fortunes of sorts for director Danny Boyle, who two years ago swept through award season with "Slumdog Millionaire," which won Globes for best director and best picture (drama).
One person present at the two "True Grit" screenings held for the HFPA noted that the movie, which is filled with dense dialogue, played poorly to the room, eliciting little laughter even during its more comedic moments.
The foreign press association has historically had a lukewarm reaction to westerns. Clint Eastwood's 1992 gunslinger, "Unforgiven," did not win the Golden Globe for best picture, and three years ago, James Mangold's remake of "3:10 to Yuma" did not receive any nominations.
Golden Globe nominations are considered a bellwether for Academy Awards nominations to some degree. But there have been instances in which the two award programs go in sharply different directions. "True Grit" will look to follow in the footsteps of "Crash," which was the rare movie to be largely ignored by the Globes (it garnered just two nominations) but went on to win the best picture Oscar in 2006.
The shutout for "Hereafter" was surprising if only because the association has long embraced Eastwood, nominating him for best director five times since 2003 — including for the ambivalently received "Invictus" in one of last season's most controversial choices.
"The Town" seems to have been picking up award momentum in recent weeks amid a strong push for recognition for director and star Ben Affleck. But the HFPA gave the film only one nomination, a supporting-actor nod to Jeremy Renner.
Renner said he didn't view the single nomination as a snub. "I'm a representative. I'm leading the charge for a movie that I'm proud of," he told the Los Angeles Times. "Me getting nominated reflects on [Affleck] and on everybody in the film."
Elsewhere on the acting front, Mark Wahlberg's nod for "The Fighter" was a mild surprise in the lead actor category over Bridges and Duvall, who plays an eccentric loner in the period dramedy "Get Low."
While Annette Bening and Julianne Moore were selected in the lead actress category ( comedy or musical) for "The Kids Are All Right," Ruffalo was bypassed for supporting actor. And while her "Black Swan" costars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis were nominated for their roles in the supernatural ballet drama, 62-year-old Barbara Hershey was overlooked, despite what many deemed a comeback supporting role as a domineering mother.
"Barbara was great, taking something that could have been one dimensional and making it a lot more interesting," director Darren Aronofsky said. "But I'm not worried. There are still a lot more great roles to come for her."