Steven Spielberg's Civil War epic "Lincoln" led the Golden Globes on Thursday with seven nominations, among them best drama, best director for Spielberg and acting honors for Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones.
Tied for second-place with five nominations each, including best drama are Ben Affleck's Iran hostage-crisis thriller "Argo" and Quentin Tarantino's slave-turned-bounty-hunter tale "Django Unchained."
Other best-drama nominees put forward by The Hollywood Foreign Press Association are Ang Lee's shipwreck story "Life of Pi" and Kathryn Bigelow's Osama bin Laden manhunt thriller "Zero Dark Thirty."
Nominated for best musical or comedy were: the British retiree adventure "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"; the Victor Hugo musical "Les Miserables"; the first-love tale "Moonrise Kingdom"; the fishing romance "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen"; and the lost-soul romance "Silver Linings Playbook."
Globe attention can give contenders a boost for Hollywood's top honors, the Academy Awards, whose nominations come out Jan. 10, three days before the Globe ceremony.
The directing lineup came entirely from dramatic films, with Affleck, Bigelow, Lee, Spielberg and Tarantino all in the running.
"It's very gratifying to get this many nominations from the HFPA for a film I worked so hard on and am so passionate about. I look forward to having fun at the Golden Globes with my cast mates and fellow nominees," Tarantino said in a statement.
Filmmakers behind best musical or comedy nominees were shut out for director, including Tom Hooper for "Les Miserables" and David O. Russell for "Silver Linings Playbook."
Along with Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in Spielberg's epic, best dramatic actor contenders are Richard Gere as a deceitful Wall Streeter in "Arbitrage"; John Hawkes as a polio victim trying to lose his virginity in "The Sessions"; Joaquin Phoenix as a Navy veteran under the sway of a cult leader in "The Master"; and Denzel Washington as a boozy airline pilot in "Flight."
Dramatic-actress nominees are Jessica Chastain as a CIA analyst hunting Osama bin Laden in "Zero Dark Thirty"; Marion Cotillard as a whale biologist beset by tragedy in "Rust and Bone"; Helen Mirren as Alfred Hitchcock's strong-minded wife in "Hitchcock"; Naomi Watts as a woman caught up in a devastating tsunami in "The Impossible"; and Rachel Weisz as a woman ruined by an affair in "The Deep Blue Sea."
For musical or comedy actress, the lineup is Emily Blunt as a consultant for a Mideast sheik in "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen"; Judi Dench as a widow who retires overseas in "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"; Jennifer Lawrence as a young widow in a new romance in "Silver Linings Playbook"; Maggie Smith as an aging singer in a retirement home in "Quartet"; and Meryl Streep as a wife trying to save her marriage in "Hope Springs."
Nominees for musical or comedy actor are Jack Black as a solicitous mortician in "Bernie"; Bradley Cooper as a troubled man fresh out of a mental hospital in "Silver Linings Playbook"; Hugh Jackman as Hugo's long-suffering hero Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables"; Ewan McGregor as a British fisheries expert in "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen"; and Bill Murray as Franklin Roosevelt in "Hyde Park on Hudson."
Competing for supporting actor are Alan Arkin as a Hollywood producer helping a CIA operation in "Argo"; Leonardo DiCaprio as a cruel slave owner in "Django Unchained"; Philip Seymour Hoffman as a mesmerizing cult leader in "The Master"; Tommy Lee Jones as firebrand abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens in "Lincoln"; and Christoph Waltz as a genteel bounty hunter in "Django Unchained."
The supporting-actress picks are Amy Adams as a cult leader's devoted wife in "The Master"; Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln in "Lincoln"; Anne Hathaway as a mother fallen into prostitution in "Les Miserables"; Helen Hunt as a sexual surrogate in "The Sessions"; and Nicole Kidman as a trashy mistress of a Death Row inmate in "The Paperboy."
Kidman was a dual nominee, also in the running as best actress in a TV movie or miniseries for "Hemingway & Gellhorn."
"As an actor you look for roles that are rich, complicated, and that stretch you and this year I was blessed to find two," Kidman said in a statement. "To have the chance to play them was a gift in itself and to then be acknowledged this way is icing on the cake."
"Quartet" star Smith also had a second nomination, for supporting actress in a TV series, miniseries or movie for "Downton Abbey."
Snubbed completely was the low-budget critical darling "Beasts of the Southern Wild," which won top honors at last January's Sundance Film Festival. Also shut out was the stripper hit "Magic Mike," which had good buzz for supporting player Matthew McConaughey, who also earned acclaim for roles in "Bernie" and "Killer Joe." Another film to not notch a single nomination was "The Hobbit," a prelude to the "The Lord of the Rings" films, which all got Globe nods.
With three nominations, "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" was a surprise inclusion Thursday, since the film had virtually no awards buzz behind it.
There will be some friendly rivalry among the hosts at the Globe ceremony, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Both were nominated for best actress in a TV comedy, Fey for "30 Rock" and Poehler for "Parks and Recreation."
Fey and Poehler follow Ricky Gervais, who was host the last three years and rubbed some Hollywood egos the wrong way with sharp wisecracks about A-list stars and the foreign press association itself.
The Sarah Palin drama "Game Change" leads TV contenders with five nominations: including best movie or miniseries and acting honors for Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, Ed Harris and Sarah Paulson.
Best TV comedy series nominees are "The Big Bang Theory," ''Episodes," ''Girls," ''Modern Family" and "Smash." TV drama picks are "Breaking Bad," ''Boardwalk Empire," ''Downton Abbey: Season 2," ''Homeland" and "The Newsroom."
Globe acting winners often go on to receive the same prizes at the Oscars. All four Oscar winners last season — lead performers Meryl Streep of "The Iron Lady" and Jean Dujardin of "The Artist," and supporting players Octavia Spencer of "The Help" and Christopher Plummer of "Beginners" — won Globes first.
The Globes have a spotty record predicting which films might go on to earn the best-picture prize at the Academy Awards, however.
Last year's Oscar best-picture winner, "The Artist," preceded that honor with a Globe win for best musical or comedy. But in the seven years before that, only one winner in the Globes' two best-picture categories — 2008's "Slumdog Millionaire" — followed up with an Oscar best-picture win.
Along with 14 film prizes, the Globes hand out awards in 11 television categories.
Jodie Foster, a two-time Oscar and Globe winner for "The Accused" and "The Silence of the Lambs," will receive the group's Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement.
With stars sharing drinks and dinner, the Globes have a reputation as one of Hollywood's loose and unpredictable awards gatherings. Winners occasionally have been off in the restroom when their names were announced, and there have been moments of onstage spontaneity such as Jack Nicholson mooning the crowd or Ving Rhames handing over his trophy to fellow nominee Jack Lemmon.