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Globes surprise with 'Ides,' snub 'Extremely Loud'

Woody Harrelson said it himself.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Woody Harrelson said it himself.

As one of the stars reading the nominations for the Golden Globes on Thursday morning, the actor jokingly added his own film, "Rampart," to the list of best dramatic films.

"There's a lot of things left off today, I just want to say," shrugged Harrelson.

There always is.

The year in movies has shaped up to be one without many clear heavyweight favorites, but rather a large spectrum of fine, worthy films. That means more deserving movies than normal went unheralded by the Globes.

Thus far, the awards season has played out unpredictably, with critics groups and the Screen Actors Guild (the best early indication of how the industry is voting) generally spreading honors around. Among the few that seemed assured of Globe nominations — and received them — were the French ode to silent films "The Artist," with a leading six nominations, and the 1960s racial tale "The Help" and Alexander Payne's Hawaiian family story "The Descendants," each with five nominations.

Some snubs and surprises:

— EXTREMELY QUIET: The silence for the much anticipated "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" was deafening. Stephen Daldry's adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel has been the biggest question mark of the awards season, having held its screenings later than any other movie did. The film boasts all of the trappings of awards bait, with top-of-the-line talent in director Stephen Daldry ("The Hours"), screenwriter Eric Roth ("Forrest Gump"), cast (Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Max Von Sydow) and producer Scott Rudin ("The Social Network"). But it failed to land any nominations, not even for the score by Alexandre Desplat, who has previously been nominated by the Globes five times.

— BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH? Few might have noticed had George Clooney's political thriller not received any nominations. Instead, "The Ides of March" landed four big ones: best picture (drama); best director for Clooney; best actor (drama) for Ryan Gosling; and best screenplay for the script by Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon. "Ides" received respectful but tepid reviews on release and is not considered an Oscar favorite. Clooney was nominated for best director over more likely candidates, including Daldry, Steven Spielberg ("War Horse"), David Fincher ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo") and Terrence Malick ("Tree of Life"). Also, many would have chosen Gosling's performance in "Drive" over his in "Ides."

— THE SHUTOUTS: As Harrelson suggested, the most striking thing about the Globes' picks were how many good films were left out. Maybe there wasn't room for them, but it's not every year that a dozen well-crafted movies with realistic awards chances go without nomination. The exceptional family drama/apocalyptic nightmare "Take Shelter" didn't receive anything, including the riveting performance by Michael Shannon. Nor did the sleek and stylish Cold War espionage film "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," which some suspected would land an acting nomination for its star, Gary Oldman. Malick's cosmic-tinged family drama "Tree of Life," considered a masterpiece by some, failed to gain any notice. Its stars, Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, were nominated for other movies. Neither was there anything for Tom McCarthy's charming "Win Win," the financial industry thriller "Margin Call," Lars von Trier's operatic "Melancholia" or Ralph Fiennes' Shakespeare adaptation "Coriolanus." Even Harry Potter's swan song, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2," escaped attention.

— THE LAND OF ANGIE: The most predictable "surprise" Thursday was the nomination for Angelina Jolie's directorial debut, "In the Land of Blood and Honey." The film, in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, earned a best foreign language film nomination. The Globes are well known for odd nominations that will attract stars to their prime-time broadcast awards. To that end, Madonna's period romance "W.E." received two music nominations. The prospect of Jolie's attendance at the cost of merely a foreign film slot was an easy call for the Globes. At least they didn't nominate "The Tourist" again.

— IT'S NOT TIME TO MEET THE MUPPETS: Maybe the Hollywood Foreign Press finds the Swedish Chef offensive. Whatever the reason, the largely acclaimed reboot of the "The Muppets" failed to win a nomination. Though the Globes make comedy and musicals a category of its own separate from drama, no musicals were nominated. The tune-filled Muppets" was the only musical with a chance, but didn't even pull in a nomination for a song. Rowlf the Dog is going to be singing the blues.