BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. >> George Clooney’s Hawaiian family story "The Descendants" tied for second with 1960s racial tale "The Help," with five Golden Globe nominations, while the silent-era film "The Artist" leads the pack with six nominations.
Also competing for best drama: Martin Scorsese’s Paris adventure "Hugo"; Clooney’s political thriller "The Ides of March"; Brad Pitt’s baseball chronicle "Moneyball"; and Steven Spielberg’s World War I epic "War Horse."
Joining "The Artist" in the best musical or comedy category are: the cancer story "50/50"; Kristen Wiig’s wedding romp "Bridesmaids"; Woody Allen’s romantic fantasy "Midnight in Paris"; and Michelle Williams’ Marilyn Monroe tale "My Week With Marilyn."
Clooney is nominated for best dramatic actor as a neglectful dad tending his daughters in "The Descendants." Besides Clooney, director Alexander Payne is also nominated for best director for "The Descendants." Shailene Wooley, who plays Clooney’s daughter in the film, is nominated for best supporting actress and Payne along with Nat Faxon and Jim Rush are up for best screenplay.
Clooney has a total of three nominations. Besides best dramatic actor, he’s up for directing and screenplay for "The Ides of March." For the acting prize, Clooney will compete against his "Ides" star Ryan Gosling, who plays a presidential candidate’s aide. Gosling had a second nomination for best musical or comedy actor as a ladies man in the romance "Crazy, Stupid, Love."
Glenn Close is also a dual contender, as best dramatic actress as a woman masquerading as a male butler in the Irish drama "Albert Nobbs" and for best song for writing the lyrics to "Lay Your Head Down," the film’s theme tune.
Also nominated for dramatic actress: Davis as a black maid going public with stories about her white employer in "The Help"; Rooney Mara as a traumatized victim-turned-avenger in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"; Meryl Streep as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady"; and Tilda Swinton as a grieving woman coping with her son’s terrible deeds in "We Need to Talk About Kevin."
Clooney has another pal in the dramatic actor race, his "Ocean’s Eleven" franchise co-star Pitt, who’s nominated for his "Moneyball" role as Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane.
Gosling, Clooney and Pitt are up against Leonardo DiCaprio as FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover in "J. Edgar" and Michael Fassbender as a sex addict in "Shame."
Pitt’s romantic partner, Angelina Jolie, picked up a nomination for foreign-language film for her directing debut, the Bosnian war drama "In the Land of Blood and Honey."
Along with the Screen Actors Guild Award nominations a day earlier, the Globes field helps narrow down prospects for the Academy Awards, whose nominations come out Jan. 24.
With drinks and dinner, the Globes are a laid-back affair for Hollywood’s elite compared to the Oscars. The show turned a bit touchy last year as host Ricky Gervais repeatedly made sharp wisecracks about stars and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of about 85 entertainment reporters for overseas outlets that presents the Globes.
But Gervais helped give the show a TV ratings boost, and he’s been invited back as host for a third-straight year.
Before the nominations announcement, the press group’s president, Aida Takla-O’Reilly, joked that Gervais is a "naughty, naughty schoolboy."
Five-time Academy Award and Globe nominee Morgan Freeman — who won the supporting-actor Oscar for "Million Dollar Baby" and a best-actor Globe for "Driving Miss Daisy" — will receive the group’s Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the Jan. 15 ceremony.
Thursday’s nominations in 25 film and television categories were announced by actors Sofia Vergara, Woody Harrelson and Gerard Butler.