LOS ANGELES: Leonardo DiCaprio, still chasing his first Oscar victory, edged closer to Hollywood’s top laurels on Thursday, as he took a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “The Revenant,” a bloody frontier drama that was also nominated for best drama and best director.
But the big winner in the movie categories was “Carol,” which took a nomination for best drama, along with a best director nomination for Todd Haynes, acting nominations for Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, and a nomination for best score. “The Big Short,” a late entry in the race, took nominations for two actors, Christian Bale and Steve Carell, for its script, and for best picture in the musical or comedy category.
They led the way for a small group of leading prize contenders that included “The Revenant,” from 20th Century Fox and New Regency; “The Martian,” also from Fox; “Joy,” yet another Fox film; and “Spotlight,” from Open Road Films.
Streaming services dominated the nominees for best television comedy, with series from Hulu, Amazon and Netflix picking up nominations, while HBO had its usual strong showing and ABC’s “American Crime” picked up several nods.
A best drama and a best director nomination for George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” brought that film out of the pack, toward the front of the seasonal contenders. “Room” likewise received a best drama nomination, a triumph for its small distributor, A24. Three nominations for “The Danish Girl,” including one for best actor for Eddie Redmayne’s transgender portrayal, keeps Universal’s Focus Features unit very much in the awards game, though it has put strong emphasis on commercial bets lately.
Best screenplay nominations went to “Room,” “Spotlight,” “The Big Short,” “Steve Jobs” and “The Hateful Eight.”
Best animated feature nominations went to “Anomalisa,” “The Good Dinosaur,” “Inside Out,” “The Peanuts Movie” and “Shaun the Sheep Movie.”
Notwithstanding David O. Russell’s “Joy,” a dramedy that stars Jennifer Lawrence as the inventor of the Miracle Mop, it so far has been a fairly joyless film season. Picture after picture has come up short — “Steve Jobs,” “Everest,” “Our Brand Is Crisis,” “Freeheld,” “Truth” and “Crimson Peak” were among the underperformers — leaving those who grant awards, including the Hollywood Foreign Press Association with its Globes, to close the enthusiasm gap.
Among smaller films, “Spotlight” has beaten the gloom. After well-received festival appearances in Venice; Telluride, Colo; and Toronto, the newspaper drama, about The Boston Globe’s investigation of child abuse and a Catholic Church cover-up, has done well in a relatively confined theatrical release, and now has a shot at the top Oscar.
On Wednesday, the closely watched Screen Actors Guild nominations shook up the awards race by ignoring supposed prize favorites like “Steve Jobs,” “Carol,” “The Revenant” and “Joy” in its closely watched best feature film ensemble category. Instead, nominations went to some less-expected contenders, including “Trumbo,” “Straight Outta Compton” and “The Big Short.”
In the Globe nominations, notable snubs were dealt to Johnny Depp, who had been considered a strong bet as best dramatic actor for “Black Mass,” a film that took no nominations. Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies” also had a disappointing showing, capturing only a nomination for Mark Rylance, as supporting actor.
None of the actors from “Spotlight” were nominated, though the film’s cast — which includes Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Michael Keaton — had just been nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award.
Among the major studio films, Ridley Scott’s “The Martian,” a 3-D blockbuster starring Matt Damon as a kind of Robinson Crusoe on Mars, has been buoyed both by a strong audience response, and perhaps by a sense that Mr. Scott, like Mr. DiCaprio, is overdue for honors.
Neither has won an Oscar, and a victory for either at the Globes ceremony on Jan. 10 might point toward a good night at the Academy Awards, seven weeks later. (Mr. Scott has never won a Globe. Mr. DiCaprio was a winner in the best musical or comic actor category in 2014, for “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and in 2005 was the Globes’ best dramatic actor for “The Aviator,” but got no Oscar.)
In a sharp reversal of past patterns, Netflix, a relative upstart, captured eight television nominations, beating HBO, which had seven. Last year, HBO had 15 nods. Showtime also appears to have been dented by the streaming upstarts. It took just three nominations, down from nine last year.
The press association has worked hard in recent years to rid itself of a reputation for off-the-wall nominations designed more to populate the banquet with stars than honor the year’s best in film and television. Thursday’s list contained no outright embarrassments — as when Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie were nominated in 2011 for their work in the derided film “The Tourist” — but there were some quirks.
Even Mark Ruffalo had to be scratching his head over his nomination for best comedic actor for “Infinitely Polar Bear,” a tiny independent film, with $1.4 million in global ticket sales. “The Martian,” the serious story of a stranded astronaut, was nominated as a comedy. Despite giving “Steve Jobs” four nominations, voters could not find room for it among the 15 slots devoted to picture or director.
And the press association apparently really is done with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who hosted the ceremony for the last three years; their coming comedy “Sisters” got nothing, while “Spy” and “Trainwreck” each got a pair of mentions.
Thursday morning’s nominations announcement came barely a week after a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., about 70 miles east of Beverly Hills. There was no mention of the attack. But an earlier mass attack in Paris had clouded festivities at the Governors Awards ceremony of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in November, where questions about propriety, sobriety and vulnerability were in the air.
The somber mood, if it holds, will add to the challenge for Ricky Gervais, the acid-tongued comic, who will return to host the Globes ceremony in January. World events aside, Mr. Gervais will be fronting a particularly somber set of films, many of them based on real stories with dark edges.
Concussion,” for which Will Smith received a best dramatic actor nomination, is about brain injury in the National Football League. “Bridge of Spies” is about the legal defense of a captured Soviet spy in the Cold War. “Carol,” with its five nominations, is about a troubled marriage and a little-tolerated lesbian love affair in the 1950s.
Then there is “The Revenant,” which finds Mr. DiCaprio as the real-life frontiersman Hugh Glass, trekking through the high Rockies on a mission of vengeance that proves only a little shorter than Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight,” a three-hour Western, which took two nominations, including one for Jennifer Jason Leigh as supporting actress, and for its screenplay, by Mr. Tarantino.
A Drudge Report headline somewhat absurdly had it that Mr. DiCaprio’s character is raped by a mother bear in “The Revenant.” Mr. Tarantino’s film, for its part, has yet to contend with a boycott provoked by his remarks condemning police violence. The Weinstein Company, which will release “The Hateful Eight” on Christmas, has been uncharacteristically silent about the dispute. “I think that’s his issue, he’s his own person,” company co-chairman Bob Weinstein said in a recent interview.
Along with the usual roster of stars rooted in the movies, the banquet’s television tables will include a list of relative newcomers, many of whom were features in shows from streaming services like Hulu, Amazon and Netflix.
The TV nominees include Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Rami Malek, Viola Davis, Rob Lowe, Jamie Lee Curtis and Aziz Ansari.
As for film studios, Fox handily dominated the nominations, with a total of 15 for its contenders, which included not just “The Revenant,” “The Martian” and “Joy,” but another three for “Youth” and “Brooklyn.” Universal and the Weinstein Company followed, with eight nominations each.
Along with the more obvious snubs, several awards hopefuls found themselves out of the running, at least where the Globes are concerned. Those included “Truth” and “Suffragette,” both of which graced fall festivals and got early attention from awards handicappers, but received no notice from the Foreign Press Association.