"Atonement" tops Golden Globes

Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:01pm EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) - Two movies set against different wars, "Atonement" and "Charlie Wilson's War," dominated Golden Globe nominations on Thursday with "Atonement" earning seven nods, including one for best drama, to lead all film contenders.

The World War Two saga also earned best dramatic actor and actress nominations for Scottish performer James McAvoy and his English-born leading lady, Keira Knightley, for their roles as lovers torn apart by a family lie and the conflict in Europe.

"Atonement" filmmaker Joe Wright was nominated for best director, and 13-year-old Saoirse Ronan earned a supporting actress nod as the sister who betrays Knightley's character. Other nominations came for best screenplay and musical score.

"It's extraordinary. I really didn't expect that, really," Wright said.

McAvoy, who is well-known in Britain but less so in the United States, also said he was surprised. "It's nice. Things like today give you a little bit of validation," he said.

The Golden Globes are often a key indicator of which films will compete for Oscars, but in a first for the Golden Globes -- given out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association -- the best film drama group saw seven nominees instead of the usual five making the Oscar race still murky, experts said.

Three of the best film drama nominees were crime movies: -- "American Gangster," "Eastern Promises" and Joel Coen and Ethan Coen's "No Country for Old Men."

The final three were George Clooney legal thriller "Michael Clayton" and two period pieces -- "There Will Be Blood," about the rise of a California oil baron, and "The Great Debaters," a Depression-era story of race relations and hope.   Continued...

<p>Actors James McAvoy (L) and Keira Knightley are shown in a scene from the film "Atonement" in this undated publicity photograph. "Atonement" received a total of seven Golden Globe nominations, the most for any film including best drama film, as nominations were announced in Beverly Hills, California December 13, 2007. The Golden Globe Awards, which were presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, will be held in Beverly Hills January 13, 2008. REUTERS/Focus Features/Handout</p>