December 3, 2008 / 4:07 AM / 10 years ago

For Golden Globes, strategy has starring role

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - The Golden Globes are getting a lot of support.

A stagehand carries part of a giant Golden Globe statue prior to the 65th annual Golden Globe Awards news conference at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California January 13, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, parent organization of the annual film and television awards event, has accepted bids from several film studios to classify actors in its supporting rather than lead categories despite their having significant screen time.

The HFPA allowed Miramax’s push for Philip Seymour Hoffman’s complicated cleric Father Flynn in “Doubt” and Dev Patel’s soft-spoken Jamal Malik in Fox Searchlight’s “Slumdog Millionaire” as supporting roles in the Golden Globes race, nominations for which will be announced December 11.

And after what was said to be heated discussion, the organization ultimately accepted the Weinstein Co.’s positioning of Kate Winslet’s portrayal of Nazi guard Hanna Schmitz in “The Reader” as a supporting role, ensuring that the star of “Revolutionary Road” will not compete against herself in the leading actress category. Ralph Fiennes and David Kross, who play younger and older versions of conflicted lawyer Michael Burk in the drama, also were accepted as supporting actors, making the movie a rarity: a non-ensemble film with no lead.

The abundance of borderline cases that will be treated as supporting performances will turn a usually sparsely populated field into a relatively crowded one. Studios often prefer supporting categories because the roomier field increases nomination chances, but the cases this year could upend the conventional wisdom.

Supporting categories also are more limited because they aren’t split into comedy/musical and drama, as the lead acting categories are, which doubles the number of nominees.

At the other end of the spectrum, the HFPA accepted three leads for Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” in Javier Bardem, Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall and also allowed David Sheen as a lead for his performance as David Frost in presidential talker “Frost/Nixon.”

On the best-film front, the HFPA allowed Overture’s push for “Last Chance Harvey” as a comedy/musical, which will mean that leads Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson will face a less densely packed field in their acting categories than they would on the drama side. The group also allowed Sony to position “Cadillac Records” as a comedy/musical.

The HFPA rejected, however, Lionsgate’s bid to consider “W.” as a comedy/musical, a move that would have put it in a less crowded field.

“Slumdog Millionaire” had been the subject of early rumors as a potential comedy/musical entry, but Fox Searchlight submitted it as a drama, which the HFPA accepted.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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