LOS ANGELES • Leonardo DiCaprio, still chasing his first Oscar victory, edged closer to Hollywood's top laurels on Thursday, as he was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's The Revenant, a bloody frontier drama that was also nominated for Best Drama and Best Director.
However, the big winners were Carol, a drama about a little-tolerated lesbian love affair in the 1950s, and The Big Short, a comedy about the housing bubble collapse that led to the 2008 United States recession.
Carol took five nominations, including Best Drama, Best Director for Todd Haynes and Best Actress for Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. The Big Short took four nominations, including Best Comedy and Best Actor for Christian Bale and Steve Carell.
They led the way for a small group of leading contenders that included The Revenant, the 3D blockbuster The Martian, the dramedy Joy and the newspaper drama Spotlight.
Carol is up for Best Drama against The Revenant, Spotlight, Room, and Mad Max: Fury Road, a surprise contender in the category that rarely has room for an action blockbuster.
Best Drama: Carol, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Room, Spotlight
Comedy: The Big Short, Joy, The Martian, Spy, Trainwreck
Actor, Drama: Bryan Cranston, Trumbo; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant; Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs; Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl; Will Smith, Concussion
Actor, Comedy Or Musical: Christian Bale, The Big Short; Steve Carell, The Big Short; Matt Damon, The Martian; Al Pacino, Danny Collins; Mark Ruffalo, Infinitely Polar Bear
Actress, Drama: Cate Blanchett, Carol; Brie Larson, Room; Rooney Mara, Carol; Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn; Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Actress, Comedy Or Musical: Jennifer Lawrence, Joy; Melissa McCarthy, Spy; Amy Schumer, Trainwreck; Maggie Smith, The Lady In The Van; Lily Tomlin, Grandma
Supporting Actor: Paul Dano, Love & Mercy; Idris Elba, Beasts Of No Nation; Mark Rylance, Bridge Of Spies; Michael Shannon, 99 Homes; Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Supporting Actress: Jane Fonda, Youth; Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight; Helen Mirren, Trumbo; Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina; Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
It 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.
The 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 honour 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 the derided film The Tourist - but there were some quirks.
The Martian, the serious story of a stranded astronaut, was nominated for Best Comedy. It will compete with The Big Short, Joy, the Melissa McCarthy caper Spy and the Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck.
Even Mark Ruffalo had to be scratching his head over his nomination. He was nominated not for Spotlight, but for Infinitely Polar Bear, a tiny independent film, as Best Comedy Actor.
In December last year, show- business satire Birdman and coming-of-age movie Boyhood were already established as Oscar frontrunners. Birdman eventually edged out Boyhood for the Best Picture Academy Award.
However, this year, the race is wide open with numerous contenders and not necessarily the most obvious ones.
Notable snubs in the Globes nominations were dealt to Depp, who had been considered a strong bet as Best Actor for Black Mass, a film that took no nominations.
Steven Spielberg's Bridge Of Spies has received widespread admiration from critics, but captured only a nomination for Mark Rylance as Best Supporting Actor.
Among the major studio films, Ridley Scott's The Martian, starring Matt Damon as a kind of Robinson Crusoe on Mars, has been buoyed by a strong audience response and perhaps by a sense that Scott, like DiCaprio, is overdue for honours.
Neither has won an Oscar and a victory for either at the Globes ceremony on Jan 10 might point towards a good night at the Academy Awards to be held seven weeks later.
Scott has never won a Globe. DiCaprio has won two Globes - for The Wolf Of Wall Street last year and The Aviator in 2005 - but he has not received an Oscar.
Ricky Gervais, the acid-tongued comic, will return to host the Globes.
NEW YORK TIMES, REUTERS
• Carol is slated to open in Singapore on Dec 24.