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Globes analysis: Actor — Drama

Stars trump newcomers in top thesp race

When an organization gives out no fewer than 10 nominations in its lead actor categories, the attention automatically focuses on who got left out. And in the case of this year’s Golden Globes races among the guys, it is clear that the voters here collectively decided to reward stars over newcomers in the dramatic actor race.

Sam Riley as the troubled rocker Ian Curtis in “Control” and Emile Hirsch as the troubled wanderer Christopher McCandless in “Into the Wild” failed to make the final cut despite extremely positive notices from the crix. Their respective films, both based on true stories, may signal the end of biopics’ lock on actor awards. Then again, the recent plethora of gold delivered to Forest Whitaker for essaying Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland” (2006) and Philip Seymour Hoffman for his titular turn in “Capote” (2004) had much to do with their dead-on portrayals of famous men. How many of the HFPA members knew of Curtis or McCandless before their respective biopics unspooled this year?

The same could be asked about Frank Lucas, the real-life Harlem mobster played by Denzel Washington in “American Gangster.” But the lack of character recognition here didn’t hurt, with Washington bringing home his sixth Golden Globe nomination, having previously won for “The Hurricane” and “Glory.”

Other familiar GG-cited actors to be recognized again are the four-time-nommed Daniel Day-Lewis, for “There Will Be Blood,” and George Clooney, nommed thrice for “ER” and a winner for “Syriana” and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

James McAvoy and Viggo Mortensen bring home their first Globe noms for, respectively, “Atonement” and “Eastern Promises.”

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