Songs take a backseat to wit for lead nominees

As musicals made a resurgence in the past 10 years, nominations for the comedy/musical lead actor category at the Golden Globes suddenly got more crowded. But a lack of male-topped musicals in 2008 led to a tuner shutout, leaving instead a comic hodgepodge of assassins and romantics in foreign situations.

Reaching all the way back to the start of the 2008 release year were nods to the offbeat killers-on-holiday comedy “In Bruges” and its Irish thesps Brendan Gleeson as a reflective hitman and Colin Farrell as his antsy, emotional and troublemaking partner.

Javier Bardem was recognized for playing a seductive sensualist juggling three women in the Woody Allen film “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” while James Franco was included (rather than co-star Seth Rogen) for his lovably fried pot smoker-turned-action hero in the summer box office hit “Pineapple Express.”

Rounding out the category is Globe fave Dustin Hoffman, earning his 13th nomination as an estranged American in London in the quiet charmer “Last Chance Harvey.” (His Globes initiation came with 1967’s “The Graduate.”) A Globe win certainly won’t be foreign for Hoffman, who has six spanning film and television projects, not to mention the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

Franco won a 2001 Globe for playing James Dean in the television movie of the same name, and four-time nominee Bardem was onstage last January accepting his drama supporting actor Globe for the Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men.”

But perhaps it’ll be the luck of the Irish that snags a win for either Gleeson or Farrell, both first-time nominees.

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