Golden Globes Director Motion Picture

Four of five nominees seeking first triumph

Consistency fittingly describes the Golden Globes director category, which mirrors the drama picture race and honors the helmers of films that each had at least four total nominations.

The five noms each for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “Frost/Nixon” would give an apparent edge to the films’ directors, David Fincher and Ron Howard. Now on his third directing nom, Howard has yet to earn a Globe to go with the Oscar he won (for “A Beautiful Mind”) — a factor that might have worked in favor of Martin Scorsese for “Gangs of New York” a few years back.

Meanwhile, “Button” is the first film from Fincher to earn Globes recognition. That the film is as complex technically as it is artistically might make a vote for Fincher all the more attractive.

Like his underdog film “Slumdog Millionaire,” Danny Boyle is also something of a wild card. Another awards derby newcomer, Boyle stamps the pic as his own with the trademark frenetic camerawork and highly energetic style seen in his earlier films such as “Trainspotting” and “28 Days Later.”

Stephen Daldry and Sam Mendes — the latter the only previous winner among the five nominees, for “American Beauty” — have taken the usually reliable literary route on “The Reader” and “Revolutionary Road,” adapting haunting period novels into works that might earn more attention in front of the camera than behind.

Being in lockstep with the drama picture category means that the director noms leave out, among others: John Patrick Shanley, whose “Doubt” earned noms in five other categories, Gus Van Sant (“Milk”) and box office superhero Christopher Nolan of “The Dark Knight.”

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