Their Globe nominations reflect big themes they tackled

If the HFPA can be faulted for its occasional popcorn choices, the org has historically maintained a highbrow sensibility in the directors race, with this year being no exception.

Upholding its reputation as an Oscar bellwether, the Globes laud helmers whose films are drama contenders. Rarely does a comedy/musical director slip into the runoff, and whenever they do they’re typically snubbed.

Ever since “The Hurt Locker” bowed, Kathryn Bigelow has been hailed as a contender. A win for her would break the glass ceiling for femme helmers at the Globes, where few have been recognized. Sofia Coppola was nommed for 2003’s “Lost in Translation” (which won for best film in the musical/comedy section), but only one woman has ever won the director prize: Barbra Streisand for 1983’s “Yentl.”

After wowing the HFPA with his 1997 epic, “Titanic,” James Cameron returns 12 years later to impress with his 3D sci-fi film “Avatar.” Upping the ante for Cameron is the fact that he won a directing Globe for “Titanic” and the HFPA has no problem handing out more trophies to its alums. The org, however, withheld prizes for sci-fi visionaries George Lucas, for “Star Wars,” and Steven Spielberg, for “E.T.”

This is Quentin Tarantino’s second time at the Globes, after 1994’s “Pulp Fiction.” The upside for “Inglourious Basterds” is that it possesses the things the HFPA savors: an historical Euro plot and cast. On the downside, edgy mavericks are bridesmaids at the Globes and never the bride, with icons including David Lynch, Spike Jonze and Stanley Kubrick going home empty-handed.

Clint Eastwood is back at the Globes with his “Invictus.” He’s had 15 noms in different categories and won three Globes for directing. The only problem is: The HFPA forgot to nominate “Invictus” for best drama.

With his recession-era “Up in the Air,” Jason Reitman could benefit from having not been nommed for “Juno” (although the film and its writer and star were). The Globes voters go for tubthumping global themes — something the other nommed directors exploited. Is it payback time for Reitman?

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more