Golden Globes Countdown: Comedy Actor/Actress

With rookie nominee Kristen Wiig up against Golden Globe veterans Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Charlize Theron and Michelle Williams, there’s a lot more experience in the contest for musical/comedy actress than in the men’s race.

Those four seasoned femme campaigners have four wins and 13 other previous Globe nominations between them. This may be the comedy category, but those contenders share some serious thesping chops.

The men — first-timers Owen Wilson and Jean Dujardin, plus Brendan Gleeson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Ryan Gosling — can muster just six prior nods between them, and not a single victory.

But past performance is never a reliable guide to future results. Indeed, one of the HFPA’s most reliable favorites, Paul Giamatti, who won last year for “Barney’s Version,” was widely tipped to return this year for “Win Win,” but didn’t make the cut. Perhaps the fact he got a nod in the miniseries category was enough.

Also missing is last year’s double nominee Johnny Depp. Some cynics predicted that the HFPA’s addiction to superstars would deliver another nod to Depp for “The Rum Diary,” but after the barrage of mockery from Ricky Gervais last year, voters seem to have curbed their wilder crushes.

Nonetheless, the presence of both Foster and Winslet from “Carnage” (and not their less starry male co-stars John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz) is something of surprise, especially since Winslet has gone out of her way to avoid being part of the film awards conversation this time around after so many years on the circuit.

In fact, HFPA has tried to make doubly sure Winslet turns up by nominating her for the HBO TV drama “Mildred Pierce,” so she won’t have any excuse for avoiding her red carpet duties.

With “The Artist” riding so high in award season, Dujardin starts out the favorite for the men’s title. He could be the first non-native English-speaking male to win since his fellow Frenchman Gerard Depardieu in 1990.

The luck of the Irish has been a more recent factor, with Colin Farrell winning three years ago for “In Bruges,” in which he co-starred with this year’s nominee Gleeson (also nominated that year in the supporting category).

Gleeson’s nomination for “The Guard” represents an unexpected showing by that dark Irish comedy after the pic’s previous low profile on the awards circuit.

Gordon-Levitt for “50/50,” Wilson for “Midnight in Paris” and Gosling for “Crazy Stupid Love” were more widely expected.

Gosling also shows up across the aisle in the dramatic section for “The Ides of March,” but not for what many critics regard as his best performance of the year in “Drive.”

Williams looks the most likely to step from the Globes to an Oscar nod for her perf as Marilyn Monroe in “My Week With Marilyn.” And as the only previous Globe nominee in the comedy actress race without a win, HFPA voters may well feel her time has come.

But despite being surrounded by towering dramatic talents, the rookie Wiig can’t be ruled out. Her authorship of “Bridesmaids” reinforces the claim made by her painfully hilarious turn as a woman on the verge (or perhaps in the grip) of a nervous breakdown brought on by her best friend’s nuptials.

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Drama: Best Picture | Comedy: Best Picture | Best Director | Drama Actor/Actress | Comedy Actor/Actress

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