Picture: Comedy/Musical

Golden Globe nominations

How it got here: This March release wasn’t thought to have much of a chance for a best pic nom, and many Globe voters were said to be lukewarm when it first screened. However, critical buzz, an aggressive promo campaign and a second look by some members on DVDs that were sent early made it a surprise contender. “I didn’t think it was going to come in,” says one consultant. “I guess a lot of the critics within the group really loved this film because it was different and intelligent. There wasn’t much discussion about it at its screening, so you never know.”

How it got here: Pixar has previously turned up in this category with “Toy Story” (which lost to “Babe”) and “Toy Story 2” (which won) and last year’s “Finding Nemo” (which lost). Often, there’s a slot for animation available, and with its reviews, humor that resonates with kids and adults, and continuing box office success, “The Incredibles” seemed like an inevitable nominee. Although “Shrek 2” (which didn’t score any noms) is the top moneymaker of the year, voters were looking for something a little more original, according to one Globe prognosticator.

Popular on Variety

How it got here: The Golden Globes have always loved big, expensive Broadway adaptations in this category. Although “Phantom” has plenty of detractors in the media, it’s legit pedigree and strong execution by helmer Joel Schumacher won the day. Globe voters praised the look, the sound and the risky decision to go with a sexy young cast — having Andrew Lloyd Webber attend the official HFPA press confab didn’t hurt, either.

How it got here: There was much discussion as to whether a traditional showbiz biopic like “Ray” belonged in this category, as it’s hardly a comedy and doesn’t fit the accepted definition of a musical. But director Taylor Hackford lobbied for its inclusion and got it. Whether it can go the distance in this category is a key question. “It’s really a drama with music, but it’s a fine line we always have to draw,” notes one Globes voter.

How it got here: Although its critical kudos left little doubt about its Golden Globe chances, the HFPA hasn’t always followed the East Coast critical mass, and has tended to go a more traditional Hollywood route with many of its selections. That this character comedy took more nominations than any other film this year proves it’s a real player for just about every award. Younger HFPA members pushed particularly hard for it.