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Golden Globes road takes sharp turns

Nominations give final ballot unforeseen twists

Awards season kicked off in earnest last week with the Golden Globes nominations and its sunrise roll call. Followers rubbed the sleep out of their eyes to find a tween queen challenging a septuagenarian, familiar faces going missing and some broad comedies dusting it up with more subtly funny fare.

Here we take a look at some of the most unexpected twists and turns:

Read ’em and weep: Despite enduring mixed reviews and a controversial struggle between Hollywood titans Harvey Weinstein and Scott Rudin prior to its release, “The Reader” coaxed four nominations from Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. voters, including a drama picture nod.

Sour on “Milk”? Lauded for a significant portrayal of the life of gay rights activist Harvey Milk, Sean Penn’s actor nomination was the only nod for the film. James Franco, who plays Penn’s lover in the movie, also earned a nomination — but it came for “Pineapple Express,” an announcement that drew a surprised (though not displeased) laugh from those in attendance at the pre-dawn nominations roll call.

“Button”-downed thesp: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” scooped up a picture nom among five in all (a total only equaled by “Doubt” and “Frost/Nixon”), but longtime awards darling Cate Blanchett went overlooked for her performance as Brad Pitt’s love. In contrast, the HFPA eliminated “Doubt” from the picture finals but still found a place in the supporting actress category for Viola Davis, who left an indelible impression in limited screen time.

Dirty Harry vs. Hannah Montana: Clint Eastwood received two nominations — but neither for his acting nor directing. A lifelong musician and lover of jazz, Eastwood is in the Globes running for score (“Changeling”) and song (“Gran Torino”). In the latter competition, the grizzled veteran will have to edge out, among others, teen queen juggernaut Miley Cyrus (“Bolt”), who is nominated for “I Thought I Lost You.”

Return to “Bruges”: Although its theatrical and DVD releases came months before the Globes voting, “In Bruges” found its way to a comedy picture nomination, while “Tropic Thunder,” “Pineapple Express” and “Last Chance Harvey” (which totaled five acting noms among them) didn’t make the cut. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson were also noticed with lead comedy actor nods for their work in “Bruges.”

“Sex” goes celibate: Despite 24 Golden Globe nominations and eight trophies (three for top comedy series) over the years for the TV series “Sex and the City,” the film version struck out at this year’s Globes. Apparently, the HFPA is no longer that into them.

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