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Johnny Depp, “Sweeney Todd”
Ryan Gosling, “Lars and the Real Girl”
Tom Hanks, “Charlie Wilson’s War”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Savages”
John C. Reilly, “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”

No actor from a straight-up, unabashed comedy has won a Golden Globe since… last year, when Sacha Baron Cohen stole the show for “Borat.” John C. Reilly’s offscreen appearances in his Dewey Cox guise echo those of Baron Cohen’s in their zeal, though they don’t seem to have generated quite the same tidal wave of momentum.

The comedy from the rest of the nominees is more cerebral and poses a challenge for voters. Pursuing sincerity in the face of sentimentality, Ryan Gosling walked a tightrope in “Lars,” though the small chorus finding his performance too mannered could undermine him. And Tom Hanks, who, after all, is Tom Hanks, still could be sunk by a notion that this was the wrong role for him.

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In “The Savages,” Philip Seymour Hoffman offered yet another compelling, multidimensional perf, about which the worst thing that could be said is that he’s making it look too easy or routine. That’s hardly damning with faint praise, but it could prove relevant against Hoffman’s remaining competition: Johnny Depp.

With the only musical performance in the group, Depp succeeds completely as Sweeney Todd, never once sacrificing his acting for his singing. If Depp were to lose, it would probably mean the HFPA simply wasn’t in the mood for tunes — or that they’re “Sweeney Todd” purists.