Comedy contenders look to Golden Globe glory

Golden Globes Race 2013: Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

This field is considered wide open, especially since the HFPA has admitted as many as seven titles to its top categories in the recent past.

Classic precursor: ’89 winner “Driving Miss Daisy,” except the guy winning the cranky Southern biddy’s heart is young, white and murders her.
If not the big one: With 18 nominations and seven wins, Shirley MacLaine could easily slip into the supporting category.

“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
Classic precursor: Oldsters gain new lease on life in magical overseas setting, a la ’92 nominee “Enchanted April.”
If not the big one: Maggie Smith is outstanding as cranky bigot who learns brotherhood.

“Hope Springs”
Classic precursor: To find another Globe nominee taking late-middle-age romance quite so seriously, you have to go back to 1960’s “The Grass Is Greener.”
If not the big one: Would anyone be surprised if Meryl Streep racked up nomination #27, in comedy field?

Hyde Park on Hudson
Classic precursor: Picks up where ’60 nominee “Sunrise at Campobello” leaves off, concentrating on FDR’s ebullience and minimizing the portrait’s warts.
If not the big one: Bill Murray should garner a lot of votes.

“Les Miserables”
Classic precursor: ’04 nominee “The Phantom of the Opera” was another cinemadaptation of a world-famous, Paris-set, through-sung musical smash.
If not the big one: As Jean Valjean, popular Hugh Jackman could bring it home.

“Magic Mike”
Classic precursor: Together with ’97 nominee “The Full Monty,” pretty much covers men’s motivations for stripping for pay.
If not the big one: His amusing turn jump-started Matthew McConaughey’s career resurgence.

“Moonrise Kingdom”
Classic precursor: ’03 nominee “Big Fish”: similar twee magical realism; similar late-inning emotional shift.
If not the big one: Bruce Willis plays against type in puppydog supporting role.

“Not Fade Away”
Classic precursor: “The Commitments,” ’91 nominee celebrating the joys and sorrows of garage band-dom.
If not the big one: Any original soundtrack songs would have a good chance.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
Classic precursor: Teens under major psychological stress, reminiscent of ’61 drama nominee “Splendor in the Grass.”
If not the big one: Emma Watson is a foreign press fave, if they can agree on whether she’s supporting or lead.

Classic precursor: Verdi rejuvenates seniors as much as the swimming pool in ’87 nominee “Cocoon.”
If not the big one: Pauline Collins is heartbreaking in supporting role.

“Rock of Ages”
Classic precursor: Covers the same ’70s milieu as ’98 nominee “Still Crazy,” albeit in the U.S. and more cartoony.
If not the big one: The overseas journalists don’t stop believing in Tom Cruise (three wins; four additional noms), so there may be supporting love for his louche, lanky Stacee Jaxx.

“Ruby Sparks”
Classic precursor: Like ’02 nominee “Adaptation,” a whimsical whatsit centering on a writer’s fevered imagination.
If not the big one: Scripter-thesp Zoe Kazan could be the perennial “new face” in the lead actress category.

“Seven Psychopaths”
Classic precursor: Cheerful gorefest from Martin McDonagh, auteur of ’08 cheerful gorefest nominee “In Bruges.”
If not the big one: McDonagh’s screenplay.

“Silver Linings Playbook”
Classic precursor: ’60 winner “The Apartment”: Troubled boy meets troubled girl, and somehow everything works out all right.
If not the big one: Acknowledgment of Russell’s smart, quotable screenplay would be the silver lining.

This Is 40
Classic precursor: Wrestles with relationship issues similar to those in ’81 nominee “The Four Seasons.”
If not the big one: Paul Rudd is overdue, and if the role offers the chance for some conspicuous thesping he could bag a nomination at last.

Golden Globes Race 2013
Journos summon the stars to their circle | Best Motion Picture, Drama | Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy | New Television Shows | Animation