Dick Cheney biopic ‘Vice’ tops Golden Globes nominations

This image released by Annapurna Pictures shows Christian Bale as Dick Cheney, left, and Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush in a scene from "Vice." On Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, the film was nominated for a Golden Globe award for best motion picture musical or comedy. The 76th Golden Globe Awards will be held on Sunday, Jan. 6. (Matt Kennedy/Annapurna Pictures via AP)

NEW YORK — Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice” staged an awards-season coup Thursday, landing a leading six nominations from the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards to narrowly edge more expected favorites like Bradley Cooper’s tear-jerking revival “A Star Is Born,” the interracial road-trip drama “Green Book” and the period romp “The Favourite.”

“Vice” topped all contenders in the nominations that were announced at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, including best picture, comedy and best actor nominations for Christian Bale’s nearly unrecognizable performance as the former vice president. It also earned nominations for Amy Adams’ Lynne Cheney, Sam Rockwell’s George W. Bush and for the screenplay and direction by McKay, the veteran comedy filmmaker who once skewered politicians as a “Saturday Night Live” writer.

For even the often-quirky selections of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a collection of 88 mostly lesser-known freelance film journalists, the strong support for “Vice” (which arrives in theaters on Dec. 25) was a surprise. Even its categorization of the film — a highly critical portrait of Cheney as a power-hungry, behind-the-scenes tyrant — as a comedy raised some eyebrows, as did Globes recent comedy selections “Get Out” and “The Martian.”

“It’s a movie that’s a lot like the times we live in. There’s part of it that’s absurdist and comedic and then there’s another part of it that’s darkly tragic and dramatic,” McKay said Thursday by phone from London. “But I do know I’m glad we’re in that category because we will take ‘Mary Poppins’ out. I’m not competitive with the other movies but I am competitive with ‘Mary Poppins.’ Dick Cheney is going for her.”

But it was far from a runaway win for “Vice” since the press association typically spreads its awards around. Oscar front-runners “A Star Is Born,” ”Green Book” and “The Favourite” trailed close behind with five nominations each.

On the television side, awards were even more widely dispersed among the likes of the spy thriller “The Americans,” Bill Hader’s hit-man comedy “Barry,” the Julia Roberts-led conspiracy thriller “Homecoming,” Chuck Lorre’s acting coach series “The Kominsky Method” and last year’s champ, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Leading all small-screen nominees with four nods was “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” the FX anthology series about the Italian fashion designer’s murder.

For the first time, FX bested heavyweights like HBO, Netflix and Amazon with a network-best 10 nods, even though the exalted second season of its “Atlanta” received only a single nod for Donald Glover’s acting.

Curiously, the HFPA doesn’t consider foreign-language films for best film, so Alfonso Cuaron’s acclaimed family drama “Roma” was left out of the Globes’ top category. “Roma,” which is expected to earn Netflix its first best picture nomination at the Oscars, was still nominated for best screenplay, best director and best foreign language film.

For the first time, the Globes nominated three films directed by African-American filmmakers for best picture, drama: Ryan Coogler’s superhero sensation “Black Panther,” Spike Lee’s urgent white nationalist drama “BlacKkKlansman” and Barry Jenkins’ lyrical James Baldwin adaption “If Beale Street Could Talk.” The other nominees are “A Star Is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the Freddie Mercury biopic.

All earned nods in other categories, too, including Rami Malek’s prosthetic tooth-aided performance as Mercury and the leading turn by John David Washington in “BlacKkKlansman,” who said his father, Denzel, woke him up for the nominations announcement.

“I had flashbacks when I was watching the (NFL) draft when they never called my name,” said Washington, a former football player. “When I heard them say my name, it happened in slow motion.”

While Sam Elliott’s supporting performance in “A Star Is Born” was unexpectedly overlooked , the Warner Bros. hit (which elected to compete on the more hefty drama side of the Globes despite its many songs) earned the expected nods for Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper (as both actor and director) and the song “Shallow.”

Up for best picture comedy alongside “Vice” are Yorgos Lanthimos’ wild palace power struggle “The Favourite,” Peter Farrelly’s divisive crowd-pleaser “Green Book,” the upcoming Disney sequel “Mary Poppins Returns” and the rom-com hit “Crazy Rich Asians.”

The Oscar path for both “Green Book” and “The Favourite” appeared to be solidified, with nods for all of their leads, some of whom are running in supporting categories: Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali for “Green Book” and Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone for “The Favourite.”

While some critics have taken issue with “Green Book” for relying on outdated racial tropes, the uplifting drama’s once flagging Oscar campaign has lately received a boost with both better ticket sales and accruing awards-seasonaccolades . Farrelly, best known for broader comedies with his brother, Bobby, like “Dumb and Dumber,” also received a best-director nod for his first dramatic film, edging out filmmakers like Lanthimos and Jenkins.

Nominees such as Constance Wu (“Crazy Rich Asians”), Regina King (“Beale Street”), Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Mary Poppins Returns”), Ali and Washington insured a diverse field of nominees. Three decades after last being included in the category for “Do the Right Thing,” Spike Lee was nominated for directing “BlacKkKlansman.” ”The first word that came to mind was ‘BOOM SHAKALAKA,'” Lee said in a statement.

But the Globes also failed to nominate any of the year’s acclaimed female filmmakers (among them Chloe Zhao, Tamara Jenkins, Marielle Heller) for best director, and none of the 10 best-picture nominees were helmed by a woman.