By DAVID GERMAIN
The Associated Press
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- A fairly predictable Golden Globes lineup has one thing that's become rarer in awards season: a solid presence of big studio favorites to balance the independent films that have come to dominate the competition in recent years.
Steven Spielberg's Civil War saga "Lincoln," with no fewer than three major studios behind it, led the Globe field Thursday with seven nominations, including best drama, a category fleshed out by four other big-talent, Hollywood-backed films: Ben Affleck's Iran hostage-crisis thriller "Argo"; Quentin Tarantino's slave-turned-bounty-hunter tale "Django Unchained"; Ang Lee's shipwreck adventure "Life of Pi"; and Kathryn Bigelow's Osama bin Laden manhunt story "Zero Dark Thirty."
Studio films also account for a good share of the acting nominees, among them "Lincoln" stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones, "Zero Dark Thirty" lead player Jessica Chastain, "Django Unchained" co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz, "Argo" co-star Alan Arkin, and Denzel Washington for the airline drama "Flight."
The Globes are Hollywood's second-highest honors after the Academy Awards, whose nominations come out Jan. 10, three days before the Globe ceremony.
A few years ago, the Oscar nominations essentially were a "real celebration of the independent scene," said "King's Speech" filmmaker Tom Hooper, whose intimate period drama won him the directing Oscar and also claimed best picture two years ago.
Hooper's back with his Victor Hugo musical "Les Miserables," an epic studio adaptation of the stage show that earned four Globe nominations, including best musical or comedy.
Joining "Les Miserables" in the best musical or comedy category are the British retiree romp "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"; the first-love tale "Moonrise Kingdom"; the fishing romance "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen"; and the lost-soul romance "Silver Linings Playbook."
Besides Day-Lewis in the title role of "Lincoln" and Washington in "Flight," nominees for dramatic actor are Richard Gere for "Arbitrage," John Hawkes for "The Sessions" and Joaquin Phoenix for "The Master."
"Zero Dark Thirty" star Chastain is joined in the dramatic-actress field by Marion Cotillard for "Rust and Bone," Helen Mirren for "Hitchcock," Naomi Watts for "The Impossible" and Rachel Weisz for "The Deep Blue Sea."
The acting categories have a nice mix of studio fare and indie films made on a shoestring, among them "The Sessions," an unusual story of a man (Hawkes) in an iron lung who aims to lose his virginity with help from a sex surrogate (supporting-actress nominee Helen Hunt). It's the first feature film since the mid-1990s from writer-director Ben Lewin.
There will be some friendly rivalry among the hosts at the Globe ceremony, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Both were nominated for best actress in a TV comedy, Fey for "30 Rock" and Poehler for "Parks and Recreation."
The Sarah Palin drama "Game Change" leads TV contenders with five nominations: best movie or miniseries and acting honors for Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, Ed Harris and Sarah Paulson. "Homeland" was next with four: best drama series and acting nominations for Claire Danes, Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin.