As soon as the 2012 Golden Globe award nominees were announced on Thursday morning, film and TV fans began the annual griping over the candidates they believe were snubbed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. There are, indeed, plenty of curious choices -- "Boss" over "Breaking Bad" for Best TV Drama head scratcher, as is the absence of "Parks and Recreation" and "Community" from TV Comedy categories -- but there is a lot of good news in the nominations, too.
Thanks to the Golden Globes' recognition of comedy in a category separate from drama, a lot of great performances were given due recognition. Here are some of the less-than-obvious nominees that the HFPA did get right:
- "50/50," the cancer dramedy starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, picked up a nomination for Best Picture, Comedy/Musical and Best Actor, Comedy/Musical. It was a powerful portrayal -- based loosely on the true story of its co-writer, Will Reiser -- of a young man facing life-threatening cancer, and how he deals with the new challenges that threaten such a young and promising life. Seth Rogen, who co-wrote the script and plays Gordon-Levitt's best friend (he's Reiser's best friend in real life), got overlooked for Best Supporting Actor, but with comedy and drama combined in those categories, it always seemed less likely he'd get a nod.
- Jessica Chastain getting a nomination. She's broken out like no other actress this year, with five major films. She got the nod for "The Help," earning a Best Supporting Actress nomination alongside co-star Octavia Spencer (who plays her maid in the film). She could have just as easily earned it for "The Tree of Life" and "Take Shelter," as well.
- Ryan Gosling getting two nominations for Best Actor. He was thrilling in "The Ides of March," playing a morally perplexed campaign aide to George Clooney's candidate for President, and while I liked him better in "Drive," "Ides" was much more mainstream. He's had a huge year, and even if he doesn't win Best Actor, he deserved recognition for it.
- Similarly, Michael Fassbender has also had a gigantic 2011, starring in a multitude of different films including "Jane Eyre," "X-Men: First Class" and "Shame." He got the nod for Best Actor for "Shame," which is especially great given that it was given an NC-17 rating and right now is only being seen by limited audiences. If this nomination can help more people see the film, it is a win already.
- Claire Danes and Damian Lewis getting love for "Homeland," one of the best new drama series of the year. Both play complicated characters and bring a real tension to each scene.
- "The Artist" winning best screenplay. You can count the words spoken in the film on a few fingers, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a well-written, engaging story. It required a lot of visual cues, and it brought back to life the old silent films without seeming too staid or cliche.