Christian Bale as Dick Cheney and Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney in Adam McKay’s ‘Vice’. Image Credit: Supplied

Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic ‘Vice’ staged an awards-season coup, landing a leading six nominations from the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards to narrowly edge more expected favourites 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, including best picture, comedy and best actor nominations for Christian Bale’s nearly unrecognisable 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’ was a surprise. Even its categorisation 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.”

FIRM FAVOURITES

Oscar front-runners ‘A Star Is Born’, ‘Green Book’ (out now in the UAE) 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.

While Sam Elliott’s supporting performance in ‘A Star Is Born’ was unexpectedly overlooked , the Warner Bros. hit 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’.

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.

Damien Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong biopic ‘First Man’, which has seen its awards hopes wane in recent weeks, failed to lift off, scoring neither a best-film nod, nor one for Ryan Gosling’s leading performance. (It did land nominations for Claire Foy and its score.) The morning was worse for Steve McQueen’s heist thriller ‘Widows’, which was shut out entirely.

Also left out was Ethan Hawke’s performance as an anguished pastor in ‘First Reformed’ and Pawel Pawlikowski’s Polish stunner ‘Cold War’, his follow-up to the Oscar-winning ‘Ida’.

In film and television, the nominations guaranteed the Globes will boast what it most craves for its famously frothy broadcast: stars. Among them: Julia Roberts (‘Homecoming’), Amy Adams (‘Sharp Objects’), Nicole Kidman (‘Destroyer’), Hugh Grant (‘A Very English Scandal’), Melissa McCarthy (‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’), Benedict Cumberbatch (‘Patrick Melrose’), Emily Blunt (‘Mary Poppins Returns’), Jim Carrey (“Kidding”) and Charlize Theron (‘Tully’). They even unveiled a new award Thursday — a lifetime achievement honour that will honor major television figures and stand as a counterpart to the HFPA’s film achievement honor, the DeMille award.

Andy Samberg and ‘Killing Eve’ star Sandra Oh, who’s also a nominee for best actress in a TV series drama, were announced Wednesday as hosts of the January 6 ceremony, to be broadcast live on NBC.