The Informant! (above, with Matt Damon), d: Steven Soderbergh; scr: Scott Z. Burns
A pathological liar helps the US government nab a nefarious agribusiness conglomerate.
Julia Child starts cooking decades ago, while in the early 21st-century blogger Julie Powell decides to boil and broil every single recipe found in Child’s first book.
The Men Who Stare at Goats (above, with Kevin Spacey), d: Grant Heslov; scr: Peter Straughan
US military "intelligence" and its use of paranormal activities.
A musicalized remake of Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2, about a film director and the many women in his life.
A frequent-flying professional downsizer discovers his ideal frequent-flying match — just when he’s about to get grounded.
As usual, the "prestige" comedy/musical field is more sparse than the drama one, which explains why members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association must at times bend over backwards and sideways in order to include five nominees each year. Even if that means stretching their Best Picture - Comedy or Musical category to include dramas with musical numbers (e.g., Ray, Walk the Line) or dramas with humorous sequences (e.g., Pride & Prejudice).
This year, there are quite a few items for them to choose from. All of the aforementioned movies have enough pedigree to satisfy even the snottiest HFPA members, in addition to star-wattage that would have made even the likes of Louis B. Mayer turn green with envy.
Two other strong possibilities for the 2010 Golden Globe for Best Picture - Comedy or Musical are Nancy Meyers’ It’s Complicated (above), starring Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, and Alec Baldwin in the sort of prestige, big-name production that HFPA voters love, and the Sandra Bullock-Ryan Reynolds box office hit The Proposal. Though somewhat lacking in prestige, The Proposal has both stars and name recognition.
HFPA members have shown Joel and Ethan Coen some love in the past, with Best Picture - Comedy or Musical nods for O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Burn After Reading. However, there’s no George Clooney or Brad Pitt to be found in A Serious Man. I mean, Michael Stuhlbarg? Remember, there’s that big televised bash for HFPA folks to worry about. So, my guess is that the Coens will have to wait for their next Clooney collaboration to get some more GG love.
Other (lesser) possibilities — none of which feature big-name stars — are the box office hit The Hangover, Marc Webb’s (500) Days of Summer, and Armando Iannucci’s political comedy In the Loop.
Since 2007, animated features have been ineligible in the best picture categories. That takes care of both Up and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.