(washingtonpost.com) - It's an embarrassment of riches this year for a number of actors and directors who will find themselves in the giddy position of competing for two -- and in one instance, three -- Golden Globe Awards on Monday.
As the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.'s selections for the 64th annual Golden Globe Awards would suggest, there is indeed a surfeit of talent, if not a surfeit of the talented. And that means that the stiffest competition for the competitors might be coming from ... themselves.
"It's a bit alarming to be up against myself," says Helen Mirren, heralded for playing two Elizabeths (in Miramax's "The Queen" and HBO's "Elizabeth I") and one investigator (PBS' "Prime Suspect: The Final Act"). "It's a bit upsetting, actually. You'd like to see the honey be spread a bit more widely. But really, what an amazing honor."
Also competing against themselves are Leonardo DiCaprio for his work in "The Departed" and "Blood Diamond," and Clint Eastwood for directing "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters From Iwo Jima." Brad Pitt was nominated as a producer of "The Departed" and for his supporting role in "Babel."
The Globes are often proclaimed as a powerful portent for the Academy Awards since campaigning for the Globes coincides with the period when Oscar voters are deciding who should be nominated. Oscar nomination ballots are due by the end of the day on Saturday, two days before the Globes, and the nominees will be announced on January 23.
"I don't think anyone thinks it's about taking what the Golden Globes decides, stamping an Oscar on it and calling it a day," says producer Mark Gill, former chief of Warner Independent Pictures. "But the Globes might be two-thirds right, which is still awfully good. Even so, that doesn't mean there won't be surprises."
For best film (drama), "The Queen" and "The Departed" would seem like the two to beat, but don't count out "Babel," which leads the Globe contenders with seven nominations.
Forest Whitaker's performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland" has topped the U.S. critics' lists this year, making him the front-runner for the best actor (drama) award, while Mirren is the favorite for the actress Globe.
In the musical or comedy race, "Little Miss Sunshine" has the glow of a winner, but the underdog "Borat" might have the last laugh as best film. And "Borat" star Sacha Baron Cohen is a favorite for the best actor, while "Devil Wears Prada" villain Meryl Streep could edge out her rivals for the actress trophy.