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Golden Globes snubs: Bradley Cooper, Christopher Nolan

While the Golden Globe Awards are voted on by a mere 90-some members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — including some journalists whose qualifications are pretty suspect — the nominations, announced Thursday, are always an important benchmark for awards season. The reason, of course, is they annually help shape the upcoming drive for Academy Award nominations.

Strong showings by “Birdman” (with seven nods, including for best picture/comedy, screenplay, director and actors Michael Keaton, Edward Norton and Emma Stone), “Boyhood” and “The Imitation Game” (both with five nominations each), plus the four nominations each for “Gone Girl,” “Selma” and “The Theory of Everything” came as no surprise, but a couple of films’ surges in Globe nods were eyebrow-raising.

Considering the fact “The Grand Budapest Hotel” had not recently been part of the awards season buzz, it was a pleasant surprise to see Wes Anderson’s inventive and highly entertaining comedic romp — released way back in March — come up with four nominations in the comedy/musical category, including for best picture, best actor for Ralph Fiennes and screenplay and director for Anderson.

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On the negative side, it was a bit of a shock that Bradley Cooper’s strong dramatic turn in the title role of “American Sniper” was completely overlooked by the HFPA, a group that has long idolized the actor and his work. The film, in fact, received no Globe nominations.

And while “Interstellar” did receive one nomination, it almost seemed like a snub to director and producer Christopher Nolan that his big-budget space extravaganza’s single nomination was for Hans Zimmer’s musical score.

Proof that the Hollywood Foreign Press group is susceptible to the onslaught of film studio publicity drives during the beginning of the award season was shown by such things as the three nominations “Big Eyes” received — even though the main press junket for the film hasn’t happened yet. A flurry of promotional items including screener DVDs of the movie and the film’s soundtrack were sent to all the Globe voters (as well as members of other critics associations), likely helping lead to the “Big Eyes” nominations for best original song and best actor and actress/comedy or musical for Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams. The film, opening Dec. 25 in Chicago, is about the Keanes and their iconic “big eye” paintings created in the 1950s.

A similar strong PR push for “Nightcrawler” helped lead to Jake Gyllenhaal snaring a best actor/drama nod for his performance as a bizarre and crime-obsessed freelance TV cameraman who trolls the streets of Los Angeles searching for video footage he can sell to a television station.