Lionsgate led its rival studios in Golden Globe Awards nominations Monday, thanks to the acclaimed movies "La La Land," "Hacksaw Ridge" and "Hell or High Water."
The Santa Monica mini-major studio secured a total of 13 nods in film categories from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., including three out of the 10 best picture contenders. The robust total is a big improvement over last year, when when the studio's major awards contender, "Sicario," failed to get any love from the association.
"La La Land," a throwback musical set in present day Los Angeles, received seven honors, the most of any film, including best picture, actress (Emma Stone), actor (Ryan Gosling) and director (Damien Chazelle). The World War II-set "Hacksaw Ridge," a career comeback for director Mel Gibson, and the modern-day Western "Hell or High Water," released with CBS Films, each nabbed three.
The studio hopes "La La Land" will become a commercial success as well as a critical favorite. "La La Land" opened in five theaters this weekend in Los Angeles and New York and grossed an impressive $855,000 in ticket sales from its first three days — a good sign that it could become a commercial hit when it expands later this month.
"La La Land" should boost grosses for a field of nominees that is short on blockbusters, with the exception of 20th Century Fox's irreverent superhero movie "Deadpool" ($782 million in worldwide ticket sales). The best picture picks were filled with low-grossing indie darlings like the Weinstein Co.'s "Lion" ($494,000) and "Sing Street" ($13.4 million).
Behind Lionsgate, New York indie distributor A24 came in second in the studio rankings, picking up nine nominations, including six for its coming-of-age drama "Moonlight" ($10.8 million in limited release so far.) The upstart firm has become a regular awards season contender, releasing nominees like "20th Century Women" and "The Lobster" this year.
Close behind was Paramount Pictures, which scored eight nominations overall, including recognitions for science fiction offering "Arrival" and Denzel Washington's "Fences" in the acting categories; and Meryl Streep vehicle "Florence Foster Jenkins" for best comedy and actress. The Viacom Inc.-owned company had the most nominations of the major studios, a welcome bit of good news at the end of a difficult year at the box office. But in one notable surprise, Martin Scorsese's "Silence," soon to be released by the studio, failed to take any nominations.
Digital giant Amazon and indie film distribution partner Roadside Attractions shared five nominations for their Casey Affleck drama "Manchester By the Sea" ($8.3 million and counting). Twentieth Century Fox also got six nominations, with a boost from "Deadpool" and the Warren Beatty historical drama "Rules Don't Apply."