| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES The Weinstein Company topped Hollywood's movie studios in Golden Globe nominations on Thursday, giving a boost to its upcoming drama "Django Unchained," while cable network HBO dominated television categories with the political film "Game Change."
The Globes rank among the most-watched accolades leading up to the Academy Awards, bringing recognition and headlines that help generate buzz, build audiences and sell DVDs. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association will announce the winners in a nationwide telecast on January 13.
Among film nominations, Harvey and Bob Weinstein's studio outpaced bigger deep-pocketed rivals with 14 nods including best dramatic film and four others for "Django Unchained." The slavery-era Western directed by Quentin Tarantino debuts in theaters on Christmas Day, December 25.
The nominations will help stoke interest beyond the die-hard Tarantino fans who automatically turn out for his films, said Gitesh Pandya, editor of the Box Office Guru website.
"It only helps in the lead up to the opening," Pandya said. "It gives them more firepower in their marketing."
Weinstein also secured four nominations for "Silver Linings Playbook," a romantic comedy starring Bradley Cooper as a former mental patient trying to rebuild his life when he meets a young widow played by Jennifer Lawrence. Weinstein's "The Master," a drama featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman as a charismatic cult leader, earned three nominations.
"Silver Linings Playbook" has taken in $22.7 million worldwide from fewer than 400 theaters since its November 16 debut. Ticket sales for "The Master," released in September, total $18.8 million from more than 800 theaters.
Sony Pictures (6758.T) ranked second among film studios with 12 nominations, capped by four nods for "Zero Dark Thirty," a drama about the decade-long manhunt for Osama bin Laden. The movie will play in a small number of theaters starting December 21 before expanding nationwide in January.
Historical drama "Lincoln," produced by Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Pictures and distributed by Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), also grabbed headlines with seven nominations, the most for any film. U.S. and Canadian ticket sales for "Lincoln" will reach $100 million on Thursday, Disney said in a statement. The movie will start playing in an additional 271 theaters on Friday.
In TV categories, Time Warner Inc's (TWX.N) HBO scored 17 nominations including five for "Game Change" starring Julianne Moore as former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Dramas "Boardwalk Empire" and "The Newsroom," and Lena Dunham comedy "Girls," grabbed two nominations each.
Rival cable network Showtime earned seven nods, with four going to the post-9/11 CIA drama "Homeland," a series that captured top honors at September's television Emmy awards. The comedy "Episodes," starring former "Friends" star Matt LeBlanc as himself, nabbed two nominations.
For premium cable channels like HBO and Showtime, awards recognition can help increase viewership and monthly subscriptions, and provide leverage in fee negotiations with cable distributors. CBS Corp (CBS.N), parent of Showtime, has boasted about the positive impact from the recent success of "Homeland."
"It's very good to walk in with 'Homeland' in your hip pocket right now. There isn't a cable operator that can do without it," CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said last week at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference.
Disney-owned ABC led the broadcast networks with five Globe nominations for the acclaimed comedy "Modern Family" and a new musical drama "Nashville."
(Reporting By Lisa Richwine; Editing by Alden Bentley)