"Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" –– the unlikely pair of films that dominated the box office and spawned countless internet memes this summer –– topped the newly revamped Golden Globes nominations.
"Barbie" –– a vivid feminist satire about the all-conquering line of plastic dolls –– claimed nine nods on Monday, including best comedy as well as acting nominations for stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.
This year's top-grossing movie, earning more than $1.4 billion globally, "Barbie" also scooped a whopping three best song nominations, and recognition for its writer-director Greta Gerwig.
"Oppenheimer," Christopher Nolan's critically adored film about the inventor of the nuclear bomb, took eight nominations, including best drama and best director.
Cast members including Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt and Robert Downey Jr all received nods.
The two blockbusters –– collectively dubbed "Barbenheimer" after their theatrical releases happened to fall on the same date –– now have a strong start to Hollywood's film awards season, which ends with the Oscars in March.
"It's amazing that they maintained that momentum," said the Globes' new executive vice president Tim Gray.
"Last July, people were exclaiming about how popular they are, but I think nobody was confident that they were going to dominate the awards. But they did."
Other movies that proved popular with Globes voters were "Killers of the Flower Moon" and "Poor Things," both earning seven nominations, and "Past Lives" with five.
Globes organizers will hope the "Barbenheimer" success can shift the focus away from the gala's recent notoriety.
The Golden Globes have endured a rough few years, after a Los Angeles Times expose in 2021 showed that the awards' voting body –– the Hollywood Foreign Press Association –– had no Black members.
That revelation triggered the airing of a wide range of other long-simmering criticisms about the HFPA, including allegations of amateurism and corruption.
Earlier this year, the awards' assets and trademarks were purchased and overhauled by a group of private investors including US billionaire Todd Boehly, and the HFPA was disbanded.
Hollywood-based former HFPA members have been banned from accepting gifts, and are now paid a salary to vote for their favorite films and shows.
The fact that they are employed by the same company behind the show itself has raised some concerns about potential conflicts of interest, but Gray disagreed.
"I don't think it does. Seriously, I had never heard of that before –– paying voters to vote –– but that's part of their duty," he told AFP.
He added: "I'm pleased at how seriously everybody takes their job."
More than 200 non-member (and unpaid) voters from 75 countries around the world have also been added to the Globes mix.
Cedric The Entertainer and Wilmer Valderrama announced the Globes nominees on "CBS Mornings" in the pre-dawn hours in Los Angeles.
"I'm taking coffee orders, guys," Cedric joked to the room of bleary-eyed journalists and Globes members.
One of the United States' biggest national television networks, CBS has stepped in to become the new home of the Globes, after long-standing host NBC ended its deal to broadcast the event.
CBS bosses will be hoping for vastly improved ratings, after the 2023 Globes slumped to a new low of just 6.3 million viewers, even as other shows such as the Oscars recovered from pandemic viewership nadirs.
A new category for "best cinematic or box office achievement" was added, paving the way for nominations for popular films that would not usually earn critical recognition.
Among the eight nominees were Universal's "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" and Marvel superhero film "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3."
"This year, you've heard of these nominees. You've probably seen these nominees," said Gray.
In another seeming bid to honor more household names, the number of nominees in each category has been increased.
A-listers such as Leonardo DiCaprio –– the star of Martin Scorsese's crime epic "Killers of the Flower Moon" –– and Emma Stone for her turn in female Frankenstein-esque drama "Poor Things" scored nominations.
So did Paul Giamatti ("The Holdovers"), Timothee Chalamet ("Wonka"), Natalie Portman ("May December") and Bradley Cooper –– as both actor and director of "Maestro."
The Globes also honor the best in television.
"Succession" topped the drama section with nine nominations, while comedies "The Bear" and "Only Murders in the Building" led their section with five each.
The 81st Golden Globes ceremony will take place in Beverly Hills on January 7.