UPDATE 2-'Lincoln' leads Golden Globe movie nominations

* 'Argo,' 'Django Unchained', 'Les Mis,' get multiple nods

* Day-Lewis, Chastain, Jackman get acting nominations

* Golden Globe awards handed out Jan. 13

(Recasts, adds reaction)

LOS ANGELES, Dec 13 (Reuters) - "Lincoln," the tale of U.S.

President Abraham Lincoln's battle to end slavery, ruled at the

Golden Globe nominations on Thursday, while a very different

movie take on slavery - "Django Unchained" - got a big boost in

Hollywood's crowded awards season.

Steven Spielberg's portrayal of one of America's most

revered presidents won a leading seven nominations, including

best drama, best director, best screenplay and best actor for

Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role.

But "Lincoln" faces stiff competition at the Golden Globes

from Ben Affleck's Iran hostage drama "Argo" and Quentin

Tarantino's dark and quirky slavery-era Western, "Django

Unchained."

The best drama nominees were rounded out by thriller "Zero

Dark Thirty" about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, with four

mentions, and the shipwreck tale, "Life of Pi," with three.

The Golden Globe Awards, which will be given out by about 80

members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) on

Jan. 13, are among the most widely watched honors programs

leading up to the Oscars in February, although their ultimate

choices for best movie rarely coincide.

'LINCOLN' SEEN AS OSCAR FRONTRUNNER

"Lincoln" is already regarded as an Oscar frontrunner after

picking up multiple accolades from U.S. critics' groups and the

Screen Actors Guild (SAG).

Producer Kathleen Kennedy said the film's portrayal of

Lincoln's battles in Congress to get slavery abolished had

struck a chord with Americans at a time of political gridlock in

Washington.

"People have become frustrated with the political process,

and the movie takes you on a journey that shows the democratic

process is difficult but the end result is a very satisfying

process...I think that's what people are excited about after

watching 'Lincoln,'" Kennedy told Reuters on Thursday.

Tarantino's violent and sometimes comic "Django Unchained,"

starring Jamie Foxx, has fared less well - until now.

"This was a huge boost. 'Django Unchained' was very much SAG

snubbed. But now they are really back in the game," Thelma

Adams, contributing editor at Yahoo! Movies, told Reuters.

"It's very gratifying to get this many nominations from the

HFPA for a film I worked so hard on and am so passionate about,"

Tarantino said in a statement.

Unlike the Academy Awards, the HFPA has separate categories

for film dramas and comedies.

"Les Miserables," the movie version of the worldwide hit

stage musical, earned four Golden Globe nominations in the

comedy/musical category, as did "Silver Linings Playbook," about

an unlikely romance between a man suffering from bipolar

disorder and a young widow.

The stars of both films - Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway for

"Les Miserables," and Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper for

"Silver Linings Playbook," - will be among those competing for

acting awards.

FROM STAGE TO SCREEN

"Les Mis" director, Tom Hooper, who failed to get a

nomination for his work on the movie, acknowledged the challenge

of translating the beloved musical to the big screen.

"Millions of people hold this musical so close to their

heart. I had to make a film that honors that experience...and I

needed to find a way to work, which is why I chose to do all

live singing," Hooper told Reuters.

The HFPA also opened the door to smaller, sometimes

overlooked movies and performances, while largely snubbing high

profile contenders such as the James Bond film "Skyfall," which

got just one mention, for Adele's best original song.

Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" and admired British senior

ensemble film, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," were both

nominated in the best musical or comedy category.

"They are precious little films that now have to be taken

seriously," said Tom O'Neil of awards website Goldderby.com.

In the acting race, Jessica Chastain's CIA agent in "Zero

Dark Thirty" will square off against Helen Mirren in

"Hitchcock," British actress Rachel Weisz in period drama, "The

Deep Blue Sea," France's Marion Cotillard for "Rust and Bone,"

and Naomi Watts in tsunami survival tale "The Impossible."

Chastain said that aside from being a true-life thriller,

"Zero Dark Thirty" also aimed at asking questions about society.

"To be involved in a movie that does that - the 9/11 hunt

for Osama bin Laden pretty much defined this decade for us - and

to be playing the woman who sacrificed so much to find him is

such an honor," the actress told Reuters.

Day-Lewis's performance as Lincoln will compete against

Denzel Washington's alcoholic airline pilot in "Flight," Richard

Gere's role as a corrupt financial executive in "Arbitrage,"

John Hawkes as a severely disabled man in "The Sessions," and

Joaquin Phoenix's drifter in the cult tale, "The Master."

The Golden Globes also honor the year's best TV shows. "Game

Change," the HBO film about Sarah Palin's 2008 bid to become

U.S. vice-president, led the nominations with five, followed by

post-9/11 psychological thriller, "Homeland," with four.

(Additional reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy and Eric Kelsey;

Editing by Paul Simao and David Brunnstrom)

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