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‘Black Panther,’ ‘Star is Born’ nominated

I can’t believe my eyes! My eyes have actually seen some of these movies.

That’s what shocked audiences were thinking Thursday as the 2019 Golden Globe nominations were announced. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association bucked the annoying trend of recognizing the most esoteric, icy fare they could find and instead gave nods to some of the biggest films of the year.

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Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in “A Star Is Born.”AP

You might have heard of them: “Black Panther,” “A Star Is Born,” “Bohemian Rhapsody.” All of those mainstream movies were nominated for Best Drama, a solid predictor of Oscar fortunes. The same category last year included just one moneymaker: “Dunkirk.”

In all categories, seven films were represented that that have made more than $100 million at the domestic box office: “Black Panther,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “A Star Is Born,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” “Incredibles 2” and “A Quiet Place.”

Two other nominated flicks that haven’t opened yet, “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” and “Mary Poppins Returns,” have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious chance of doing big business, too.

That’s a bold move for an industry that operates with the elitism of a storefront non-profit. But the snobs are learning that you’ve got to give the people what they want if you want to survive.

Over the last decade, major award shows have been floundering in an attempt to boost sagging ratings. They’ve tried everything: Announcing condescending new categories, cutting an hour off the broadcast, James Franco. But the scramble is pointless if, with a bunch of outre nominees, they stubbornly remain “The Independent Spirit Awards 2: Electric Boogaloo.”

The Golden Globes could ask Steve Harvey to do a striptease, but audiences still won’t tune in unless they care about the movies that are nominated. Americans, on average, see just five films a year, according to Harris. Chances are for most, that number did not include “The Artist” or “The Hurt Locker.”

This image released by Fox Searchlight Films shows Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman, right, in a scene from the film "The Favourite." (Yorgos Lanthimos/Fox Searchlight Films via AP)
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Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman, right, in “The Favourite”Fox Searchlight

That’s not to call those movies lousy. Many smaller nominated films are of very high quality, and deserve to be recognized. And art-house cinema wasn’t totally given the old Hollywood heave-ho by the HFPA Thursday.

Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “The Favourite” are up for top prizes too. So is “Green Book,” which tonally falls in the middle of the pack. Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” is nominated as well for Best Foreign Film. Expect it to be a Best Picture contender at the Oscars.

Even so, it’s nice to see award show voting bodies stop treating the word “popular” like it has four letters.

Good on the Globes for finally acknowledging the sort of artful, big-budget films that Hollywood has spent too many years turning up its surgically altered nose at.

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