Photo: 20th Century Fox, The Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures
This is the year of "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," which received a nomination for best picture -- comedy/musical, and thoughts of retirement for our favorite nominated actors seem as distant as New Delhi.
Judi Dench (78)
Best actress -- comedy/musical, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"
Dench plays a widow who finds her feet -- and a second chance at love with sweetheart Bill Nighy -- in this golden-years comedy set in "colorful" postcolonial India. Sure, I'd have loved to see her get a best-supporting-actress nomination for her senior moment when M faces down her shortcomings and confronts retirement in "Skyfall."
Sally Field (66)
Best supporting actress, "Lincoln"
Field fought for the role of Mary Todd Lincoln opposite Daniel Day-Lewis's Honest Abe -- even though she was older than he was. And, onscreen, with eye-catching decolletage and upholstered hoop skirts, she's still on the verge of hysteria throughout the lengthy biopic.
Tommy Lee Jones (66)
Best supporting actor, "Lincoln"
TLJ rocks a crazy wig -- and then goes full cue ball -- in a sly and emotionally moving portrait of passionate abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens, who plays political hardball on President Lincoln's team. He last won a Globe for "The Fugitive" in 1994.
Helen Mirren (67)
Best actress -- drama, "Hitchcock"
The one thing that critics agreed on in this biopic about the making of "Psycho" is that Mirren was able to bring Hitch's wife and collaborator, Alma Reville, to life without making her seem like an impersonation. Mirren is our kind of Dame.
Richard Gere (63)
Best actor -- drama, "Arbitrage"
Pretty boy no more, Gere has grown into his trademark silver hair. He has gained the respect of Hollywood and the HFPA for his portrayal of a slick-talking hedge fund manager facing a fiscal and personal cliff.
Alan Arkin (78)
Best supporting actor, "Argo"
Comic timing doesn't get any better or drier than the acting of Alan Arkin. His veteran Hollywood producer at work on a fake futuristic sci-fi film in tandem with Ben Affleck's CIA agent and John Goodman's makeup maven is a comic master class.
Meryl Streep (63)
Best actress -- comedy or musical, "Hope Springs"
It wouldn't be awards season if Meryl didn't get a nomination -- she swept last year's awards for "The Iron Lady." This year, she does a domestic comedy about a wife who has intimacy issues with her husband, a crusty Tommy Lee Jones. But, well, she's no Maggie Thatcher.
Maggie Smith (77)
Best actress -- comedy or musical, "Quartet"
The only sure thing is that Smith is on a hot streak this year, with a double nomination: for best actress in the Dustin Hoffman-directed comedy as an opera diva, and as a front-runner for best supporting actress for the TV miniseries "Downton Abbey." (And she was great in "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"!) No retirement in sight for Dame Smith, who may just have the longest prime in movie memory -- she won an Oscar for "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" in 1970.
See the trailer for 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel':