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The Golden Globe nominees were announced on Tuesday, kick-starting the awards season leading up to the Oscars - and putting Canadian heartthrob Ryan Gosling, who co-stars with Michelle Williams in the harrowing marital tale Blue Valentine, in the running for top dramatic acting honours.

Canada surfaced in other Golden Globe categories as well, including the Canuck-produced film Barney's Version (whose star, Paul Giamatti, is nominated for best actor in a comedy/musical) and Pillars of the Earth (a German-Canadian co-production featuring homegrown icons such as Donald Sutherland and Gordon Pinsent).

Gosling, who was raised in Cornwall, Ont., said in a statement that he was "very grateful" to the 85-member Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hand-picks the Golden Globe nominees and is regarded as a bellwether for what may come at the Academy Awards.

"I also would like to thank them for acknowledging Michelle Williams for her incredible performance. Without the 12 years of director Derek Cianfrance's unwavering vision and commitment, none of this would have been possible.

"I share this nomination with both of them," added the 30-year-old actor, who earned an Oscar nomination for his turn as a drug-addicted schoolteacher in 2006's Half Nelson.

Gosling will be up against Colin Firth, for The King's Speech, as well as The Social Network's Jesse Eisenberg, 127 Hours' James Franco and The Fighter's Mark Wahlberg.

The same category for women includes Halle Berry ( Frankie & Alice), Nicole Kidman ( Rabbit Hole), Jennifer Lawrence ( Winter's Bone), Natalie Portman ( Black Swan) and Williams, Gosling's co-star in Blue Valentine.

Giamatti's nomination pits him against Johnny Depp (who has two best comedic actor nominations for Alice in Wonderland and The Tourist), Jake Gyllenhaal ( Love and Other Drugs) and Kevin Spacey ( Casino Jack).

Toronto-based producer Robert Lantos, whose company, Serendipity Point Films, is behind Barney's Version, applauded the Golden Globe nomination for Giamatti, saying that "Paul is one of the greatest actors working in film today. This is the greatest performance of his career thus far. He deserves to be nominated, and I would have been shocked if he wasn't."

In other nominations, The King's Speech, starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, led the field yesterday with seven nods, including best picture, best director (Tom Hooper) and, in addition to Firth, acting honours for Rush and Helena Bonham Carter.

Close behind - and tied for six nominations each - is David Fincher's Facebook movie The Social Network and the boxing drama The Fighter, both of which are in the running for best dramatic feature film.

Other best-drama nominees are Darren Aronofsky's thriller Black Swan and Christopher Nolan's sci-fi blockbuster Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Haligonian Ellen Page.

Nominees for best musical or comedy are Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, Burlesque, The Kids Are All Right, Red and The Tourist.

Along with Hooper, best director nods went to Aronofsky, Fincher, Nolan and David O. Russell ( The Fighter).

Depp's co-star in The Tourist, Angelina Jolie, is among musical or comedy actress nominees, alongside Annette Bening and Julianne Moore, in The Kids Are All Right, Anne Hathaway in Love and Other Drugs, and Emma Stone in Easy A.

Robert De Niro, an eight-time Globe nominee who won as best actor for Raging Bull, will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the Ricky Gervais-hosted ceremony airing on Jan. 16 on NBC.

Glee led the television contenders with five nominations, including best comedy series. Other nominees in the genre include 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, The Big C, Modern Family and Nurse Jackie.

Vying for best television drama is Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, The Good Wife, Mad Men and The Walking Dead.

Gil Bellows, the Vancouver-born actor who co-produced HBO's Emmy-winning biopic Temple Grandin, said he was ecstatic with the three Golden Globe nominations in the mini-series division.

Pillars of the Earth, which aired last summer in Canada on The Movie Network and Movie Central, will reappear on the CBC on Jan. 4. On Tuesday, Kirstine Stewart, the public broadcaster's interim executive vice-president, applauded that series' three nominations, particularly Muse Entertainment's contribution to making the eight-part historical drama based on Ken Follett's bestselling book.