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By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "La La Land," an ambitious musical about two dreamers falling in love in Hollywood, and the intimate coming of age drama "Moonlight" led nominations for the Golden Globes on Monday, underscoring their front-runner status in the long road to the Oscars.
"La La Land" scored seven nominations in all, including for Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in the comedy/musical acting categories, while writer-director Damien Chazelle received nods for best director and best screenplay.
"Making 'La La Land' was a dream come true and we're thrilled that Damien Chazelle's vision has been recognized," producers Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt said in a statement.
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"Moonlight," the tale of an impoverished black boy in Miami struggling with his sexuality, scored six nods, including Barry Jenkins in the directing and screenplay categories and Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali in the best supporting acting races.
"La La Land" is up against "20th Century Women," the story of a free-spirited mother; raunchy superhero action movie "Deadpool"; singing comedy "Florence Foster Jenkins"; and teen tale "Sing Street" for best comedy/musical film at the Golden Globes.
"Moonlight" will face war drama "Hacksaw Ridge," Western crime story "Hell or High Water," adoption tale "Lion" and "Manchester by the Sea," which is about a working-class family dealing with tragedy, in the best drama film category.
"La La Land" and "Moonlight" are very different films. But Claudia Puig, film critic at National Public Radio's FilmWeek and president of the Los Angeles Film Critics' Association, said they had a key element in common.
"Both are very emotional movies. They move you, they're poignant, they touch your emotions," Puig told Reuters.
"One maybe has a much more intellectual, sociological component while the other is escapist, but both are also about love and finding your dreams," she added.
"Manchester by the Sea" landed five nominations, including for actor Casey Affleck and screenplay and director nods for Kenneth Lonergan.
"It will actually be my first time attending the Golden Globes and I've been working for more than 20 years, so this moment isn't lost on me," Affleck said in a statement.
DIVERSITY FINDS SPOTLIGHT
After a furor that erupted earlier this year because all 20 acting Oscar nominees were white, the Golden Globes feature numerous actors of color, including Ruth Negga of "Loving," Ali and Harris of "Moonlight," and Dev Patel, who is of Indian descent, for "Lion."
"It's taken a long time to get to this point and for people who are producing content to really see the value of opening up a bit and being more inclusive," Ali told Reuters.
Notable omissions from the best drama film field included "Jackie," a character study of the widow of U.S. president John F. Kennedy in the week after his assassination. Lead Natalie Portman, however, received a best actress nomination.
Martin Scorsese's "Silence," the tale of missionaries in 17th-century Japan, and "Fences," a tense African-American family drama set in the 1950s, were also snubbed in the best drama race. "Fences" did bring nods for actors Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.
More than 90 journalists in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association choose the Golden Globes. Winners will be announced on Jan. 8 at a televised ceremony hosted by Jimmy Fallon.
(Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Matthew Lewis)