UPDATE 4-"Up in the Air" leads Golden Globes with 6 nods

* Musical “Nine” close behind with five nominations

* Bullock, Streep, Damon each earn two nods

* Golden Globes seen as key Oscar indicator (Recasts with Damon in paragraph 1, quotes throughout)

BEVERLY HILLS, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Film drama “Up in the Air” soared away with six Golden Globe nominations on Tuesday, more than any film, while Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep and Matt Damon each earned two nominations for the major awards show.

“Up in the Air,” starring George Clooney as a corporate hatchet man forced to consider his life’s direction, took home nominations for best film drama and for Clooney as best actor. Jason Reitman grabbed a nod for director and best screenplay with co-writer Sheldon Turner, while both Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga will compete for supporting actress.

Reitman told Reuters the combined nominations for his actors were especially gratifying. “We’re celebrating this as a family, which is how we made the movie,” he said.

Close behind was “Nine,” about the life and loves of an Italian film director, with five nominations, including best musical or comedy. Its stars, Daniel Day-Lewis and Marion Cotillard, received nods for actor and actress in a musical or comedy, respectively. Penelope Cruz landed in the supporting actress group, and “Nine” received one nod for best song.

Bullock scored nominations for best dramatic actress for football film “The Blind Side” and actress in a musical or comedy with relationship movie “The Proposal.”

“I am beyond stunned,” Bullock said in a statement. “Just to be included in the company of these amazing women I have so admired through the years, has left me slack-jawed with awe.”

For her part, Streep will compete against herself for best actress in a musical or comedy with two movies, culinary movie “Julie & Julia” and relationship film “It’s Complicated.”

Matt Damon also received two nominations, one for best actor in a musical or comedy for “The Informant!” and a second for supporting actor with “Invictus.”

The Golden Globes, given out on Jan. 17 by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, are among the most-watched awards and a key indicator of which movies will compete for the world’s top film honors, the Oscars, in March.

Among other movies to watch in the weeks ahead will be science-fiction adventure “Avatar,” which earned four Golden Globe nominations, including best drama, best director for James Cameron and original song and movie score.


Quentin Tarantino’s World War Two fantasy, “Inglourious Basterds” also earned four nods: drama, director, screenplay for Tarantino and supporting actor for Christoph Waltz.

Rounding out the best film drama nominees were Iraq war movie “The Hurt Locker” and urban drama “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire,” which each earned three nominations.

“Hurt Locker” brought a best director nomination to Kathryn Bigelow and a screenplay nod for Mark Boal.

“Precious,” a dark tale about an abused young woman, landed newcomer Gabourey Sidibe in the category for best actress and Mo’Nique in the supporting actress group. The movie’s director, Lee Daniels, failed to earn a nod in that category, but was nonetheless excited about the film and its actors.

“We (initially) expected to go straight to DVD, so anything beyond that is great,” he told Reuters.

Joining “Nine” in the race for best movie musical or comedy were “Julie & Julia,” box office sensation “The Hangover” and indie hit “(500) Days of Summer,” which claimed a best actor in a comedy nod for its star, Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Competing against Clooney for best drama actor are Jeff Bridges playing a country singer in “Crazy Heart,” Colin Firth as a grieving man in “A Single Man,” Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela in “Invictus” and Tobey Maguire in “Brothers.”

In the group for best actor in a comedy or musical, Gordon-Levitt and Day-Lewis will face competition from Matt Damon in “The Informant!,” Robert Downey Jr. for “Sherlock Holmes,” and Michael Stuhlberg for “A Serious Man.”

Along with Bullock and Sidibe, best dramatic actress nods went to Helen Mirren for “The Last Station,” Emily Blunt in “The Young Victoria” and Carey Mulligan with “An Education.”

Rounding out the list of nominees for best actress in a musical or comedy was Julia Roberts in “Duplicity.”

Foreign language nominees were Italy’s “Baaria,” Spanish director Pedro Almodovar’s “Broken Embraces,” Chile’s “The Maid,” France’s “A Prophet” and Germany’s “The White Ribbon.” (Additional reporting Jill Serjeant; Editing by Doina Chiacu)