BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Silent film is taking over Hollywood's awards scene. The silent-era tale The Artist heads the Golden Globes with six nominations, among them best comedy or musical, and acting honors for its French stars, Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo.

Tied for second place with five nominations Thursday were the 1960s racial tale The Help and George Clooney's Hawaiian family story The Descendants. Both are up for best drama, while Clooney was nominated for best dramatic actor and The Help earned acting slots for Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Jessica Chastain.

Also competing for best drama: Martin Scorsese's Paris adventure Hugo; Clooney's political thriller The Ides of March; Brad Pitt's baseball chronicle Moneyball; and Steven Spielberg's World War I epic War Horse.

Joining The Artist in the best musical or comedy category are: the cancer story 50/50; Kristen Wiig's wedding romp Bridesmaids; Woody Allen's romantic fantasy Midnight in Paris; and Michelle Williams' Marilyn Monroe tale My Week With Marilyn.

Dujardin, who won the best-actor prize for The Artist in its premiere at May's Cannes Film Festival, was nominated for best actor in a musical or comedy.

Clooney has three nominations. Besides best dramatic actor in The Descendants, he's up for directing and screenplay for The Ides of March. For the acting prize, Clooney will compete against his Ides costar Ryan Gosling. Gosling had a second nomination for best musical or comedy actor as a ladies' man in the romance Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Glenn Close is also a dual contender, as best dramatic actress as a woman masquerading as a male butler in the Irish drama Albert Nobbs, and for best song for writing the lyrics to "Lay Your Head Down," the film's theme tune.

Also nominated for dramatic actress: Davis in The Help; Rooney Mara in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo; Meryl Streep as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady; and Tilda Swinton in We Need to Talk About Kevin.

Besides Clooney and Gosling, the dramatic-actor race includes Pitt, in Moneyball, Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar, and Michael Fassbender in Shame.

Downton Abbey and Mildred Pierce tied for the most television nominations, four, with both competing for best mini-series or movie. Several newcomers were among the nominees, including Boss, New Girl, American Horror Story, and Homeland.

Along with the Screen Actors Guild Award nominations a day earlier, the Globes field helps narrow down prospects for the Academy Awards, whose nominations come out Jan. 24.

With drinks and dinner, the Globes are a laid-back affair for Hollywood's elite compared to the Oscars. The host of the ceremony, which will be televised on Jan. 15, will be Ricky Gervais for the third straight year.