Actor George Clooney, star of the film Up In The Air, poses on the red carpet at the film's premiere in Los Angeles, California November 30, 2009. REUTERS/Fred Prouse

Up in the Air, starring George Clooney as a man who fires people for a living, earned six Golden Globe nominations on Tuesday, including best drama, as Hollywood's awards season got down to business.

Up in the Air had the most nominations, followed by musical Nine, with five, including for best musical or comedy. Science-fiction action adventure Avatar and director Quentin Tarantino's World War Two fantasy Inglourious Basterds were nominated for four awards, including best drama.

Rounding out the movies nominated for Golden Globes, one of Hollywood's most-watched awards shows, were Iraq war movie The Hurt Locker and urban drama Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.

Joining Nine in the category for best movie musical or comedy were cooking movie Julie & Julia, box office sensation The Hangover and Sundance hit (500) Days of Summer.

The Golden Globes are given out in January by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and are seen as a key indicator of which movies will compete for the world's top film honors, the Oscars, in March.

Among nominees for best actor in a film drama were Clooney, whose character in Up in the Air is forced to contemplate his own life, Jeff Bridges playing a down-and-out country singer in Crazy Heart, Colin Firth as a man considering suicide in A Single Man, Morgan Freeman playing Nelson Mandela in Invictus and Tobey Maguire for Brothers.

Nominations for best actress in a drama went to Sandra Bullock for football film The Blind Side, veteran Helen Mirren for The Last Station, Emily Blunt in The Young Victoria, Carey Mulligan with An Education and newcomer Gabourey Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel Push By Sapphire.

Bullock also landed in the category for best actress in a musical or comedy in relationship film The Proposal. She is joined in that category by Marion Cotillard in Nine, Julia Roberts in Duplicity and Meryl Streep with two nods, one for It's Complicated and a second for Julie & Julia.

Nominees for actor in a movie musical or comedy were Daniel Day-Lewis for Nine, Matt Damon in The Informant!, Robert Downey Jr. for Sherlock Holmes, Joseph Gordon-Levitt in (500) Days of Summer and Michael Stuhlberg for A Serious Man.

Finally, foreign language film nominees were Italian movie Baaria, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's Broken Embraces, Chilean movie The Maid, French movie A Prophet and German movie The White Ribbon.