The Golden Globes: The First, Best Look at Oscar

E: No, it’s not the very first of the precursor awards.  We’ve had more than a few sets of nominations come out already – the National Board of Review, the Golden Satellites, the Broadcast Critics, the LA Critics, the New York Film Critics Circle, the list goes on.  The Golden Globes are besotted with celebrity, love some actors above others, and their supporting nominees tend to stack up inaccurately with Oscar’s . And the Screen Actor’s Guild might be slightly better at predicting the big award winners.

Still, Hollywood’s booziest show is still its best Oscar indicator – not to mention the most entertaining awards show – and might even be more important this year considering the big jump from 5 to 10 best picture nominees.  The Golden Globes have always had at least 10 (5 for drama and comedy each) and usually spill over, especially in the drama category.  And usually the lead acting nominations include nearly everyone who’ll be in play for Oscar nods.

So get ready!  Below, this morning’s nods, with Oscar-centric commentary:

Best Actor, Drama:

Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

George Clooney, Up in the Air

Colin Firth, A Single Man

Morgan Freeman, Invictus

Tobey Maguire, Brothers

It turns out that Jeff Bridges initially refused this role because – though it was a movie about a country music singer – there was no music in it, and no music director attached.  Later T Bone Burnett and Bridges both came in together, and the movie took off.  Bridges has great press, and is a leading contender.  But why, when he sings and (sort of) dances, is this movie considered a drama and not a musical?  What’s the difference between this and, say, Walk the Line (which won for best comedy/musical)?

At any rate, the one surprise to me on this list is Tobey Maguire.  Now, I think he’s a fantastic actor, but he doesn’t get a lot of awards talk, and that movie looked to me kind of like a TV movie-of-the-week with really good/too famous actors.  Perhaps I am wrong.  I’d kind of like to be wrong.  Clooney, Firth, Bridges and Freeman all seem likely Oscar nominees.  We’ll see about the rest!

Best Actor, Musical or Comedy:

Matt Damon, The Informant!

Daniel Day Lewis, 9

Robert Downey Jr., Sherlock Holmes

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, (500) Days of Summer

Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man

Never count out Daniel Day Lewis when Oscar is on the line!  And Stuhlbarg, even as an unknown, has the Coen brothers cache.  That can’t be undervalued.  Gordon-Levitt has gotten quite a valentine this morning, and so has Downey (an eccentric choice to say the least).  Do either of them have  shot at Oscar?  I’m going to say no.  That shouldn’t take away from their happiness this morning, though.

Best Supporting Actor:

Matt Damon, Invictus

Woody Harrelson, The Messenger

Christopher Plummer, The Last Station

Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones

Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Invictus seems likely to take Damon on to his first acting nod in quite some time.  Christopher Plummer was robbed for The Insider (in fact, in that case getting snubbed by the Golden Globes totally derailed his chances of Oscar; he’d been the presumed frontrunner until that point and then wasn’t even nominated) so I’m really really pleased to see that wasn’t his last chance.  Tucci (in the midst of a very good year) has won raves as The Lovely Bones‘ villainous neighbor.  In fact, he seems to be the only thing (other than the look of the film) that every critic of Peter Jackson’s adaptation can agree on praising.  Christoph Waltz stole scenes and chewed scenery in Tarantino’s latest, and no one is surprised to see him here.   Which leaves Woody Harrelson in what everyone assumed would be Alfred Molina’s spot for the latter’s work in An Education. Sorry, Al!  There’s still the big dance, and you’ve still got a chance at it!

Best Actress, Drama:

Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria

Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side

Helen Mirren, The Last Station

Carey Mulligan, An Education

Gabourey Sidibe, Precious

You go Emily Blunt! Her fiance (and It’s Complicated star) John Krasinski was one of the nomination readers, and received some gentle ribbing (and congratulations) from co-presentor Justin Timberlake.  Hurray for the cutest couple of the year!  And here’s to seeing them look adorable at the telecast.  There’s a movie I’m really looking forward to seeing – The Young Victoria, I mean.  Ingenues Sidibe and Mulligan (yay!  love her!) seem to have a lock on nominations here, and might be battling it out for the win.  The veteran Mirren scores a nod for a small film (smaller than usual, even) which may or may not put her on the Academy’s list; Bullock could ride her great buzz to the big show or not.  She’s got the box office on her side for sure.  Everyone will need to make room for Meryl Streep, though.  I’ve really been pulling for Abby Cornish of Bright Star, though.  Come on, Academy members!  You like Jane Campion!  It’s a fantastic movie!  It wasn’t out THAT long ago!  Please?

Best Actress, Musical or Comedy:

Sandra Bullock, The Proposal

Marion Cotillard, 9

Julia Roberts, Duplicity

Meryl Streep, It’s Complicated

Meryl Streep, Julie and Julia

Duplicity is a comedy?  Really.  I had no idea. The HFP, they love them some celebrities, and celebrities don’t get bigger and shinier than Julia Roberts.  Still, I might put this one on my netflix queue;  I thought it looked pretty snappy in the ads.  Meryl has just achieved 25 nominations, a record (of course).  You probably know that the Oscars don’t allow actors to be nominated twice in the same category.  Look for Streep’s astonishing work as Julia Child to prevail there.   And whatever happens at the Oscars, it’s clearly been a great year for Sandra Bullock.  The Blind Side and The Proposal have given her the best box office year of her career, and now nominations, too.  It’s not her first time as a Globe nominee, but I’m pretty sure her first time as a double nominee.  It’s a fitting cap to a fabulous year.

Best Supporting Actress:

Penelope Cruz, Nine

Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air

Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air

Mo’Nique, Precious

Julianne Moore, A Single Man

This is the category that knocks Up in the Air into the lead with 6 nominations. Have I mentioned that I can’t wait to see that movie?  Vera Farmiga you might remember as everybody’s love interest in The Departed.   Don’t think you know Anna Kendrick?  If you’re a Twihard you do – she’s Jessica in that series.   I’m a little surprised that 9 didn’t get more love – so many brilliant actresses! – but perhaps they suffered from the compression of the supporting categories.  Don’t forget I warned you earlier about Mo’Nique, who just might win this award away from long time critical darling, the oft-nominated but never-winning Julianne Moore.  Mo’Nique is supposed to be searing as Precious‘ brutal abusive mom, and Moore her usual perfection as an aging party girl.  No love for Mariah Carey.  She falls into an interesting bind here; on the one hand, the Hollywood Foreign Press love their big stars, but on the other, they love to be taken seriously, and Mo’Nique was a tough enough sell.  I don’t know if this cuts out her Oscar chances, though.  I think some of it will depend on how Up in the Air plays, and if Kendrick and Farmiga continue to get raves.  And then of course there’s 9 and it’s plethora of previous winners and nominees.

Best Director:

Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

James Cameron, Avatar

Clint Eastwood, Invictus

Jason Reitman, Up in the Air

Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Hurrah for a woman in this boys club!  These five all have solid, solid shots at Oscar.  I’m highly curious to see how Avatar plays when it comes out; it’s certainly a director’s movie, but will it achieve the right blend of critical and box office success to get rewarded at the big dance?  In some ways, the Globes get to set trends, but they may also fall victim to their early status.  Lots of these films haven’t come out yet.

Well, actually that’s not true of this list.  The Hurt Locker and Inglorious Basterds came out pretty early in the year, in awards terms – both in the summer, I think (certainly the latter).  And Invictus has just started to play.  Both Avatar and Up in the Air open on Christmas day, I believe, so we’ll have to see how the two of them work out in the weeks ahead.

And huh – how random is this?  Turns out Bigelow and Cameron used to be married to each other.  You don’t see that one everyday…

Best Screenplay:

District 9

The Hurt Locker

It’s Complicated

Up in the Air

Inglourious Basterds

Hmmm.  This is mostly a good list, but It’s Complicated? That’s something of a surprise. (C: You said the Globes love their shimmering, glowing stars – isn’t Nancy Meyers a star of sorts?) And I don’t know if District 9 is really considered in the running, either.  The other three are serious contenders and perhaps now District 9 (a movie I found deeply disappointing) will be too.

Best Picture, Drama:


The Hurt Locker

Inglourious Basterds

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Up in the Air

This list makes a lot of sense, although the exclusion of Invictus is a little surprising, and I suppose we could have seen An Education here, too.  I think a really good case could be made for Inglourious Basterds and Up in the Air being comedies, although it will have to be made by someone who has managed to see them, which would not – thus far – be me.  And ah, Bright Star.  I fear your chances are slipping away. (C: Nooooo! *tear*)

Best Picture, Musical or Comedy:

(500) Days of Summer

The Hangover

It’s Complicated

Julie and Julia


Now here’s an interesting slate.  I’m sure M’s happy to see The Hangover included.  I think it’s cool to see some actual comedies!  And not just black comedies this year!  The Globes also highlight Hollywood’s feminine side (they do a much better job at this than the Oscars), so it’s nice to see movies about women actually getting some love.

And that’s it!  The telecast airs live on January 12th with snarky Ricky Gervais hosting.  Should be a very good time.

Tomorrow, reactions to the television nominations (which are usually braver and more exciting than the Emmys – go, Hollywood Foreign Press for recognizing new and unusual shows!).

3 comments on “The Golden Globes: The First, Best Look at Oscar

  1. Matt H says:

    Sherlock Holmes, (500) Days of Summer and Julie & Julia are comedies?? And Inglorious Basterds and Up In The Air are dramas? Weird….

    • E says:

      I totally agree – that doesn’t make the smallest piece of sense to me. Crazy Heart isn’t a musical, but Ray and Walk the Line are? Really?

      • Matt H says:

        It’s pretty silly to even separate them, anyway. Don’t even get me started on questioning why “musicals” and “comedies” are the same category. Huh?

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