E: Please excuse the lack of my usual enthusiasm, but wordpress has eaten this post twice already, with nary a crumb to be found, so I’m just going to get down to business, get it over with and hopefully publish the third re-writing without incident. I figure the faster I get it out, the better my chances are of actually not having it disappear again. Unless of course there’s some sort of break in the space time continuum which can only be prevented by my not publishing this article, in which case, all bets are off. So, the Golden Globes! I love them. Except now. Now they make me want to snarl. Read along to see some educated guesses on the winners before you watch on Sunday, when I will hopefully love them again.
Best Animated Feature
Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog
What a lovely category this is! I couldn’t think better of the movie Up, and I can’t imagine anyone beating it. Some of the other movies on this list are pretty terrific – what a great year for animation and for kids movies – but Up beats them all.
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
Let’s call this category the battle of the ingenues. Barring a surprise win by the supremely popular Sandra Bullock, this category belongs to newcomers Mulligan and Sidibe. How best to approach the elephant in the room? If the old adage holds true that male voters pick the best actress candidate they’d most like (ahem) as their own leading lady, that honor will go to the Audrey Hepburn-like British pixie Carey Mulligan. As an anglophile, and a long time fan of Carey’s work (Kitty Bennet! Sally Sparrow! Ada Clare! Isabella Thorpe!) , I’d be pleased as punch. I want her to win. I just don’t want to have any nagging doubt that Gabby Sidibe didn’t win because she doesn’t look like the typical starlet. I suppose, however, I should just be pleased that Sidibe got work at all, and that she’s being noticed, and hope she has a career like the atypical star of another gritty indie, Real Women Have Curves – America Ferrera.
All that speculation is premature. The Hollywood Foreign Press loves their It Girls, and for that, Mulligan seems likely to be their winner. She’s got to be the nominee the designers are clamoring to dress. But. The HFP blend their love of glamor with the desire to seem more edgy, and if that’s where they’re leaning, Sidibe could be their choice. This award is a leg up – but definitely not a guarantee for Oscar. Actually, hmm. Maybe I take that back. Acceptance speeches can do a lot for a career. Mulligan dimples adorably, and is so British and modest and charming; she could make a whole continent fall in love with her (and run out to see her movie) Sunday night if she wins.
Best Actor – Drama
Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart
George Clooney – Up In the Air
Colin Firth – A Single Man
Morgan Freeman – Invictus
Tobey Maguire – Brothers
My gut says Jeff Bridges. My heart says Colin Firth. Dave Karger says George Clooney. I don’t even think you can rule out Morgan Freeman – though I do think Tobey Maguire’s just along for the ride. So. Bridges and Firth are the critical faves, Clooney is the Hollywood playboy, and Freeman embodies dignity and substance. Bridges will most likely look like a wreck. (I still think it’s nuts that they put Bridges in here for singing in a dramatic movie, when Jamie Foxx and Joaquim Phoenix were put into the Musical category for doing the same thing.) Clooney will most likely not. Clooney gives great speeches – self-deprecating, charming, debonair. He’s got to be the movie-starriest movie star out there. I haven’t seen a lot of interviews with Firth, so it’ll be fascinating to see (if he were to win) whether he brings a Mr. Darcy intensity, or a slightly bumbling Love, Actually style when he speaks. I’d like to see him win for that reason alone.
We do get to learn a little bit about the way the best picture race will play out, here. If Clooney does win, that could mean one of a few things. It could represent a sweep for Up in the Air, overwhelming love on the part of the HFP, or it could be the consolation prize for a movie they don’t want to fully exclude. I can’t decide whether a win for someone other than Clooney will guarantee an overall win for Up in the Air. It’s all going to be very interesting.
Best Actress – Comedy or Musical
Sandra Bullock – The Proposal
Marion Cotilard – Nine
Julia Roberts – Duplicity
Meryl Streep – It’s Complicated
Meryl Streep – Julie and Julia
Finally, an easy call. It’s Meryl Streep by leaps and bounds. Which Meryl Streep, you ask? The one that made me fall in love with Julia Child, with her humor and her strength and her maturity. Streep speaks splendidly. Her acceptances – on the rare occasions that Hollywood’s most-nominated actress gets to give them – are a master class of humility, wit, spontaneity and good grace. She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s fun, and what I wouldn’t give for the chance to spend an evening hanging out with her. She is incandescent. (The woman herself. Not her clothes. Not that something so trivial as fashion matters when you are as outstanding as Meryl Streep, but it is a shame someone can’t put clothes on her that flatter rather than distract from her winning personality.)
Best Actor – Comedy or Musical
Matt Damon – The Informant!
Daniel Day Lewis – Nine
Robert Downey Jr – Sherlock Holmes
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – (500) Days of Summer
Michael Stuhlbarg – A Serious Man
What a befuddlement this category is. Daniel Day Lewis is obviously the most acclaimed and prestigious of the bunch. And he’s the one with the movie that tanked. Does the HFP still love it? Good question. I don’t know the answer to that at all. Can you count out an obscure actor who starred in an obscure Coen brothers movie? And even though calling it a comedy is a strange stretch, RDJ brought a lot of zest to Sherlock Holmes, and isn’t outside the realm of possibility. Plus, his movie is raking in the money right now. If they can remember back to the other two nominees, however, my instinct is that Matt Damon’s wacky informant has the best shot. His role is certainly the most acclaimed of the five. And confess – wouldn’t you like to see if he’d bounce if he won, or if that was just a thing he does with Ben Affleck?
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
Sorry, Julianne Moore. I hope someday it will finally be your turn. Mo’Nique’s searing, unforgettable abusive mom is most likely to take home this trophy. For whatever reason, the folks in the supporting categories don’t have to conform so closely to the Hollywood stereotype. They can be old, they can be kids, they can be comics, they can have any sort of body type. As long as they see her movie, everyone agrees Mo’Nique wins. I’ll be intrigued to hear her speech. Is she funny live? She, too, can do herself a lot of good in the Oscar race with a memorable speech here.
Best Supporting Actor
Matt Damon – Invictus
Woody Harrelson – The Messenger
Christopher Plummer – The Last Station
Stanley Tucci – The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds
It has to be said – the German character actor Waltz waltzes away with this one. His is the scene-stealing performance of the year. I don’t know how he’ll look or what he’ll say or how heavy his accent is. I just know who your winner is, folks. Any other result would be a complete and total shock.
Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker
James Cameron – Avatar
Clint Eastwood – Invictus
Jason Reitman – Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino – Inglourious Basterds
Ah, best director. Most years you go hand in hand with Best Picture, but I think this year has a lot more flux. I think we can start by counting out Tarantino and Eastwood with the least buzzed-about movies in the bunch. Again, I’m wondering how much the HFP really loves Up in the Air, or whether they can be seduced by Cameron’s FX skills or Bigelow’s overwhelming critical support. I wonder if they’ve ever given this award to a woman before? That’d be fascinating to see. Cameron is a former winner, and Bigelow is his former wife. I’d love to see what comes out in those speeches! Cameron is pretty full of himself, if you remember from Titanic, and not particularly appealling. I’d love to see if he’d acknowledge Bigelow. Dave Karger thinks it’s Cameron, and he could easily be right – I might agree – but I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Bigelow or Reitman sneak in.
Best Picture – Comedy or Musical
(500) Days of Summer
Julie and Julia
Nine was the obvious frontrunner before it went belly up. Does it still have a chance? I think they like to be more current than that. Could the HFP rehabilitate this film with a win? I don’t think so, and I don’t think they’d want to award a loser.
So who gets it? Does it matter? If Julie and Julia won, would it be more likely to end up in Oscar’s big ten? What about indie darling (500) Days of Summer – could it ride a win to the big dance? That’s Dave Karger’s pick, and I think I hope he’s right. Or box office smash The Hangover? Less likely, I’d say. It’s Complicated? Not enough of a critical or box office success, I’d guess.
Best Picture – Drama
The Hurt Locker
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Up in the Air
Here is where we really find out. My guess? That The Hurt Locker will join Leaving Las Vegas, L.A. Confidential and Pulp Fiction as overwhelming critical favorites which lost out to more middlebrow and crowd-pleasing fare. The only question is whether Up in the Air (December’s favorite) can withstand the worldwide box office Titan, Avatar. My guess? Follow the money, boys and girls. Avatar could be it, and if it is, watch out, Oscar.
And there we are. Hopefully by Sunday night I’ll be over my technologically induced funk and will be enjoying the clothes, the speeches, the surprises, and the marvelous proximity of artists at the peak of their profession. I hope you do as well! I’ll be here on Monday, chattering about it all (hopefully unimpeded by grouchiness or glitches).