Golden Globes: Nominations and Reactions (plus SAG and what this all means)

E: Good morning, friends!  It’s a fine day for some nominations.  See who got lauded by the Hollywood Foreign Press, who got snubbed,  and what this all means for the Oscar races.

Let’s just say this up front.  Some years, there’s a lot that’s obvious even by this early date.  This year, there aren’t as many obvious frontrunners, but there are at least lots of clear contenders for the top prizes.  To whit:

Best Supporting Actor

Golden Globe Nominees:

Robert Duvall, The Judge/ Ethan Hawke, Boyhood/Edward Norton, Birdman/Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher/J.K.Simmons, Whiplash.

Usually this is the most crowded category of all, filled with too many contenders to name.  Not this year.  The overwhelming recipient of the critics prizes and pundits consensus has been veteran character actor J.K. Simmons for his portrayal of a brutally demanding band instructor.  Of his contenders, Hawke, Norton and Ruffalo have seemed set on this course for months.  Robert Duvall would have surprised me before his SAG nomination yesterday, considering how quickly that movie slipped into oblivion, but it seems the publicists working for The Judge are a lot better at awards campaigning than they are at getting regular audiences to see their film. It’s worth noting that this is exactly the same list that SAG released yesterday; while this doesn’t absolutely mean these will be your Oscar nominees, these five guys should be feeling pretty confident.

Best Supporting Actress

Golden Globe Nominees:

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood/Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year/Kiera Knightley, The Imitation Game/Emma Stone, Birdman/Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Of these women, Arquette seems the biggest favorite; while no where near the lock that J.K. Simmons has been, she still leads the pack in buzz. Until yesterday’s SAG nominations, I assumed that her biggest competition was Laura Dern for her work in Wild, but she’s missed out on both slates, which is worrisome.   (SAG’s list is very similar, but replaces Chastain with Naomi Watts in St. Vincent.)  Streep picks up her 29th Golden Globe nomination; I wouldn’t have guessed it before yesterday, either, but she looks well on her way to a record setting 19th Oscar nod. Of course she passed the old record ages ago, so anything Streep does has been recording setting for years.

Best Actor 

As you probably know, the Hollywood Foreign Press divides up these categories into Musical or Comedy and Drama.  Let’s look at them both.

Golden Globe Nominees – Musical or Comedy:

Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel/Michael Keaton, Birdman/Bill Murray, St. Vincent/Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice/Christoph Waltz, Big Eyes

Several of these may be terrific movies — I really enjoyed The Grand Budapest Hotel, and I hear good things about St. Vincent — but what you most need to know in terms of Oscar is Michael Keaton, who plays an actor struggling to find meaningful work when all the public remembers him for is a superhero he played decades before.  A little too on the nose, almost!  He’s the obvious choice to win here, although the race for Oscar is wide open because of the guys over in Drama.

Golden Globe Nominees — Drama

Steve Carrell, Foxcatcher/Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game/Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler/David Oyelowo, Selma/Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

As usual, the drama category contains the biggest Oscar contenders.  All five of these performances blew the critics away, four out of five for playing important historical figures.  Now, for SAG’s top five Keaton replaced Oyelowo, who plays Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the civil rights drama — but Selma‘s team didn’t manage to get screeners to SAG, and the movie isn’t in theaters until Christmas.  If we assume Oyelowo makes the final list — and he has an excellent shot at it — then the most obvious candidates to be bumped are the never-nominated but popular comedian Carrell and one time nominee Gyllenhaal.  The Academy often turns up its nose at young and handsome men in the leading categories (preferring to wait for them to become more grizzled) and is dubious about comedians.  So we’ll have to see.

As far as a winner, it’s still up in the air.  Redmayne wowed audiences with his turn as ALS-stricken genius Steven Hawkings, and that’s the sort of role made for Oscar.  Of course Cumberbatch’s Alan Turing, saving the Allies from the Nazis by breaking the Enigma code, Carrell’s sports patron/madman, and Oyelowo’s moral leader are also all real men, a bonus for Oscar as well.  Keaton and Gyllenhaal are the only ones playing fictional characters, but most people assume that Birdman speaks at least in part to Keaton’s real experiences, which intrigues them.

Let’s not forget the major snub of both the SAG and HFP awards – British character actor Timothy Spall, who won the best actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his work as the influential landscape painter J.M.W. Turner in Mr. Turner.  Will he stay out in the cold?

Best Actress

Golden Globe Nominees – Musical or Comedy:

Amy Adams, Big Eyes/Emily Blunt, Into the Woods/Helen Mirren, The 100 Foot Journey/Julianne Moore, Maps to the Stars/Quvenzhane Wallis, Annie

I’m not going to lie, I was rooting for Gugu Mbatha-Raw to snag a surprise nod here for Beyond the Lights.  Ah well.  It was never a likely thing, but she’s reported to do great work in a demanding musical role.  I’m definitely happy for Wallis and Mirren, though. The Globes have always responded to Moore, who becomes a double nominee for at least the second time (previously for her brilliant turns in The End of the Affair and the marvelous, otherwise awards-ignored Oscar Wilde adaptation An Ideal Husband): I’m really hoping this is just another sign it’s finally her year.  As for Oscar, Adams is the only real contender.

Golden Globe Nominees – Drama

Jennifer Aniston, Cake/Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything/Julianne Moore, Still Alice/Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl/Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Yesterday Jennifer Aniston surprised me by making the SAG shortlist, and now she does it again.  This list is in fact identical to the SAG one, and so these five women have to be considered the frontrunners despite all the critics attention lately for Marion Cotillard in both Two Nights, One Day and The Immigrant.  Hilary Swank too has been ignored by both groups for her much lauded work in The Homesman; oddly, Swank’s never been nominated when she wasn’t the favorite and eventual winner. As I implied above, Julianne Moore is probably the favorite, but that idea is so delightfully exciting that I can’t really rely on it yet.  After all, favorites have their hopes dashed all the time.

Best Director

Golden Globe Nominees:

Wed Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel/Ava DuVernay, Selma/David Fincher, Gone Girl/Alexander Gonzales Inarritu, Birdman/Richard Linklater, Boyhood

I have to tell you, this list kind of surprises me, partly for the omission of Imitation Game‘s Morten Tyldum and then for the inclusion of Anderson and DuVernay.  I am beyond thrilled to see not just a woman on this list, but a woman of color.  Now, the woman that most people would have expected to see here is perennial Globe favorite Angelina Jolie for Unbroken, which instead was completely shut out. And when we’re speaking of snubs, we can’t forget Clint Eastwood for the incredibly tense-looking and well-reviewed American Sniper, which was thought to be a major contender if not for star Bradley Cooper then at least for director and film.

Best Picture

Golden Globe Nominees – Musical or Comedy

Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Into the Woods, Pride, St. Vincent

Okay, I just have to laugh over the inclusion of Pride.  Don’t get me wrong; I wanted to see it, I think the movie about coal miners and their gay supporters looks really fun and funny in the tradition of The Full Monty; I just in a million years wouldn’t have expected it.  The Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman managed to snag ensemble nominations from SAG, too; this is particularly a boost for Hotel, which could possibly – possibly – vault onto the Oscar list with this exposure.  I’m a little sorry that Begin Again didn’t get any love, even though I wasn’t expecting it to either.

Golden Globe Nominees – Drama

Boyhood, Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything

Considering that there will likely be 9 Oscar nominees for best picture, we could easily see all five of these make the cut.  Were we in a 5 nominee system, I’d say Foxcatcher was the least to make it through.  Noted omissions: Gone Girl (especially with a nomination for direction!), Unbroken, American Sniper, Mr. Turner, Whiplash,  and A Most Violent Year.  Any of these might still be nominated for Best Picture, but without a nomination here, their chances of actually winning the coveted Oscar become close to nil.

When you look for that winner, however, things get less clear. Beloved indie auteur Richard Linklater’s labor of love, Boyhood — a story told over twelve years using the same actors, in which we actually see Ellar Coltrane grow up — has been cleaning up all the critics prizes.  Two things can happen with that kind of dominance.  A small movie can be a winner like Slumdog Millionaire, or it can fall under the sway of a larger, more epic or thematically grand (or just plain more popular) film as LA Confidential and The Social Network did to Titanic and The Kings’ Speech.  If we’re looking at a case like the latter (and my gut says we are) I’d look to timely civil rights epic Selma, British World War 2 drama The Imitation Game or even possibly academic biopic The Theory Of Everything to sweep in.

**********

Finally, there’s some television news for me to celebrate (and grumble over a little).  The show moved too fast to follow after I unfortunately missed an early episode, but I’m thrilled for Jane the Virgin and Gina Rodriguez for their nominations; it’s a smart and funny show, and I quite enjoyed what I saw of it.  The folks over at the CW must be going out of their freaking minds.  Has the network ever been nominated for anything before?  Despite the HFPA’s obsession with the new (a refreshing trait when SAG and Emmy unthinkingly nominate the same shows over and over), Downton Abbey continues to play well, with a nomination this year not for Maggie Smith (the usual suspect) but the absolutely wonderful Joanne Froggatt.  And I love both Dominic West and Ruth Wilson, so was thrilled to see them both receive nominations for The Affair, which I understand is super smart and fascinating television.

I was thrilled to see that not only was Julianna Margulies nominated for best actress in a drama, but The Good Wife for drama series!  However, I’m truly puzzled that Alan Cumming (tremendous as he always is) managed a supporting nomination over Matt Czuchry, who’s stunning storyline has been responsible for what is simply the best acting I’ve seen this fall.  Seriously, did they mix up the names?  This is actively incomprehensible.

I don’t mean to sound too glum, however.  I’m thrilled for all the nominees, and I can’t wait to go out and see lots of these exciting looking movies.  What about you?  What are you excited for?  What snubs bothered you the most?  Sound off in the comments, please!

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6 comments on “Golden Globes: Nominations and Reactions (plus SAG and what this all means)

  1. Pat says:

    “I’m truly puzzled that Alan Cumming (tremendous as he always is) managed a supporting nomination over Matt Czuchry, who’s stunning storyline has been responsible for what is simply the best acting I’ve seen this fall. Seriously, did they mix up the names? This is actively incomprehensible.”

    I completely agree. It makes no sense at all.

    • E says:

      Honestly, I keep waiting for someone from the Hollywood Foreign Press to come forward and say they got the names wrong. I know that’s not going to happen, but I just do not get it.

      • Pat says:

        I think it means they didn’t want to nominate Matt Czuchry more than they wanted to nominate Cumming. It sounds like a nom “against” someone more than a nom “for” someone.

        • E says:

          Most awards groups have it in for young handsome guys, but I wouldn’t normally put the HFP in that category. They’re normally all about youth and beauty, as well as breaking new ground. The fact that the show got a nod at all was a delight, because it meant that the voters were paying attention. But the supporting actor nod? This blindsided me – I figured it was either Matt or no one from the show. They got it right with Josh last year – the Globes are by far the most responsive to new shows or new story lines – and the TV supporting category is so difficult to break into that getting one is a huge compliment, and reserved mostly for movie stars in mini-series or HBO movies. So I guess I’m deciding to take it as a compliment to the show (or perhaps some sort of weird reward for AC’s work on Broadway?) but I’m still finding it really hard to understand.

          Sorry, I think this whole thing has rendered me a gibbering mess.

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