Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Golden Globes Ramble
5) The awards are given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). The ceremony is basically a bunch of foreign entertainment reporters feting their favorite celebrities (how else to explain Julia Roberts's nomination?). I just imagine a bunch of foreign white guys a la "Two Wild and Crazy Guys" sitting around and deciding what movies they like in outlandish accents. Sounds awesome.
4) Because of this (and other factors, explained below), the Globes tend to take more chances than the Oscars. I mean, just look at last year, where Colin Farrell picked up an award for his performance in In Bruges. Okay, so his acceptance speech was a bit weepy and rambling, but it was more entertaining than anything that happened at the Oscars. My point is that neither the performance nor the movie ever had a chance at winning an Oscar. The Globes open things up a bit.
3) There is no host! Well, at least most of the time. This is the first year I can remember the Globes actually having a host, as they named Ricky Gervais the emcee of this year's ceremony. They couldn't have picked a better man -- Gervais is definitely not afraid to make people uncomfortable. No one in the room will be immune from his barbs. Usually though, the Globes goes sans host -- and the lack of a monotonous presence only adds to the chaos that is Globes night.
2) The Globes actually recognize comedic performances! This is the biggest thing that annoys me about the Oscars -- generally, only one kind of movie (drama) has any real shot at winning. The Globes actually have separate categories for comedic films and performances (they also, for some reason, include musicals in this category, but it's an imperfect world). They do muck things up a bit by lumping supporting performances and screenplays together, but too many categories would probably slow the ceremony. But I love that they give comedies their proper... er... props.
1) THEY SERVE BOOZE. If you've ever watched the Globes ceremony, you've probably noticed a little rosy-cheeked affability about the place, as opposed to the staid stateliness of the Oscars. It's because everyone's buzzin' pretty good... if not legally drunk. This leads to many more off-the-cuff moments, such as Farrell's self-depreciating cocaine joke or Seth Rogan's Mickey Rourke-depreciating cocaine joke last year. Let's just put it this way: you're not gonna hear a lot of cocaine jokes at the Oscars. And THAT'S why the Globes are "better" than the Oscars.
At any rate, the Globes are probably the best-known Oscar precursor, so I figure it's worth exploring the nominations a little bit. I'll even offer some predictions, although I will add the qualifier that I haven't historically tracked the HFPA's voting tendencies like I have AMPAS's. That is to say, I really have no idea what will happen at the Globes ceremony. But I think the magic of the Globes is that no one else does either! So, enjoy, if you're into that sort of thing.
Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
District 9 -- Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
The Hurt Locker -- Mark Boal
Inglourious Basterds -- Quentin Tarantino
It's Complicated -- Nancy Meyers
Up in the Air -- Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner
I would have liked to see The Hangover, Up, The Brothers Bloom, (500) Days of Summer, and/or A Serious Man here, but, like I said, the HFPA lumps all screenplays (original and adapted, drama and comedy) into one category, so a lot of films are gonna miss the cut. That said, I have little problem with this group. The only oddball nomination is District 9, which, from what I understand, was largely improvised. But it's good to see the film get a nomination somwhere -- it really was one of the more pleasant surprises of the year. I think it was probably the last one in anyway, so I'll leave it out of the rest of the discussion for that reason. Of the rest of the contenders, the only one I haven't seen (yet -- to be rectified soon) is Up in the Air. That one figures to be the frontrunner here, perhaps with Mark Boal's script for The Hurt Locker as the most likely challenger. As much as I loved Basterds (and Q's excellent script), I figure that the voters will feel that Christoph Waltz's seemingly-inevitable win for Supporting Actor is enough to honor the film as a whole. Meyers's script, while entertaining, probably doesn't have the weight to pull off a win here. I'm looking for Reitman and Turner to win for Up in the Air.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Penélope Cruz -- Nine
Vera Farmiga -- Up in the Air
Anna Kendrick -- Up in the Air
Mo'Nique -- Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Julianne Moore -- A Single Man
Here's a fun fact: I haven't seen any of these performances! I'll probably have rectified that by the time the ceremony rolls around, but just know that the following is pure conjecture. Just looking at the nominees, it just seems set up for Mo'Nique to win for a role in a movie that I really have no interest in seeing. Just not my kind of subject matter. Sorry. Anyway, Nine has been shat on by the critics which, while it doesn't exactly sound the death knell for Cruz, the fat lady is warming up in between pints of ice cream. Haven't heard anything about Moore's performance (the movie is Firth's show, from what I've heard), but I could see the voters giving a respected veteran a long overdue win if they don't go for Mo'Nique because... the Up in the Air chicks are probably gonna split the vote. It's tough to see either of them pulling it off over the other with some of the other options out there. So you'll probably see Mo'Nique take the stage next month for the W.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Matt Damon -- Invictus
Woody Harrelson -- The Messenger
Christopher Plummer -- The Last Station
Stanley Tucci -- The Lovely Bones
Chrisoph Waltz -- Inglourious Basterds
Again, I'll start with the disclaimer of what I haven't seen (hey, this is what you get for living in Arizona): Invictus, The Lovely Bones, and The Last Station. I'll definitely be seeing the former two, but probably not the latter. With that out of the way, does anybody really see Plummer or Tucci taking this? Me neither. The HFPA clearly likes Damon (to the tune of two nominations), but I'm not convinced his role in Invictus is a statue-winning one, even if the statue is a knockoff of the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Harrelson is an interesting candidate -- his performance as a recovering alcoholic/Desert Shield "vet" is at once tortured and blanky funny. They could go the vet route and pick him, but the smart money is on Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa, definitely one of the most memorable characters of the year, if not the decade. Perhaps the finest performance Tarantino has directed (although Robert Forster in Jackie Brown is tough in this category).
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Sandra Bullock -- The Proposal
Marion Cotillard -- Nine
Julia Roberts -- Duplicity
Meryl Streep -- It's Complicated
Meryl Streep -- Julie & Julia
I've seen precisely one of these -- Streep in It's Complicated. Pardon me if I don't see every chick flick and musical that comes out. Obviously, I could care less about who wins this award (this of course being the downside of recognizing comedic performances). I mostly enjoyed It's Complicated, so I wouldn't mind seeing her win here. However, she's been getting more publicity and acclaim for Julia & Julia (which is probably a lock for an Oscar nom as well), so it'll be pretty tough to unseat that performance here. Roberts probably has no shot (again, the Globes are as unpredictable as it gets), but Bullock and Cotillard both have the cachet to take home the statue. Bullock is having an even better year that Streep (if that's possible), what with the double nomination and box office numbers. Cotillard is fresh off Oscar gold and is probably the best shot for Nine, which the HFPA clearly loved (it garnered five noms, second only to Up in the Air), to take home a major award. Lots to ponder, but for now I'm going with the favorite, Meryl Streep for Julia & Julia.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
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
I've seen everything here but Nine -- I may or may not rectify that while it's in theaters. It probably depends on how much Oscar love the flick gets. Not a big musical fan. Moving on. I definitely have no idea how this category is shaping up -- I definitely didn't see Farrell winning here last year (even though I would've voted for him). Some of these nominations are a bit odd -- for example, how do you nominate Streep in It's Complicated but not Alec Baldwin? Their interplay made the movie. Similarly, how do you nominate JGL (what the cool kids call Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and not Zooey Deschanel? Perplexing. Anyway, I don't see D-Day (Daniel Day-Lewis, not Bruce McGill from Animal House) as a serious threat here, not with the withering reviews directed at his picture (and his singing ability). And as much as I love him -- in general and in this movie -- I'm not sure RDJ (what the cool kids call... oh, surely you get this by now) has a big chance either, what with the relatively ambivalent reviews for Holmes (although his would be a great acceptance speech, and they might just give it to him for the press it would bring). (500) Days of Summer got a lot more love than I would have thought, but the other two nominees have more clout. Stuhlbarg is the journeyman vet and critic's darling, while Damon is probably due for some hardware at this point in his career and a major box-office star. It could really go either way, but I'm going with Michael Stuhlbarg for now. A Serious Man is probably on the outside looking in, Oscar-wise, but I could see the HFPA choosing to award it here.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Emily Blunt -- The Young Victoria
Sandra Bullock -- The Blind Side
Helen Mirren -- The Last Station
Carey Mulligan -- An Education
Gabourey Sidibe -- Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Of the nominees, I've only seen Mulligan in An Education. I have no real desire to see any of the others (although, again, I will probably have to check out Precious at some point), so this is basically going to be a crapshoot. I think we can safely count Mirren out -- just doesn't seem the HFPA's style. Sidibe is also probably out since I can't see the film winning two major acting awards. The Young Victoria looks like a major period-piece snoozefest, but Emily Blunt is always worth watching (I especially enjoyed her in the under-appreciated Sunshine Cleaning earlier this year), so I could see her having a chance -- and she's a Globe vet, having been nominated for The Devil Wears Prada and actually winning for some miniseries or another. But the film seems to have absolutely no pulse right now (presumably similar to me after watching it). She's probably out. That leaves Mulligan and Bullock. They are both looking good for Oscar noms right now, so it should be interesting to see how this one plays out. I'm just going with a hunch here and saying that Mulligan wins the little gold man and Sandra Bullock wins here. Just a hunch.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Jeff Bridges -- Crazy Heart
George Clooney -- Up in the Air
Colin Firth -- A Single Man
Morgan Freeman -- Invictus
Tobey Maguire -- Brothers
Another category where I haven't seen any of the nominated performances. Cool! Although it's useless for the purposes of this entry, I plan on seeing most of these by the end of the week (ah, the teacher's schedule -- nothing to do 'til the third week or January). I should be knocking out an Up in the Air/Invictus double feature tonight, followed by A Single Man and possibly Crazy Heart tomorrow. Most likely skipping Brothers -- although let's be honest, Maguire has no shot here. So I'm not worried about it. Anyway, most of these guys should be up for Oscars, so this is another race to pay attention to. The remaining four all have merit and impressive track records. Jeff Bridges is probably the most overdue man in Hollywood for some hardware (unless you don't count Peter O'Toole's honorary Oscar...) and could be primed for some major kudos this year. Clooney and Air are buzzing harder than than high school freshman after a couple wine coolers. "Voiceover" Morgan Freeman is always a threat, and Firth is another vet poised for a win. I think this is another case where the HFPA and AMPAS differ. I'm gonna say George Clooney gets the win here, but Bridges takes home the Oscar. I'll probably update this after I see some of these performances.
Best Director - Motion Picture
Kathryn Bigelow -- The Hurt Locker
James Cameron -- Avatar
Clint Eastwood -- Invictus
Jason Reitman -- Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino -- Inglourious Basterds
The more I look at this category, the more I'm convinced that whatever wins the Best Motion Picture - Drama award will win this one as well. Of course, this award will be presented first, so it's probably more accurate to say that whoever wins here, that film will probably win the big prize. That said, the question remains: How much does the HFPA *really* like Avatar? Enough for it to beat out the critics' favorite (Hurt Locker) or the presumptive audience favorite (Air)? I think those are the three clear favorites now, meaning Eastwood and Tarantino are out in this category and Precious and Basterds are out in Picture (although it would make my night to see Tarantino and Basterds pull off the upsets). I guess I'm going to tip my hand here a little bit, but I think you're gonna hear Jason Reitman's name called up to the podium for this award. We'll finish this conversation in the Best Motion Picture - Drama section.
Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
(500) Days of Summer
Julia & Julia
Still need to check out Nine, will probably see Julia & Julia if/when Streep gets an Oscar nod. I think Nine was the presumptive frontrunner here, and I guess it could still get the Dreamgirls treatment (poor reviews, no Oscar love, but does well at the Globes). I could also see them ignoring it completely though. I'm just going to assume that's the case for now, unless it gets a surge of publicity/critical goodwill between now and then. I'm also going to ignore Julia & Julia -- I think the consensus is that it has the better Streep performance, but that It's Complicated is the better film. I also think the latter is a legitimate contender here. Again, I quite enjoyed Summer, but I think it's a bit too small of a picture to have a shot here. That leaves... The Hangover? Can an R-rated broad comedy really take home a major award like this? Well, if anyone has the balls to make it happen, it's the HFPA. Call me crazy, but I think they just might do it. If only because A) I have no idea how to pick this category, and B) I would love to see it happen, I'm going with the upset and picking The Hangover to win here.
Best Motion Picture - Drama
The Hurt Locker
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Up in the Air
If you've been paying attention, you should already know what I'm going to pick here. I think Up in the Air is probably gonna win. Precious won't be able to pull it off without its director being nominated, and Waltz is probably the only winner that Basterds will see. Avatar and Locker are nipping at Air's heels though... and I think one of them will overtake it on Oscar night. Granted I haven't seen it, but Air seems to be a bit too... light for AMPAS's tastes. I just really don't see it getting too much Oscar love. I think Avatar or Locker are much more likely contenders... and I wouldn't mind seeing either of them win, as I loved both. Still, I think the star power of Clooney and audience goodwill factor tips the balance to Air at the Globes.
That about wraps it up. Consider these my Globes predictions, although I'll probably put up a mock ballot the night before, and maybe a reactions piece once the winners are announced. And then... Oscar time! Eagerly awaiting 2/2/2010... for a multitude of reasons. Thanks for reading. Ciao.