Sunday, January 13, 2013

Golden Globes Guesses

Most people think the Oscars are kind of stuffy and boring (and after the last couple Best Picture winners, they may be right). If that's true, then the Golden Globes are their crazy drunk cousin. You're never quite sure what they're gonna do, but it's always entertaining. That drunk cousin is due for another yearly visit tomorrow evening, so now's the time to try to figure out what they're gonna do. Here's my best shot.

^ = A film or performance I haven't seen
bold = my prediction

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy^

Logic: There are few certainties when it comes to the Globes and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, but this is one of them. Hathaway can add this Globe to her already impressive duo. Yup, that's a boobs joke -- I'm bringing the good stuff tonight. Of the other performances, Hunt's is the only other one that I actually enjoyed -- a nuanced blend of empathy and vulnerability (and, again, boobs). Field's melodramatics stood in stark contrast to the rest of the cast's finely-tuned dramatic performances, and, while finely acted, Adams' shrewish wife is just not easy to root for. (Bonus points for the most uncomfortable hand-jibber in cinema history though.) Finally, while I usually go out of my way to see nominated performances, I did and will not see The Paperboy.

Second choice: None
My vote: Hunt

Best Supporting Actor:
Alan Arkin, Argo
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Logic: While TLJ (all the cool actors get acronym-ized) seems to have a bead on the Oscar win, the HFPA is a maverick that doesn't play by the same rules. Really, this category is more open than a Denny's at 4:00 a.m. The case for any of the nominees is easy to make -- Argo is right up the HFPA's alley (and a darkhorse in the Drama race); DiCaprio is a big star and had a showy performance; Hoffman is in the conversation for Best Actor Working Right Now; Lincoln has the look of a film that could win all of the awards; and Waltz is a recent winner with a very likeable performance. But star power is always something to consider with the Globes, and DiCaprio has it in spades. (And, holy crap, there's got to be a better way to say that.)

Second choice: Jones or Waltz
My vote: Waltz

Best Actress, Musical or Comedy:
Emily Blunt, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen
Judi Dench, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel^
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Maggie Smith, Quartet^
Meryl Streep, Hope Springs^

Logic: Even though I've only seen two of the performances, it doesn't matter -- Lawrence has got this locked down tighter than her character's wardrobe in Silver Linings. She'll also figure into the discussion for the Best Actress Oscar for her manic, livewire performance. Blunt was perfectly pleasant in surprise nominee Salmon Fishing, but perfectly pleasant doesn't get you a statue. As for the other nominated performances, I didn't see the movies because, old people, ZZZZZZZZs.

Second choice: None
My vote: Lawrence

Best Actor, Musical or Comedy:
Jack Black, Bernie
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Ewan McGregor, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen
Bill Murray, Hyde Park On Hudson^

Logic: I'm supremely unconfident (which is totally a word) in this pick. It's either him or Cooper. I'm going with Jackman because he had the higher degree of difficulty (live singing, losing/gaining weight, spending 98% of the movie in extreme closeup) and the fact that Les Miz is one of the most widely revered works in the history of European literature. Not sure a bipolar Philadelphia Eagles fan is quite in the same category. Which brings me to one of the only things I don't like about the Globes -- the Musical/Comedy dichotomy. Yes, Les Miz is a musical, but it's nothing if not dramatic. Jackman's performance clearly belongs in the other category. That said, Cooper could easily pull off the victory, what with his chiseled good looks and charming (in its own way) rapport with co-star Lawrence. Remember, star power. Of the remaining nominees, Jack Black is the only one who qualifies as something other than window dressing for his conflicted, eponymous Bernie. Dark comedy gold. McGregor was also perfectly pleasant, and it's unclear if anyone actually saw Hyde Park.

Second choice: Cooper
My vote: Jackman

Best Actress, Drama:
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Marian Cotillard, Rust And Bone
Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea

Logic: This is another close race, and one I'm taking a chance on. You can safely rule out Mirren -- she's just category filler for her humdrum work in the very humdrum Hitchcock. Next, while Weisz' re-envisioning of the classic Saffron Burrows role was quite good, her film is just too small and she can likely be ruled out as well. That leaves three possible -- and deserving -- candidates. Cotillard was magnificent in a movie that managed to crack my top-10 list (forthcoming), and she's French, but I just don't see it happening. (The fact that she wasn't nominated for an Oscar has no real bearing on this race.) Of the two remaining nominees, Chastain is widely considered to be the frontrunner (and perhaps for the Oscar as well), and she was very good, but she has a couple things working against her. One is the obvious torture controversy surrounding her film. The other is that, a few scenes aside, the film doesn't provide her with many chances to show her acting chops -- instead, her performance is a study of determination and resolve. That leaves Watts, whose performance may have been the most impressive, both from a physical and emotional standpoint. Her movie is also a lot more international, which I think gives her an edge. I think she takes the statue in an upset.

Second choice: Chastain
My vote: Chastain

Best Actor, Drama:
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Richard Gere, Arbitrage
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

Logic: While this is another lock for Daniel "All Your Statues Are Belong to Us" Day-Lewis, this is actually an impressive group of nominees, and one I actually prefer to the Oscar shortlist. Gere, forced out of the Oscar running by Jackman/Cooper, delivers what I would probably call a career best performance, if I had actually seen more than a handful of his movies, in Arbitrage as a patriarch desperately trying to hold on to his crumbling family and financial empire. Similarly snubbed, Hawks (a longtime favorite) was fascinating as a polio victim trying to lose his virginity. Denzel did Denzel things to great effect in Flight and would be a worthy contender in another year (like, say, last year). We all know D-Day is going to win for his masterfully honed portrayal of Honest Abe, but, to me, Joaquin Phoenix delivered the performance of the year (if not the past few years -- maybe since Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler) in The Master. Phoenix, perhaps not surprisingly, knocked it out of the park as a man operating on the edge of sanity. It's too bad he won't have a statue to show for it.

Second choice: None
My vote: Phoenix

Best Screenplay:
Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty
Tony Kushner, Lincoln
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Chris Terrio, Argo

Logic: Fuck me, I have no idea on this one. I could see any of them winning it. ZDT was Boal's baby, constructed from the ground up from his research and reporting, and impressive in the same way as Aaron Sorkin's The Social Network script (although not quite as good). Kushner deserves similar accolades for his work on Lincoln (and he should probably be drafting his Oscar speech by now). Russell gets kudos for his spastic take on the screwball comedy. Terrio's taut Argo script is perhaps the movie's strength. All are deserving, but in keeping with the "star power" theme (which will probably wind up blowing up in my face), I'm going with QT for his equally verbose and profane work on Django.

Second choice: Kushner or Russell
My vote: Boal (or Tarantino)

Best Director:
Ben Affleck, Argo
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Ang Lee, Life Of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

Logic: This race is infinitely more interesting than the Oscar "race," where Affleck and Bigelow were both righteously snubbed. Bigelow's non-nomination is especially stunning now that I've seen the film: ZDT is masterfully orchestrated -- as white-knuckled and impassioned filmmaking as you'll see this year. Although not quite in the same class as ZDT, Affleck's Argo was also well made and he's a deserving nominee here -- and you know the HFPA loves their movie stars. Lee and QT are both wildcards -- Life of Pi is the biggest international hit of the bunch, and QT is, well, QT. Most prognosticators (that I've read) seem to give Spielberg, the prohibitive Oscar favorite, little chance to win here. All that adds up to another tough call. Might as well stick with the theme at this point -- Affleck takes the statue (although Spielberg and Lee are close).

Second choice: Spielberg
My vote: Bigelow

Best Picture, Musical or Comedy:
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel^
Les Misérables
Moonrise Kingdom
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Silver Linings Playbook

Logic: We should know the winner of this category when the give out the Best Actor, Musical or Comedy statue -- I can't imagine a split. If Jackman takes the hardware, Les Miz should win here. If Cooper takes it, a Silver Linings victory is likely. Obviously, since I tabbed Jackman to win Actor, I think Les Miz will win here (even though it's a !@#$ing drama). That said, Silver Linings does have more star power... but too late to change my mind now. The actual best movie out of the bunch, however, is clearly Moonrise Kingdom, which actually shows real life human emotions (Les Miz is largely a series of histrionic set pieces) and actually manages to tie all its various subplots together neatly (Silver Linings very much failed at this). Oh, it's also sweet, tender, funny, and, Wes Anderson, duh, quirky. Salmon Fishing was, of course, perfectly pleasant, and, man, old people sure did seem to love Marigold.

Second choice: Silver Linings Playbook
My vote: Moonrise Kingdom

Best Picture, Drama:
Django Unchained
Life Of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

Logic: Unlike the now-castrated Oscar race, there could actually be some, ahem, drama here. While I still expect Lincoln to win, the only surprise for me in this category would be a Django victory. It just doesn't have the same sheen of prestige as the other nominees. My pick for best film of the bunch, ZDT, is probably only a fringe contender at this point, mostly for the reasons listed above in the Actress category. Also, remember that Oscar darling The Hurt Locker was shut out at the Globes in 2010. Of the remaining three films, Life of Pi has the whole international thing going for it, so it has a chance to pull off a mild upset. I actually think Argo has a decent shot to win this thing -- it's Entertainment with a capital 'E' in the same way that Lincoln is a Film with a capital 'F', and I think that carries a lot of weight with the HFPA. (Remember, Avatar won over Hurt Locker that year.) Still, Lincoln just has the (very subjective) look of a winner, so I'm going with that.

Second choice: Argo
My vote: Zero Dark Thirty
Other awards: I'll be rooting for Wreck-It-Ralph for Animated Feature, Adele for Original Song, Rust and Bone for Foreign Language Film (caveat: haven't seen Amour), and Louis C.K. for TV Comedy Actor. I really don't care about any of the other TV races (I really, really need to catch up on TV).

Looking over my predictions, I think I'm actually more confident in my "Second choice" guesses. But even though I wield the mighty power of the 'Delete' key, I'm sticking to my original picks, even though I'm likely way off. Stay tuned for my Top 10 Films list (in the next week or two), then my Oscar picks (most of those races are way easier to call). Thanks, as always, for reading.

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