Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Procrastinated Prognosis: Oscar Nomination Predictions

Oscar nomination morning is the new Christmas morning. By 5:00 a.m. tomorrow, the (mostly) white, elderly, and bearded AMPAS Claus will have bestowed its gifts upon the world of film. Filmmakers and film lovers alike will rush to their televisions, laptops, and smartphones to see what jolly old Saint AMPAS brought. Although some will get a lump of coal (like poor Ben Affleck last year -- he must've been naughty!), most will rejoice in unwrapping their nominations. But just like every child has a wish list, every blogger has a predictions list. Mine is below, with the prospective nominees listed roughly in order of likelihood. So, let's see who's been naughty and who's been nice.

* haven't seen it
^ early winner prediction

12 Years a Slave
American Hustle^
Captain Phillips
The Wolf of Wall Street
Dallas Buyers Club
Saving Mr. Banks*
Next in line:
Inside Llewyn Davis
Blue Jasmine*
Fruitvale Station*
Lee Daniels' The Butler*

Comments: The race for Best Picture is probably coming down to the top three listed above -- 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, and Gravity. They are all locks for nominations. I can see 12 Years having gotten more first-place votes at this juncture, which is why it is listed first above, but I think Hustle will prove to have broader support during final voting and sneak away with the statue. Gravity, my personal favorite of the three, will be a shiny also-ran in this race, unfortunately. The next three -- Captain Phillips, Nebraska, and The Wolf of Wall Street -- all have each earned a lot of critical respect for both their star and director and are probably too big to fail at this point. It gets a little tricky after those films. Her is a film that probably wound up in first place on a lot of ballots during the nomination process and is a solid bet to snag a nomination. Dallas Buyers Club is a bit of a wild card, but with two strong performances and important subject matter, it has the goods to earn a nomination. Finally, I think *one* of Saving Mr. Banks and Philomena will earn the Little Miss Sunshine feel-good smarm memorial nomination -- but not both. Inside Llewyn Davis is in the same milieu as the Coens' previous film A Serious Man, which missed out on a Best Picture nom, and their latest -- curiously quiet, buzz-wise -- seems likely to suffer the same fate. Another late-day Woody Allen nom wouldn't be a shock, but Jasmine is already presumptively being awarded for its lead actress. Finally, either Fruitvale or The Butler is in play if enough voters got behind one of them -- but I think too many lumped them together and they both miss out.

Wishful thinking: Frances Ha, Mud

Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
Alfonso Cuarón – Gravity^
David O. Russell – American Hustle
Paul Greengrass – Captain Phillips
Alexander Payne – Nebraska
Next in line:
Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street
Spike Jonze – Her*
Joel and Ethan Coen – Inside Llewyn Davis
Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine*

Comments: This might be the toughest category to predict of the bunch, especially after last year's buffoonery. I'm going to assume (probably a bad idea) that the directors of the three Best Picture frontrunners -- McQueen, Russell, and Cuarón -- will be nominated. This year seems ripe for a Picture/Director split, and I think Cuarón and his stunning technical achievements will benefit. That leaves two slots for a very crowded field full of past nominees and winners. I expect Captain Phillips to do well in the technical categories, which should carry Greengrass to a nomination -- and a well-deserved one for his masterfully paced and executed film. I also think the divisive nature of Wolf will count against Scorsese and cost him a nomination, leaving the door open for someone like Payne, Jonze, or the Coens. I could easily imagine many voters deciding to reward Jonze and the Coens in the writing category (ditto Allen), leaving the final spot to Payne, although I am not at all confident about it. Scorsese and Jonze especially lurk, and could knock Payne or Greengrass out of their slot.

Wishful thinking: Harmony Korine – Spring Breakers

Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave^
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Tom Hanks – Captain Phillips
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Robert Redford – All Is Lost*
Next in line:
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
Oscar Isaac – Inside Llewyn Davis
Christian Bale – American Hustle
Joaquin Phoenix – Her*
Michael B. Jordan – Fruitvale Station*

Comments: This is a crowded field, but it figures to come down to Ejiofor and McConaughey, and I think AMPAS will eventually go Ejiofor's way, even though McConaughey has been coming on stronger lately. Either way, there is no chance of either of these performances missing out on a nomination. The rest, I'm not so sure. Hanks and Dern *seem* to be locked in, but I can't shake this feeling that one of them (probably Hanks) is going to miss out. He's been there before and will again, which is not the case for Dern. Or Redford, my pick for the final spot over Leo. Remember, the majority of the voting body of AMPAS skews older, and Redford was THE biggest star 40 years ago -- bigger that Leo is now. I feel that the voters won't be able to pass up what is most likely their last chance to nominate one of the biggest stars ever -- and someone who has only been nominated for acting once. Maybe I'm reading too much into the "controversy" surrounding Wolf, but I don't think it'll get as much love as it warrants (I *loved* the film). Leo won't win this year even if he's nominated, and he'll be back, and voters understand both of those facts. I don't think there will be a surprise here, but if there is, my money is on Isaac, who carried his film (along with his guitar) on his back. I don't have much to say about Bale's performance other than it isn't Oscar-worthy, but the film seems to have a lot of support, so... Finally, Phoenix's performance probably isn't flashy enough, and the buzz seems to have really died around Fruitvale.

Wishful thinking: none

Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine*^
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Emma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks*
Judi Dench – Philomena
Amy Adams – American Hustle
Next in line:
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County*
Adèle Exarchopoulous – Blue Is the Warmest Color*
Brie Larson – Short Term 12*

Comments: I really need to catch up on my awards-worthy female lead performances. Or maybe not -- Banks and August look awful, Blue is three hours (and I've already seen the "good" parts -- wink), and Short Term 12 is unlikely to land any nominations (although I do hear it is good). I will have to seek out Blue Jasmine, however, as this award is Blanchett's to lose at this point. Bulluck will make a fine runner-up -- I can see the strained smiles already. Thompson and Dench seem like sure things as well, especially after Thompson tore it up at the Globes and considering that Dench is a friggin' DAME. The last spot is probably the toughest single call of any category. But, while it's probably very stupid to go against Meryl Streep, Hustle seems to have too much across-the-board love to miss out here. I have exactly ZERO confidence in this pick, however. We'll find out in a few hours either way.

Wishful thinking: Greta Gerwig – Frances Ha

Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club^
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Daniel Brühl – Rush*
James Gandolfini – Enough Said*
Next in line:
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street
Will Forte – Nebraska

Comments: This should be your field of possible nominees (and I don't think Forte really has a shot). Leto and Fassbender are your only real contenders (at this point) for the statue, and I think Leto will take it handily (although his glib Globes speech probably didn't help). Fassbender's performance is just... not easy to root for on any level. (It is very good though, in a demented, sociopathic way.) Abdi *should* pick up a nomination, and deservedly so -- I literally thought Greengrass cast an actual Somali pirate, not a guy who was driving limos in Minnesota. After that, the next four guys could grab the last two spots in any combination. Brühl has been a presumptive lock for months, but that could very well work against him; it would not at all surprise me to see him miss out. He's in for now though, along with Gandolfini, who will surely get many a sentimental vote. I have a hard time seeing one of the most respected -- and liked -- actors of his generation miss out of the final chance for a nomination. But Cooper and Hill could easily slide into one or both of the last slots. Cooper, to me, would be a poor choice -- his performance in a relatively thankless roll did nothing for me. Hill is a different story. While I was, and still am, perplexed at how he got nominated for Moneyball, he proved he has Oscar-worthy acting chops in Wolf. (Although it could just be the veneers.) As far as Forte goes, the Academy has been known to nominate comedians in more serious roles, and Forte did an admirable job as Dern's estranged son in Nebraska.

Wishful thinking: James Franco – Spring Breakers, Sam Rockwell – The Way, Way Back

Lupita Nyong'o – 12 Years a Slave^
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
June Squibb – Nebraska
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County*
Oprah Winfrey – Lee Daniels' The Butler*
Next in line:
Octavia Spencer – Fruitvale Station*
Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine*
Margo Martindale – August: Osage County*

Comments: This is one of maybe a couple categories that seem predestined. It would be a surprise to see anyone but the five ladies above in the field come morning. And it would be a crime if anyone but Nyong'o took home home the Academy Award -- she's that good. I don't get the hype around Lawrence's performance in this particular movie -- she's good but not great. Nomination-worthy in a weak year, I suppose. Squibb was great -- a sweet mixture of profanity and profundity. Roberts and Winfrey figure to get in on stature alone. (Both performances are supposed to be good, however -- I will find out myself if/when they get nominated.) Spencer, Hawkins, and Martindale are longshot spoilers in movies I haven't seen, so I'll just move on.

Wishful thinking: Emma Watson – The Bling Ring, Julianne Moore – Don Jon, Mickey Sumner – Frances Ha

Eric Singer and David O. Russell – American Hustle^
Spike Jonze – Her*
Joel and Ethan Coen – Inside Llewyn Davis
Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine*
Bob Nelson – Nebraska
Next in line:
Nicole Holofcener – Enough Said*
Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack – Dallas Buyers Club
Alfonso and Jonas Cuarón – Gravity
Ryan Coogler – Fruitvale Station*
Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith – Saving Mr. Banks*

Comments: This group seems like it *should* be set with Singer/Russell, Jonze, the Coens, Allen, and Nelson. I haven't seen a few of the possible spoilers, but I can't imagine they are better written than any of the five above. Granted, I haven't seen two of them, but it's Spike Jonze and Woody Allen, so I'm not worried. That said, this is a category where just about every year there is a surprise -- which is why it is my favorite category. Hustle seems to be building toward an Artist/Argo-like consensus (which I'm okay with, I guess...) and would figure to take this award in that scenario. The Coens' script is full of interesting characters (Carey Mulligan's excepted) and strong scenes, and Nelson's script for Nebraska gives the actors a great premise to work with and knows when to push the conflict and when to let the characters breathe. Of the possible spoilers, Holofcener and Marcel and Smith would be rare female nominees in this category, but I haven't seen their films so I can't comment further. Coogler's script would be a good chance to honor a movie that many seemed to love. The Cuaróns get bonus points for their textbook use of Aristotle's unities and could ride a wave of admiration for the film to a nomination, but I don't think anyone thinks the script is particularly award-worthy. Finally, there very well could be a spot for Borten and Wallack's script. It's not the strong point of the movie (too message-heavy and the third act is a mess), but it did earn a Writer's Guild nom. And, as always, watch out for a wildcard (like In Bruges in 2009) here.

Wishful thinking: Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach – Frances Ha, Joe Swanberg – Drinking Buddies

John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave^
Terence Winter – The Wolf of Wall Street
Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawk – Before Midnight*
Billy Ray – Captain Phillips
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope – Philomena
Next in line:
Tracy Letts – August: Osage County*
Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber – The Spectacular Now*
Abdellatif Kechiche and Ghalia Lacroix – Blue Is the Warmest Color*

Comments: This is another category that seems pretty well set. (Famous last words, I know). Ridley seems to be far out ahead of the field in a fairly weak category and should win on Oscar night. I actually quite liked Winter's script (the line about Bond villains and boats, for example), but some will probably have a hard time with all the profanity (and worse). Linklater, Delpy, and Hawke figure to earn their second consecutive nomination for the third (and final?) film in a critically and culturally beloved series (one which I should probably get around to watching sometime). Ray's taut action script and Coogan and Pope's saccharine dramatic one are solid bets for the final two spots. (More on them if and when they are nominated.) Letts, who adapted his own play, is probably the only outsider with a real chance at spoiling the party. The other two would have to be at the top of a lot of ballots to make it to the ceremony, but I suppose it is possible. 

*Like I said above, I may well be overestimating the impact of the issues surrounding The Wolf of Wall Street. It might force its way into the big races.
*I'm most interested in seeing how both Actor races and the Original Screenplay race turns out.
*There really has to be more good roles for females, right?
*One film/performance not even listed in 'Next in line' will sneak in. It happens every year.

Done with four hours to spare. Time to sleep for six then pull up the nominations on my phone, as is tradition. Last year I went 34/44 -- not too shabby. Let's see if I beat that number this year. Maybe it will give me a head start on breaking my Oscar night losing streak. You'll here from me before then though. Until then, happy Oscar morning!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Style or Substance? Golden Globes Predictions

One of the charms of the Golden Globes (besides the free-flowing alcohol and usually superior host choices) is the HFPA's recognition of *actual* comedy movies. Recent-ish nominees and winners have included Borat, The Hangover, and Bridesmaids. (Never you mind that The Tourist, Red, and Burlesque were all recently nominated... in the same year.) This year, that is not the case -- and I can't say I'm complaining. While none of the five Best Comedy/Musical nominees are actual comedies (or musicals, thank god), they are all excellent films well worthy of Oscar nominations themselves. (At least, I'm assuming they all are -- I have not yet seen Her.) In fact, I'd argue that the Comedy/Musical field is better top-to-bottom than the very top-heavy Drama field, which should make for a very interesting and unpredictable ceremony -- and one that should have even less correlation to the Oscars than usual. But it also means I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing with these predictions. So this should be fun! Let's dig in.

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

Best Supporting Actress
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine*
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years A Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County*
June Squibb, Nebraska

Logic: This one will come down to Lawrence and Nyong'o, and the winner will either confirm or debunk a long-held supposition about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association -- that they are wowed by star power. If that's true, Lawrence would be a shoo-in and Roberts could be considered a dark horse. But they have also been known to nominate and award relative unknowns -- just look at this category back in 2011. This year, I think they'll go with the superior performance in Nyong'o. Hers was one of the best of the year regardless of gender or screen time, heart-wrenching and powerful. Lawrence was fine as yet another manic-depressive dream girl in Russell's film, but was not nearly in the same class as Nyong'o. Ditto Squibb and her profane, charming performance as Bruce Dern's wife. I obviously have not seen Roberts's or Hawkins's performances, but they don't figure to have a chance here.

Second choice: Lawrence
My vote: Nyong'o
Snubbed: Julianne Moore, Don Jon

Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Bruhl, Rush*
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years A Slave
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Logic: We'll know a lot about 12 Years a Slave's chances in the Best Drama category after these two awards are announced. If Nyong'o and Fassbender sweep, it would signal a likely win. If only one or neither are awarded, it might not be the film's night. This award could also have a big impact on the Best Actor – Drama race, where 12 Years will once again square off with Dallas. But more on that later. In this category, I think the gender-bending, deeply sympathetic performance of Leto will win out over the visceral, deeply misanthropic character work of Fassbender. Fassbender is responsible for many of the hardest to watch parts of a hard to watch movie, and I'm not sure a body like the HFPA will award a performance like that. Leto, on the other hand, is a star of screen and stage (with his terrible band) and would be an easy box to tick off on the ballot. Cooper was solid but not spectacular in Hustle, but there is no award for best perm. Abdi is so good in Phillips that I actually thought the filmmakers hired an actual Somali pirate. He could be an interesting option at the Oscars, but not here. I haven't seen Bruhl's film, but he's the least likely winner here anyway.

Second choice: Fassbender
My vote: Abdi
Snubbed: James Franco, Spring Breakers

Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Julie Delpy, Before Midnight
Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said*
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County*

Logic: Although most of the nominees are very well-liked, it would be a big upset if anyone but Adams won this award. Delpy and Gerwig both co-wrote their (well-regarded) movies, but their stars don't shine as bright as the others'. Louis-Dreyfuss is a double nominee this year (also for Veep) and can work a room about as well as anyone. You can never count Streep out of any awards race, but no one is talking about her movie and it just doesn't seem to be her year. That leaves Adams, who was the standout among Hustle's excellent ensemble. The wavering English accent, the romantic scheming, and, of course, the sideboob -- she had it all. As a sidenote, however, my favorite performance of the bunch is Gerwig's. Her eponymous Frances Halladay is is hilarious, sympathetic, and has some of the best lines of the year. Check on the film on Netflix streaming if you haven't already.

Second choice: Streep
My vote: Gerwig
Snubbed: Amy Acker, Much Ado About Nothing

Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf Of Wall Street
Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Joaquin Phoenix, Her*

Logic: I'm by no means as certain about this category as I am about Adams above, but I have a hard time envisioning anyone but DiCaprio winning here. He's the biggest star with the meatiest, flashiest role of the bunch. Although some have questions about whether or not the film glorifies Jordan Belfort (I am not in this camp -- the movie plays like a more slapstick American Psycho), it can't be denied that DiCaprio put his all into the role. My next favorite and perhaps a dark horse is Isaac, whose Lleywn Davis is a rolling stone that cant' get out of its own way. There's something soulful in his work, even as his character does his best to be unlikeable. Probably the best of the bunch though is Dern -- his Woody Grant is another unlikeable -- but not unsympathetic -- character, weary and raspy but perhaps too subtle. He's another one with a better shot at the Oscars. Bale is the weak link here as a paunchy con artist -- and very much the straight man amidst three more livewire performances -- but the HFPA seems to really like the movie. I can't wait to see Her -- Phoenix is capable of perhaps the best work of anyone not named Daniel Day-Lewis. That said, the movie seems a bit small to have a shot at the Globes.

Second choice: Bale
My vote: Dern
Snubbed: Simon Pegg, The World's End

Best Actress in a Drama
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine*

Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks*
Kate Winslet, Labor Day*

Bold: From everything I've read, this award is Blanchett's to lose. I will absolutely see the film before the Oscars, but for now all I can say is that she fits the profile -- foreign-born, respected veteran, and previous winner. Bullock is very much a threat here though -- her one-woman show in Gravity is very awards-friendly and, well, very good and a worthy potential winner. These two should provide an entertaining race at the Oscars. Dench is fine in Philomena, but the film is something of a trifle. (She's also in the same category as Streep though in that you can't really ever count her out.) I have not seen the other two performances, but I can't imagine a scenario where either of them wins, especially Winslet. Man, did the buzz for that movie die quickly. I still haven't brought myself to see Thompson's movie, but I guess I'll have to if she makes her way into the Oscar race.

Second choice: Bullock
My vote: Bullock
Snubbed: Amy Seimetz, Upstream Color

Best Actor in a Drama
Chiwetel Ejiofor,
12 Years A Slave
Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom*
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford, All Is Lost*

Logic: This is a really tough one to call -- perhaps the toughest of the night. Ejiofor, McConaughey, and Hanks all have a shot. Hell, I can even see scenarios where Elba (respected Brit playing a recently-deceased hero) and Redford (Hollywood legend getting a career-capping statue) pull off an upset. Of the remaining three, Hanks is probably the least likely winner. His film is easily my favorite of the three nominees in question, but he's won a ton of these things and the other two are red-hot. I think McConaughey has a great shot. In the parlance of awards season, his role has a lot going for it -- he lost a ton of weight, his movie has an important message, and, despite the material, it's a crowd-pleaser. But it's also the weaker performance in the much weaker movie. And Ejiofor's awards-season résumé blows McConaughey's away, what with the whole slavery thing. Plus he's British (as is the film's director). But none of that matters as much as the fact that his performance is excellent. I think he takes the trophy. (And likely the Oscar as well.)

Second choice: McConaughey
My vote: Hanks
Snubbed: none

Best Screenplay
Spike Jonze, Her*
Bob Nelson, Nebraska
Jeff Pope and Steve Coogan, Philomena
John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave
David O. Russell and Eric Singer, American Hustle

Logic: Man, it seems like 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle are heading for a big-time Oscar showdown. Are these the two front-runners right now (along with Gravity)? More on that in future posts. I could be putting too many eggs in the slavery basket (ugh... I'm sorry about that one, haha), but I think it wins out over Russell and Singer's script at this point in a clear case of substance over style. The opposite would absolutely not surprise me though. I doubt the HFPA will be looking at it this way, but while the Hustle script comes together very nicely in the third act and has some very well-drawn characters (especially Jeremy Renner's), it's also very voice-over heavy and some of the dialogue is a bit on the nose. Ridley's script is functional for the most part, but punctuated by some truly affecting, emotionally explosive scenes. Nelson's script has a great premise, but the actors make that movie, not the writing. I can't for the life of me figure out why the Philomena script was nominated other than the fact that it's British. (This year's ceremony seems a bit like BAFTA 2.0.) There are some nice moments, but it is altogether too cloying and full of unearned payoffs. If the HFPA was going to award Her, it would be here. More when I see the film.

Second choice: Russell and Singer
My vote: Ridley (presumably until I see Her)
Snubbed: Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, Frances Ha

Best Director
Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle

Logic: This is a strong group. It wouldn't surprise me if this were the final five for the Oscars -- although Scorsese, the Coens, and even Spike Jonze could sneak in. Of these five, Greengrass and Payne are the low men on the totem pole. Both did fine work -- Phillips is one of the tightest action movies in recent memory and I really liked Nebraska's spare style. But they're both probably out here. Russell could be a spoiler. He's on a bit of a hot streak with his last three films receiving Globes nominations, but the film will be rewarded elsewhere and the other two seem like stronger candidates. McQueen is absolutely a contender, but I think the very trait that marks his direction works against him here. 12 Years is very uncompromising and difficult to watch at times. This works in the actors' favor, but I think it will miss out on the big awards because of it. That leaves Cuarón, whose invisible hand is present in every second of Gravity. It's big, it's showy, it's populist, and it is a stunning technical achievement -- the exact same formula James Cameron used to win here for Avatar. Let's just hope Cuarón's victory speech is less smug than Cameron's though.

Second choice: McQueen
My vote: Cuarón
Snubbed: none

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
American Hustle

Inside Llewyn Davis
The Wolf Of Wall Street

Logic: Other than maybe Amy Adams, this is the pick I'm most confident in. Llewyn Davis and Nebraska are too quiet, Her is too small, and Wolf is too long and too divisive to win here. It's my least favorite of the four that I've seen, but American Hustle has the cast, the Hollywood sheen, the charm, and the buzz needed to snag this prize. I do like the movie, but David O. Russell movies have offered diminishing returns since Three Kings, his best film. (Really.) Wolf is my favorite (the quaaludes scene! Jonah Hill's veneers!), and Llewyn Davis and Nebraska have both settled nicely toward the back end of my best films of the year list. I'm sure I'll have more to say once I've seen Her and once these movies all (likely) score Best Picture noms, but for now, American Hustle is just the piece of entertainment that usually wins here.

Second choice: The Wolf of Wall Street
My vote: The Wolf of Wall Street
Snubbed: Frances Ha

Best Motion Picture - Drama
12 Years A Slave 
Captain Phillips

Logic: I pretty much explained this one in the Best Director category -- Gravity is the populist crowd-pleaser while 12 Years is the serious critical darling. I don't see any of the other films as having a chance. Phillips is a worthy nominee, but is a tier lower than the other two. Philomena (really?) and Rush are just filler. I'm surprised Dallas Buyers Club didn't get nominated here, or that there was no room for, I dunno, The Great Gatsby or The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. A film like Mud never had a chance here, but would definitely belong. Regardless, these two films along with American Hustle will make for an intriguing Oscar race in the coming weeks. Due to a tweak in the Oscar schedule, we won't even know the Oscar nominees until the Globe winners are announced -- usually we'd know the nominees by now. I'm looking forward to the race. More comments when the nominees are announced next week.

Second choice: 12 Years a Slave
My vote: Gravity
Snubbed: Mud 

TV Notes: I don't keep up with television nearly as much as I do with film, but I'll be rooting for anything to do with Breaking Bad, as well as Arrested Development, House of Cards, and Orange Is the New Black.