I hate to break this to anyone unfamiliar with this fact, especially if you’re one of those award show junkies, but most serious industry buffs regard the Golden Globes as kind of a joke. I realize that they tend to presage the Oscars, but with separate categories for comedy and drama in picture, actor, and actress, they cast such a wide net that they’re bound to hit most of the Oscar nominees. The remaining spots tend to go to big stars or blockbuster movies that really aren’t all that well regarded, because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (which is basically some Icelandic chick with a movie blog) likes to see famous people turn out for the show. That’s how you wind up with, say, Johnny Depp getting a best actor nod (comedy/musical) for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. If that doesn’t convince you, consider this: last year, Depp was also nominated for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.The good news is that that wide net also catches some smaller movies and performances that Oscar tends to miss. For instance, Emilio Estevez’s Bobby landed a nod for best drama, in spite of mixed reviews and relatively poor box office (it doesn’t hurt to have Harvey Weinstein in your corner, though). I’m also happy to see Chiwetel Ejiofor up for actor in a comedy or musical for Kinky Boots (can anyone tell me if this worth seeing?) and his terrific work in Tsunami: The Aftermath on HBO. I’ve been a big fan of this guy since Dirty Pretty Things and Serenity, and hopefully the exposure will get him some more high profile roles. The other standout for me is that both Adriana Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi got supporting actress nods for Babel, and both are richly deserved. Here’s hoping the Academy feels the same way.
In fact, I’m quite pleased that Babel leads the pack with seven nominations, including picture, director for Inaritu, screenplay for Guillermo Arriaga, and supporting actor for Brad Pitt. The more I’ve thought about Babel, the more I feel it’s an extraordinary movie, and I’m anxious to check it out again. Another movie that could benefit from yesterday’s noms is Todd Fields’ Little Children, which was nominated for best drama, actress for Kate Winslet (soooooo hot), and screenplay. In spite of being very well reviewed, box office stands at just under $2 million.
The Departed did as well as expected, also getting a best drama nod, director, actor for Leo (who is competing with himself in Blood Diamond, although the consensus is it’s not much of a competition), screenplay, and two supporting actor noms for Jack Nicholson and Mark Whalberg. After picking up the Boston critics award for supporting actor as well, Whalberg’s Oscar chances are picking up steam. Left out of the supporting actor category was Blood Diamond’s Djimon Hounsou, who’s probably losing steam in spite of taking the supporting actor award from the National Board of Review.
You’ve probably already heard that Clint Eastwood was nominated twice in the directing category for Flags of our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima, although neither got a nom for picture and the consensus is almost unanimous that Letters is the superior film. It did manage to land a best foreign language film nomination, along with Apocalypto, which I can’t disagree with but there’s also something strange about seeing pics by Eastwood and Mel Gibson in the foreign language category. The other foreign noms went to The Lives of Others, which is supposed to be extraordinary, Guiermo Del Torro’s Pan’s Labyrinth- which I’m really, really excited about- and Pedro Almodovar’s Volver. The real competition is between those three, with the edge probably going to Pan’s Labryinth, which has taken most of the critics awards.
Dreamgirls, which many regard as the frontrunner for the best picture Oscar this year and opens limited this weekend, fueled the fire with nominations for picture, actress for Beyonce, supporting actress for Jennifer Hudson (also the Oscar frontrunner), and supporting actor for Eddie Murphy. Do you see what happens when you do something besides those awful- albeit profitable- family movies about you babysitting several hundred demon children? How that guy went from soliciting sex from a transvestite hooker to being the leading box office draw for family audiences is a total mystery to me.
Just a few other small notes on the proceedings: Ben Affleck resurrected some dignity with a supporting actor nod for Hollywoodland. No directing nod for Bill Condon for Dreamgirls seems like a mistake the Academy is likely to remedy, probably by booting Clint’s Flags nomination. Big congrats to Clint Mansell’s nomination for his Fountain score, although the award should go to Gustavo Santaolalla’s beautiful, haunting work on Babel. And, at the risk of stepping on the toes of my tvgasm colleagues, no acting nod for Denis Leary on Rescue Me? I know the Globes like to nominate newer shows, but that’s a travesty. That guy should win just for the scene when he figure out his ex is sleeping with his brother.
You can check out a full list of the nominees here. Be sure to check in Monday for the box office wrap.