Tuesday, December 13, 2016

10 Random Thoughts on the Golden Globe Nominations

Well, it's officially Oscar season, people, as the Golden Globes have issued their proclamations this morning, much to the delight and chagrin of pretty much everyone on the internet (there's always something to love and something to hate here).  I wanted to share my Top 10 thoughts on the film citations (the Globes are cray when it comes to TV and their bizarre category designations, though I'm surprised that Anthony Hopkins didn't get in for Westworld considering he has a significant role and he's so famous, usually prerequisite for such things).  Without further adieu, here are the ten things that stick out to me in particular about this year's Globe nods...

1. Mel Gibson is Back?

Okay, I know that 2016 is very, well, heinous and we shouldn't really say the phrase "did anyone actually expect?" anymore, but Mel Gibson is palatable in Hollywood again?  Really?  I mean, considering the rhetoric coming from PEOTUS you'd think that awards season would be shouting down Gibson to send a message to the world, even if the movie is good (haven't seen it yet, though the plan is to head there tomorrow), but he's factored both here and the BFCA's, and even won a Best Director citation over Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Ben Affleck, and Denzel Washington.  The Globes are more inclined to celebrity nominees (Clint won this award before he was even nominated at AMPAS), but Gibson has now done well at two major precursors to the Oscars.  I think Hacksaw Ridge is a nominee for Best Picture at this point, and Gibson is at least in the Top 7 for directing.

2. Is Sully Done?

A different conservative icon with a long history with awards season didn't fare quite as well, however: Clint Eastwood's Sully ended up completely absent from this morning's announcement.  While I'd like to think this is due to the film being terrible, I am curious why Mel and not Clint, particularly considering people forgave Eastwood quickly in 2012 after the RNC while Gibson has stayed a pariah to the point where he's barely made a movie in the past decade.  Eastwood's absence here is deeply telling, and more so Tom Hanks, whom everyone genuinely loves, not being able to score against underdogs like Viggo Mortensen and Joel Edgerton probably spells the end of his quest once again for a sixth nomination.  Hanks bizarre lack of awards love in the past few years despite ample titles that deserved the nominations (I, for one, gladly would have included him for Saving Mr. Banks), continues to be a head-scratcher for me.

3. Is Best Actor Done?

If Hanks is actually out (I could still see him resurfacing, but probably not), I wonder if we might have our five actors ready and available now, as there aren't many contenders to wrestle with here.  I personally think Ryan Gosling is headed to a win in Comedy/Musical, and should be able to transpose his spot in the Best Picture frontrunner into a nomination, but that means he has to bump someone in Best Actor in a Drama.  Of those five nominees, Washington, Affleck, and Garfield seem pretty set (all feel like nominees), which leaves either Edgerton or Mortensen to be snubbed.  My gut is saying that Edgerton will be done and that the edgier Mortensen sneaks in for AMPAS.  It's possible, of course, that Edgerton stampedes or that Hanks scores with SAG resurrecting his campaign or some Oscar pet (Matthew McConaughey, perhaps?) gets in at the last minute, but part of me thinks this might be settled on five actors already.

4. Best Actress-7 Women Enter...

Best Actress is also starting to solidify (in a year with fewer major populist films, the slates tend to settle pretty quickly), and I think we're looking at five of the following seven women being nominees: Ruth Negga, Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Emma Stone, Natalie Portman, and Annette Bening.

Who gets snubbed is pretty much anyone's guess, but more and more I'm starting to think that this could be Bening and Negga that end up on the fuzzy end of the lollipop.  Negga's nomination, for example, is for a relative unknown in a film that relies on you noticing the subtle, which is going to be hard against showier work from Huppert.  With Bening, the problem is more along the lines of-will people see this movie in time?  It's a comedy that is getting solid reviews, but not to name-check Saving Mr. Banks again, but anyone else getting an Emma Thompson vibe here?  Longtime headliner gets a comedic comeback, and yet she gets bested by more recent Oscar pets Streep and Adams?  I mean, the similarities are all there, and while Thompson has an Oscar (and Bening doesn't, which makes her nomination more urgent), I think you underestimate Adams and Streep at your own risk.

5. Lily Collins-are you kidding me?

Nothing from yesterday morning, nothing, however made me eyeroll with ridiculousness more than seeing Lily Collins truly awful work in Rules Don't Apply get nominated.  I'll admit that I was half-expecting Warren Beatty to make it, him being an icon and all (I no longer think he has a shot at the Oscar nod, for the record, as he needed this to stay in the conversation), but Collins instead is just indefensible.  She's so bad in this movie, not to mention she's not even a famous actress, which would normally be what causes a situation like this.  The Globes actually had decent work from far-more-recognizable actors that they could have gone with here (Kate Beckinsale in Love & Friendship, Sally Field in Hello My Name is Doris), or at least could have gone with a headliner in a hit comedy (Melissa McCarthy in Ghostbusters, Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones), but to go with Collins-I can't even.

6. Supporting Actor-So, Where is this Headed?

I have been a strong defender of Supporting Actor this year, arguably the best field of the race, and have said I wanted some off-the-beaten path nominations, which the Globes delivered.  Alongside expected nominees Jeff Bridges, Dev Patel, and Mahershala Ali, we had the murderous sociopath of Nocturnal Animals Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Simon Helberg's terrible work in Florence Foster Jenkins.  Both are now part of the conversation, but this poses a challenging question of the morning for each film and their campaigns.

After all, now both films have two legitimate threats for the Best Supporting Actor field, as Hugh Grant (category fraud didn't apply today, as he was in lead for FFJ) and Michael Shannon (the one who got the lion's share of praise for Nocturnal and whose dogged determination to be in ten movies this year felt like something AMPAS might acknowledge) are also in the running, and the un-nominated ones are actually more likely to make it than the Globes' cited performances, which is rare.  The last time a film had one actor nominated for the Globes in Supporting Actor and then a different actor with Oscar was 1994 with Quiz Show (John Turturro for the Globes, Paul Scofield for the Oscars).  If these actors split the vote enough, it could lead to a different actor who wasn't part of the conversation at all yesterday morning (Lucas Hedges in Manchester by the Sea, perhaps?) getting in at their expense.

7. Octavia vs. Greta

While you could argue that Nicole Kidman getting in was default Globes stuff, it's a weak year here and everyone expects Kidman to make it into the race as it continues.  That likely means the quartet of Kidman/Harris/Davis/Williams is headed to a nomination, which leaves one more slot to be divided between two women: Octavia Spencer and Greta Gerwig.

I was starting to wonder whether or not Spencer would show in the race-after all, she missed entirely for Fruitvale Station, which I'll state was my favorite Supporting Actress performance of 2013, but she bested Gerwig here and that might be enough to get her Oscar's final slot.  Gerwig could still get in for SAG, and if enough people see the film this could transform, but Gerwig's miss is telling.  For one, Spencer made it despite Gerwig being a former nominee herself (Frances Ha a few years ago, in a big surprise), and her film made it into Best Picture and Best Actress, two categories Spencer's movie couldn't land despite a campaign for both.  That means there's support for Spencer, who has a showy role in a film that looks like it'll be a hit, rather than just people not having heard of Gerwig.  Spencer is also charming in interviews and will work for the nomination in a way, that, say, Michelle Williams might not have were she the fifth place position.  This could change (Gerwig could make it with SAG tomorrow, keeping her in the game), but Spencer scored a critical win this morning.

8. Nocturnal Animals-Globes Pet or Real Threat?

Every year there's at least one film that the Globes go gaga for that randomly doesn't factor anywhere else in the year.  This year, I am wondering if that might be the stylish, mega-star noir Nocturnal Animals.  Critics were mixed on the film, but it still managed a trio of nominations this morning (you have to assume it was darn near Best Picture).  It's stylish, and driven by a celebrity (Tom Ford got in for Best Director), but is it too much for AMPAS?  It's hard to imagine people making it three minutes into their screeners considering the opening credits, much less all the way through a very dark, violent, and cold thriller.  Still, the Globes did it a favor in terms of its FYC ads, and Ford wants to be taken seriously as a film artist-you know he'll work for it.

9. Is Justin Timberlake Going to be an Oscar nominee?

Argh-really?  I had to put up with Lady Gaga's terrible acting eventually lending itself to an Oscar citation-is Timberlake's terrible acting going to do the same thing?  Unless AMPAS goes gaga for one of the original musicals, nominating two songs, I'm thinking this tune's insane popularity all summer is going to be too much for Oscar to ignore.

10. Is Finding Dory lost?

It's very, very rare for the HFPA to go for a foreign language film in this category, and if it was going to, I half-expected it to be The Red Turtle.  Therefore My Life as a Zucchini getting in alongside Zootopia, Kubo, Moana, and Sing was wildly shocking.  It also was particularly eyebrow-worthy because this is only the second time ever (an even higher percentage than with AMPAS) that a Pixar film missed out here, Finding Dory.  Dory is still the highest-grossing domestic film of 2016, but its ho-hum reaction from critics and fans has left it at the edges of the Oscar conversation.  Oscar has never gone for a Disney film in Animated Feature without it also scoring a Globe citation-my gut says this isn't going to be the year to break that record, and instead we'll have a fourway battle between Red Turtle, Your Name, Zucchini, and Sing for Oscar's final two slots.

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