Friday, December 14, 2007

2008 Golden Globe Nomination Reax -- Movies

I meant to get to this yesterday, but between computer problems, the Mitchell Report, an office lunch and general exhaustion, I failed.

The Golden Globe nominations are always a good chance to look at the state of affairs when it comes to Oscars, but also to mock the Hollywood Foreign Press, so I'll do that.

Since my Zap2it colleague Rick took the trouble to format the nominees, I'll just react to everything as best as I can after the bump. I guess this'll be long. And probably pointless. They *are* just the Golden Globe nominations after all...

I've split my reactions into movies and TV nominations. The movie nomination reactions are below. The TV reactions will be in a different post. Maybe later today, maybe over the weekend.

Click through...

Best Picture, Drama

"American Gangster"
"Eastern Promises"
"The Great Debaters"
"Michael Clayton"
"No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

REACTION: Seven nominees? Way to go out on a limb. I haven't seen "The Great Debaters," but I have friends who assure me that it has no place on this list. I know that "American Gangster" doesn't belong here. And as much as I'd never hesitate to salute David Cronenberg, "Eastern Promises" falls apart in the end and isn't really worthy of its place. It's a good race between "Atonement" and "No Country For Old Men."

Best Picture, Musical or Comedy

"Across the Universe"
"Charlie Wilson's War"
"Sweeney Todd"

REACTION: Problem: I desperately want to make fun of the selection of "Across the Universe" here, because the trailers were so very bad, but I haven't seen the movie. So I can't. Fortunately, I've seen "Hairspray," so I'm comfortable saying that that slot could have been better occupied by "Waitress," "Once," "Knocked Up," "Superbad," "The Hoax," or even "The Savages." "Sweeney Todd" probably wins here, though this could be a good test of the dark-horse status of "Juno."

Best Actor, Drama

George Clooney, "Michael Clayton"
Daniel Day-Lewis, "There Will Be Blood"
James McAvoy, "Atonement"
Viggo Mortensen, "Eastern Promises"
Denzel Washington, "American Gangster"

REACTION: Looking forward to seeing "There Will Be Blood" and nothing I've seen from the trailers do anything to indicate that Day-Lewis isn't, as always, award worthy. Clooney and McAvoy have a similar Old Hollywood star power that anchors their movies. As much as I'd have removed "Eastern Promises" from the picture field, I'm glad to see Mortensen here. That leaves Denzel Washington for the overhyped, overrated "American Gangster." It's a fine performance but nothing in it offers anything that we haven't seen Denzel do a dozen times. Folks I'd have wanted to see nominated in Washington's place could have included Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Before the Devil Knows You're Dead"), Josh Brolin ("No Country For Old Men"), Christian Bale ("Rescue Dawn"), Joseph Gordon Levitt ("The Lookout"), Joaquin Phoenix ("We Own the Night"), Gordon Pinsent ("Away From Her") and maybe even Emile Hirsch ("Into the Wild"). I'm also not sure which categories Russell Crowe ("3:10 to Yuma," *not* "American Gangster") and Chris Cooper ("Breach") were submitted for, but whether supporting or lead, they deserved consideration. I figure Clooney upsets Day-Lewis here, because the Globes lurv him.

Best Actress, Drama

Cate Blanchett, "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"
Julie Christie, "Away from Her"
Jodie Foster, "The Brave One"
Angelina Jolie, "A Mighty Heart"
Keira Knightley, "Atonement"

REACTION: Because the musical/comedy field is extra strong for actresses this year (more on the misplaced Marion Cotillard later), the actress-drama category is extra weak this year, hence Blanchett and Foster for movies that people hated and Knightley for a good performance that isn't the sort of thing award-watchers usually remember. Thinking back over the year, I have a difficult time thinking of other performances that even deserve to be here. Christie probably wins, but don't under-estimate the HFPA's love for Jolie.

Best Actor, Musical or Comedy

Johnny Depp, "Sweeney Todd"
Ryan Gosling, "Lars and the Real Girl"
Tom Hanks, "Charlie Wilson's War"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Savages"
John C. Reilly, "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story"

REACTION: I probably need to go see "Lars and the Real Girl," don't I? Sigh. Don't feel like it! This category is strange because "The Savages," as I've said before, isn't really a comedy and although funny things happen to Hoffman's character, his isn't a comedic performance. It's a very good performance, but he isn't doing the same things as Hanks or Reilly or Depp. I'd personally have replaced Hanks with Glen Hansard ("Once") or possibly Richard Gere ("The Hoax"). From what I can guess, the other four nominees are really just fodder for Depp anyway. He can't possibly lose.

Best Actress, Musical or Comedy

Amy Adams, "Enchanted"
Nikki Blonsky, "Hairspray"
Helena Bonham Carter, "Sweeney Todd"
Marion Cotillard, "La Vie en Rose"
Ellen Page, "Juno"

REACTION: It wasn't that hated "Hairspray," but this category realistically had four locked-in nominees, with one free-floating spot. It went to Nikki Blonsky solely for being exuberant. It's here that I'd have rather seen Keri Russell ("Waitress"), Marketa Irglova ("Once"), Katherine Heigl ("Knocked Up") or, particularly, Laura Linney ("The Savages"). Don't get me started, though, on Marion Cotillard's presence here. Not only is "La Vie en Rose" not a musical, but Cotillard just lip-synched her role anyway, so if the movie *were* a musical, she wouldn't have anything to do with its musicality. The Globes *love* coronating Hot Young Things and Amy Adams is this year's Hot Young Thing. Unless Ellen Page is this year's Hot Young Thing. Could be interesting!

Best Supporting Actor

Casey Affleck, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"
Javier Bardem, "No Country for Old Men"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Charlie Wilson's War"
John Travolta, "Hairspray"
Tom Wilkinson, "Michael Clayton"

REACTION: It can never be said enough: The Golden Globe voters are -- pardon my vernacular -- star-fuckers. Otherwise there can't be any justification for including John Travolta's mediocre "Hairspray" performance, in which he spoke with one horrible Baltimore accent and then sang in a different voice entirely. If it was a weak year for supporting performances, that would be one thing, but this is the category where we could have had Hal Holbrook ("Into the Wild"), Tommy Lee Jones ("No Country for Old Men"), Philip Bosco ("The Savages"), Irfan Khan ("The Namesake"), J.K. Simmons ("Juno"), Robert Downey Jr. ("Zodiac"), Ed Harris ("Gone Baby Gone") or Ethan Hawke ("Before the Devil Knows You're Dead") and that's just off the top of my head. I'm gonna be rooting for Bardem and Hoffman here, but I wouldn't complain about Affleck.

Best Supporting Actress

Cate Blanchett, "I'm Not There"
Julia Roberts, "Charlie Wilson's War"
Saorise Ronan, "Atonement"
Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone"
Tilda Swinton, "Michael Clayton"

REACTION: Roberts' inclusion is another example of pure-and-simple star-fucking. She's not bad, but she doesn't belong. I also can't really imagine Saorise Ronan getting an Oscar nomination, though I thought she was perfectly worthy, as such things go. The race between Blanchett, Ryan and Swinton may be one of the night's most interesting. Blanchett has the star-power, but Ryan has been scooping up the awards by the dozen. Who else might I have liked to see recognized? Jennifer Jason Leigh ("Margot at the Wedding"), Kelly MacDonald ("No Country For Old Men"), Marisa Tomei ("Before the Devil Knows You're Dead") or Jennifer Garner ("Juno").

Best Director

Tim Burton, "Sweeney Todd"
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men"
Julian Schnabel, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
Ridley Scott, "American Gangster"
Joe Wright, "Atonement"

REACTION: Because the Globes split dramas, musical-comedy and foreign into never-the-twain-shall-meet categories, the melting pot screenplay and director categories are always more interesting and crowded and usually do a better job of foreshadowing the Oscars. In this case, Ridley Scott's inclusion is comical. Not having seen "There Will Be Blood," I can't guarantee that Paul Thomas Anderson's directorial craft is superior, but I'm gonna just make that assumption, eh?

Best Screenplay

Diablo Cody, "Juno"
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men"
Christopher Hampton, "Atonement"
Ronald Harwood, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
Aaron Sorkin, "Charlie Wilson's War"

REACTION: These will eventually be split out into adapted and original screenplays for the Oscars and that's, you know, the sane and reasonable thing to do. How do you compare the Coens' ultra-literal adaptation of "No Country" to Cody's linguistically marvelous, structurally familiar "Juno"? And how do you grade Sorkin for the cushy, light-minded version of "War" that made it to theaters or for the far tougher, far more political script he actually wrote? And how could this list possibly not include Tony Gilroy's "Michael Clayton" script?

Best Original Song

"That's How You Know," from "Enchanted"
"Grace Is Gone," from "Grace Is Gone"
"Guaranteed," from "Into the Wild"
"Despedida," from "Love in the Time of Cholera"
"Walk Hard," from "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story"

REACTION: My motto is that as long as "Lyra" from "The Golden Compass" and that awful Annie Lennox thing from "In the Valley of Elah" aren't nominated, it's all good. That being said, surely there ought to have been room for a song from "Once." This is one of the categories that the Golden Globes are notoriously far separate from the Oscars on.

Best Original Score

Michael Brook, "Into the Wild"
Clint Eastwood, "Grace Is Gone"
Alberto Iglesias, "The Kite Runner"
Dario Marianelli, "Atonement"
Howard Shore, "Eastern Promises"

REACTION: Dario Marianelli's score for "Atonement" is brilliant. Alberto Iglesias' score for "The Kite Runner" is comically cheesy. I really liked what Carter Burwell did on both "The Hoax" and "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead." Somehow Burwell has never been nominated for an Oscar. I don't get that.

Best Animated Film

"Bee Movie"
"The Simpsons Movie"

REACTION: No "Beowulf"? Vaguely interesting. "Persepolis" wasn't eligible, so don't read anything into this.

Best Foreign Language Film

"4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days"
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
"The Kite Runner"
"Lust, Caution"

REACTION: "The Kite Runner" doesn't really belong here, but the Golden Globes have weird eligibility rules. Finally gonna go see "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" this weekend. As it is, I've been very poorly behaved when it comes to foreign language movies this year. Where's "The Orphanage," darnit?


  1. But what do you think of the Mitchell report, dammit?

  2. That's why you've gotta follow my Twitter feed!!!

  3. I don't know what the Mitchell report is, but it's nice to see you give a shout-out to Gordon-Levitt for The Lookout. I love that kid.

    You should see Lars and the Real Girl. I was pleasantly surprised.

  4. As of now, The Lookout is a lock to make my Top 10 of the year. Whether it'll be high or low depends on a few movies I still need to see. Probably "Lars" will have to be one of 'em. But you can't expect me to get excited about it! Probably my going in with low expectations is the best thing that could happen.

    As for The Mitchell Report... Well, it's probably too late for me to blog on it. Don't wanna be all lame and late to the game!


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  6. Huge fan of Once. It's been reported that the songs aren't eligible for an Oscar, so the same may be true for the Globes. Apparently the songs were released on a CD by The Frames after the movie was shot but before the movie was released, which is a violation of the rules.

    But it's also been reported that the same thing happened for the crap-tastic song from Crash that was who knows.

  7. bgt - Only two of the songs from "Once" -- "Falling Slowly" and "If You Want Me" -- are eligible for the Oscar. The exact Oscar requirements for song eligibility are, as always, a complete and utter mystery!


  8. Thanks Daniel - good to know. I would be happy with either "Falling Slowly" (the duet on the piano at the music store) or "When Your Minds Made Up" (the first song in the recording studio) had I guess I'm pulling for "Falling Slowly".

    I walked out of the theater saying that if either of those songs didn't win it would be a travesty. Hopefully the voters will agree.

  9. Anonymous12:54 PM

    Let me say too that you should see "Lars and the Real Girl." It's a wonderful movie, and I think you'd be beating the drum for it if you just give it a chance.