As the Golden Globes Turn
I didn't post earlier today about this morning's Golden Globe nominations because, frankly, I was too frigging cold. The furnace went out in my apartment last night, right around the time it hit 10°F in Hartford. I woke up this morning the spitting image of Rose DeWitt Bukater Dawson, clinging to my little plank, blowing on a whistle, realizing that the only omitted touch that could have made that scene in Titanic any more gruesome would have been a little pile of papers floating next to Rose, waiting to be graded. (It's the end of the semester, honey, and there just aren't enough boats.)
I do care about the Golden Globes, I do. But I disagree with anybody who says that these nominations really establish anything Oscar-wise. No film is ruined that wasn't already in trouble, and some of the "omissions" were predestined: neither Peter Jackson nor Terrence Malick has recently been this group's cuppa. By the same token, precious few people or films should be taking any Academy nods for granted. To make this all a little more specific, especially since it's all. so. important, here's a category rundown. The nominees in the paler font are the ones I haven't seen, though check back in tomorrow, after I've rumbled in the Kong jungle, and again this weekend, when I've at least tested my quavering suspicions about The Family Stone.
BEST PICTURE (DRAMA): Brokeback Mountain; The Constant Gardener; Good Night, and Good Luck.; A History of Violence; Match Point
I didn't expect Munich to be a major nominee, guessing that it would only cop Picture and Director nods, so I admit that I'm a little surprised to see Match Point in its slot (at least, that's the way I read it). I'm not totally ready to hand Brokeback Mountain the Oscar just yet, but like Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility a decade ago, it at least looks to have the Globe all sewn up. (My own vote as of now, before seeing the others: A History of Violence)
BEST PICTURE (MUSICAL/COMEDY): Mrs. Henderson Presents; Pride & Prejudice; The Producers; The Squid and the Whale; Walk the Line
Four inevitabilitiesThe Producers benefits from the HFPA's total suckerdom for filmed Broadway musicalsbut I thought Squid's spot would get gobbled by Wallace & Gromit. I'm delighted to see Squid mentioned, which would narrowly get my vote over the radiant Pride & Prejudice, but I'm suspicious we're going to be asked to stomach a Walk the Line sweep all through this M/C division.
BEST DIRECTOR: Woody Allen; George Clooney; Peter Jackson; Ang Lee; Fernando Meirelles; Steven Spielberg
As you can see, I don't have much room to comment quality-wise, though again, check back tomorrow. Lee is the obvious choice for the win, though the HFPA does love to shake it up in this category, so Woody Allen is a close alternative, and Clooney and Jackson should at least show up in dressy shoes. (Note, too, that you can smuggle a Cronenberg film into the party, but you can't make it too obvious.) Updated: Jackson has it all over Clooney and Meirelles, but I'd still say there's room for others to surpass him in my esteem.
BEST ACTRESS (DRAMA): Maria Bello; Felicity Huffman; Gwyneth Paltrow; Charlize Theron; Zhang Ziyi
Prediction-wise, a two-way race between Huffman and Zhang, who seems like the sort of fashion-plate dumpling that the HFPA favors when they aren't guilted into a Brenda Blethyn. I'm giving Zhang the edge. Meanwhile, I'm hoping Bello didn't just introduce unnecessary category confusion into her campaign, and I hope Paltrow and Theron get to share a table and knock back some Cosmopolitans in the name of all that is blonde. (Gwynnie was good in her movie, and since she seems to be the target of some kind of popular-favor fatwa these days, I admit I'm pleased for her. Still voting for Bello, though.)
BEST ACTOR (DRAMA): Russell Crowe; Philip Seymour Hoffman; Terrence Howard; Heath Ledger; David Strathairn
The year's most crowded acting category, and indeed, this is a formidable list. With the certain-to-win Ledger still waiting on my dance card, I'll take the underdog position and confess my ballot goes to Howard, who raised a whole film on his shoulders with nothingno mimicked mannerisms, no star cachetto help him. And it's not just a degree-of-difficulty vote; good as Crowe, Hoffman, and Strathairn were, I think Howard was better...and I'm frankly stunned to see him here. (Fiennes seemed fated.)
BEST ACTRESS (MUSICAL/COMEDY): Judi Dench; Keira Knightley; Laura Linney; Sarah Jessica Parker; Reese Witherspoon
Category make Nick angry. Admittedly, glad Danes is missing. But Where Is Joan Allen??? (cuz that film wasn't no drama). Sacrificing Allen's thistly, funny, sexy, and scary Upside of Anger turn to Sarah Jessica Parker, a stiff wet blanket in the Family Stone trailer, is by far the year's major indignityespecially since you know Parker's only here because she's been such a cutesy ballerina every time she won for Sex and the City. Doesn't matter since Witherspoon's a lock anyway, but that's nearly as dismaying. She's better than I've ever seen her in Walk the Line, but I'll be repeating this from now till March (get used to it, Gabriel): if Reese Witherspoon wins the Best Actress Oscar, it'll be the least impressive performance to do so since Sally Field walked her own dusty road in Places in the Heart.
BEST ACTOR (MUSICAL/COMEDY): Pierce Brosnan; Jeff Daniels; Johnny Depp; Nathan Lane; Cillian Murphy; Joaquin Phoenix
Meanwhile, the worst of this year's acting nominees so far as I have seen is certainly Johnny Depp, who shot a bullet of Too Weird right into the beating heart of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and literally killed it from his first entrance. His opposite is Jeff Daniels, who strides into The Squid and the Whale with perfect, lithe confidence, playing someone with gallons of overconfidence, and even if the movie weren't already so special, Daniels would make it so. Kisses to him, but the trophy, obviously, to Phoenix. (Oh, and I was sure Ledger would double-dutch with a Casanova nod, but apparently, he couldn't even squeeze into an already expanded list.)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Scarlett Johansson; Shirley MacLaine; Frances McDormand; Rachel Weisz; Michelle Williams
Johansson's another one whose performance doesn't do it for me in the trailers; her line reading and coy playing of "No one's ever asked for their money back" carries the distinct Chanel of teenagers playing dress-up. Anyone here could win except for McDormandMacLaine is least likely after her, but the HFPA has always really liked her. I'd be casting a strong vote for Weisz myself: an actress I used to dread who bravely played against The Constant Gardener's transparent favorite-choosing among its own characters.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: George Clooney; Matt Dillon; Will Ferrell; Paul Giamatti; Bob Hoskins
A perfectly wide open category, every which way. Clooney will win at least something at the ceremony, and maybe it's easiest to honor him here. The Crash-heads are passionate and legion. Ferrell suits HFPA's celebrity appetites. Giamatti is getting a big, undeserved push. Hoskins is heard to be a delight in a Jim Broadbent role, and seems like a Globes type. With no great choices and no bad ones, I'd check Clooney's name for myself and then forget that I did.
BEST SCREENPLAY: Brokeback Mountain; Crash; Good Night, and Good Luck.; Match Point; Munich
The voters are going to have to work in close concert to make sure Allen gets one prize and Clooney gets one, too. The stories behind both victories are just too lickable for the Globes to pass up. I'm guessing it's Allen here, but GNGL won't sign off easily, and none of the others can be written off, either. (Crash would normally suffer for lacking a Picture nod, but given its reputation for Really Saying Something, I wouldn't rule it out. And with only GNGL to compare it to, I'd vote for it.)
BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM: Kung Fu Hustle (Hong Kong); Merry Christmas (France); Paradise Now (Palestine); The Promise (China); Tsotsi (South Africa)
With Munich and Paradise Now both in contention, I really wish Vanessa Redgrave were going to be around. But I'm betting, based on dust, wisp, and stupid intuition, that the winner comes down to the kinetic Kung Fu Hustle and the purportedly touching and Toronto-stamped Tsotsi.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Brokeback Mountain; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; King Kong; Memoirs of a Geisha; Syriana
Alexandre Desplat is my boy, but the minimalism of his Syriana atmospherics don't really seem like a Globes choice, though it sure outclasses the dull dull dullery of the Narnia tinkling. Brokeback will notch one here on the way toward its morning-after headline tally. Updated: I tend to like James Newton Howard's scores, and I did again here, so I'd call it about a draw quality-wise with Syriana's.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
Okay, you know what? NO. Just no. This category should have been euthanized so long ago. Every year, the HFPA, just like Oscar, has to scrape together some nonsense, but this year is especially tinny. That Alanis Morissette track over the Narnia credits was close to risible, and yet it's nominated. (A little bit ironicdontcha think?) Mel Brooks did what all the show people do and wrote a new song explicitly to grovel for a trinket. Let's just ignore this category and see if it goes away.
CECIL B. DeMILLE AWARD: Anthony Hopkins
Spool the montage. I want to see him gobble the ground round in Titus, totter around the tablets in Alexander, potter around the greenhouse in Amistad, act with his wig in Instinct, and go crack crazy in Legends of the Fall, and I still want Jodie Foster to call him "inspiring" and "impeccable" in that heavy-lidded, lower-lipped way of hers. If at all possible, I would like this to go on for 39 minutes, with lots of surprise cutaways to see who is drunk.