Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Golden Globes Choose Stars over Substance

Today The Golden Globes announced their star studded award nominations. Before I complain about the snubs, I will admit that I have been a fan of the Globes for a long time because they have picked some of my favorite films to win Best picture. Avatar, Atonement and Sweeney Todd were some of my top choices in their respective years and the Globes chose those pictures to win the top categories. However, as much as I like them, I can not help but criticize their choices this year leaving out some of the best films in favor of glamour. 
Best Picture
The Descendants
The Help
The Ides
War Horse
The last time the best picture category was expanded was in 2007 to include 7 films. This year the Globes chose 6 films. The biggest surprise being The Ides of March which up to now had received no attention or any major awards. I have no qualms with Clooney as his films are usually very solid. However, the choice seems more as a way to get the stars on the red carpet than a legitimate nomination. If they were going to expand the category why leave out The Tree of Life which stars Brad Pitt who is already nominated. Other star studded films left out were Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Drive, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Of these films it is arguable to say that The Tree of Life, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close are much more substantial than some the current choices. However they  are also riskier, making them unsafe choices. Of course this is my opinion. To their convenience the Globes also made it easy for The Descendants to be the front runner of this category as it will not have to compete with the Best Picture front runner The Artist. Something tells me that The Descendants should have also been in the comedy category but that's my opinion. 
Best Picture Comedy or Musical
The Artist
Midnight in Paris
My Week with Marilyn
In this category their weren't any surprises. It is clear to say though that the Globes left it easy for The Artist to win even though it is not really a comedy. 
Best Director
Woody Allen, Midnight In Paris
George Clooney, The Ides of March
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
This category is solid. However I can't stop thinking about how they snubbed Terrence Malick, Nicholas Winding Refn, Steven Spielberg, or even Stephen Daldry. I can understand the Malick and Refn snubs considering that Malick would probably not show up to the "party"and Refn is not well know. However Spielberg and Daldry is a mystery to me especially because they are stars and have a following.
Best Actress, Drama
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
The Globes followed the SAG and the BFCA's lead. They nominated the same women and surprisingly it was nice to see Rooney Mara in the category. However some of the more edgier performances like Kirsten Dunst's in Melancholia and Keira Knightley's in A Dangerous Method continued to be ignored. Even the breakout star Elizabeth Olsen continued to be ignored. I wasn't surprised about this one given how unknown she is. Still it is about awarding the best female performances and this list gets it partially right.
Best Actor, Drama
George Clooney, The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio, J Edgar
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Again the Globes followed the SAGs and BFCA. However this time Michael Fassbender got his well deserved nomination and Gosling surprised with not one but two nominations. Gosling is very versatile actor. However given the competition this year it is fair to say that his performance should have been overlooked in favor of Gary Oldman and Michael Shannon who turned in stellar work for their respective films. However given their status as stars, they have less appeal then the nominees. It is fair to say that this is the most glamorous category. 
One last note about this category. Leonardo DiCaprio continues being nominated for a performance that  in my opinion pales in comparison to other performances. As much as I like the actor he has done better work that he has not been recognized for because the marketing behind those films has been weak. Most would agree that this is far from DiCaprio's best work, but this nomination is to get him on the red carpet.
Best Actress Comedy or Musical
Jodie Foster, Carnage
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
Kate Winslet, Carnage
This list is solid for a change. However I would like to note that Michelle Williams performance in My Week with Marilyn is neither comedic or musical. Sure she has some singing numbers. However, that does not automatically make it a musical. Once again this seems more like a convenience to give the award to Michelle Williams. The rest of the actresses rightfully deserve their awards. 
Best Actor Comedy or Musical
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Brendan Gleeson, The Guard
Joseph Gordon Levitt, 50/50
Ryan Gosling, Crazy Stupid Love
Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris
Giving Jean DuJardin a nomination for best comedic performance is once again a convenience on the Globes' part. The film is not a comedy and even though it has comedic moments, it should not be labeled as such. It is definitely not a musical. It is more than obvious that Dujardin will win the award leaving the rest of the nominees with no chance. 
Best Actor Supporting
Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
In this category I have only one complaint. That is Jonah Hill. He is a remarkable comedian and he has a solid performance in this film. However to be getting attention for the role is unthinkable. His nomination reminds me of Mila Kunis last year who received so much attention for her performance in Black Swan but ended up with no Oscar nomination. Hill already received a SAG and BFCA nomination. I suspect he will get an Oscar nomination but his performance pales in comparison to Viggo Mortensen's who even though is surprisingly nominated here for the Globes will ultimately get left out of the Academy. In addition the Globes failed to take a risk with Andy Serkis who also deserves attention for his great performance, Max Von Sydow, Patton Oswalt, Cory Stoll or even Brad Pitt for his incredible turn in The Tree of Life. 
Best Actress Supporting
Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain , The Help
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
The Globes once again snubbed the riskest performances like the SAG and BFCA did. Carey Mulligan who arguably gave her best performance this year for Shame is receiving no love. Vanessa Redgrave who many thought had the best performance for this category has been ignored completely.  The globes also snubbed Melissa McCarthy who many applauded and who received numerous critics awards. Instead they put Jessica Chastain for The Help, arguably her weakest performance of the year and Shailene Woodley for The Descendants who even though is very good pales in comparison to these other contenders.
Best Foreign Language Film
A Separation (Iran)
The Flowers Of War (China)
The Kid With The Bike (Belgium)
In The Land Of Blood and Honey (USA)
The Skin I Live In (Spain)
This is a well rounded category. However In the Land of Blood and Honey is on this list because Angelina Jolie is going to the awards with her husband Brad Pit and as a result they figured they should just nominate her even though the film is partially in English and also American. That makes perfect sense. 
Best Animated Feature
The Adventures of Tintin
Arthur Christmas
Cars 2
Puss in Boots
The biggest surprise here is Cars 2 which seems more like a custom to nominate Pixar every year than actual merit. As a result they left out the Kung Fu Panda 2 and  Winnie the Pooh.
Best Screenplay
Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen
The Ides of March, George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon
The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius
The Descendants, Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
Moneyball, Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin
The biggest surprise here is the nomination for The Ides of March leaving out War Horse, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Take Shelter, Shame, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Drive, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. 
Best Score
The Artist, Ludovic Bource
W.E., Abel Korzeniowski
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Hugo, Howard Shore
War Horse, John Williams
The score branch is solid except for the W.E nomination. They had to nominate Madonna's film for something so she could walk the red carpet and even though the score is wonderful it feels more like a rehash of the phenomenal score to A Single Man from 2009. It's great to see the Globes giving attention to films that have received none but it would be better if they did it because they believed these films actually merited it and not to boost their television ratings.
Best Original Song
“Hello Hello” – “Gnomeo & Juliet – Elton John
“Lay Your Head Down” – “Albert Nobbs” – Sinead O’Connor
“The Living Proof” – “The Help” – Mary J. Blige
“The Keeper” – “Machine Gun Preacher” – Gerard Butler
“Masterpiece” – “W.E.” – Madonna
Once again Madonna, Mary J. Blige, Elton John and Gerald Butler have received nominations for their work. The Globes always find a way to bring the biggest celebrities to what they call "the biggest party of the year." I don't doubt they worked hard on these songs but why would they leave The Muppets out which have some of the best songs in a film this year. The answer: TELEVISION RATINGS. 
In conclusion the Globes have opted for safer films like Moneyball, The Help and The Ides of March and have left out the edgier and daring films that have proven to evolve the art form this year such The Tree of Life, Melancholia, Drive, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, A Dangerous Method, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Shame. 

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