Thursday, December 15, 2011

Delayed Reactions to the 2011 Golden Globe Nominees

Whatever fame (or infamy) the Golden Globes may possess, there's no doubt that they can be one of the key indicators of how awards season will swing. And in a year where few nominations feel certain, this year's Globe roster is finally helping the race take shape, all while throwing in a few wild cards.

For the full list of nominees, click HERE.

As far as the Best Picture categories go, the HFPA hasn't been to shocking. Long-expected favorites like The Descendants (Drama) and The Artist (Musical/Comedy) are here, in addition to Spielberg's War Horse, which just about screams "Oscar-bait" at the top of its lungs. The inclusion of The Ides of March feels pretty lazy here, as there were certainly stronger and less traditional dramas. And as for Hugo, well, I'll just hold my tongue. The surprise here, though, is that Spielberg's film almost feels like an afterthought. There isn't even a Director nomination for Spielberg. Over in Musical/Comedy, we have another fairly expected lineup, though it's nice to see 50/50 get some recognition along with obvious choices like The Artist and Bridesmaids, though I'll admit that I'm a little surprised that they didn't toss nominations to Young Adult or Crazy, Stupid, Love.

In Best Actor we have another fairly expected lineup, although I'm super-excited that the otherwise ignored Shame managed to score a nod for Michael Fassbender's excellent work, though I suspect this category will come down to Clooney vs. Pitt. As for Musical/Comedy, the choices are very nice, although this is hands-down going to Dujardin.
For Best Actress, Drama will likely come down to either Meryl Streep or Viola Davis. Things could swing in Davis' favor, however, considering that there seems to be a lack of passion around the other aspects of The Iron Lady, whereas The Help has been a huge success. Still-trying-for-an-Oscar Glenn Close or surprising almost-a-sure-thing contender Tilda Swinton could surprise here, but it's highly doubtful. And as for Rooney Mara, she should be thanking her lucky stars that she's here. As well-received as Fincher's take on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has been received thus far, it's the sort of film that, like his other serial killer films (Se7en, Zodiac), will make little to no impact on the awards race (barring some tech nods). As far as comedy goes, it really comes down to three of the 5. Most likely is Michelle Williams, as the HFPA will likely go gaga over the fact that Williams played (mostly successfully) an icon. The only other threats here are Charlize Theron's super-unlikeable character from Young Adult, or Bridesmaids' leading lady Kristen Wiig. Foster and Winslet (Carnage), like Mara in Drama, should simply be thankful for the nominations.

Where the Globes will really prove to be telling, however, is in the Supporting categories, which aren't separated by Musical/Comedy and Drama. For Supporting Actor, there are three possibilities, none of whom come off as a clear front-runner. Yes, Albert Brooks made it in for Drive while everything else about the film was snubbed, but even with his other critics awards, something about this performance doesn't feel like a major threat. There's also Christopher Plummer's lovely turn in Beginners, a performance that has the unrewarded veteran factor on its side. Lastly, there's Kenneth Branagh, who, like Michelle Williams, could score for his lively portrayal of an acting icon.

In Supporting Actress, the HFPA's winner will provide more of an indicator. The Artist's Berenice Bejo could finally gain some traction, or one of the ladies from The Help (Chastain, Spencer) could take the lead. Chastain does have the one-hell-of-a-debut-year factor on her side, and with her work in The Help standing as her most noticeably emotional, it could become the means by which awards bodies reward her for an outstanding year all around. There is room for potential spoilers Janet McTeer (who's been stealing co-star Glenn Close's buzz) or The Descendants' Shailene Woodley, although her lack of experience could go against her.

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