Well kids, it’s that time of year again. Decorations are going up, presents are being wrapped, credit card limits are spiking. And nominations for the biggest award ceremonies in film are starting to roll out like so many moldy, blood-red carpets. Although the total number of festivals, organizations, guilds, and cities that have their own awards each year are beyond count, the two most “prestigious” ones (or at least the most well-known) are, obviously, the Golden Globes (for both movies and TV) and the Academy Awards, or Oscars (just for movies).
Now, it’s always important to remember at this time of year that, of course, there is no objectively “best” film, or score, or performance, or art direction, or makeup, etc. etc. All these awards are purely subjective opinions of the people who vote for them (which are usually very small, VERY exclusive groups), so there is never any requirement to accept any of the awards these people give out as valid.
However, I would be lying if I said that I did not enjoy Awards season. Not because I think the Academy and the Foreign Press Association are more “objective” than other film organizations (they aren’t) or because I agree with all of their choices (I don’t), but because awards season gives us all an excuse to take a pause and remember the truly great films of the year gone by, whether they get their proper due or not, and why. If nothing else, the Golden Globes and Oscars are a great starting point for good discussion about what makes a “great” film, or the “best” film. And for that, I appreciate what these people do, even if it sometimes sets my teeth on edge.
With that, on to the Golden Globes, whose nominees were announced earlier this week (the actual ceremony will take place on January 13). A full breakdown of the categories and nominations can be found here.
So who are the major players this year, and who will end up getting snubbed? The nominations are actually spread out pretty well, which the FPA is known for. Lincoln, predictably (and deservedly) has the lead with 7 nominations (and will definitely win at least a couple). Argo and Django Unchained (neither of which I have seen nor will see by next month) are up for 5 apiece, and Les Mis, Zero Dark Thirty, and Silver Linings Playbook are up in 4 separate categories. Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, Life of Pi, and Moonrise Kingdom got a few nods as well.
I am quite pleased with the array of films present on the list, but, as always, there are plenty of “forgotten” films to go around, some predictable, others understandable (but no less frustrating). The Master did not get nominated for Best Drama, Cabin In The Woods (still my personal #3 for the year) was ignored for Best Comedy, and Beasts of the Southern Wild is nowhere to be seen. The two that bother me the most, however, is the complete absence of both Cloud Atlas and The Secret World of Arrietty. Cloud Atlas was out there enough that I can understand the FPA overlooking it, but I sincerely hope the Academy rectifies that with their nomination list (which comes out next month, I am told). And as for Arrietty, although I’m not convinced it’s the BEST animated film of the year, I do take umbrage with the fact that both it and Paranorman were passed over for Hotel Transylvania and Frankenweenie.
My own personal frustrations nonetheless, this is a pretty solid lineup of movies, and I am excited to see how things play out next year. It’s a shame Ricky Gervais will not be 4-peating his brilliant performances of the last 3 years as host, but Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are a damn good alternative.
I’ve always found it to be particularly interesting to see how the FPA and the Academy diverge with who they give out accolades to. There is plenty of overlap with who gets what, but every now and then they will split on the “major” awards. Cameron’s Avatar took both Best Director and Best Drama in 2009, whereas the Oscars for both of those categories went to its big rival, The Hurt Locker. The very next year, The Social Network took those same awards at the Globe, whereas the more straight-laced, traditional King’s Speech took the Academy Awards for both. With the bevy of excellent films to choose from, along with the high praise being garnered by both Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty, it should be another interesting year for both the FPA and the Academy.
To conclude this brief reflection, I present to you my personal ballot for the Golden Globes, who I would vote for were I a member of the FPA (note- I’m only voting for categories where I’ve seen enough of the films to be able to express a reasonable opinion). Enjoy:
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:
Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey” Come on. Maggie Smith. Please.
Best Animated Feature:
“Wreck-It-Ralph”- I’d much rather vote for Arrietty, but, again, I don’t have that choice. Brave was just a bit too hectic to get my vote.
Best Original Score:
John Williams, “Lincoln”- It’s not his “biggest” soundtrack, but its subtleties compliment Spielberg’s direction perfectly, as always.
Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Best Supporting Actor:
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”
Best Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams, “The Master” AND Sally Field, “Lincoln”- I really don’t want to pick between these two. Can’t we just call it a draw?
Best Actor, Drama:
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”- Sorry Joaquin. I really am.
Best Actress, Drama:
Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
Best Picture, Musical or Comedy:
Best Picture, Drama:
“Lincoln”- QUALIFIER: Pending my viewing of Zero Dark Thirty, this may change by the time the Oscars role around.