They are only one month and one day away and will likely bring a pretty clear view to the 2007 gold derby. The Golden Globe nominations, voted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, are a challenging operation to grasp. Once considered a bit of a joke around Hollywood they have – for a good two decades now – become their own event. They are televised to high(ish) ratings and with nearly all the nominees in attendance. And their tendency to award celebrities or more populist fare and their inclusion of alcohol in the night’s program have given the Globes a reputation as Oscar’s fun-loving, star-fucking offspring.
I’ll get into my 2007 predictions after a bit more Globe discussion.. after the jump.
The Globes’ ability to predict the Oscars is very accurate. Divided into separate categories (one for drama and one for comedy/musical), the awards are also surprisingly willing to take chances in giving major nominations to smaller, riskier films (A History Of Violence, Mulholland Drive) or often-ignored comedies (Borat, Best in Show). This occasionally opens the door for these films to mount campaigns for the following month’s Oscars. Hilary Swank’s win for Boys Don’t Cry in 2000 is an often cited example of a small film that got a big push from Golden Globe. But for every great deed the Globes do, there’s about five things they do that are quite the opposite. Recent examples that come to mind are 2005’s nod for The Producers in Best Picture (Musical or Comedy); Sharon Stone’s mind-boggling double nods for the forgettable The Muse and A Mighty Heart (not to be confused with another likely nominated film this year); and Arnold Schwarzenneger’s 1995 Actor bid for Junior. Getting entertaining personalities into the auditorium and possibly on to the stage seem like a partial modivation, but there is perhaps more to the story than just that.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association was founded by a group of Los Angeles based journalists working for overseas publications. The actual awards work as a fundraiser to raise millions of dollars worth of donations for entertainment-based charities and scholarships. Less than 90 people actually vote for the awards.
Five years ago, a documentary detailing the awards, The Golden Globes: Hollywood’s Dirty Little Secret, brought to light some information most people in show-business were already aware of. Director-narrator Vikram Jayanti was quoted by CNN.com:
It’s an emperor-has-no clothes story. We all think it’s like an august organization with hundreds of really reputable film journalists and critics.
He finds many of the HFPA members have reputaions more as “star-struck fans and moochers” than serious reporters. L.A. Weekly film critic John Powers was quoted in the documentary as saying the group’s members are “essentially bottom feeders around the industry, who’ve somehow been inflated this point where their judgement is supposed to be very, very important.”
I interviewed an anonymous filmmaker who has submitted films to the HPFA:
You have to book a screening time with them in LA and provide catering. If enough of them show up and are impressed they will ask for a follow up “press conference” with anyone they are considering for a nomination. Unlike the Oscars, gifts are definitely allowed. For a smaller film, one might supply each of the voters with, say, the star’s biography personally autographed. Rumor has it Sharon Stone wrote a personal thank you note to each member after her press conference. For a large film, it has happened that the studio offers to fly the members junket-style to an exciting location like New York and put them up at a lovely top class hotel, provide catering and entertainment along with access to the cast. Not every voter accepts that kind of trip, from outside appearances it seems that many do.
This is all incredibly interesting considering noted comparisons between the Globes and the Oscars. The Oscars are voted upon by nearly 6,000 members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, yet their nominations (and winners) are generally 75% in line with the Globes. It makes one think about how many of them strike their ballots based on how the 80-odd “bottom feeders” felt a month prior.
That said, and taking it into consideration, Im going to switch gears and suggest what might become of December 13’s nominations. “Bottom feeders” or not, its impossible to ignore their influence on the awards race as a whole. Ranked per category (with six choices, as they tend to provide six, or even seven, nominations multiple times each year), here’s my best bet:
BEST PICTURE: DRAMA
2. American Gangster
3. No Country For Old Men
4. Into The Wild
5. Michael Clayton
6. Charlie Wilson’s War
With The Kite Runner forced into the Foreign category in the last year before those rules change, these six seem like likely competition. There Will Be Blood and Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead might be too dark for the HFPA, but this hasn’t always stopped them in the past, and they are ones to look out beyond those six. And you never know if one or two surprise nominees will jump in (nominees that don’t end up factoring in this category much beyond the Globes). Every year has one – some bad decisions: 2006 (Bobby), some better ones: 2005 (Match Point), 2004 (Kinsey) – and this year’s prime suspects for that nomination range from Zodiac to In The Valley of Elah to Eastern Promises (they did nominate A History of Violence after all). But I wonder if there will be any room for a surprise. Other than Charlie Wilson’s War (which who knows if they’ll even get a chance to see), the films I have listed seem like they might be hard for the Globes to ignore, thus leaving Bobbyesque choices for next year. I mean: Epic love story with heavy Oscar buzz (Atonement), critics darling (No Country), money maker (American Gangster), opportunity to star fuck (Wild, Clayton)… Those look like the five nominees to me.
BEST PICTURE: COMEDY OR MUSICAL
2. Sweeney Todd
5. Knocked Up
6. The Savages
Underdog: Across The Universe
The Globes love love a musical more than anything else. Seriously, other than Rent, almost every recent musical has got a best picture nomination (even The Phantom of the Opera!). They even gave more obscure musicals like Hedwig and Dancer in the Dark acting nods (that were beyond deserved, but still, surprising). So this year they are faced with quite the task: There are three musicals aiming for a nod here, and so far, 2 of them are pretty damn good (not to mention, Across The Universe, which got decent reviews and box office, and is perhaps an out-of-nowhere possibility here). With Sweeney‘s pedigree hard to ignore, all three will likely find themselves fighting off three critically acclaimed comedies: Juno (which is definately in), Knocked Up and The Savages. I’d vouch for a six nominee pool, but if one gets lost, I’d say its The Savages. Knocked Up had really excellent reviews and made a ton of money.. its hard to ignore. Other possibilities? Ratatouille would definately be here if it wasn’t for that damned animated category; and Margot at the Wedding and Lars and the Real Girl seemed like surer things a month ago.. Now they’d be genuine surprises.
BEST ACTOR – DRAMA
1. Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
2. James McAvoy, Atonement
3. Denzel Washington, American Gangster
4. George Clooney, Michael Clayton
5. Tommy Lee Jones, In The Valley of Elah
6. Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises
Underdog: Brad Pitt, The Assassination of Jesse James
BEST ACTOR – COMEDY or MUSICAL
1. Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd
2. Seth Rogen, Knocked Up
3. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Savages
4. Ryan Gosling, Lars and the Real Girl
5. Steve Carell, Dan in Real Life
6. Jack Nicholson, The Bucket List
Underdog: Glen Hasard, Once
The men are divided very unevenly (as are the women, but opposite styles.. see below), with the drama category exploding with contenders and the comedy category desperate for them. The opportunity to nominate both Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie might be too much for them to pass up, so Pitt’s definately a possibility. However, fending off Clooney, Hirsch, Cusack, Washington, Mortensen, Jones, Day-Lewis, McAvoy, Hanks.. even Sam Riley and Josh Brolin.. is no easy task, and I wouldn’t bet on it. On the other side, even if Sweeney Todd sucks, Johnny Depp is the frontrunner. None of his competition has a hope in hell for an Oscar nod, and if Depp really, really stinks, then Seth Rogen might have an unexpected moment of awards speeching. This category is also their main opportunity for wacky nominees out of nowhere, such as my suggested Jack Nicholson – which might be a bit conservative in that regard. Past years have seen the likes Chiwetel Ejiofor for Kinky Boots and Kevin Spacey for Beyond The Sea, so maybe I should be looking in a different direction. Nonetheless, I hope Glen Hasard doesn’t lose out because of one of said wacky nominees, though I have a feeling he probably will.
BEST ACTRESS – DRAMA
1. Marion Cotillard, La Vie En Rose (?)
2. Julie Christie, Away From Her
3. Keira Knightley, Atonement
4. Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart
5. Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
6. Jodie Foster, The Brave One
Underdog: Laura Linney, Jindabyne
BEST ACTRESS – COMEDY or MUSICAL
1. Ellen Page, Juno
2. Nicole Kidman, Margot and the Wedding
3. Helena Bonham Carter, Sweeney Todd
4. Laura Linney, The Savages
5. Amy Adams, Enchanted
6. Nikki Blonsky, Hairspray
Underdog: Keri Russell, Waitress
There is no confirmation that Marion Cotillard will be the drama category, but its certainly in the best interest of everyone but Julie Christie that she is. The comedy category is packed, leaving the likes of Amy Adams, Katherine Heigl, Keri Russell and Nikki Blonsky – shoo-ins any other year – scrambling to compete with bonafide Oscar contenders like Page and Linney. I truly believe Page has this one in the bag if Cotillard steps over to the other side, where her only competition is Chrisitie and maybe Keira Knightley. Jolie, Blanchett, Foster and maybe even Halle Berry will benefit from the no-show category to get nods for films thats buzz fizzled before the opening weekend numbers were out. And who knows who else might pop up? Remember Scarlett Johannson for A Love Song For Bobby Long?
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men
2. Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton
3. Hal Holbrook, Into The Wild
4. Alan Rickman, Sweeney Todd
5. Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James
6. John Travolta, Hairspray
Underdog: Sasha Baron Cohen, Sweeney Todd
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1. Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There
2. Saoirse Ronan, Atonement
3. Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton
4. Jennifer Garner, Juno
5. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Margot at the Wedding
6. Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Underdog: Leslie Mann, Knocked Up
On the male side, Rickman and Travolta, likely not in the Oscar race, are real contenders here in a very crowded category. The Globes did give Will Ferrell a nod here two years back for The Producers, afterall (and if he’s really good, watch for Sacha Baron Cohen as well). Philip Seymour Hoffman, Albert Finney, Ethan Hawke, Philip Bosco and Paul Dano are just a few that I’m leaving off the list that could easily make it in, with only Bardem and Wilkinson solidified candidates in my opinion. Casey Affleck has a much better shot here than at the Oscars, so I have a good feeling about his slot. As for the women, I think, like Affleck, Jennifer Jason Leigh will benefit from the Globe’s press-friendly ways. Both Affleck & Leigh were front runners around TIFF time, but now have fallen down the wayside… Leigh has some competition though, with Blanchett (who Im pretty sure will win), the Atonement girls, Swinton (a nominee at the Globes before), Ryan and maybe Tomei all in this race. Look for Garner (a Globe fave) to secure a nod here but lose it at the Oscars to someone like Vanessa Redgrave. And theres always Julia Roberts, who can never be underestimated, especially here. And despite a crowded field, look out for Leslie Mann: the Globes are likely to love Knocked Up, and she might (deservedly) join that party.