Golden Globes Reflections
Best Picture Drama: The Descendants
This was a weird category; looking at it, I can’t help but feel like, “There were definitely better dramatic movies than this.” I would pit Take Shelter against any of these six movies. It was heartbreaking and effective and serious as a heart attack. For that matter, where is The Tree of Life? I thought that was gold-plated awards bait. I didn’t like it, but it’s the kind of movie that critics and I tend to part ways on. It wasn’t enjoyable for me, but it had artistry to spare. It was absolutely choking on it.
I guess of the six movies that actually made the cut, I can buy that The Descendants was the best. It was a little messy, but it was heartfelt, well-acted all around.
Best Picture Musical or Comedy: The Artist
Seeing this movie this afternoon. I love the trailer; it looks like an amalgam of A Star is Born, Singin’ in the Rain, and a Chaplin tragicomedy all by way of France. All four other movies in contention were enjoyable, but I don’t have trouble believing The Artist had them fairly beat.
Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
There are some arguments to be made here: My Week With Marilyn is not a comedy, at least not as far as the character of Marilyn is concerned. (When Kenneth Branagh as Olivier is onscreen, it is definitely funny.) I’ve heard arguments for the movie as a musical, because Marilyn sings as least one song, in a movie which other characters are watching. But let’s be honest here–somebody just wanted to stack this deck for Williams, maybe because come Oscar time her impersonation will be competing against Streep’s impersonation (of Margaret Thatcher) and Glenn Close’s impersonation (of a man). Anyway, I’m glad for Williams; she’s an excellent actress, but also she always seems so sad. Like a real tortured artist.
But I would have given it to Charlize Theron for Young Adult.
Best Actress Drama: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
I haven’t seen this movie yet; nor am I particularly interested in seeing this movie. It looks terrible, and unlike most political high dramas, it doesn’t have a lot of pedigree behind the camera. (From the director of Mamma Mia? Really?) This is probably not going to be Meryl’s The Queen. Except it might be, because she won last night. And it’s hard to deny Streep an award, both because she’s brilliant but also because she’s such a daffy, adorable presence on stage. I didn’t really have a horse in this race either; I’ve only seen Rooney Mara’s performance so far, which is wonderful. I’m sure Tilda Swinton is divine as usual, I’m sure Viola Davis is as good as everybody says. If everybody is deserving, it’s a little harder to get bent out of shape about who wins.
Best Actor Comedy: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
I haven’t seen The Artist yet, although I probably will later today. I like this guy, though. He is the main draw for me for this movie, after having seen the trailer a couple of times. He dances, he makes adorable broad silent film actor gestures, he gets despairing, and he does it all with a sort of French Gene Kelly energy that I am eager to see in action. I wish Joseph Gordon-Levitt had received more attention for 50/50, but what can you do?
Best Actor Drama: George Clooney, The Descendants
In last week’s Entertainment Weekly, Clooney and Viola Davis were interviewed (together, as they are close friends IRL apparently), and they are talking about The Help and Bridesmaids and successful women-centered films in general. And Clooney says “When a man hits 40 is when roles just begin to happen. And for women it doesn’t happen. I find that to be a very concerning issue.” (Muddled grammar is all his.) This isn’t a unique insight, people like Streep and like Susan Sarandon have been talking about this for years. I think it’s interesting because Clooney is on the opposite side of this equation–he’s the man in his 40s who, additionally, just keeps getting better and better looking. He could easily coast for the next twenty-five years, and I think it’s very cool of him that he doesn’t. He almost always appears in interesting, complicated movies, and he directs some of them, too. Plus he’s all running around the Sudan trying to fix things there, too. Did you see Cloons during the show breaks last night? He was always running up to somebody, shaking hands, chatting in that intense-friendly way that charming people do. He knows how to dial that down, though; he did in both The Ides of March and in The Descendants. In short, I think he’s a great actor, who works really hard, and so is deserving of any praise that he gets. And I thought it was hilarious the way he gave Michael Fassbender his due for Shame by way of a dirty joke. (But how did they feel about it in the morning?)
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help
Octavia Spencer’s IMDb page is quite entertaining. She has played at least ten roles that are identified as “Nurse.” Apparently, to casting directors she looks like a standard-issue large sassy black nurse. She’s getting attention for a role where she got to play a character who is more fully-rounded (or so I hear; haven’t seen The Help yet) and that’s a great thing for her. I think her only real competition for the Oscars will be Jessica Chastain, who could be nominated for any of three movies she gave excellent performances in this year: The Help, Take Shelter, or The Tree of Life. Maybe she’ll split her own vote; it happens. I don’t think Berenice Bejo or Shailene Woodley have enough presence to sneak in there. Janet McTeer has been nominated before, but I’m hoping everybody’s going to forget Albert Nobbs before Oscar noms come out. (Have I mentioned how little interest I have in that movie?)
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
This was my one real “Yay!” of the night. For real, Plummer is so good in this movie. I like Albert Brooks, I like Viggo Mortenson (and as I said in my previous entry, he looks like he’s chewing that scenery up in A Dangerous Method). Branagh was highly entertaining as Laurence Olivier in My Week With Marilyn. But Plummer was everything: strong and vulnerable, sick but full of life, old but energetic. His part is played entirely in flashback; when the movie opens his character has died. The scenes that he is in make the scenes that he is absent from all the sadder because we miss him. (He actually had a great year; he gives quite a striking supporting performance in Dragon Tattoo as well.) Time to give this elder statesman of Hollywood an Oscar already.
Best Director: Martin Scorsese, Hugo
The Ides of March was a bit rote, The Descendants was tonally all over the place. Midnight in Paris was an enjoyable little romantic comedy, but maybe a bit too straightforward to really get any attention, especially when any award-giving organization knows that they can give Woody Allen the Best Screenplay as compensation. So the two contenders here were Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist and Scorsese. In other words, sorry, Newcomer. We’ll see if the Oscars does the same.
Best Screenplay: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
At the Oscars, young upstarts have managed to take the screenplay category: see Diablo Cody for Juno (2008) and Dustin Lance Black for Milk (2009). The Golden Globes tends to skew a bit more towards the tried-and-true. So Will Reiser of 50/50 fame wasn’t even nominated. Nor the writer-directors of Martha Marcy May Marlene or Take Shelter or Another Earth or a zillion other impressive, original movies that came out this year. The Oscars, by separating Original and Adapted Screenplays, gets to branch out a little bit, and I look forward to that. And I hope one of the upstarts beats Allen over there. It’s a much clearer field than Adapted, which is will be majorly clogged with The Descendants (book), The Help (book), Hugo (book), The Ides of March (play), Moneyball (book), War Horse (play), My Week With Marilyn (book), Carnage (play), Albert Nobbs (play, I think), The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (book), and We Need to Talk About Kevin (book) all in pretty serious contention for 5 slots.
Best International/Foreign Language Film: A Separation
Critics have been saying that if this film was not a foreign language picture from Iran that it would be in contention for Best Picture full-stop. It’s at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and 94 on Metacritic. Best Foreign Language film is good compensation. It’s probably a lock.
Best Animated Feature: The Adventures of Tintin
I had no interest in any of these animated movies, and I don’t think the HFP did either. “Eh, just give it to Spielberg. Next.”
Best Song: “Masterpiece,” W.E.
Good for Madonna. Lovely dress.
Best Score: Ludovic Bource, The Artist
I wanted Reznor & Ross for this one (they did The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). The music in that movie, like the score they did for The Social Network, is dark and cold and lonely, and it evokes emotion without using hackneyed sweeps and key changes. Still, being a silent film, The Artist will have used music in a different way than every other film on the screens this year. So I can assume that it did that well.