Leave it to the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) to amuse us each year with their nominations for the Golden Globes, which often include laughable, curious and infuriating choices.
Many in the entertainment community watch with bemusement, others with astonishment, peeved by how this group of approximately 80 unheralded folks with foreign press credentials managed to shoehorn themselves and their annual fete into the early stages of the awards season, thereby yielding undue influence on all that follows, power which inevitably flows to the first bidders in any enterprise.
This year’s whoppers and head-scratchers only serve to reinforce the perennial whispers and scuttlebutt about the value and seriousness of the people behind the Globes.
Behold these nominations in the Motion Picture categories:
Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Burlesque: That’s right, folks. Burlesque! OK, I admit I enjoyed this campy film and recommended it, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to make my Top 10 List, or that it deserves nomination in any category that includes the word “Best”. Perhaps members of the foreign press are making fun of Americans and our small-town-girl-goes-to-the-big-city-to-make-it dreams. This may be the single most ridiculous nomination since Pia Zadora was named “Best New Star of the Year” in 1982 for her role in Butterfly. At least Christina Aguilera can sing. Still, one must ask: Is Burlesque the new Butterfly? Is Donald De Line, Producer of Burlesque, the new Meshulam Riklis?
Alice In Wonderland: An ambitious failure, a dark, uninviting film, bearable only because of Mia Wasikowska who is strangely absent from the nomination list notwithstanding stellar performances in Alice and The Kids Are All Right. At least she won the Australian Film Institute International Award For Best Actress for Alice.
Red: I didn’t even see this film, and I still feel confident in my astonishment over it’s nomination.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Johnny Depp: The Mad Hatter, aka Frank Tupelo, pulls a double, with nominations for Alice In Wonderland and The Tourist. Only problem is, Depp gave performances in both films that are not up to his usual standards. An actor who often makes intriguing choices (witness Jack Sparrow), he missed the mark in Alice. As my review of Alice, noted, he “offers a take on the Mad Hatter that emphasizes the mad, leaving us intrigued by his immersion in character but making it difficult for us to connect deeply with who he is.” In The Tourist he plays a common guy, a man lacking pizzazz, even bland. Nothing special. Why then is he nominated? Is this a case of star power blinding good judgment? Or perhaps the HFPA is hedging its bets, trying to fill seats at the Golden Globes with glittering stars to attract a television audience that wants to see their favorite screen icons slicing steaks and sipping wine in dapper tuxedos and slinky evening gowns at an intimate affair broadcast to the world. But two nominations? Did Depp’s publicist intimate that making the event was not high on Johnny’s list, even if nominated, making a double nomination the proverbial rabbit pulled out of the HFPA’s hat to ensure his participation? What star could deny such lavish, redundant attention?
Best Animated Feature Film
How To Train Your Dragon and Despicable Me garnered nominations. These films were reasonably interesting but ultimately failed in rousing my critic’s thumb. Both contained strong elements in potentially compelling stories but couldn’t pull it off. They each seemed one re-write away from figuring out how to make it work.
Best Foreign Language Film
I Am Love, with Tilda Swinton, is beautiful to look at. It could have nabbed a cinematography nod, if the Globes included such. But it’s hard to accept a film receiving a nomination in a Best Film category when its plot is thin and the ending melodramatic. Another case of potential unmet.
My picks? Stay tuned. Revealing personal favorites when awards season is just getting started seems, well, a bit premature. Kinda like the Golden Globes.
The complete list of Golden Globe nominees is here.
Of All TimeShowdowns
Movie vs. Movie Theaters & Cinemas
Test Your Skill