Now that the Golden Globes ceremony has been officially canceled, the only thing we can look forward to this year is the clip montage playing before the “news conference”, if it is approved by the writers of course. There is no Red Carpet, no speeches, no hosts, no celebrities, absolutely nothing. But this doesn’t mean that the awards won’t be given out – they have to be and they will be. Here are my predictions for this year’s Golden Globes (I am only doing the film nominees, because TV sucks. If you don’t believe me the new episode of “Supernatural” is playing right now and if you check it out, you will agree with me completely.):
Best Motion Picture Drama:
Atonement (should win)
The Great Debaters
No Country for Old Men (will win)
There Will Be Blood
A record high of eight nominees for this category signals Hollywood’s desperation to sell the ‘high quality’ of current cinema in a false “we couldn’t just pick five’ way. This tactic would be easier to forgive if clunkers like Eastern Promises and Michael Clayton were not nominated, but here they are. They replace better films like Gone Baby Gone and Into the Wild just to name a couple, though I could name 50+ films that I enjoyed more than the latest, unfortunately successful attempt at copying Steven Soderbergh’s comatose filmmaking style, and David Cronenberg’s penis-wagging history lesson on the Russian mob. Speaking of sex organs, it may be too risky for the HFPA to pick Keira Knightley’s wet cunt over the other nominees’ political correctness – an unfortunate reveal of their need to keep sexism high (note their embrace of the woman-lacking There Will Be Blood) and objectivity low. In the end, The Coens’ compelling No Country for Old Men will win, if only because choosing between two Denzel Washington movies of about equal quality may prove too tall an order even for them.
Best Motion Picture Musical/Comedy:
Across the Universe
Charlie Wilson’s War
Juno (will win)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (should win)
Surprisingly, the nominees in this category are pretty on par this year (though not putting I’m Not There in this list shows a confusion among voters about which genre it falls into), with the inclusion of Across the Universe being the most pleasant surprise. I am also happy that Charlie Wilson’s War has been recognized as what it truly is – a comedy with a dramatic pay-off much stronger than anyone could have imagined. While Juno rubbed me the wrong way by copying last year’s Little Miss Sunshine‘s seemingly innocent quirk, it is worthy of an inclusion on the list, but not a win. The win should be garnered by one of the musicals, preferably the bloody Sweeney Todd – Tim Burton’s redemption for the bad musical numbers in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or Across the Universe – Julie Taymor’s fearless and fun tribute to Beatle-mania. But unfortunately, Hairspray is the musical front-runner and Juno’s biggest competition, and as much as I enjoyed the film -I gave it a solid three stars – it seems too annoying and filled with too many moments that could have been cut and pasted from the tepid High School Musical.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
George Clooney for Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood (should win) (will win)
James McAvoy for Atonement
Viggo Mortensen for Eastern Promises
Denzel Washington for American Gangster
The only reason George Clooney keeps being nominated year after year is because the award show needs to have an exciting speech somewhere, but now that there is no show, I am sure voters want to reconsider the nomination for his straight-talking lawyer and replace it with Tommy Lee Jones’ confused father from In the Valley of Elah. While Viggo Mortensen’s accent is probably the best part of Eastern Promises he has done better in the past (Lord of the Rings) without being nominated. It is almost a shame that he is getting more buzz for being in an average Cronenberg film, rather than a great one like A History of Violence. But this is where the shame ends. James McAvoy stood out among all the beauty of Atonement, and Denzel Washington carried American Gangster from first scene to last without one bad move. But Daniel Day-Lewis’ indescribable performance in There Will Be Blood is the outright winner here. Too much has already been said about the best acting performance of the year, and I won’t repeat it here. I can only say that it is a performance that will be remembered, at least by me, with some of the all-time greats. Day-Lewis it is.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Cate Blanchett for Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie for Away From Her (should win) (will win)
Jodie Foster for The Brave One
Angelina Jolie for A Mighty Heart
Keira Knightley for Atonement
The whole of Away From Her as a moment of good acting followed by another moment of good acting. The voters will recognize this, but they will also consider the nominees other than Julie Christie as well, except for Jodie Foster who’s turn in The Brave One reminded me too much of J-Lo’s turn in the even-worse Enough. Cate Blanchett’s Elizabeth is almost as over-the-top as Day-Lewis’ Plainview, though the ugly make-up the beautiful Blanchett is forced to wear throughout the film is a tragedy as great as the Spanish war itself. What, you think lives weren’t lost making that thing? Angelina Jolis is good in A Mighty Heart, maybe even better than good, and the voters will like the timeliness of the film, but Jolie’s performance, like most of them contains acting flaws that may give the upper hand to one of the perfectionists in this category. Keira Knightley also delivers a flawed performance in Atonement, but her piercing look and the fact that she is not playing an ‘innocent girl’ should garner some attention.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Johnny Depp for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Ryan Gosling for Lars and the Real Girl
Tom Hanks for Chalrie Wilson’s War (will win)
Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Savages (should win)
John C. Reilly for Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Is it just me or was Ryan Gosling’s performance what actually kept Lars and the Real Girl from being more emotionally effective? It was just too quirky for me to take it seriously, and it is the only place where the film goes wrong, but it is a big place. And while John C. Reilly is ok as an impersonator of a fake-is person, he has definitely been in better roles and if he wins this, what am I talking about he won’t win this. Not when he is going up against the likes of Tom Hanks and Johnny Depp, not to mention recent Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman. From those three front-runners the favorite of mine is Hoffman, for his equally funny and self-demeaning performance in The Savages. Yet something tells me that Tom Hanks will beat both Hoffman’s performance and Johnny Depp’s over-played turn in Sweeney Todd and go for the safe choice of Tom Hanks. Giving Tom Hanks awards is a popular thing after all, so why stop now?
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Amy Adams for Enchanted
Nikky Blonsky for Hairspray
Helena Bonham Carter for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Marion Cotillard for La Vie en Rose (should win)
Ellen Page for Juno (will win)
While Nikky Blonsky has been getting all the hype lately, I think Ellen Page will beat her at the Golden Globes – a move that will let the show get as far as possible away from the Hairspray silliness. Wait, what am I talking about – there won’t be a show! Does that mean that if Helena Bonham Carter wins for the performance by her magnificent breasts, the voters won’t be criticized for being demeaning to women? Possibly. Or does that mean that if they pick Amy Adams’ cheeky performance they won’t be criticized for rewarding the Disney-machine? Possibly. Of course, they might just pull a surprise on us an award the deserving Marion Cotillard for her performance as Edith Piaf. She is the most deserving here, because her performance is the most demanding and she definitely plays the most complex character, and she plays Piaf well.
Best Performance By an Actor in A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Casey Affleck for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men (will win)
Phillip Seymour Hoffman for Charlie Wilson’s War (should win)
John Travolta for Hairspray
Tom Wikinson for Michael Clayton
Wilkinson’s performance in Michael Clayton may be the worst performance to be nominated in this category for quiet some time. It is less believable than Optimus Prime’s turn in Transformers, and prime just happens to be a robot. not to mention the whole kinda-animated cast of Beowulf is at least 20 times better than him. But when it comes down to nominating long-time actors like Wilkinson, the voters have shown to not actually have them win the award, and this also seems to be the case. Everyone else on the list, except for Hoffman, doesn’t really have much of an award-winning history. By now it is clear that Bardem will win, though he should have won a few years a go for his stunner of a performance in The Sea Inside. I am not going to argue – it is a great performance, but the other two that Bardem had in 2007 were the leading roles in Goya’s Ghosts and Love in the Time Of Cholera. Both of them are terrible performances that seemingly bring the films’ quality down a couple of notches. As far as Travolta is concerned, I can’t understand how a performance that was played just in good fun by him could even be considered to be nominated. Travolta is a good actor, but he is deservingly the underdog here.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Cate Blanchett for I’m Not There
Julia Roberts for Chralie Wilson’s War
Saorise Ronan for Atonement (should win)
Amy Ryan for Gone Baby Gone (will win)
Tilda Swinton for Michael Clayton
This is essentially a race between Amy Ryan and Cate Blanchett with no clear favorite. Ryan’s performance, along with Swinton’s, is the least showy of the nominees, but all the award shows have taken a liking to it, and so have I. But Blanchett is so good playing a man (Bob Dylan) in I’m Not There, that one wonders why she has not been winning more. It is a groundbreaking performance, but the argument always is, aren’t all her performances groundbreaking? While Julia Roberts is a practical shoo-in for a nomination when she takes part in a Mike Nichols movie, she is the least likely to win here, if you don’t count my personal favorite Soarise Ronan. Ronan’s performance is so addictingly good that sometimes I wished there were more flashbacks to her later in the film.
Best Director – Motion Picture
Tim Burton for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Ethan Coen and Joel Coen for No Country for Old Men (will win)
Julian Schnabel for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Ridley Scott for American Gangster
Joe Wright for Atonement (should win)
The best part of the great No Country for Old Men is definitely the signature direction of the Coen Brothers. they haven’t made a bad film in my opinion, and this latest quickly makes you realize why – they have a style that is incomparable to anyone else’s – something that not even Spielberg and fellow nominee Ridley Scott can claim. But the competitors here are so strong that the Coens may be my third or fourth choice but they are definitely behind Julian Schnabel and Joe Wright. Both Schanbel and Wright have gone above and beyond preset high expectations and both have infused their films with technical perfection and emotional resonance of equal weights. And while I admit that what Tim Burton does with Sweeney Todd is unbelievably great, Wright does better, because of his ability to render two different worlds and merge them so perfectly. Burton is stuck in the dark and edgy Tim Burton world – something that is becoming too easy for him.
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Atonement: Christopher Hampton
Charlie Wilson’s War: Aaron Sorkin
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: Ronald Harwood (should win)
Juno: Diablo Cody (will win)
No Country for Old Men: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
I think the WGA is mad at the Globes because there is only one screenplay category. But I think this allows more variety in the list. For instance when putting two very different films like Juno and No Country for Old Men head-to-head how can you decide who should win? Easily – pick No Country for Old Men. It will not win because many have viewed the film’s ending as a cop-out or as incomplete, but I think the script won over me with that very ending. We learn more about the characters in the last minutes of the film, then we do throughout the whole of Charlie Wilson’s War. One hopes that the voters had a brain fart when they picked Charlie Wilson’s War over There Will Be Blood, but this smells like one of those attempts to have dramas and comedies represented equally. It is a shame that There Will Be Blood is not here simply because of process of elimination. While I think Atonement is a better film, Ronald Harwood’s script for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is about as screenwriting got in 2007. It balances character actions and emotive concepts well, and some of the scenes are so well-written, they make the stuff in Diablo Cody’s Juno seem like minuscule ineffective prose.
Best Original Song – Motion Picture
Enchanted – “That’s How You Know”
Grace is Gone – “Grace Is Gone” (should win)
Into the Wild – “Guaranteed”
Love in the Time of Cholera – “Despedida”
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story – “Walk Hard” (will win)
It is Eddie Vedder vs. Clint Eastwood, with John C. Reilly coming out on top. Forgive me for preferring the sad string lyrics of “Grace Is Gone”, but I am a sad music freak, and when the other contenders range from Disney pop (“That’s Hoy You Know”) to old-time rock n’ roll (“Guaranteed”), how can I not go for the undermined masterpiece that is “Grace is Gone”?
Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Atonement – Dario Marinaelli (should win) (will win)
Eastern Promises – Howard Shore
Grace Is Gone – Clint Eastwood
Into The Wild – Michale Brook, Kaki King, Eddie Vedder
The Kite Runner – Alberto Iglesias
Another year, another Howard Shore nomination. Not that that’s a bad thing, but his score for Eastern Promises, is not that good. The nomination for Into the Wild is a simple lame attempt to look cool by nominating Eddie Vedder. The score is good, but not worthy of this list. And as far as that out-of-left field nomination for composer Clint Eastwood, the joke’s on us. We are left to ponder how he was nominated when Mark Isham was looked over for the 8 great scores that he did in 2007. The only worth scores here are Marianelli’s driving Atonement and Iglesas’ touching The Kite Runner. As far as creativity is concerned both scores benefit, with the advantage going to Marianelli for his use of unconventional instruments and smoother change of pace in the score.
Best Animated Film
Ratatouille (will win)
The Simpsons Movie (should win)
I guess they forgot Beowulf. Usually I like to use this category to talk about the stupidity of these voters and their unreasonable need to make this category exclusive for kiddie movies. Well for a couple years now, the best animated films have been adult-oriented (A Scanner Darkly, Beowulf) but the voters feel more comfortable handing out these awards to Pixar or DreamWorks productions that are relatively underwhelming compared to others. While the inclusion of The Simpson Movie is a pleasant surpirise, to cancel it out there is the Seinfeld-lite Bee Movie, one of the least enjoyable animated films of the year, and I saw Arthur and the Invisibles. The statuette will again go to Pixar for the umpteenth time, for a film that while better than most Pixar films, still leaves a bad taste in your mouth, and that isn’t because it mostly consists of rats eating garbage.
Best Foreign Language Film
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (should win) (will win)
The Kite Runner
While I haven’t seen Persepolis I am going to take a wild guess and say that an animated movie that wasn’t nominated in the animated movie category will not win in a more prestigious category. Ang Lee’s flawed Lust, Caution is also not going to win, because of the little buzz its been gathering at the awards circuit. Also, it isn’t Lee’s best work, though it might be his raciest. The Kite Runner has also been met with underwhelming praise, though it deserves much better than that. So it is down between an abortion drama that I haven’t seen and one of the best movies of the year. Bith have been labeled as favorites, in fact people are saying that 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days might pull off an upset, but I think it will strike many people as wrong not to reward Julian Schnabel for making a film containing some of the most unforgettable imagery in a recent motion picture.
Well this is it for me. I hope you enjoyed it. I look forward to my Oscar Predictions!
– Stefan Vlahov