Thursday, December 14, 2006

Golden Globe Nominations: Part One

The nominations for the Golden Globe awards were announced early this morning, and I couldn't be more excited about this year's show. The Golden Globes are often seen as a warm-up for the Oscars, but I happen to like this awards show more. Presenters and acceptance speeches are way funnier, and you get the movie and TV folks together in one place, like when two of your favorite TV shows do a crossover episode. Surreal, but nice. There were a lot of pleasant surprises this year, especially in the TV categories. After hearing the film nominees, it became clear to me that I've become a total homebody, unable to roll off the couch to even go to movies. I haven't seen a lot of the nominated films yet, but I will do my best to provide some decent criticism. Part One of this megablog is reserved for the film acting and directing awards, with Parts Two, Three, and Four to come later. Enjoy!

Best Director:
Clint Eastwood, Flags of Our Fathers
Clint Eastwood, Letters From Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears, The Queen
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Babel
Martin Scorsese, The Departed

It's very likely that Clint Eastwood will split his own vote, although Clint is to major awards what Larry Hagman is to livers--just try not to give him one. Flags of Our Fathers isn't nominated in any other categories, so I'd count it out. Letters From Iwo Jima has already won several awards, but it may win for Best Foreign Film instead. Babel has the most nominations of any of the other films, but my bet is on Stephen Frears for The Queen. Martin Scorsese is doomed as far as major awards are concerned; he's been nominated for six Golden Globes and won only once. And the Oscars? Don't ask.

Best Supporting Actor:
Ben Affleck, Hollywoodland
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
Jack Nicholson, The Departed
Brad Pitt, Babel
Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

It's hard to understand why the Hollywood Foreign Press Association combines the supporting actor and actress categories. I've always thought it was a little unfair to treat the lead and supporting roles differently. So-called supporting roles are often more memorable than the leads. There's no way that I'm ready to live in world where Marky Mark or Butt Affleck beats out Jack Nicholson for a major award. Brad Pitt is a movie star, but he's not in the same league with the great dramatic actors of our time. I'd root for Eddie Murphy, but he's been a total cad to Scary Spice lately. Jack it is.

Best Supporting Actress:
Adriana Barraza, Babel
Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal
Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikuchi, Babel

I think it would be hilarious if American Idol reject Jennifer Hudson won this award. From what I hear, she should have been nominated for Lead Actress, but she has a better chance here. I haven't heard much about Notes on a Scandal yet, so I can't really go with Cate Blanchett (although I can't wait to see what she wears). Emily Blunt is nominated in the TV Miniseries Supporting Actress category, and that seems more like her weight class at the moment. Between the two Babel actresses, I've heard more raving about Rinko Kikuchi, so I'm picking her to win.

Best Actor, Comedy or Musical:
Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Aaron Eckhart, Thank You for Smoking
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kinky Boots
Will Ferrell, Stranger Than Fiction

Any other year I would have gone with Aaron Eckhart's slick performance in Thank You for Smoking, but this category has Borat written all over it. Cohen is the only actor whose portrayal was so convincing as to deceive real people. Hopefully the crude parts of the film don't overshadow the genius of Cohen's character. The buzz around Will Ferrell ended quickly, and Captain Jack Sparrow is already a faint memory. Poor Chiwetel Ejiofor, I have absolutely no idea who you are.

Best Actress, Comedy or Musical:
Annette Bening, Running With Scissors
Toni Collette, Little Miss Sunshine
Beyonce Knowles, Dreamgirls
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
Renee Zellweger, Miss Potter

If I'm not ready for Marky Mark to win an award, then I'm 100% not prepared to see Beyonce "bootylicious" Knowles beat out Meryl Streep. Knowles will look gorgeous on awards night, but the nomination is her award. Toni Collete is fabulous, but she was the least interesting character in the equally great Little Miss Sunshine. If Zellweger was going through one of her preying mantis phases during her film, she has no shot. This race is between Annette Bening and Meryl Streep. I'll root for Meryl Streep, who is guaranteed to give a better acceptance speech than the one Bening gave for her role in Being Julia. Plus it's Warren Beatty's time to shine (he's getting a lifetime achievement award), so Bening shouldn't steal his thunder.

Best Actor, Drama:
Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed
Peter O'Toole, Venus
Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

There may be another instance of vote-splitting in this category, which is unfortunate for the hardworking Leonardo DiCaprio. He's not my favorite actor, but he makes an effort to be involved in great projects. Peter O'Toole hasn't gotten much buzz, and Will Smith simply does not belong. I prefer reruns of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to any of his movies, and that show was effing obnoxious. Forest Whitaker is far too talented not to get this award. He is consistently brilliant in everything he does, and will likely give a sincere, humble acceptance speech.

Best Actress, Drama:
Penelope Cruz, Volver
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sherrybaby
Helen Mirren, The Queen
Kate Winslet, Little Children

I imagine that this year's showdown between Dames Helen Mirren and Judi Dench will be like that scene in the third Star Wars prequel when Mace Windu and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine battled it out, and Palpatine totally handed Windu's ass to him. In this scenario, Helen Mirren is Palpatine, in case you hadn't figured it out. Helen Mirren is unstoppable. She's dominating the royal biopic genre at the moment, while Dench was relegated to another Bond film. The other nominees should just stay out of this one, lest they go the way of Samuel L. Jackson.

Stay tuned for Part Two!