Saturday, January 15, 2011

COLUMN: Who will win/should win the Golden Globes?

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association and their Golden Globe Awards are notoriously taken seriously as precursors to the Academy Awards.  What most forget is that the Hollywood Foreign Press is a different animal than our stateside herd of critics.  Foreign writers bring their different views and perspectives into their tastes, preferences, and award choices.  Their different tolerances towards censorship and different opinions on what is art and cinema come into play every year.  This year is no different when a movie like The King's Speech leads all film nominees over the American award juggernaut that is The Social Network.

So, I will light a long cigarette, dance funkily, and act rude in order to pretend to be a French (great SNL skit by the way: YouTube link) or Italian (another SNL fav: Hulu link) critic and give you who will win and who should win the Golden Globes tomorrow night.  If you don't know how it works, "will win" is the prediction and "should win" is deserving vote.  I will also add a "What About Me?" little namedrop of a non-nominated individual or performance that was, in this critic's mind, snubbed from getting their due attention with even a nomination.  Sorry, TV viewers, I just do movies, so go check out a different blog to debate Mad Men, Dexter, and Boardwalk Empire.

WHO WILL WIN:  "I See the Light" from Tangled-- Even though Tangled lacks that big showstopper of its Disney predecessors, it's still better than Burlesque splitting the vote, the wrong song from Country Strong, and even the presence of Carrie Underwood from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  
WHAT ABOUT ME?:  They totally got the wrong song from Country Strong.  "Give In to Me" deserves to be there to represent the film instead of "Coming Home" and even arguably win the award.

WHO WILL WIN:  Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network-- The trendy song and score winners lately (Brokeback Mountain, Hustle & Flow, etc.) have been non-traditional composer and/or pop stars experimenting successfully with movies.  For Nine Inch Nails frontman Reznor to put out an eclectic score such as this will get special attention.
WHO SHOULD WIN:  Hans Zimmer for Inception-- This pulsing and breathing piece is the best movie score of the year and the best of Zimmer's long and distinguished career, but I fear the trendiness of Reznor will beat the best.
WHAT ABOUT ME?:  Daft Punk for Tron: Legacy-- In a year where the voters want to look cool by picking a alternative rocker to win, they're missing out on two electronica DJs who combined their talents with a full orchestra for an auditory feast of coolness.

WHO WILL WINBiutiful by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Mexico)-- The director of Amores Perros, 21 Grams, and Babel is likely the only nominee a film-snob has even seen or heard of before.  He wins by resume alone, even though the film is supposedly pretty good, led by Academy Award winner Javier Bardem.
WHAT ABOUT ME?:  You've got me on this one.  I don't get lucky enough or smart enough to see foreign films.  I'm just a school teacher.  Does The Last Airbender count as a foreign film?

WHO WILL WINToy Story 3-- Come on.  Is there any doubt?  How to Train Your Dragon is original and the foreign The Illusionist is a critic's darling, but you can't deny a movie that, even animated, is making the Top Ten lists of critics around the world.  Slam dunk, no doubter.
WHAT ABOUT ME?Megamind-- The villain-actually-wins farce is far more worthy of a spot on the nominee list than the wretched Despicable Me.

WHO WILL WINThe Social Network by Aaron Sorkin-- It's the smartest written movie of the year and tells what could have been a courtroom drama as a study of flashbacks and layers that blend so good.
WHO SHOULD WINThe Social Network
WHAT ABOUT ME?:  One of the biggest flaws of the Golden Globe awards is this category for combining the "original" and "adapted" screenplays together, something the Oscars don't do.  You lost half of your potential nominees like True Grit, Black Swan, The Town, and The Fighter.

WHO WILL WIN:  David Fincher for The Social Network-- In my opinion, he should have won two years ago for piloting the epic The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  This year, The Social Network will bring him the missing trophy over the foreign love for The King's Speech.
WHO SHOULD WIN:  Christopher Nolan for Inception-- With all due respect to Fincher, who deserves to win, the best directing job of the year is Nolan twisting and fashioning the best thriller in years with the epic Inception.  He too, like Fincher, could have won this award two years ago for The Dark Knight.  If they could give two Globes, I wouldn't complain.
WHAT ABOUT ME?:  Ben Affleck for The Town-- The Golden Globe nominees here all match those of the Director's Guild of America, so it's hard to argue with the experts, but I will still throw bouquet at Affleck for improving after his already-impressive directorial debut of Gone Baby Gone with the thrilling The Town.  His name will be on this nominee list someday soon.  Just watch.

WHO WILL WIN:  Helena Bonham Carter for The King's Speech-- I know Amy Adams from The Fighter is the favorite and I think she's way better than Carter, but, with Amy's equally-amazing costar Melissa Leo here to split the vote, I think Carter squeaks past.
WHO SHOULD WIN:  From these nominees, the deserving winner is a coin-toss between Adams and Leo from The Fighter.  Both bring the tension and emotion in their roles that Carter doesn't come close as the regal queen-to-be in The King's Speech.
WHAT ABOUT ME?:  Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit-- It doesn't matter that she was only 13 at the time, but Steinfeld carried a substantial movie in her first ever feature role.  She's working against the legacy of Anna Paquin and Tatum O'Neal to get undeservingly passed over as a child actress, when she could arguably win the whole thing.

WHO WILL WIN:  Christian Bale for The Fighter-- He puts on the Method acting clinic in transforming his dashing Welsh self into a Boston-area crack addict.  Nobody on the list of nominees comes close to his effort, though Andrew Garfield from The Social Network can hold his own with lead acting nominee Jesse Eisenberg.
WHO SHOULD WIN:  Christian Bale
WHAT ABOUT ME?:  Jackie Chan for The Karate Kid-- I know it sounds preposterous, but the funny-action man can actually act and show true emotional range.  His work in The Karate Kid is his best ever and not just a popcorn show.  Pat Morita garnered an Oscar nomination in the original film for his sage mentoring and Chan's performance might even be better than the Morita's.

WHO WILL WIN:  Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right-- Hollywood royalty and a critic's favorite, she's becoming her own miniature Meryl Streep for having so many good performances that don't win the big award.  That changes tomorrow for another good one here.
WHO SHOULD WIN:  Anne Hathaway for Love and Other Drugs-- For as much as Bening's career deserves a win, she's been better in other films and is just part of a greater ensemble in The Kids Are All Right.  I really want to send love to Emma Stone, who's smart and engaging in Easy A, but it's Anne Hathaway who really puts herself out there.  Take away the much-publicized skin, her fractured free spirit is the best performance on this list.
WHAT ABOUT ME?:  Rachel McAdams for Morning Glory-- Her star-turn as the tightly-wound TV producer dealing with an abomitable workplace deserves credit and a nomination for sure.  I'm just glad none of the loud women (Cher or Christina Aguilera) from Burlesque made it in to steal a spot away from Emma Stone.

WHO WILL WIN:  Johnny Depp for Alice in Wonderland-- This is Depp's category to win, with his Jack Sparrow ways and his Mad Hatter was incredible transformation in a big hit film.
WHO SHOULD WIN:  Jake Gyllenhaal for Love and Other Drugs-- He might not have the resume of Kevin Spacey or Paul Giamatti or the double nominee power of Depp, but he put himself out there with charm and guile in Love and Other Drugs, outpeforming another Depp creation.
WHAT ABOUT ME?:  Michael Cera for Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World-- A fun performance from a misunderstood and wrongfully under-seen film destined to become a cult classic.

WHO WILL WIN:  Natalie Portman for Black Swan-- It's arguably the most talked about performance of the year, from a actress that's almost impossible not to like for her personality and choices.  I haven't seen Black Swan yet, but I'm told she delivers.
WHO SHOULD WIN:  Natalie Portman, but you can very likely make an argument for Michelle Williams pushing through a devasting marriage in Blue Valentine.  Even her haunting role in Shutter Island should add some extra credit.
WHAT ABOUT ME?:   Hilary Swank for Conviction-- Sure, it's Hilary Swank and she's won two Oscars before for better roles, but she deserves at least a look here, after securing a SAG nomination in the same category.

WHO WILL WIN:  Colin Firth for The King's Speech-- The best and most difficult lead performance of the year.  I think the youth movement of James Franco in 127 Hours and Jesse Eisenberg of The Social Network do deserve praise and a shot, but I see them splitting votes between each other.
WHO SHOULD WIN:  Colin Firth, hands down.
WHAT ABOUT ME?:  Jeff Bridges for True Grit-- Being up to the task and successfully making a legendary John Wayne part all your own took a lot of balls.  He has a case (albeit a tough one) for Mark Wahlberg's nomination in this category.

WHO WILL WINThe Kids Are All Right-- Nothing else is in it's class in an always obsolete category.  Come on, The Hangover gets to call itself a Best Picture winner.  This should be easy.
WHO SHOULD WINThe Kids Are All Right
WHAT ABOUT ME?Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World-- Once again, the general audience and even the HFPA can't see the outstanding originality and fun of this geek-fest.  It's way more deserving of a slot for this award than Red, The Tourist, or Burlesque.

WHO WILL WINThe King's Speech-- This is the Hollywood Foreign Press.  They're going to vote for the more internationally acclaimed film, and that isn't The Social Network.  The track record is there.  The Aviator beat Million Dollar Baby only to lose the Oscar later.  The same went down when Babel beat The Departed and when Atonement won but was later bested by No Country For Old Men. The King's Speech will win this battle, but The Social Network will go on to win the war, winning next month stateside.
WHO SHOULD WINInception-- If you made me a foreigner and gave me a vote, it would go to the Christopher Nolan's mind-bending masterpiece.  It's bigger, sharper, smarter, and better made than both The King's Speech and The Social Network.  
WHAT ABOUT ME?Toy Story 3-- Like Inception, it's arguably better and grander than The King's Speech and The Social Network too.  While Pixar has been sniffing real award recognition for its extremely high quality stories and work lately with Ratatouille, Wall-E, and Up, this amazing end to the trilogy got regulated to just being judged as an animated film.  It's a shame too, because it deserves better.  It will get it's shot for the Oscars, along with four others, because the Academy Awards now allow (stupidly, I might add) ten Best Picture nominees.