By the Way, the Globes Happened

It’s obviously a little late, but I figured posting the Globes winners would give me a chance for a last bit of awards analysis before the Oscar nominations finally drop on Tuesday morning. Yes, all the predictions and buzz are about to come to fruition. I have to say the season has felt a bit shorter this year – I guess last year we arrived at the “Social Network” vs. “King’s Speech” narrative so early on, the consecutive announcements reinforcing that just got tiresome. This year has been far more tumultuous; even if a Best Picture win for “The Artist” seems the most likely option, there’s still a ton of variables. How many Best Pic nominees will there be? What will they be? Will “Bridesmaids” surprise? How about “Drive?” “Tree of Life?” Will the actors line up with SAG, or are there surprises in store (or maybe it would actually be a surprise if they DID line up)?

The Golden Globe winners themselves are not really good indicators of how the Academy will go. As evidenced by their general star-whoring and pandering, these are not industry insiders. But the Globes are still important to watch, not so much for who wins, but how the room reacts to the people who win. The Hollywood Foreign Press may not be Oscar voters, but they make darn sure that their ceremony is well attended by people who are. So while “The Descendants” took home the Best Picture – Drama prize, and was therefore automatically anointed by the media as the official opposition for “The Artist,” I’d still say that “Hugo” is the better option for the upset at the Oscars, given the standing ovation for Martin Scorsese’s Best Director win.

Similarly, while Meryl Streep racked up yet another Golden Globe victory for her performance in “The Iron Lady,” her speech couldn’t hold a candle to Viola Davis’ touching, heartfelt acceptance at the Critics’ Choice Awards a few days earlier. It may seem silly, but Oscar voters do pay attention to things like that. No matter how many times people point out that Streep has “only” actually won 2 Oscars out of her gazillion nominations, Oscar voters won’t feel particularly good about themselves for checking her name off on their ballot. They WILL feel all warm and fuzzy inside while voting for Davis. Ditto Davis’ fellow “The Help” cast-mate Octavia Spencer. I think that tandem is all but assured come Feb. 26. Also looking good are Christopher Plummer and George Clooney, who have been as charming, gracious and debonair on stage this season as one would expect.

As for the Globes ceremony itself, I thought it was pretty good one. Ricky Gervais was certainly much tamer than advertised – most of his barbed jokes were aimed at the HFPA themselves (a welcome target, in my opinion). Other than a few cracks about Jodie Foster’s “Beaver,” Colin Firth’s hidden racism and some woefully outdated Madonna insults (and all of those celebs are extremely good sports, it should be noted; no Bruce Willises in that bunch), Ricky acted pretty much like any other host, albeit still a much funnier one than, say, that duo at the Critics’ Choice Awards who were trying waaaaaay too hard. And as always there was clearly booze aplenty, as Streep, Steven Spielberg (accepting the Best Animated Feature award for “The Adventures of Tintin”) and several others were pretty notably soused during their speeches. That always makes for some fun TV.

So I’ll go ahead and post the full slate of (film) winners here, before some final commentary to go along with my last Oscar prediction update.

HFPA Golden Globe winners

Best Picture – Drama: “The Descendants”

Best Picture – Comedy/Musical: “The Artist”

Best Director: Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”

Best Actor – Drama: George Clooney, “The Descendants”

Best Actor – Comedy/Musical: Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”

Best Actress – Drama: Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”

Best Actress – Comedy/Musical: Michelle Williams, “My Week with Marilyn”

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Best Screenplay: Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”

Best Original Score: Ludovic Bource, “The Artist”

Best Original Song: “Masterpiece,” from “W.E.”

Best Animated Feature: “The Adventures of Tintin”

Best Foreign Language Film: “A Separation”

Despite the apparent late fade by “War Horse,” I’m going to stick to my guns and say it still ends up making Best Picture, though it might not land much else besides that. Even Janusz Kaminski’s cinematography, which seemed a slam dunk earlier in the season, might end up missing the cut; his miss with the cinematographer’s guild nominations was NOT a good sign for his chances. However, it did make the cut with the film editor’s guild, so there is clearly still some support for it out there. And I will be seriously stunned if John Williams’ score doesn’t make it in.

And I do think now that “War Horse” and all the other usual names from this season will be joined in the end by “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” which came charging down the home stretch hard with those various guild notices from the producers, directors and cinematographers. That’s the kind of buzz that publicists kill for, and it came right when the Academy was turning in their ballots. Perfect recipe to score a bunch of nominations, which is why I think Rooney Mara will end up just barely squeezing Glenn Close out of Best Actress. There just wasn’t a ton of love for “Albert Nobbs” from anyone but the actors, and even then most of the attention was lavished on Janet McTeer, who apparently gets the far more flamboyant gender-bending role of the film (if there’s any decision in my predictions that I’m iffy about, it’s leaving her out of Best Supporting Actress). The Oscar voters just don’t usually go for the stoic, understated performances, which is why Michael Fassbender in “Shame” and Gary Oldman in “Tinker, Tailor” are also in serious danger.

The Best Actor race is a mess in general, though. The actors love a more visibly laborious role like DiCaprio in “J. Edgar.” They just do. But you can’t forget that SAG nomination for Demian Bichir in “A Better Life.” That was not a small victory. Yet, you also can’t ignore Michael Shannon, who, make no mistake is much beloved in the industry. Remember his surprise Supporting Actor nomination for “Revolutionary Road?” That could very well happen again. In fact, I think it will (and it shouldn’t be that surprising, really, considering the unquestionable quality of the performance).

I don’t know. There are a lot of shaky contenders out there. I pretty much expect to go 3/5 in just about every major category, and totally miss the technical awards (the under-the-line categories look to be stocked with underperforming films like “Jane Eyre,” “My Week with Marilyn,” “Anonymous” and “W.E.”, and damned if I know which ones they’re going to pick where).

My dream picks? A good showing for “Tinker, Tailor,” including Screenplay and Actor nominations. Terrence Malick or Nicolas Winding Refn squeezing into Best Director. “Margin Call” landing an Original Screenplay nod after completely fading from the discussion lately. If any or all of those things happens come Tuesday morning, I’ll be ecstatic. Tune in and see!

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