With the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, it’s always a bit of give and take. Since overall they try and please everyone so they giveth to Paramount for The Fighter but taketh away for True Grit, they shower nods on Warner Bros for Inception but give hardly anything for The Town, they place Fox Searchlight’s Black Swan in Picture and Directing categories over 127 Hours and so on. The one producer who got everything he wanted was probably Harvey Weinstein, now back in the awards game bigtime this year with The King’s Speech, acting noms for Blue Valentine, and a foreign film nomination for The Concert. He’s also one of the backers of The Fighter. Harvey is having a good morning.
It was a very big morning at the Golden Globes for critical darlings The King’s Speech (7 nominations), The Social Network and The Fighter (6 nominations apiece), all of which are cleaning up this week with awards and accolades. This closeness in the voting should set up a fierce race in the Best Motion Picture – Drama category which also includes Warner Bros’ Inception and Fox Searchlight’s Black Swan (4 nominations each). All five films won nods for their directors (David Fincher, David O. Russell, Tom Hooper, Christopher Nolan, and Darren Aronofsky) making this anyone’s ballgame at this point.
What Sony Pictures might not have expected were 3 nominations for the GK Films’ critically drubbed The Tourist which Sony is distributing, including Best Picture – Comedy or Musical (what’s up with that category?) and nods in the acting categories for stars Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, who is nominated against himself for Disney’s Alice In Wonderland. Champagne corks should be popping in Culver City this morning for this unexpected bounty; it means Sony will be able to splash “Best Picture Nominee” ads for the expensive movie which underperformed at the domestic box office in its opening weekend with a disappointing $16.5 million grosses from North America not to mention only a 7% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes. (Only two good notices out of 29 reviews counted from top critics, with a measly 20% fresh overall.) This has to be one of the worst reviewed movies ever to get this kind of attention.
You can be assured that the Globes will be the only place this season where “The Tourist” and “Best Picture” will be mentioned in the same sentence. How did this happen? I hear the film was one of the last the Hollywood Foreign Press Association saw last week before voting. Their ballots were due just as the tsunami of bad reviews came out. Plus, the HFPA would be thrilled to have either Angelina or Johnny attend the telecast. Originally the light thriller was placed in the Drama category by its studio but then was moved into Comedy by the HFPA where the studio’s other Christmas release, James L. Brooks’ How Do You Know was expected to compete but didn’t play well when it was screened for the group. Now the “comedic” The Tourist competes against the studio’s own Burlesque, also critically lambasted in many corners. But Sony brought the HFPA to Vegas to see Cher’s show which may have helped. Summit Entertainment’s Red (isn’t that more of an action picture?) Disney’s Alice In Wonderland, and Focus Features’ The Kids Are All Right which will probably win going away front the rest of the Best Picture – Comedy/Musical category.
Another misstep for the Golden Globe list, and why it doesn’t necessarily mirror common wisdom about what might happen this awards season, is the complete snub of the Coen Bros’ True Grit from Paramount which received nominations for 11 Critics Choice awards yesterday but got absolutely nothing here. That most American of art forms, the western, isn’t popular with this group. Nor are the Coens, for that matter: their Oscar winner No Country For Old Men lost at the 2007 Golden Globes to the British Atonement. In fact, in recent years, the Globes haven’t had a sterling track record in matching Oscar. Last year, the HFPA was the only major group to award Avatar the Best Picture and Director honors over eventual Academy champ, The Hurt Locker, which was blanked with the HFPA.
In the drama acting categories, snubbed were Robert Duvall (Get Low), Leonardo DiCaprio (Shutter Island and Inception), Jeff Bridges (True Grit and Tron Legacy), and particularly Javier Bardem (Biutiful) even though the HFPA race is probably a lock for Colin Firth (The King’s Speech). Take that to the bank. The Actress race, however, is much tighter particularly with Golden Globe faves like Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole) and Halle Berry (Frankie & Alice) competing. But the likely winner will be Natalie Portman (Black Swan). Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right) and Kevin Spacey (Casino Jack) or Paul Giamatti (Barney’s Version) will likely prevail in the comedy categories.
Supporting Actor is a very competitive list with favorites Christian Bale (The Fighter) and Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech) duking it out. Here the real spoiler could be Michael Douglas (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps). The HFPA has never been one to avoid sentiment: so Melissa Leo and Amy Adams (both The Fighter) may go to the mat for Supporting Actress, with Leo given the edge.