Golden Globes Film: Wow! No Oprah, But Nominations Set Up A Fiercely Competitive Race

At the Golden Globes nomination press conference at the Beverly Hilton this morning, a lot of the talk wasn’t soOprah Winfrey Snub Golden Globes much about who got nominated but who didn’t. I’m talking about you, Oprah! The star of stars didn’t make the cut and won’t be walking that red carpet (at least as a supporting actress nominee). I thought she was powerful enough just to call in and order one of these things. But Winfrey, along with everyone else associated with Lee Daniels’ The Butler, was snubbed big time. Yesterday, the Weinstein Company’s late summer hit had scored big at the SAG awards with three nominations, including one for Winfrey, and appeared to be on the rebound after being left off the AFI top 10 list Monday. But the awards-season gods giveth and then they taketh away. Conversely, yesterday’s big snubee at SAG, The Wolf Of Wall Street, saw its fortunes improve with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association naming it a nominee for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and one for Leonardo DiCaprio, a perennial Globe favorite gaining his 10th nomination (he won in 2004 for The Aviator).

Related: Golden Globe Awards Nominations: ‘12 Years A Slave’ & ‘American Hustle’ Lead Pack

RushOther than Oprah (unfairly in my opinion) missing out in supporting (Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts, Lupita Nyong’o, June Squibb and a surprise nod for Blue Jasmine’s Sally Hawkins made the grade there), there weren’t many jaw-dropping surprises in film (TV was another matter entirely — sorry Claire Danes). That is unless you think Ron Howard’s Rush getting a Best Motion Picture Drama slot over the likes of Butler and Saving Mr. Banks (which, as at SAG, received only one nod for star Emma Thompson) is a stunner.  Hate to say I TOLDJA , but I predicted that in this column yesterday. I have spoken to several HFPA members over the past few weeks and nearly every one of them brought up that film’s name as a favorite. Although the independently-produced Universal release didn’t do well at the box office in the U.S., it has great international appeal being a European-set film about the 1970’s rivalry between  Britain’s James Hunt and Austrian Niki Lauda (played by Daniel Bruhl who grabbed a supporting actor nod today).  The HFPA is an organization made up of international journalists, and the film held a special appeal for them.

Though the Globes are divided into two best picture categories of five nominees each —  for drama and forAmerican Hustle comedy/musical  — there was lots of hand-wringing and sleepless nights for publicists trying to position their film in the category where they though it might have the best chance. So for a comedy/drama like Saving Mr. Banks the placement in Drama may ultimately have hurt its chances (one Disney exec I spoke to a few weeks ago said they were waking up in a cold sweat over making the wrong choice).  And another comedy/drama, August: Osage County, also perhaps in hindsight made the wrong choice by trying to compete in the comedy/musical category where it was shut out (though stars Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts received nods). But who knows? The final decision on placement belongs to the HFPA itself. On the other hand, a last-minute switch as voting was getting underway from drama to comedy paid off big time for American Hustlewhich got a leading 7 nominations (including Best Picture – Comedy or Musical tying it with 12 Years A Slave which also racked up 7 nods).  That category, which also includes  Her, Nebraska,  Wolf Of Wall Street and Inside Llewyn Davis, is not exactly filled with knee-slapping laffers indicating the definition of a “comedy”  may be changing — at least at the Golden Globes.

Related: Golden Globes Nominees: Scorecard

GoldenGlobes (2)Overall there were no embarrassments for the HFPA with this list of nominations, unlike a couple of years ago when they went crazy for The Tourist — to name just one recent controversy. The new leadership, led by new President  Theo Kingma, has taken strides to try and change the image of the group and focus on serious journalistic credentials of their members, rather than past image problems. And I think they are to be commended for voting movies they genuinely like and admire such as Rush or Her  than perhaps some being campaigned more heavily with a blast of mailings and trinkets. After this morning’s announcement one member told me, “We can’t be bought”. That’s certainly a night-and-day difference from the image the group has had, fairly or unfairly, in the past — at least in some quarters. They will still likely be travelling on those junkets, and wined and dined by studios, but these nominations certainly seem to reflect a new day at the HFPA.

The list of contenders in the marquee Best Motion Picture -Drama category is fierce with 12 Years A Slave,philomena Gravity, Philomena and Captain Phillips joining Rush in the mix. The strong showing by Philomena, which also nabbed nominations for star Judi Dench and its Screenplay, might have surprised some but the members have told me they loved the film ever since seeing it at the Toronto Film Festival. Oddly it reps The Weinstein Company’s only Best Picture contender in either category even though the distributor came in second overall to Sony in total nominations (thanks to scattered mentions for Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, One Chance and  August: Osage County).

66357794479913595_GBLhj4BS_fCelebrating their Globes nominations after being snubbed at SAG and AFI earlier in the week was Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate, which got back into the game with All Is Lost gaining two nods including infamous SAG missing man Robert Redford making an awards comeback as Best Actor in a Drama. This is Redford’s first solo mention at the Globes for an acting role (he won World Film Favorite several times, the Cecil B.DeMille Award and Best Director for Ordinary People in 1980) unless you count the “Most Promising Male Newcomer” Globe he got in 1966 for Inside Daisy Clover. Also CBS Films, shut out at SAG with Inside Llewyn Davis, came back strong with a Best Picture Comedy or Musical nomination and mentions for Oscar Isaac and one of its songs, “Please Mr. Kennedy”.  Among the major studios, which in past years have taken a back seat to the likes of  The Weinstein Company on this day, Warner Bros (Gravity , Her), Paramount (Nebraska, Wolf Of Wall Street) and Sony (American Hustle, Captain Phillips) all had a strong showing and garnered multiple Best Picture nominations.

Today’s Globes nominations reflect one of the most competitive and, quite frankly, unpredictable lineups in years.young-beasts-of-the-southern-wild-star-quvenzhane-wallis-joins-12-years-a-slave On paper at least, with an impressive seven nominations, 12 Years A Slave would appear to be poised to take Best Picture – Drama, but based on conversations I have had with HFPA insiders I think the race is much closer there and actually could be anyone’s ballgame. Philomena, even without a directing nomination for Stephen Frears, could be a spoiler in a close race  between 12 Years, Gravity, Captain Phillips and dark horse Rush. And on the comedy side both American Hustle and Nebraska look particularly strong but watch out for Inside Llewyn Davis coming up on th ,well, inside. The acting races across the board are no less competitive. But will the Globes taking place on January 12th have any significant impact on Oscar? Actually balloting for the Academy Awards ends January 8th so whichever way the wind blows at the Globes will be a moot point, but certainly today’s results are going to help to at least set the table for what promises to be a long and winding road to the Dolby Theatre on March 2nd.

  1. Mr. Hammond, please look up the definition of “snub”:

    “to ignore (someone) in a deliberate and insulting way”
    “to not accept or attend (something) as a way to show disapproval”

    You and many other Awards pundits are using the word incorrectly 99.99% of the time.

    Unless you have evidence that the Golden Globes voters looked at the potential candidates, saw Oprah’s name and said, “I will deliberately INSULT Oprah!”, she was not “snubbed!”

    Oprah simply did not garner enough votes for the nomination. And/Or just preferred other women. Period.

    1. Totally agree! Is one of my pet peeves. Snubbed makes it sound hostile and intentional. There are only so many nominee slots and these things are VERY subjective. The Golden Globes have long been accused of nominating big fish in an effort to attract a TV audience which certainly would have worked in Oprah’s favor. Maybe they just thought other actresses were more deserving.

  2. I am in the minority , but I found The Butler maudlin , sappy , and very by-the-numbers . While watching the film , I wished Spike Lee wrote and directed the film. He would have made it intelligence , soulful , and compelling . Even though I feel Winfrey deserved the Oscar for The Color Purple , I felt Oprah was playing herself in the role, and at times she was very awkward and stiff with her line delivery . I do believe Oprah is pissed she was not nominated for a Golden Globe . It is similar to Beloved doing badly at the box-office because Winfrey needs validation .

  3. will matty macs weight loss stop counting as a good performance now that he has gotten this recognition. there is so much more impressive stuff out there. that does NOT include Gravity.

  4. Disney has completely screwed-up their campaign for Saving Mr. Banks. Everywhere you turn you hear in the media that it is an Oscar shoe-in. That’s Disney over-hyping the movie and quite frankly its overdone. There seems to be no strategy for this release other than see the film that is going to be in the chocolates come awards season. With one nomination for the Globes this has to be devastating for the campaign.

  5. So glad Oprah didn’t get nominated. Just because Hollywood actors ( & some reporters shm) are a bunch of sheep and love to kiss a** , Oprah perforce wasn’t awards worthy , and Golden Globes locking out such a big name makes that very clear.

  6. I love how the story was Oprah was “snubbed.” LOL And what about the inspired choices the HFPA made? Look at the Comedy Actress category: Greta Gerwig, Julie Delpy, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Thank the Lord! People who deserve to be nominated that were in good films and weren’t popular enough for SAG’s ridiculously middlebrow nominations yesterday (Actors have terrible taste and don’t realize that great films/directors make great performances). Oprah is a huge celebrity in an average film….and that’s always the story when a big star gets snubbed. Yes, she acted in a movie, but does anyone seriously believe she disappears into character and can be seen apart from Oprah? What about the great work that was recognized by the Globes? June Squibb, someone who’s been around for many years is finally getting her due. Last year the media story was Ben Affleck, but did any serious filmmaker or cinephile think he was the one who deserved to be nominated for Best Director in a competitive year. No, that person was Kathryn Bigelow, who could out direct every one of those nominees save for Haneke. Stop making it about the stars….make it about the work, even if the American public doesn’t know who did it.

    1. I agree with most of your comments – especially the ridiculous Ben Affleck media hype ( he directed with little fair and no real intensity ) . Ben’s direction was decent , but he was over-praised because he is a A-lister . Kathryn Bigleow is a brilliant filmmaker , but she can’t touch Ang Lee .

      1. Maybe for Crouching Tiger I might agree, but I think Bigelow out directed Lee when you compared ZDT and Life of Pi. Pi had the visual feats and inspired technical flourishes (how about that wonderful final shot?), but I don’t think it came close to the exploration of themes and exactitude of vision in Zero Dark Thirty. That film really relied on cinematic technique and editing to build tension. The cut from the opening sounds of 9/11 to the first torture sequence was inspired. I loved how Bigelow created suspense in how she shot and edited the scene when they find the courier, as well as the attack on Camp Chapman. That’s pure, immersive filmmaking at its finest, was probably the best last year, and went unrewarded for a variety of reasons. But it’s always about the stars…that’s why so many actor-directors have beaten out great filmmakers.

  7. Oprah, in my opinion, isn’t a strong actress … yet. You can still see the wheels turning as she works very, very hard to make a cinematic moment and “be believable”. You either are or you aren’t. You take someone like Sally Hawkins who is just pure energy, talent, and exquisite timing. Oprah, no matter how bad she wants it, just isn’t in the same league (yet) as the Globe nominees and no amount of over-the-top emoting is going to change that.

    As for the SAG nod? A lot of actors have sat on her couch millions of times peddling their projects to great success. Favors are owed. But even if she’s beloved as Oprah, herself, I doubt many of them look at her as a “serious actress”.

  8. Dear Oprah,

    Don’t you have enough? There are so few great parts for African American women, why did you have to take this, too?

    I think this film could have been brought up GREATLY had there been a great actress in the great Oprah part. But their wasn’t. I don’t even remember the name of her character. When I watched this film all I saw was Oprah looking uncomfortable, trying too hard and other actors acting their little hearts out around her. Really made me sad.

    Oprah, you have more money than you’ll ever need. You have changed pockets of the world for the better. You are a TV legend. Please, next time you are offered a great role, be gracious and allow a great African American actress to shine. Since you don’t know it, I am telling you, you have enough.

  9. ‘Rush’ is far from an award-winning film but the foreign press recognized it for its Formula One appeal worldwide. ‘American Hustle,’ Wow! It received 7 Golden Globe nods and hasn’t even hit movie theaters yet. That’s impressive.

  10. just one question, why did Marty Scorsese (a director whose past work I greatly admire) find it necessary to make WOLF OF WALL STREET running time 3 hours?! With so many of the same types of scenes repeated over and over. A very disappointing piece of work. By the end of the screening last night in Westwood, i couldn’t be bothered to stay for the Q&A – except I would have liked to ask editor Schoonmaker if she brought any objectivity to editing room to tell her boss IT’S TOO LONG!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comments are closed.