Deck the Globes with Brangelina

Year in and year out, we can rely on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to sell out integrity in order to get as many of the industry’s brightest stars to the ceremony as possible. Some years, their celebrity pandering is infuriating, i.e. last year’s mind-numbingly stupid nominations for “The Tourist.” Other years it’s just adorable. Luckily this year came off as the latter, in my eyes at least. With no less than four individual nods for George Clooney, Angelina Jolie’s (moderately acclaimed) Balkans drama “In the Land of Blood and Honey” popping up in the Best Foreign Language Film category and even a Best Song nomination for Madonna, we can stop worrying that the HFPA might actually aspire to greater things.

And I’m actually perfectly fine with that. Many bloggers are criticizing the Globes for making themselves “irrelevant” in the Oscar race by showering lots of love on “The Ides of March” and completely snubbing both “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” and “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” but these same people would almost certainly criticize the HFPA for just “trying to predict the Oscars” should they have decided to nominate, say, Stephen Daldry and company. Would it really be better if the Globes just decided to follow the Critics’ Choice awards and nominate the usual suspects? Star whores they may be, but at least they stick to that, and in the end I’m not going to fault an organization that wants to do things a little bit differently than everyone else.

It seems pointless to decry the Globes as irrelevant and then spend lots of time poring over their choices, but this is the Internet, so what else are we going to do? It’s true that “Tinker, Tailor,” Gary Oldman and Vanessa Redgrave (surprisingly ignored all season so far for “Coriolanus”) will need some serious BAFTA support to remain in the conversation, but let’s be real: they’re going to get it. Seriously, don’t underestimate the Brits. And for all you “Tinker, Tailor” fans out there, just remember that at this same time last year, “True Grit” was likewise completely snubbed by the HFPA. It ended up with 10 Oscar nominations. These are not overlapping organizations.

“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” remains more of an enigma. Keeping the film under wraps for so long was probably a smart move in terms of keeping buzz relatively restrained, but you do need to actually show people the movie at some point for that strategy to work. As with the SAG nominations, you can probably put down the lack of love here to the film’s late screening; can the film really turn into an Oscar powerhouse without any momentum? There is still time for the guilds to pick it out, though, so we’ll see.

The other most surprising snub was the absence of Steven Spielberg in Best Director. A curious move, considering Spielberg is certainly a director of sufficient star caliber for the Globes, though again the presence of George Clooney, a director of even more star caliber, might’ve had something to do with that. The real interesting thing there is that even Woody Allen made it into that category over Spielberg, despite there being no comedy/drama split for Director – though all this really shows is that people really, really like “Midnight in Paris.” We knew that. Another curious thing is, surprisingly, the absence of Melissa McCarthy in Best Supporting Actress. They clearly liked “Bridesmaids,” but this is the first time that lead Kristin Wiig has gotten singled out instead of McCarthy. Before the season got rolling, I would’ve predicted that the Globes would be the one place that McCarthy DID pop up. Now it turns out to be the one (so far) where she didn’t. Go figure.

There were the usual sketchy “comedy vs. drama” decisions that landed “My Week with Marilyn” and Roman Polanski’s “Carnage” in the Comedy or Musical field. Considering the HFPA wisely refused to place “The Help” on that side, I’m not sure how they justified “My Week with Marilyn,” but hypocrisy would not be a surprising trait for the HFPA to display. The split did, as usual, allow for a few bright spots that wouldn’t happen otherwise, like the recognition for Brendan Gleeson in “The Guard” (remember when they gave Colin Farrell Best Actor in a Comedy for “In Bruges?” That was awesome), and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in “50/50.”

Meanwhile, Tilda Swinton has yet to miss a beat in her campaign. She’s building up some great momentum to finally land her elusive first lead Actress nomination. Michael Fassbender, Albert Brooks and Shailene Woodley are all back after getting snubbed by SAG; that’s something to keep them in the conversation, but SAG is still the far more reliable precursor, usually. Viggo Mortensen popped up for best-in-show work in “A Dangerous Method;” it’s nice that film won’t go completely forgotten in the end.

“The Artist,” which led the entire field with 6 nominations, will certainly dominate the Comedy/Musical side of things, but that leaves Drama pretty wide open. Will the HFPA follow the scent of George Clooney to “The Descendants?” Will they be drawn in by the spectacle of “Hugo?” Could this be the place for a surprise “Moneyball” win, even? We’ll find out at the ceremony on Jan. 15, hosted again by Ricky Gervais.

HFPA’s Golden Globe award nominations:

Best Picture – Drama:

  • The Descendants
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • The Ides of March
  • Moneyball
  • War Horse

Best Picture – Comedy/Musical:

  • The Artist
  • Bridesmaids
  • 50/50
  • Midnight in Paris
  • My Week with Marilyn

Best Actor – Drama:

  • George Clooney, “The Descendants”
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, “J. Edgar”
  • Michael Fassbender, “Shame”
  • Ryan Gosling, “The Ides of March”
  • Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

Best Actress – Drama:

  • Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”
  • Viola Davis, “The Help”
  • Rooney Mara, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
  • Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
  • Tilda Swinton, “We Need to Talk About Kevin”

Best Actor – Comedy/Musical:

  • Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “50/50”
  • Ryan Gosling, “Crazy, Stupid Love”
  • Brendan Gleeson, “The Guard”
  • Owen Wilson, “Midnight in Paris”

Best Actress – Comedy/Musical:

  • Jodi Foster, “Carnage”
  • Charlize Theron, “Young Adult”
  • Kristin Wiig, “Bridesmaids”
  • Michelle Williams, “My Week with Marilyn”
  • Kate Winslet, “Carnage”

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Kenneth Branagh, “My Week with Marilyn”
  • Albert Brooks, “Drive”
  • Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”
  • Viggo Mortensen, “A Dangerous Method”
  • Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Bérénice Bejo, “The Artist”
  • Jessica Chastain, “The Help”
  • Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”
  • Octavia Spencer, “The Help”
  • Shailene Woodley, “The Descendants”

Best Director:

  • Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
  • George Clooney, “The Ides of March”
  • Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
  • Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”
  • Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”

Best Screenplay:

  • Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
  • George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, “The Ides of March”
  • Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
  • Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
  • Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, “Moneyball”

Best Foreign Language Film:

  • The Flowers of War (China)
  • In the Land of Blood and Honey (USA)
  • The Kid with a Bike (France)
  • A Separation (Iran)
  • The Skin I Live In (Spain)

Best Animated Film:

  • The Adventures of Tintin
  • Arthur Christmas
  • Cars 2
  • Puss in Boots
  • Rango

Best Original Score:

  • Ludovic Bource, “The Artist”
  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
  • Howard Shore, “Hugo”
  • John Williams, “War Horse”
  • Abel Korzeniowski, “W.E.”

Best Original Song:

  • “Lay Your Head Down,” from “Albert Nobbs”
  • “Hello Hello,” from “Gnomeo and Juliet”
  • “The Living Proof,” from “The Help”
  • “The Keeper,” from “Machine Gun Preacher”
  • “Masterpiece,” from “W.E.”
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