Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Is a Golden Globe nomination on the verge of becoming a dubious honor?

The 2011 Golden Globe nominations were announced today, and this year more than in most recent years, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association demonstrated why it's largely seen within the film industry as a celebrity-ass-kissing joke. I'm surprised Julia Roberts wasn't nominated for Best Actress, Comedy or Musical, for Eat, Pray, Love. It wasn't a funny movie, but recognizing it would have been less embarrassing than throwing Angelina Jolie into the mix for The Tourist. At least that nomination goof probably provided more of a guffaw than all of the comedy-nominated films put together.

But seriously, the HFPA has some explaining to do. I'll try to keep my list of questions short and relatively sweet, which won't be easy, considering how confounding many of the nominations -- and omissions -- were. And I'm skipping the TV ones because they always bore me. (The awards will be broadcast live January 16 on NBC -- in HD!)

1. In what world is The Kids Are All Right a comedy? Okay, so the HFPA isn't the first group to deem it so, but perhaps everyone saw a completely different movie than I did. The Kids had some amusing moments, most of them courtesy of GG nominee Julianne Moore, but overall, it was a pretty serious film. In fact, I can't recall a single funny word uttered by Annette Bening, the star with the most awards-season traction. Her character was the quintessential humorless, everything-in-its-place-type A pain in the ass, and by God, she nailed her.

2. Speaking of The Kids Are All Right, why wasn't New York Film Critics Circle honoree Mark Ruffalo nominated for Best Supporting Actor? Maybe someday this great underrated actor will get the industry respect he deserves. Look how long it took Christian Bale, finally a GG nominee and an Oscar frontrunner this year for The Fighter.

3. Did Ruffalo's spot go to Michael Douglas for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps? Maybe it's a sentimental nod for the cancer-stricken star, and the HFPA is praying that Douglas will be well enough to show up. I'm hoping so, too, but the HFPA should have pretended that Solitary Man was funny and nominated him for Best Actor, Comedy or Musical, instead.

4. Ah, yes! There was no room in Best Actor, Comedy or Musical, for Douglas because Johnny Depp is hogging two spots (for Alice in Wonderland and The Tourist). Sure it looks good on paper: two Golden Globe nominations in one year -- and in one category. It's so Meryl Streep in 2009. But how's Depp going to look when he loses to Paul Giamatti (for Barney's Version) and doesn't even score an Oscar nod?

5. Is Halle Berry's Best Actress, Drama, nomination for Frankie and Alice more ass-kissing, or does it mean that she actually has a shot at some Oscar love? I've heard very little about this movie so far, but the trailer is fascinating, and I love the film's poster.

6. What happened to Lesley Manville, already a precursor frontrunner for Another Year? Maybe the members of the HFPA still haven't seen Another Year or True Grit, also curiously missing from the GG noms.

7. Do the Critic's Choice and Golden Globe nods of a certain former That '70s Show star mean that the Academy might be into her, too? I recognized Mila Kunis as a potential Oscar nominee for Black Swan early on, but I didn't expect anything to actually come of it.

8. Since it's so unashamedly star-baiting anyway, couldn't the HFPA have tossed Cher a little consolation bone for Burlesque? At least if "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me," a Best Original Song nominee, makes it to the Oscars, we might get to see Cher perform it live and in the flesh -- or even better, baring much flesh.

9. Not that it means much, but do Christina Aguilera and Carrie Underwood really get to call themselves Golden Globe nominees now? Aguilera is listed as a cowriter of Burlesque's "Bound for You," and Carrie Underwood had a hand in Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader's "There's a Place for Us," but the extent of either singer's involvement in the songwriting process of either song probably should be open to debate.

10. Does Katie Holmes feel even a twinge of jealousy towards Michelle Williams? Surely the actress, who announced the nominees with Josh Duhamel and Blair Underwood, isn't crazy about the fact that the movie career of her former Dawson's Creek costar, up for Best Actress, Drama, for Blue Valentine, is going so much better than hers.
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