Sunday, January 13, 2008

What's Wrong With The Golden Globes (2008 Edition)

(As a brief introduction, hi. I'm Dominick, and Amy's bought me on to write on the blog as well. That's all the time I'll spend on that tact.)

The Golden Globe Awards, though cut short due to the WGA strike, were revealed by way of a press conference tonight. Now, for the most part, I've always liked the Globes better for two reasons. For one, by dividing most categories into Drama and then Comedy/Musical, a lot more films share the nomination love. Also, you get a lot of films with the Globes that would never get near the Academy Awards, purely because the Academy Awards seem to only like three kinds of movies: period epics, big-name-actor-centric films, and generally movies so depressing you want to kill yourself after leaving the theater. Even the comedies like "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Sideways" that have garnered nominations in recent years haven't exactly been rays of sunshine (however, I love both those films, so don't take that the wrong way, but come on. Also, no pun intended.)

This year, the Globes mostly nailed the good nominees, but there were a few gaping omissions. First off, where the hell was "Into The Wild"? Easily one of the best movies of 2007, "Wild" was up for two Globes, under "Best Original Score" and "Best Song". That's just criminal, plain and simple. Also, glad as I am that "No Country For Old Men" is getting so much attention, Javier Bardem was not, contrary to popular belief, the only actor in that movie. Josh Brolin should've been up for best actor, bar none. My biggest gripe, however, is that under Best Picture for a Musical or Comedy, according to the HFPA, "Across The Universe" and "Hairspray" were more deserving of a high nomination than "Knocked Up" or "Superbad". I can live with "Hairspray", it was a fun watch, but "Across The Universe"? Was this really better than the Apatow comedies? I know there are a lot of people in this world that suckle at the almighty teat of the Beatles, but enough already. This was a half hour too long, took itself far more seriously than was warranted and only developed the characters as far as "Hey! They're named after the songs! They represent the War, man!" The fact is, if you really want two hours of disaffected hipsters in the 1960s doing drugs, go rent "Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas". It's a far better film that doesn't waste its time pontificating about how love was what everyone really needed during that period.

(deep breath)

Alright, that's enough about the nominees, let's move on to the actual winners. Now, for the most part, I'm with these. While I liked "Juno" (if not as much as everyone else and their brother) and "Charlie Wilson's War", "Sweeney Todd" was the best film in the category. Also, Johnny Depp winning Best Actor was dead on. Tom Hanks has been here too many times before, and the rest just weren't on Depp's level. I've heard "La Vie En Rose" was good, but I haven't seen it; however, I won't comment on Best Actress for Musical/Comedy because my total adoration for Ellen Page bars me from judging properly. Under Drama, Best Picture is by far my greatest issue, so I'll get to that later, but for the actors, Daniel Day-Lewis played the hell out of his psychotic oil baron in "There Will Be Blood", and he's the man to beat come Oscar time. I'm still for Clooney, though, his work in "Michael Clayton" was his most likable in years. Best Actress was a weak category this year, and I haven't seen "Away From Her", so I won't touch upon that one.

For the Supporting Actor/Actress awards, though, good calls all around. Show me somebody who's going to beat Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh, and I'll show you somebody with a lot of false hopes about to be crushed. For Supporting Actress, Cate Blanchett was a better Bob Dylan than I think Dylan himself could have been in "I'm Not There". Amy Ryan was great in "Gone Baby Gone", but this is Blanchett's year.

Now, on to my one major issue with the Globes this year. "Atonement" claimed Best Drama. Am I the only person in America who thought this movie really wasn't that good? It was worth watching, yes, but really, it was the most blatant piece of formulaic Oscar bait since "Cold Mountain". It followed the formula to a T: Take a previously nominated director, working with source material from a reputed novel (bonus points for the source novel being English), add a pair of attractive leads rocking accents, and a tragic romance set in a dark time period, and Voila!, rave reviews and glowing nominations all around. Now, I think this movie had its high points (it's a shoo-in for Best Cinematography based on the Dunkirk shot alone), and again, it wasn't hideous. However, it was up against three better films, and just isn't a film that I think people will be raving about years from now. "No Country For Old Men", "There Will Be Blood" and "Michael Clayton" all deserved this award more. "No Country" and "Blood" were based upon novels by Great American Authors, so they had the same pedigree as "Atonement", and "Clayton" was easily the best-written thriller in years. I don't know, maybe it's the fact that (spoiler warning) the entire plot of "Atonement" is based upon the 1920s equivalent of a Penthouse letter and a series of sitcom-level misunderstandings that doesn't sit right with me.

We'll revisit this discussion when the Academy Award nominations come out on February 4th. Here's hoping the ceremony still happens.

(A brief aside: "The Diving Bell & The Butterfly" won Best Foreign Film. If you haven't seen it, please do. It's the best-kept secret in theatres right now.)

1 comment:

Amy D. said...

Props to Janusz Kaminski for shooting Diving Bell. The best thing to come out of Columbia College...well, ever.