Monday, January 13, 2014

Calculating the Golden Globe 2014 Winners

Left to right: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
Last night saw the Golden Globes ceremony take place hosted once again by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. The show itself had plenty of memorable moments and with the hosts managing to do what Ricky Gervais couldn't (not outstay their welcome), it was a night that managed to pack a lot of surprises, notably for those rooting on 12 Years a Slave to dominate in every available category. In fact, there wasn't a single film that really "dominated," though it has raised questions on how the Oscar race could change (read my nominee predictions here). As it stands, things look less concrete going forward.

Due to scheduling conflicts, I was only able to watch the last hour of the televised broadcast and found it to be lively. Cate Blanchett won the night with her drunken speech that only makes her Blue Jasmine performance loo more charismatic. In a strange note, Matthew McConaughey continues to give some of the best speeches (see his 2013 Spirit Award speech here that made me finally give up and admire him) as well despite become essentially an upset for the race going forward.

The following is a look at my Golden Globe predictions compared with the winners followed by brief commentary on how I feel that this will change or influence the Oscars going forward. I will also end with overall thoughts.

Best Picture (Drama)

WILL WIN: 12 Years a Slave
DID WIN: 12 Years a Slave

Not much of a surprise here, as I feel that 12 Years a Slave has almost existed in a universe where it was always going to win the top prize. Its achievements cannot be understated and due to its historical relevance, it is unlikely to even be topped by its closest competitor: Gravity, which is a stunning achievement and kind of pits these two films in a familiar race akin to the famous Avatar/The Hurt Locker race of 2009. Sci-Fi versus Historical Nonfiction. Who will win?

Best Picture (Musical or Comedy)

SHOULD WIN: Inside Llewyn Davis
WILL WIN: Inside Llewyn Davis
DID WIN: American Hustle

As stated in the predictions post, I hadn't seen majority of the nominees. Maybe I let my bias play too much into my decisions, but it does feel weird that Inside Llewyn Davis has essentially become a filler nominee despite being one of the Coen Brothers' best. With that said, I do feel like American Hustle was prone to win it not only because it has been in the conversation more, but has fueled many debates over if it is better or worse than The Wolf of Wall Street. It also helps that David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook won in this field last year. However, in terms of Oscar chances, I do feel like American Hustle will beat The Wolf of Wall Street (not 12 Years a Slave however) simply because it is like last year's Argo/Zero Dark Thirty race which saw similar stories told in two ways: Mainstream versus Unpleasant Darkness. Also, it helps that there is just more previously Oscar nominated people in American Hustle.

Best Director

SHOULD WIN: Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity
WILL WIN: Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity
DID WIN: Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity

This is a no brainer and one that I hope that the Academy follows with. Depending on your thoughts on Gravity, it is unlikely to win Best Picture. However, my theory has been that as a whole, 12 Years a Slave works on acting, writing, and visual levels and deserves to win Best Picture. However, Gravity is far superior in direction based on how it takes a minimalist concept and pushes the camera into unexpected places. It is thrilling and hopefully will win, even if it is on the basis that it is technically impressive. This is very similar to last year's much deserved Best Director winner Ang Lee for Life of Pi (though that film as a whole is far more impressive than Gravity), which unfortunately lost out to Best Picture from Argo.

Best Actor (Drama)

SHOULD WIN: Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave
WILL WIN: Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave
DID WIN: Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club

In an interesting twist, Matthew McConaughey beat out favorite Chiwetel Ejiofor and the highly acclaimed Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips) for the top prize. While I have yet to see Dallas Buyers Club, it is interesting that this could change the race significantly. 12 Years a Slave is highly successful, thanks to Ejiofor, who I expected to win. While it isn't concrete that McConaughey will win the Oscar, it does seem likely that his momentum has doubled and is now the front runner. My only concern is that it could be due to his massive weight loss and not the performance (I reserve right to comment on if that is good or bad until after I have seen the film) much like past winners Christian Bale (Best Supporting Actor - The Fighter) or Anne Hathaway (Best Supporting Actress - Les Miserables) who both turned in stellar performances, but it does feel like physical change will play big in whether he wins or not.

Best Actress (Drama)

SHOULD WIN: Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine
WILL WIN: Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine
DID WIN: Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine

Probably the second least shocking thing so far on this recap. Cate Blanchett has been leading the category since Blue Jasmine came out in August. The only question is if Best Actress (Comedy or Musical) winner Amy Adams will win some sort of popular vote that overshadows Blanchett due to American Hustle being both bigger and newer. It is unlikely, the film as a whole is feeling like an unprecedented darling at awards ceremonies and seems to slowly infiltrate 12 Years a Slave's potential at the Oscars. It may even beat Blue Jasmine's if we're not careful.

Best Actor (Comedy or Musical)

SHOULD WIN: Bruce Dern - Nebraska
WILL WIN: Christian Bale - American Hustle
DID WIN: Leonardo DiCaprio - The Wolf of Wall Street

While Bruce Dern's Nebraska performance ranks as one of my personal favorites, I do believe that Leonardo DiCaprio was leagues ahead of everyone just in ambition. His physicality and performance are unparalleled shots of adrenaline. Don't believe me? Just try watching the Lemmons scene and not recognizing that it is the best piece of physical comedy in a decade. While there is argument that the Academy doesn't like DiCaprio, this performance has been heavily in discussion and thus is making his chances of being nominated all the more likely. The only thing is with a race this crowded, things could backfire much like they did last year for his Best Supporting Actor potential with Django Unchained.

Best Actress (Comedy or Musical)

SHOULD WIN: Julie Delpy - Before Midnight
WILL WIN: Amy Adams - American Hustle
DID WIN: Amy Adams - American Hustle

Readers of The Oscar Buzz will be aware that I really admire Amy Adams and feel that she has been deserving of an Oscar win for quite some time. I feel like this could have been the film, however Cate Blanchett stands in the way. It is another tough year, but thankfully the Golden Globes were smart enough to not give the statue to Meryl Streep and instead someone deserving. The only question now is if Streep's performance is too far out of the conversation to not make the final cut.

Best Foreign Language Film

SHOULD WIN: The Wind Rises
WILL WIN: Blue is the Warmest Color
DID WIN: The Great Beauty

I must admit that I am sort of psyched to see films other than Blue is the Warmest Color getting recognition at these ceremonies. I still need to see The Great Beauty, which is supposed to be lavish and breathtaking. However, my wonder still holds if The Wind Rises still stands a chance at breaking barriers at the Oscars and getting nominated in both Best Foreign Film and Best Animated Feature. If The Great Beauty beats it, I am not really going to complain, as I am just glad that a film with artistic achievements is getting its due.

Best Animated Feature Film

WILL WIN: Who cares?
DID WIN: Frozen

I feel like this year's selection was atrocious and Frozen won on the merits that its competition was awful. I really do hope that of all categories, this is the one that the Oscars give a total face lift and replace with far superior films, including The Wind Rises and maybe even Monsters University. It wasn't a great year for animation in general, so I am not looking forward to this category announcement on Thursday. If they just scrap it, I will be happy.

Best Supporting Actor (Drama)

SHOULD WIN: Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slave
WILL WIN: Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slavei
DID WIN: Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club

This is yet another head scratcher from the ceremony. While it could be deserving, it does seem strange that Dallas Buyers Club has infiltrated these categories and won over perennial favorite 12 Years a Slave. Of every nomination from that film, I felt like Michael Fassbender was most deserving and one that is ferocious and memorable. The only question now is if this will translate to the Oscars and Jared Leto will take the top prize. As interesting as the race just got, it does make me feel concerned going forward with potential winners. Also, I do hope that Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) hasn't dropped out of the race either.

Best Supporting Actress

SHOULD WIN: Sally Hawkins - Blue Jasmine
WILL WIN: Lupita Nyong'o - 12 Years a Slave
DID WIN: Jennifer Lawrence - American Hustle

While I will admit to liking American Hustle, I cannot understand why Jennifer Lawrence took the top prize. At this point, I feel like Sally Hawkins is officially checked out of the Oscar race, which is a shame. I do feel like this win is heavily on the grounds that she is popular and very likable. Her performance wasn't particularly the high point of the film and it does feel like she is overshadowing 12 Years a Slave's Lupita Nyong'o and thus may do some damage when it comes to the Oscars. I do worry that she will win based on her popularity and the Academy's desire to set another record (back-to-back Best Supporting Actress wins) that take away from more deserving nominees.

Best Screenplay

SHOULD WIN: Spike Jonze - Her
WILL WIN: John Ridley - 12 Years a Slave
DID WIN: Spike Jonze - Her

Probably the most pleasant surprise of the night came when Her beat 12 Years a Slave. While I feel like the relevance of 12 Years a Slave is bound to overpower at the Oscars, it does make me hold out hope that it will play big at the Oscars and give it a surprise amount of nominations. I doubt it will win in the Best Original Screenplay category, but seeing as writing is where Spike Jonze has always been recognized, it is now set in stone that he is probably going to get into the nominations no problem.

Best Original Score

SHOULD WIN: All is Lost
WILL WIN: Gravity
DID WIN: All is Lost

This is a welcome surprise, as I cannot quite get behind Gravity's score. I am also just glad to see 12 Years a Slave not taking it because of its popularity and chances of sweeping the Oscars (which continually seems unlikely). While I have yet to see All is Lost, I have heard great things about Alex Ebert's score and knowing that the film is heavily dialogue-free, there is a need for music to carry the film. Much like The Artist, this feels like a film that will ride on the fact that music is at the front of the picture and thus is more necessary to recognize.

Best Original Song

SHOULD WIN: "Please Mr. Kennedy" - Inside Llewyn Davis
WILL WIN: "Let It Go" - Frozen
DID WIN: "Ordinary Love" - Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

I have long thought that Frozen was a lock for this category. It will definitely receive an Oscar nomination, but I doubt that "Ordinary Love" will stand a chance against "Let It Go." The music categories seems to be where the Oscars and the Golden Globes often differentiate, such as the year that "Masterpiece" (from W.E.) won in the category but failed to get into the Oscars. While I know that "Please Mr. Kennedy" has been ineligible for quite some time, it does raise an interesting question on what will take its place in the race.

Biggest Winner: American Hustle - 3 wins
WINS - Should Win - 4
WINS - Will Win - 4


I will admit that if you assume that the Golden Globes are indicators of the Oscars, this is unwelcome news for 12 Years a Slave, which took the top prize, but lost in everything else. While I still feel like the acting is top notch and deserving of recognition, it does feel like the big upsets are going to be from Dallas Buyers Club and American Hustle: the latter of which is really good, but not better than 12 Years a Slave. Unfortunately, it looks like Christian Bale (American Hustle) isn't going to join his co-stars in the Oscar nominations, as he seems to have been shut out despite being the best performance in the film. The race is definitely congested and there is no real front runner anymore.

While I do feel like 12 Years a Slave is looking as bright to win Best Picture, it doesn't have much weight in the other categories. In fact, the winners have been diverse and while I don't think that Jennifer Lawrence was all that deserving, it does make the final race more interesting in whether she or Cate Blanchett will take the win. 

At this point, the three films to keep an eye out on are American Hustle (biggest winner, crowd favorite), Dallas Buyers Club (best acting winners), and 12 Years a Slave (top prize, potential upset). Those three are likely to be tough competitors and while films like Nebraska, Captain Phillips, and Inside Llewyn Davis are still potential nominees, they are probably going to walk away empty handed unless the narrative manages to change by the time the ceremony rolls around. 

No comments:

Post a Comment