Monday, December 12, 2016

Check Out This Year's Golden Globe Awards Nominations

Scene from Deadpool
This morning, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) released the nominees for their annual Golden Globes ceremony. Along with being one of the first major awards of the season, it is always a curious bunch of nominees to look at. This year proved to be no different, reflecting the best in drama while also giving us some semblance of potential upsets for awards shows to come. The following is a list of the movie nominees, including the good, the bad, and whatever Deadpool's Best Comedy or Musical nominations are supposed to be. Oh well, it wouldn't be awards season without The Academy's drunk cousin giving out nominations to off the wall selections. Read the list after the jump as well as personal commentary on each category.

Best Drama

-Hacksaw Ridge
-Hell or High Water
-Manchester by the Sea

OVERALL THOUGHTS: There are a lot of Oscar favorites in this line-up, specifically Manchester By the Sea and Moonlight. Both of those films have been garnering acclaim and awards in recent weeks and are the most likely to make it into the Best Picture race. However, don't count out Hacksaw Ridge or Hell or High Water: both sleeper hits that have become crowd favorites with the former marking a potential redemptive comeback story for director Mel Gibson and the latter possibly earning Jeff Bridges his first Oscar nomination since True Grit in 2010. Lion also looks to be more in the running than initially thought, though it has the least momentum of the five titles.

Best Musical or Comedy

-20th Century Women
-Florence Foster Jenkins
-La La Land
-Sing Street

OVERALL THOUGHTS: Every year it is tough to look at these categories and see any potential Oscar race among them. It is true that La La Land is considered a strong front runner, in part because it's the first legitimate musical to come out since Into the Woods (and by reviews, leagues better). Meanwhile 20th Century Women and Florence Foster Jenkins may end up being filler nominees in the Best Picture race thanks in part to their highly acclaimed performances. Sing Street is a charming film that has also been a sleeper hit, but will likely only show up in the Best Original Song category come Oscar time. Otherwise, it's weird that Deadpool would be the superhero film to break into awards conversation when The Avengers (the culmination of the modern phenomenon) didn't receive much attention a few years back. In fact, Deadpool just seems like a weird pick in general for any "Best" list.

Best Foreign Film

-Divines (France)
-Elle (France)
-Neruda (Chile)
-The Salesman (Iran/France)
-Toni Erdmann (Germany)

OVERALL THOUGHTS: There are some obvious critical darlings in this list, including Paul Verhoeven's Elle - which has garnered some attention for actress Isabelle Huppert. Toni Erdmann has also been winning awards, most recently with the European film awards. I can unfortunately claim to have not seen any of these titles and have no further opinion. However, the acclaim surrounding The Handmaiden (which I also thoroughly enjoyed) makes its lack of presence here a bit disconcerting. Even then, this category rarely overlaps flawlessly with The Oscars. Maybe Toni Erdmann stands the best shot of bridging that gap.

Best Animated Film

-Kubo and the Two Strings
-My Life as a Zucchini

OVERALL THOUGHTS: As I prepare my own Top 20 list for 2016 in film, I have to admit that it's been a great year for animated film. I think that three of these films excel at being the best that they can be within category: Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, and Zootopia. However, I cannot comprehend why Sing or Trolls is on here except for filler nominees. Even then, I expect the aforementioned three to be making the rounds during this awards season and hopefully getting Oscar attention. If nothing else, the love around Zootopia especially makes it seem like the front runner - if just because it is the most deliberately about social issues (though I'd argue Moana's politics are more interesting).

Best Actor (Drama)

-Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
-Joel Edgerton (Loving)
-Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)
-Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
-Denzel Washington (Fences)

OVERALL THOUGHTS: It's a pretty strong line-up. Casey Affleck and Denzel Washington have been primed for Oscar nominations almost since their first trailers were released. It has been curious to see who will fill the remaining spots. Considering the surprise love for Hacksaw Ridge that has been cropping up in recent weeks, it isn't entirely unfathomable to think that Mel Gibson's war epic will show some legs this awards season. Likewise, sleeper hits may propel Joel Edgerton and Viggo Mortensen into the final spot on the Best Actor Oscar list. Though it is important to watch out for Silence, which may be the film that gets Andrew Garfield the Oscar nomination.

Best Actress (Drama)

-Amy Adams (Arrival)
-Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane)
-Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
-Ruth Negga (Loving)
-Natalie Portman (Jackie)

OVERALL THOUGHTS: Again, Natalie Portman has had this category almost entirely on lock since day one. For starters, she is playing a historical figure and is thrust into a grueling situation. With Ruth Negga having a breakout year (see also: Preacher), it wouldn't be surprising if her performance in Loving gets some attention. Beyond that, it's tough to really determine who will make the long term cut. Perennial favorite Amy Adams (who didn't want to win last time) is likely to make the category solely because of the acclaim and success that Arrival has gained in the weeks following the American presidential election. Likewise, the success of Miss Sloane will determine if Jessica Chastain stands any chance in the long run.

Best Actor (Musical or Comedy)

-Colin Farrell (The Lobster)
-Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
-Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins)
-Jonah Hill (War Dogs)
-Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)

OVERALL THOUGHTS: Now here is where the show gets that rim shot from the drum kit. There's arguably only one serious pick among this list. Considering the trajectory of La La Land in general, it is easy to see Ryan Gosling snapping up an Oscar nomination. With exception to the very long shot Hugh Grant, everyone else is a bit of a no go. Ryan Reynolds maybe deserved that nomination for perfectly embodying the character - but its arguably not a great movie anyways. Likewise, Jonah Hill feels like he was nominated solely because the HFPA wanted to be secretly political this year. Meanwhile, I am happy to see Colin Farrell in the mix solely because I love The Lobster and feel like it's a film that should be getting more attention during this awards season.

Best Actress (Musical or Comedy)

-Annette Bening (20th Century Women)
-Lily Collins (Rules Don't Apply)
-Hailee Steinfeld (The Edge of Seventeen)
-Emma Stone (La La Land)
-Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

OVERALL THOUGHTS: With exception to Emma Stone and Annette Bening, where is the serious consideration? Rules Don't Apply failed at the box office, so it feels weird to see Lily Collins make the cut. With that said, it's nice to see the sleeper hit The Edge of Seventeen make the cut as it receives critical acclaim. I feel like Meryl Streep is only on here because she's Meryl Streep. She could tie her shoe and get nominated. We have to cut back on just nominating her and only award the great performances so that we know that she's actually trying. 

Best Actor (Drama)

-Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
-Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
-Simon Helberg (Florence Foster Jenkins)
-Dev Patel (Lion)
-Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals)

OVERALL THOUGHTS: I do think that Mahershala Ali has pretty much staked out this win for Moonlight, which has been one of the awards season's most recognized film. Likewise, it does seem likely that with Hell or High Water being a sleeper hit that Jeff Bridges could sneak into the Oscar race. Everyone else feels like a long shot. Maybe Lion will do better than expected, but it's hard to see Nocturnal Animals making any impression at all on the Oscar voters (and if so, not for Aaron Taylor-Johnson's silly performance). 

Best Actress (Drama)

-Viola Davis (Fences)
-Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
-Nicole Kidman (Lion)
-Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)
-Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

OVERALL THOUGHTS: Ever since the first trailer for Fences came out, everyone has predicted that Viola Davis has this award locked up. In fairness, she is being nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category at the Oscars, so it will be hard to judge her here. Even then, it's nice to see other heavyweights starting to show up, specifically likely contenders Naomie Harris and Michelle Williams. It has yet to be seen if Hidden Figures or Lion will be crowd pleasers in ways that will get them nominations. 

Best Director

-Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
-Tom Ford (Nocturnal Animals)
-Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)
-Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
-Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)

OVERALL THOUGHTS: Damien Chazelle, Barry Jenkins, and Kenneth Lonergan are the most likely to make it into this category when the Oscar nominations come out. They all have done great work and have been critical darlings. Provided that Hacksaw Ridge continues to shine during the awards season, it could likely slip into other categories, but it does seem unlikely that even with Gibson's previous Oscar wins that this will be a film to look out for, as Pablo Larrain's Jackie is likely to kick him out of the spot. Meanwhile, Tom Ford and his hilariously shallow interviews continue to make me believe that the phenomenon around Nocturnal Animals is more of a fluke than anything else.

Best Screenplay

-Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
-Tom Ford (Nocturnal Animals)
-Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
-Kenneth Longergan (Manchester by the Sea)
-Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water)

OVERALL THOUGHTS: If there is one category that Hell or High Water does seem likely to show up in, it's the screenplay field. It is one of the most original and exciting takes on the neo-western from the past year. Likewise La La Land, Moonlight, and Manchester By the Sea all have plenty of acclaim to back up their more than inevitable nominations in their selective fields. Again, Nocturnal Animals may end up being the punchline of this entire awards season (and potential future Failed Oscar Campaigns subject) because honestly, it's a campy film whose high concept mostly works because of how absurd it is. It's too self-serving to be the best screenplay of any kind.

Best Original Score

-La La Land
-Hidden Figures

OVERALL THOUGHTS: I cannot comment at too much length about this category, as I am not openly familiar with any of the scores save for Moonlight and Arrival. Moonlight's score was beautifully melodic and atmospheric. It is striking when paired with one of the most acclaimed films of the year. Meanwhile, I am not exactly wild about Arrival's score, which works in context but is a drag outside of it. However, I am thinking that La La Land will end up being among the ones to look out for, largely because it is looking to dominate this entire awards season.

Best Original Song

"Can't Stop the Feeling" (Trolls)
"City of Stars" (La La Land)
"Faith" (Sing)
"Gold" (Gold)
"How Far I'll Go" (Moana)

OVERALL THOUGHTS: There's not too many surprises. I do expect Moana, La La Land, and Trolls to come up in the Oscar race. They all have music that is honestly some of the best that I've heard for any film in quite a few years. This is shaping up to be an amazing Best Original Song Oscar year, and I hope that Popstar manages to sneak into the other spots. However, the wins are going to go to Moana solely because everyone wants to make Lin-Manuel Miranda an EGOT. I'm not arguing because I unabashedly love the music. "How Far I'll Go" more than deserves to take the win.

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