On Thursday morning, the Hollywood Foreign Press announced the nominations for the Golden Globe Awards, and now you're reading this article, even though you don't care what the Hollywood Foreign Press thinks, and I don't either. I'd venture to say that no one, including the nominees, cares. But they do care about the Oscars, and the Globe nominations will have a significant bearing on who gets Oscar nods and who wins the top awards on Feb. 26.
Why? The other day I was talking to an Academy member who, in passing, mentioned that he had 50 DVDs, sent from the various studios, that he had to watch in order to vote in the Oscar competition. He said he'd already watched 20 in the past week and could hardly bear watching another one. He said he felt sorry for me that I had to see movies for a living.
This fellow was already cracking after 20 movies. He is not about to watch 30 more. Instead, like every other Academy voter, he will see what is nominated for a Golden Globe and make sure to watch those movies, because those are the ones perceived to be hottest.
Based on those nominations, he will have to see "The Artist" and "The Descendants," for sure. He's even going to have to dig "The Ides of March" out of the trash, because that entry has sprung back to unexpected life (four nominations).
Now, you may remember that the Globes divide their top categories into "comedy or musical" and drama, and usually the drama category has the better movies. Not this year. While "The Descendants," "The Help," "Hugo" "The Ides of March," "Moneyball" and "Warhorse" constitute a not-bad dramatic field, look at Comedy or Musical Category: "50/50," "The Artist," "Bridesmaids," "Midnight in Paris" and "My Week With Marilyn."
Actually, the classification of "The Artist" as a comedy is a pity. It's a drama and might have won as a drama, leaving the comedy category to any one of those other worthy candidates. On the plus side, this makes Dujardin a shoo-in to win best actor in a comedy or musical, giving him a chance to be appealing and gracious in his acceptance speech and make people think what fun it would be to give him an Oscar.
Dujardin's real Oscar competition is over in the Drama category: Leonardo DiCaprio ("J. Edgar"), Michael Fassbender ("Shame"), Brad Pitt ("Moneyball"), George Clooney ("The Descendants"), and Ryan Gosling ("The Ides of March"). Clooney is probably the winner there (they seem to love him this year). And if you add in Dujardin and toss out Gosling, those are probably the Oscar contenders.
For best actress in a drama, the foreign press nominated Meryl Streep ("The Iron Lady"), Glenn Close ("Albert Nobbs"), Viola Davis ("The Help"), Rooney Mara ("The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo") and Tilda Swinton ("We Need to Talk About Kevin"). That's a strong category, with Mara the only longshot (though worthy).
But best actress in a comedy or musical also contains strong candidates: Michelle Williams ("My Week With Marilyn") is a certain Oscar contender, and Charlize Theron ("Young Adult") has a decent chance, as well.
Best director is where you get to see which movies the foreign press really loves: Woody Allen ("Midnight in Paris"), Clooney ("The Ides of March"), Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants") and Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"). The choice of Clooney is downright eccentric, because his direction is actually what's wrong with "The Ides of March," and "The Descendants" is one of Payne's weaker films. But maybe all this means is that the way is clear for "The Artist," which has six Globe nominations.
Maybe this also means that "The Artist" will be the first silent movie to win the Academy Award since "Wings" at the first ceremony in 1929. Let's hope so.