Globe Nominations Bring Hat Tricks All Round

Christopher Plummer's performance in Beginners could win him his first Oscar - at the age of 82!

Another day, another set of movie nominations.   Tuesday belonged to the Critics Choice Awards, yesterday it was the turn of the Screen Actors Guild and today comes the biggest of the three, the Golden Globes.

Having reached the Globes, I have a definite feeling of deja vu, with a number of names nominated in the same categories by all three sets of judges.  Up for Best Actor are George Clooney (The Descendants), Leonardo diCaprio (J Edgar), Brad Pitt (Moneyball) and Jean Dujardin (The Artist), while Viola Davis (The Help), Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Tilda Swinton (We Need To Talk About Kevin) and Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn) form the bulk of the Best Actress nominations across all three awards.  There are hat tricks too in the Best Supporting Actor and Actress categories – Kenneth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn), Christopher Plummer (Beginners), Berenice Bejo (The Artist), Jessica Chastain (The Help) and Octavia  Spencer (The Help).

The Golden Globes splits films into two categories, drama and comedy/musical, with The Descendants, The Help and Moneyball receiving nods for Best Film Drama, and My Week With Marilyn and The Artist nominated for Best Film, Comedy or Musical.  The latter is often seen as the lesser award: comedies and musicals aren’t usually major contenders for the coveted Oscar for Best Film, the last musical to win being Chicago in 2002, while the most recent comedy was Shakespeare In Love back in 1998.  This year, however, could be different, with the black and white, near-silent The Artist (an award winner at Cannes) gathering a head of steam, both among critics and audiences.  It opens in London at the end of this month and around the country in January, and I’ll be reviewing it here.

As the Globes are often seen as an Oscar indicator (as, indeed, are most awards in the run-up to the Oscars!), the nominations for the little gold statues towards the end of next month are likely to have a familiar look.   But who could walk off with the trophies from Critics Choice, SAG and The Globes – and, indeed, the Academy?  You’ll not be surprised to know that I’m keeping my fingers very tightly crossed for Tilda Swinton for her searing performance in We Need To Talk About Kevin.  However, the current front-runner seems to be Meryl Streep’s interpretation of Margaret Thatcher: Streep is an excellent actress and an Academy favourite, so she does look like being the one to beat.  But a month or two is a long time in the awards season ……

Among the Best Actor nominees, the picture is less clear: like his movie, The Artist, Jean Dujardin is gathering support and could easily win another statue to go with his one from Cannes, but Clooney is another favourite with the judges – and there’s always the possibility it could be third time lucky for Brad Pitt, if the Academy decides it’s his turn.  Probably the most likely winner in all the four acting categories is Christopher Plummer, nominated by Critics Choice, SAG and The Golden Globes for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Ewan McGregor’s gay, terminally ill father in Beginners.  By the time the awards are presented, he’ll have celebrated his 82nd birthday – and, if he goes on to win the Oscar he’ll be oldest actor ever to win one.  This could be the year when old guys rule.

The Best Supporting Actress category is harder to call at the moment.  Jessica Chastain has become almost ubiquitous during the second half of this year: apart from The Help, she’s been in The Tree of Life, Take Shelter and will also be seen in Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus, which opens next month, so an award would be the icing on the cake.  But this could be the category that gives us some variation between the different awards.  Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs anybody?

Award nominations always contain some surprises and a snub or two.  The Golden Globes are the only ones so far to recognise Clooney’s The Ides Of March, which I’d expected to see on more nominations lists, but I’m still surprised at Jonah Hill being up for both the SAG and Globe for Best Supporting Actor for Moneyball: he’s good but, at best, is an outsider.  And where’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in the nods for acting awards?  Nowhere at the moment, so I can only hope that Gary Oldman at least finds his way on to the list at BAFTA.

The Critics Choice Awards are handed out on 12 January, followed by the Golden Globes on the 15th and the Screen Actors Guild presents its trophies on the 29th.  I’ll be reporting on the winners and losers here, as well as picking my own personal favourites (and hoping I don’t scupper their chances!)



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