Before I get into any of this, let me give the age-old spiel that the Golden Globe Awards are not nearly as meaningful as the glitzy televised ceremony would suggest. They're prizes handed out by a hundred-odd movie industry reporters who frequently attend lavish luncheons and junkets thrown by the very studios who receive these awards. The group is notoriously star-obsessed and likely to nominate anyone with a famous name over an actually deserving performance.
That said, the Golden Globes do tend to focus somewhat on the end-of-the-year films critics care about-- at least more than the People's Choice Awards-- and they're a ceremony we all watch whether we like it or not, sot hey merit talking about. And this year's crop of nominees is especially out-there, given the weak Comedy/Musical category that allowed Burlesque to sneak in, an apparent Hollywood Foreign Press love of The Tourist that no one else on the planet shared, and a perverse desire to remind us that Alice in Wonderland ever existed. Below I've listed the five biggest surprises for me from this morning's nominations, and what they might mean for the awards race going forward. They probably don't mean anything, really, but it's fun to chat about anyway, right?
Mila Kunis for Best Supporting Actress, and the Black Swan love in general. Pretty much no one has been anticipating Kunis as a contender for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars, and she certainly hadn't won any critic's awards before this, but there she was right alongside frontrunners Helena Bonham Carter and Melissa Leo in this category. It's partially explained by the overall True Grit snub (more on that later), since Hailee Steinfeld was widely expected to have a spot here, but the HFPA also seems to have just liked Black Swan a lot, nominating Darren Aronofsky, Natalie Portman and the movie itself for Best Drama. I never would have expected this bunch, who go for glitz and mainstream over artistic challenges nearly every time, to leap for the psychotic ballerina movie.
True Grit snubbed. It wasn't necessarily a guarantee that this group would go for the Coens' violent, old-school Western, but it does feature a lot of stars they've been known to like-- both Bridges and Matt Damon are previous winners-- and who would have shown up for their prizes. Its snub here doesn't necessarily mean anything Oscar-wise, but it does make me worry that True Grit could fly under the radar in the holiday season glut and be a dimmed star by the time Oscar nominations start. Someone, fix this somehow!
Johnny Depp gets not one but two nominations. We probably could have expected the Alice in Wonderland nod, given how thin the Comedy/Musical category is and especially for actors, but also for The Tourist? The same Tourist that made just $16 million at the box office this weekend and was critically drubbed? Is it possible they didn't even see the movie and just assumed they'd want Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie (who snagged a matching nomination in her own category) at their party? That seems like the most logical assumption at this point.
How Do You Know snubbed. This isn't quite a shocker on the level of True Grit's absence, but the new comedy from James L. Brooks seemed like a slam-dunk nominee in the Musical/Comedy category, especially given the pitiful competition up against it. But they ignored it in favor of Burlesque? And Red? Clearly the Hollywood Foreign Press was invited to some really nice junket that explains this inconsistency.
Halle Berry for Best Actress in Frankie and Alice. This is your classic Golden Globe nomination, an out-of-nowhere nod for a big star in a movie that nobody is talking about and that will probably go nowhere in the overall Oscar race. It's not exactly a surprise to see them pick Berry over contenders like Another Year's Lesley Manville or I Am Love's Tilda Swinton, but it's… oh what's the word? Oh yeah: depressing.