2011 wasn't a bad year for movies. Let me put it another way: 2011 was a very good year for movies. But whatever's happened in the last 10 or 11 months is now almost completely beside the point. We're in that time of year when it starts raining prizes on films that haven't been in theaters long enough to actually be seen. The nominees for the 69th Golden Globes were announced this morning, and, more than ever, you really have to wonder who, over there, is in charge.
"The Artist," a black-and-white silent comedy from France about a washed-up film star, continued its march toward the top of the Oscar pile, with 6 nominations. It opens in Boston next week.
The films with the next highest tally, with five apiece, were "The Help," about black maids and their white employers in 1960s Mississippi, and "The Descendants," a father-daughter comedy directed by Alexander Payne and starring George Clooney. If there was a surprise, it was the attention paid to Clooney's "The Ides of March," a decently made, overly righteous political-campaign thriller that never really caught on with critics or the public. It got four nominations including one for Clooney's directing and another for its star, Ryan Gosling, who's nominated in the Globes's comedy or musical category for "Crazy, Stupid, Love."
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association oversees the Golden Globes, and it never does any good bemoaning its omissions. But this must be an especially annoying day for Scott Rudin who produced two very high-profile, seemingly Oscar-bound films -- David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and the 9/11 prestige weepie "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," neither of which is playing yet and only one of which was nominated for anything: Rooney Mara, of "Dragon Tattoo," for actress in a drama and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for that movie's score.
The news was broken in Los Angeles by Rashida Jones, Gerard Butler, Sofia Vergara, and Woody Harrelson. They began a little before 6 a.m. on the West Coast, which accounts for the air of punchiness in the eventual deluge of information. But by the the time Vergara, a nominee in the category for supporting actress on a series or television movie, stood at the podium (she followed Jones and Butler), things had become so weird that she had to speed-read through her pile of nominees, lest she collapse in laughter. Or something. After Butler read his portion, which included the names for the best actor in a movie drama, Harrelson, who was seated to Butler's left, bellowed, "Did you leave one name off there, Ger?" The missing name, of course, was Harrelson's. When it was his turn, he appeared to struggle with the surprise of his performance as a racist Los Angeles cop in "Rampart" being omitted (although from where I sat, having seen the film and the acting he does in it, his inclusion would have been the surprise). Harrelson concluded his duties by reminding the audience of the film's opening date.
It all added a dimension of spontaneity to what tends to feel like a preordained affair. Still, the confused manner in which the nominations were delivered matched the potential confusion with which they were received. For one thing, because of a formatting error, the awards' website lists Vergara as a producer of "The Descendants." For another, you just never know how seriously not to take the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a strange collection of Los Angeles-enclaved, non-American journalists who continue to operate in a state of amazing and outrageous starstruckness.
How else to explain how a group of foreigners could survey the robust international filmmaking landscape and report in its findings that one of the very best foreign-language movies on Earth was directed by Angelina Jolie. Her film, "In the Land of Blood and Honey," about a woman attempting survival during the Serbian-Bosnian war isn't bad (it opens here in January). But the list is long of what movies might have been included instead.
Look, it's called the Hollywood Foreign Press, and they think that Jolie, her life partner, Brad Pitt, and George Clooney sit atop the Olympus of the movie world, which they kind of do, and the Hollywood Foreign Press rarely misses an opportunity to perch itself on their laps.
The show airs on January 15th on NBC. Below is a complete list of the film nominees. A complete list that includes television is here.
Best motion picture, drama
"The Ides of March"
Best motion picture, musical or comedy
"Midnight in Paris"
"My Week with Marilyn"
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
George Clooney, "The Ides of March"
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Alexander Payne, "The Descendants"
Martin Scorsese, "Hugo"
Best actress in a motion picture, drama
Glenn Close, "Albert Nobbs"
Viola Davis, "The Help"
Rooney Mara, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"
Tilda Swinton, "We Need to Talk About Kevin"
Best actor in a motion picture, drama
George Clooney, "The Descendants"
Leonardo DiCaprio, "J Edgar"
Michael Fassbender, "Shame"
Ryan Gosling, "The Ides of March"
Brad Pitt, "Moneyball"
Best performance by an actor in a musical or comedy
Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"
Brendan Gleeson, "The Guard"
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "50/50"
Ryan Gosling, "Crazy, Stupid, Love."
Owen Wilson, "Midnight in Paris"
Best performance by an actress in a musical or comedy
Jodie Foster, "Carnage"
Charlize Theron, "Young Adult"
Kristen Wiig, "Bridesmaids"
Michelle Williams, "My Week with Marilyn"
Kate Winslet, "Carnage"
Best supporting actor
Kenneth Branagh, "My Week with Marilyn"
Albert Brooks, "Drive"
Jonah Hill, "Moneyball"
Viggo Mortensen, "A Dangerous Method"
Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"
Best supporting actress
Bérénice Bejo, "The Artist"
Jessica Chastain, "The Help"
Janet McTeer, "Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer, "The Help"
Shailene Woodley, "The Descendants"
Best foreign film
"The Flowers of War"
"In The Land of Blood and Honey"
"The Kid with a Bike"
"The Skin I Live In"
Best animated feature
"The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn"
"Puss in Boots"
Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen
The Ides of March, George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon
The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius
The Descendants, Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
Moneyball, Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin
Best original song
"Hello Hello" from "Gnomeo & Juliet," performed by Elton John
"Lay Your Head Down" from "Albert Nobbs," performed by Sinead O'Connor
"The Living Proof" from "The Help," performed by Mary J. Blige
"The Keeper" from "Machine Gun Preacher," performed by Gerard Butler
"Masterpiece" from "W.E.", performed by Madonna
Best original score
"The Artist," Ludovic Bource
"W.E.," Abel Korzeniowski
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
"Hugo," Howard Shore
"War Horse," John Williams
About Movie Nation
ContributorsTy Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.
Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.
Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.
Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Glenn Yoder is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer for Boston.com.
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