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Golden Globes Preview

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Once again, it’s time for the Golden Globes, or as I like to call them, “Pimp My Oscar Campaign.” This year, I’ve chosen to add a little math to the mix by coming up with an “Oscar Predictive Value” for each category (well, most of ‘em). This basically tells you how many winners from a given category go on to win the corresponding Oscar. (So, if the Foreign Film category has an OPV of 29%, that means that 29% of the films that win in this category go on to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Film.)

Now, the OPV may seem low for some of the categories, but keep in mind that in 1951 the HFP decided to split up lead actor, actress, and best picture into comedy and drama in a concerted effort to make the math difficult. So now, for example, you have far more Golden Globe nominees for Best Picture than you do Oscar contenders for the same prize. To put the numbers in perspective, remember that all things being equal, any nominated film has a 20% chance of winning an Oscar. The OPV kind of tells you how much better the chances get if they win a Globe.

I know what you’re thinking: “Enough math. Stop geeking up the place and make with the predictions!”

(As usual, I’m skipping the TV part. This is hard enough as it is.)

Foreign Film

The Chorus – France
House of Flying Daggers – China
The Motorcycle Diaries – Brazil
The Sea Inside – Spain
A Very Long Engagement – France

Will Win: The Sea Inside
Should Win: A Very Long Engagement

This is one of the toughest categories this year. Usually the winner is a fairly obvious pick with lots of buzz. This year, however, most of the candidates have that. We can eliminate The Chorus simply because it’s the only one here that hasn’t generated any. All of the others are high profile, but neither The Motorcycle Diaries nor A Very Long Engagement have managed to generate the critical traction necessary to win numerous critic’s circle awards. The remaining two have. Honestly, between Daggers and Sea it could go either way. Sea has the added benefit of a nom for lead Javier Bardem and the recent BFCA seal of approval. So why not?

A Very Long Engagement was simply one of the best films of last year. Admittedly, I’ve only seen one of the other films nominated (Daggers, which was good), but I’d be hard-pressed to say any of them, based on buzz, could beat this one. On the other hand, the buzz on Engagement isn’t nearly as good as it should be, so…

OPV: Too difficult to calculate. I’d tell you why, but it’d bore the crap out of you. Trust me.

Original Song

“Accidentally in Love” from Shrek 2 – Counting Crows
“Believe” from Polar Express – Josh Groban
“Learn to Be Lonely” from Phantom of the Opera – Minnie Driver
“Million Voices” from Hotel Rwanda – Wyclef Jean
“Old Habits Die Hard” from Alfie – Mick Jagger & Dave Stewart

Will Win: “Old Habits Die Hard”
Should Win: “Accidentally in Love”

This is an award that often goes to a sacred cow in the music industry. Bob Dylan, Sting, Phil Collins, U2. Okay, maybe not so much Collins, but he’s been around a while at least. Also, if there’s a Disney film it’s usually a shoo-in but that’s not the case here. So Mick Jagger, while not actually The Rolling Stones, is close enough and will do as an institution in this case. Doesn’t hurt that he did this with Dave Stewart, whose fellow Eurythmics alum Annie Lennox won last year for being within five feet of Lord of the Rings.

Now, I haven’t actually heard “Old Habits Die Hard,” but I refuse to reward Alfie. I haven’t heard “Believe,” either but chances are that it’s not my cup of tea. I only know I’ve heard “Learn to Be Lonely” and “Million Voices,” because I saw those movies but they obviously didn’t leave much of an impression. That leaves “Accidentally” as the only memorable, non-annoying piece of music on the list. But I still don’t like the video. Why’s she gotta dis the buff guy for the rabbit? What did the buff guy ever do wrong? Hell, he’s making her breakfast! That’s more than the rabbit ever did. Stupid rabbit.

OPV: 61%. This is simultaneously the number two most predictive category, and the number one most irrelevant.

Original Score

The Aviator – Howard Shore
Finding Neverland – Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
Million Dollar Baby – Clint Eastwood
Sideways – Rolfe Kent
Spanglish – Hans Zimmer

Will Win: Sideways
Should Win: Sideways

Original Score tends to be the most random of awards. It can go to the predictable (last year’s Lord of the Rings) to the out of nowhere (the previous year’s Frida). This year Sideways stands as good a chance as any. I predict a bit of a lovefest for the flick, and it might as well start here. Shore and Zimmer have won before (Shore as recently as last year) and Eastwood and Kaczmarek are just as likely, but the general good feeling about Sideways might put it over the top.

Of all these scores, I have the fondest memories (and by that I mean any) of Sideways. A nice, jazzy score. I kind of remember Eastwood’s, too, but honestly, I felt it was a little intrusive at times. (Ironic, given that most of the time it’s quiet as a church in that film).

OPV: Again, for reasons too boring to explain, near uncalculable.

Screenplay

The Aviator – John Logan
Closer – Patrick Marber
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Charlie Kaufman
Finding Neverland – David Magee
Sideways – Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

Will Win: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Should Win: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

The neat thing about Screenplay when it comes to the Golden Globes is that they don’t distinguish between adaptation and original work, so you see a competition that won’t happen at the Oscars. However, that competition did happen in critic’s circles for the past two months and Sideways was the more common victor. (Incidentally, virtually no other screenplay appears in those categories.) Payne and Taylor took home this award (in a bit of an upset over Kaufman’s Adaptation) in 2002. Kaufman’s on his third nom now without an award. I think they’ll give it to him this time.

And they should. This is an incredible screenplay. Arguably his best. And this is the guy who wrote Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.

OPV: 60%. You basically triple your chances of winning an Oscar by winning this globe. Keep in mind, though, that there are two screenwriting awards to choose from at that level. That kind of ups the odds. (If you’re curious, of the 60% of Globe winners in this category who go on to win a screenwriting Oscar, 60% are adapted and the other 40% are original.)

Director

Clint Eastwood – Million Dollar Baby
Marc Forster – Finding Neverland
Mike Nichols – Closer
Alexander Payne – Sideways
Martin Scorcese – The Aviator

Will Win: Alexander Payne
Should Win: Alexander Payne

Okay. The smart money here is on Marty. Goldderby.com has him at 4/5 odds. Six of the critic’s circle awards named him best director, including the BFCA. However, he got the globe two years ago when he was favored to win, in part, cos he was “due”. Well, he’s not “due” anymore (at least in the eyes of the Hollywood Foreign Press; the Academy is another story we’ll get to in another preview). And they rarely give out more than one award to a director, at least among this bunch. Speaking of which, Clint’s already got two (including an improbable one for Bird) and two honorary awards, so he’s done. Thank you. Next.

When Marty won in 2002 he beat out a director up for his first Golden Globe. And that man’s name was…Roy Cohn. No, wait, Alexander Payne. It was Alexander Payne. Well, now it’s Alex’s turn. And this movie was beloved by enough critics to make it happen.

And so be it. Out of the movies picked here, I think Alex did the best job, coaxing out incredible performances from his actors while creating a unique painterly homage to 70’s character-driven films. Frankly, I think Michael Gondry did a better job with his thing, but, he’s not nominated.

OPV: 52%. Though in this case, I think Marty’s gonna grab the Oscar.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Cate Blanchett – The Aviator
Laura Linney – Kinsey
Virginia Madsen – Sideways
Natalie Portman – Closer
Meryl Streep – The Manchurian Candidate

Will Win: Virginia Madsen
Should Win: Virginia Madsen

The Golden Globes tend to be very predictable here. If there’s a female performance generating buzz, they’ll go with it. Here the prevailing wind is definitely in Madsen’s favor. Cate won 4 critic’s circle awards. Laura, 3. Virginia’s pulled down 10, including one from the BFCA.

Again, I think justice will be served. Virginia’s performance is the most nuanced and enthralling of the bunch. It’s a complete person, which is hard to do in a supporting role. You might even argue that she should really be up for best actress, given the size of her role in the picture, but this is how she’s nominated.

OPV: 39%. Almost doubles your odds, but in this case it might as well triple them.

Actor in a Supporting Role

David Carradine – Kill Bill Vol. 2
Thomas Hayden Church – Sideways
Jamie Foxx – Collateral
Morgan Freeman – Million Dollar Baby

Clive Owen – Closer

Will Win: Thomas Hayden Church
Should Win: (tie) David Carradine/Thomas Hayden Church

There’s only one actor with more critic’s circle plaudits this year than Virginia Madsen, and that’s Church. The next highest in this category is Owen, with 3. Church has 14! Including the BFCA. It’ll be nice to see him give his speech.

This is a tough call, though. I was really impressed with Church, but Carradine blew me away. His twenty minute (Was it really that long? It didn’t feel that long.) speech in Kill Bill brings down the house. Tarantino was made to be spoken in metaphor-driven monologues but Carradine raises it to an art form here. And the menace he conveys (even in Vol. 1, where you don’t even see the motherfucker) is considerable. On the other hand, Church conveys a helluva range of emotion, and is able to hold your attention for a longer period of time (again, he should arguably be up for best lead performance) and creates an equally memorable character. I’m stumped.

OPV: 47%. Pretty strong, and without a real Hollywood pedigree, Church needs all the help he can get.

Actress in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy

Annette Bening – Being Julia
Ashley Judd – De-Lovely
Emmy Rossum – The Phantom of the Opera
Kate Winslet – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Rene Zellwegger – Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

Will Win: Emmy Rossum
Should Win: Kate Winslet

The oddsmakers at Goldderby.com like Bening for this one, and she’s won two critic’s circle awards and has a SAG nom to boot. She’s also had four shots at this and lost every time. And it’s her face on the Columbia pictures logo (stupid movie quizzo, that fact lost us the game, but I digress). Her next closest competitor, Winslet, has the same plaudits, minus the four noms. But I think that this time, the Press will go out of their way (and not too far, really) to award an actress for a musical performance. In the past ten years, every time they’ve had a chance to give this to an actress in a musical (which, admittedly, is only three times) they’ve done it. I think they like the idea of proving that this isn’t an antiquated category. The BFCA (for Best Young Actress) probably doesn’t hurt. Plus, she really does sing the hell out of her part.

Which is why it’s a close call between her and Winslet for the should. I think Rossum gives an outstanding performance in a sub-par film. And there’s the rub. Winslet is outstanding and her character has more to do because it’s a better-written role. Far more subtlety and nuance. She doesn’t sing, but she does a great job.

OPV: 18% – The Academy doesn’t look too kindly on comedies. They’re usually nice to musicals, but I think the chances of Rossum getting a nom are pretty slim.

Actress in a Leading Role – Drama

Scarlett Johansson – A Love Song for Bobby Long
Nicole Kidman – Birth
Imelda Staunton – Vera Drake
Hilary Swank – Million Dollar Baby
Uma Thurman – Kill Bill Vol. 2

Will Win: Imelda Staunton
Should Win: Hilary Swank

Odds-wise, it again comes down to only two of these nominees. Imelda’s got 8 critic’s circle awards and a SAG nom. Hilary’s got 7 cc’s, SAG, and a BFCA. The odds should be in her favor (and are on goldderby to the tune of 7/5 against Imelda’s 8/5). However, the HFP tends to be a bit more international with their love in this category and probably won’t be as squeamish as the Academy might be about the subject matter (abortion) in Staunton’s film. They tend to go artsier here and between Eastwood and Mike Leigh, that’s an easy call.

I haven’t actually seen three of these films, including Vera Drake, so you really shouldn’t pay attention to me here, but between Uma and Hilary, I gotta go with Hilary (though Uma does a great job).

OPV: 46%. You more than double your chances at an Oscar by winning this one, and I think you’ll see a similar showdown between Imelda and Hilary when the time comes.

Actor in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy

Jim Carrey – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Jamie Foxx – Ray
Paul Giamatti – Sideways
Kevin Kline – De-Lovely
Kevin Spacey – Beyond the Sea

Will Win: Jamie Foxx
Should Win: Jamie Foxx

If Jamie weren’t here, this would be a really interesting race. Giamatti would be in the lead (6 cc’s and a SAG nom), but the HFP looooves Carrey (to the tune of 5 previous noms and 2 wins) and have improbably denied the two Kevins in spite of numerous noms (5 total Kline, 4 total Spacey). But we live in a world where Jamie Foxx has won 11 cc’s, the BFCA and a SAG nom, not to mention the awards buzz he’s been garnering since weeks before Ray even came out. It’s as close to a lock as you’ll get this year.

This is one of those cases where the buzz is justified. It’s an amazing performance. He doesn’t just convincingly portray blindness (he was, in fact, prosthetically blind, so that isn’t the totally impressive part). He becomes Ray Charles. He creates a complete character. He loses Jamie Foxx altogether in a Hoffman-esque transformation. That’s what it’s all about.

OPV: 9%. But you could just as easily call Ray a drama (or Sideways, for that matter).

Actor in a Leading Role – Drama

Javier Bardem – The Sea Inside
Don Cheadle – Hotel Rwanda
Johnny Depp – Finding Neverland
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Aviator
Liam Neeson – Kinsey

Will Win: Javier Bardem
Should Win: Javier Bardem

This actually IS an interesting race, since the top two contenders (Jamie and Paul) are eliminated at the gate. Javier still emerges as the frontrunner, given the HFP’s penchant for powerhouse performances (Penn in Mystic River, Denzel in Hurricaine). But he doesn’t have the SAG attention lavished on Cheadle, Depp, and DiCaprio. And he certainly doesn’t have Depp’s four previous noms and DiCaprio’s three, all unconsummated. And Neeson’s the only one to get critic’s circle love. When all is said and done, however, I think Javier will just eke by. Goldderby likes him, too, at 2/1.

The most frustrating miss of last year for me was The Sea Inside. I really wanted to see it but it was only around for five seconds. So, based on buzz alone, I’m giving it to Javier. I don’t usually do that, but you have to understand, the buzz is really, really good. If I have to limit it to stuff I’ve actually seen…Don and Leo are frontrunners, but I liked Don a little more.

OPV: 62%. This is the most predictive category there is. Regardless, Jamie’s all but got this one in the bag. But watch it be Javier and not Giamatti that’s his biggest competition.

Picture – Musical or Comedy

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The Incredibles
The Phantom of the Opera
Ray
Sideways

Will Win: Sideways
Should Win: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Believe it or not, Phantom actually has a pretty good chance here. Back in ’96, they gave this prize to Evita over Fargo. Nothing against Evita, but which of those films isn’t on the IMDB Top 250? They really, really like musicals. But even that, I don’t think, will save Phantom. And though the HFP have no prejudice against animation (see Toy Story 2’s win in ’99), just being animated won’t cut it this year, even with a PGA nom. And Sunshine’s 2 cc awards pale in comparison to Sideways’ 10, plus a PGA nom and a BFCA win. This is the second closest thing to a lock this year.

I actually like Sunshine better. It’s just a more brilliant concept, beautifully executed. Sideways is beautifully executed as well, but Sunshine has more to offer. It has the complexity of human relationships of Sideways, but also mind-bending sci-fi that feeds concepts about those relationships and just gives me more to chew on emotionally and intellectually. At the end of the day, it’s just more entertaining.

OPV: 21%. It doesn’t do much for you to win this award. But this year, I don’t think that will matter. And again, Sideways is just one shade shy of all out drama.

Picture – Drama

The Aviator
Closer
Finding Neverland
Hotel Rwanda
Kinsey
Million Dollar Baby

Will Win: The Aviator
Should Win: Before Sunset

A nice little reversal is going to happen here. Marty won’t win for director, but his film will win for Best Picture. Watch that get flipped at Oscar time, when he wins Best Director but sees his film lose to Sideways. But for now, you’re looking at Aviator’s two cc wins (most of those went to Sideways) and a PGA nom. Million’s got three, but at this level, who’s counting? Finding has one plus the PGA so consider these the top three. But the plethora of noms and HFP’s penchant for the traditional, epic-style Academy flick in this category (hence its predictive power) will give Aviator the edge.

Six films they nominate here. Eleven if you include the comedy/musical category. And they still can’t hit on my favorite film of last year. Yes, I know, I’m whining. But how hard is that? It’s got great performances and wonderful dialogue. Do you really need more than that? Lost in Translation, which won comedy/musical last year, had that. Okay, it also had Bill Murray, but still. If I had to pick from the films listed here…like, if my life depended on it…I’d probably pick Kinsey, which almost made my top ten this year. Million Dollar Baby was really good, too.

And how come Fahrenheit 9/11 isn’t here? Oh, that’s right, because documentaries aren’t eligible in this category. But they got rid of the documentary category in ’77.

Okay, I’ll stop ranting now.

OPV: 56%. You almost triple your chances by winning this. But not this year. Remember, the only reason Aviator will take this is because it’s not up against Sideways.

That’s it. Be sure not to miss the pre-Globes coverage, which will include the most awkward conversations ever recorded. Enjoy!

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About David Dylan Thomas

  • Eric Olsen

    excellent work Dave, I now feel prepped – thanks!

  • http://notesfromnancy.blogspot.com NancyGail

    They don’t always win Oscars from the Globes. And this is unique not only because it’s live and unscripted, but television is nominated, too. Care to share your picks?

  • Bill

    Congrats on predicting Emmy Rossum to win a GG. It will be an upset. Beauty over royalty (Bening) and versatility (Winslet). But, how exciting if Emmy wins on Sunday (16th).

    If she does win, I’m betting that The Academy will give Emmy that coveted 5th Best Actress nomination. The Academy likes to recognize fresh new talent (e.g. last year’s Keisha Castle-Hughes).

  • Frank

    I don’t know if anyone noticed this during the telecast of the Golden Globes, but when Meryl Streep was hilariously pretending to be upset with Natalie Portman for beating her out, the camera zoomed in on Emmy Rossum! It reminded me of that parody of some years ago: “They all look alike.”