While I was looking at today’s Golden Globe nominations, I couldn’t help thinking that perhaps the Golden Globes toss in a few head-scratcher nominations just to give Ricky Gervais some joke material. Or maybe just to be different from all the other awards shows. Either way, the Globes always provide a few surprises, and this year is no different, although I must say it’s nowhere near as bizarre as last year’s inexplicable The Tourist fiasco. In fact, some of the surprises are rather welcome.
Part of the reason the Globes regularly have so many unexpected nominees, derives from the fact that several of the categories are split into Drama and Musical/Comedy, which opens up a lot of room for some wild cards to step in.
One of the biggest examples of that this year occurred because The Artist, which has been one of the strongest players this awards season, qualifies as a Musical/Comedy. Thus, since Jean Dujardin was placed in Musical/Comedy, a slot opened up for a deserving Ryan Gosling (The Ides of March) to slide onto the Drama ballot. Gosling has been an off-and-on presence so far this year, but less often for his role in George Clooney’s political thriller, and marginally more often for his quiet violence in Drive.
Another pleasant surprise was the pair of nominations garnered by 50/50. I’ve been waiting for it to get some awards-love ever since I saw it this fall. It is up for Best Picture – Musical/Comedy and Best Actor – Musical/Comedy (for Joseph Gordon-Levitt).
Taking a cue from the SAG awards, Berenice Bejo (The Artist) was relegated to a Supporting Actress. Obviously somebody thinks Bejo has a likelier chance at winning in the Supporting category, even though she is the film’s leading lady. We’ll see if that trend continues.
Due to Bejo’s absence from the Best Actress – Musical/Comedy competition, a few interesting nominees stepped in to fill the gap, namely Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) and the Carnage duo: Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet. This is the first splash any of these three have made so far this year.
Speaking of Bridesmaids, what happened to Melissa McCarthy? She has been one of the most consistent Supporting Actress nominees all season long, but failed to grab a nod from the Globes. I suppose we could partly blame this on Bejo being placed arguably in the wrong category. In the long run, I don’t think this snub will hurt McCarthy’s chances at an Oscar nomination too badly, as the Golden Globes don’t have a great track record in predicting the Academy’s picks. (Last year True Grit was utterly absent from the Globes, but received 10 Oscar nods.)
Other notable snubs include Gary Oldman, who is itching for his first Oscar nomination for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Steven Spielberg for directing War Horse, and the complete exclusion of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, which has had Oscar buzz written all over it for months. Also, I’m personally disappointed that The Muppets didn’t manage to land a single nomination. I know it’s not a typical award-winning flick, but it’s currently at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, and I thought it might get some love from an awards show that separates its Musical/Comedy and Drama categories.
And finally, why is My Week With Marilyn in the Musical/Comedy category? Maybe Ricky Gervais can shed some light on that mystery.
All in all, the Globes, while avoiding the absurdity that defined it last year, did very little to solidify the race to the Oscars. This season has been rather fuzzy so far, with no clear front runners in any category. Maybe things will become more focused in the next couple weeks, but I’m not holding my breath.
The Golden Globes award show airs on Sunday, January 15th, 2012.