The 2011 Golden Globe nominations hailed a diverse array of entertainment – some of the most high-profile of which was derived from literary source material. First let’s get one thing out of the way: Where was “True Grit”? The Coen Bros’ adaptation of the beloved Charles Portis novel, about a precocious teen (Hailee Steinfeld) who enlists a couple of dubious characters (Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges) to help her avenge her father’s murder, was mystifyingly and entirely absent from the Globes’ field of contenders. The film has already gotten a big bear hug from critics and is likely to be the Coen’s most commercially successful film. So what happened? Is there a Globe bias against Westerns due to the international origins of the journalists deciding who makes the cut? Is it because “Grit” doesn’t espouse the Coens’ usual bleak world view? This is not the end of this. We need some answers.
Now, on to the films the Globes did embrace. “The Social Network” (based on Ben Mezrich’s Accidental Billionaires) has owned the critics’ awards circuit thus far and continued its strong surge toward Oscar glory, picking up six Golden Globe nods, placing it right behind “The King’s Speech,” which scored seven nominations (the deciding factor: Helena Bonham Carter received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress while TSN received no actress noms).
The big takeaway here is that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the Globes’ nominating body) has confirmed that this year’s kudos contest (particularly the Best Picture race) has become a one-on-one match between “The King’s Speech” and “The Social Network.” In other words, it’s a conflict between the Old World and New Media; scrappy Oscar warhorses (The Weinstein Co) and the big well-oiled machine (Sony); Protestant aristocrats and self-made Jews; a brilliant man horrified by the prospect of public humiliation and a brilliant young man horrified by public humiliation.
Rather than list all the nominees, let’s explore some of the other notable (and/or book-based) contenders. Paul Giamatti, who transformed himself into “Barney’s Version‘s” abrasive anti-hero, will compete against Jake Gyllenhaal (“Love and Other Drugs”), Kevin Spacey (“Casino Jack”), and Johnny Depp (“Alice in Wonderland,” “The Tourist”) for Best Actor — comedy or musical. Among the best dramatic actor nominees, Jesse Eisenberg (“The Social Network”) will face off against a very talented field of competitors that includes Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”), James Franco (“127 Hours”), Ryan Gosling (“Blue Valentine”), and Mark Wahlberg (“The Fighter”). “The Social Network” screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, widely considered the frontrunner for Best Screenplay, will compete against Danny Boyle (127 Hours), Lisa Cholodenko (“The Kids are All Right”), Christopher Nolan (“Inception”), and David Seidler (“The King’s Speech”).
The Best Original Score race is arguably filled with more virtuoso work than any other. Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor’s work brought a concussive intensity to “The Social Network.” “Slumdog Millionaire” Oscar-winner A. R. Rahman imbued “127 Hours” with vibrance and vitality. And who can forget the throbbing menace of Hans Zimmer’s music in “Inception”? Or Danny Elfman’s sinister whimsy in “Alice in Wonderland”? Not to mention the understated beauty Alexandre Desplat brought to “The King’s Speech”? Regardless of who wins, any (all) of these scores are worth a listen on their own, sans images. Which is your fave?
Now let’s change the channel to the TV categories. Temple Grandin, the HBO mini-series (based on Grandin’s Thinking in Pictures: My life with Autism) was included among the Best Mini-Series and Best Actress in a Mini-Series nominees. “Dexter” also scored big, with nominations for Best TV Drama, Best Actor (Michael C. Hall), Best Supporting Actress (Julia Stiles). The principled serial killer, adapted from Jeff Lindsay’s bestselling series of novels, is up against the thugs of “Boardwalk Empire,” the newly empowered jilted women of “The Good Wife,” the workaholic nihilists of “Mad Men,” and the zombies of “The Walking Dead.” Talk about a motley crew. With characters this interesting, the audience has already won.
What do you think of the nominees this year? Who are you pulling for? Which snubs have you fuming?
Photo via IMDB