Ricky Gervais set the tone.
“Fifth time…I don’t care…I’m over it.” The jokes were amusingly mean, but the entire 77th Golden Globes were more of a shrug than usual, this in spite of the fact that several genuine surprises upset the apple cart last evening in Hollywood.
A couple of heartfelt speeches about abortion, politics, assorted shots Mark Zuckerberg, Weinstein etc. A promising night kind of flattened by the tone.
The show always seems perfunctory, despite the free-wheeling nature of “I’ve had a few drinks” acceptance speeches. The HFPA makes the trains run on time, and if not for Joaquin Phoenix praising the group for taking HIS suggestion about a Vegan menu during his long acceptance speech, they’d have gotten off the air “on time.”
But will last night’s winners be repeat winners at the Oscars next month?
The Earliest Ever Oscars mean that the nomination ballots are already out, the guilds are deciding as the studios, PR folk and stars lobby. The shorter turn-around suggests, to some, that the Golden Globes — which the Academy has been trying to strip of influence for the past 20 years, moving their telecast up and back, trying to take the business of honoring “our own” out of the dubious hands of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association —will have an even greater influence on the Oscars this year.
That means“1917” and director Sam Mendes are in the game,that “Joker” and Joaquin Phoenix will be taken seriously, and that Netflix can put a cap on spending for Oscar lobbying right now.
The streaming service got pummeled Sunday night on NBC. “Dolemite is My Name” and “The Two Popes” and “The Irishman” came up short. “Marriage Story” picked up an acting award for its best performance (Laura Dern, supporting actress).
Netflix came into the night with a dominant presence, figuring it had four legitimate contenders. But it did only as well as A24 (Awkwafina for “The Farewell”) and Neon (“Parasite”) and never-a-contender also-ran Roadside Attractions (Renee Zellweger’s win for “Judy”). Realistically, Netflix has two legitimate contenders this year, and The Globes are probably the only place they will spend and push “The Two Popes” and “Dolemite.”
Good enough movies, not quite contenders. Sorry, Eddie.
“Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” and “Joker” had the feel of contenders upon release. “1917” just elbowed its way in. Maybe. It faces a “Dunkirk” headwind of not having any actors impressive enough to nominate.
Will the Oscars pay more heed to Adam Sandler and “Uncut Gems?” Almost certainly. But one thing I took away from the Golden Globes was how there was a perfectly crowded field withOUT that film as a “best picture” nominee, or Sandler in the acting field. And if you’re leaving out Eddie Murphy, how do you justify shoehorning Sandler in?
It’s not something The Academy gets together in a room and plots, it’s all lobbying and voting and popularity contests and Hollywood insiders’ “tastes,” and one think I’ve picked up from decades of asking the “What have you seen lately in a cinema?” question is that these folks don’t get out and watch the product of the factory they work in.
That partly explains the excessive length of all these Netflix movies. Why cut it? We’re watching it at home, as is everybody else?
Will “The Lighthouse” find some traction? “Just Mercy?” “Dark Waters?” Probably not.
Did Jennifer Lopez just lose all her Oscar momentum to second generation Hollywood Laura Dern, who has never won an Oscar but should be a best supporting actress nominee for either “Marriage Story” or “Little Women?”
Speaking of “Little Women,” if you want to diversify that best director field, is that the film and director (Greta Gerwig) for the Director’s Guild and Hollywood to get behind if they want to include a woman nominee in a year of impressive female directing? Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”) and Marielle Heller (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”) are worth considering. But plainly, “getting behind” one woman/one female-directed film is what it’s going to take to break into the Tarantino/Mendes/Scorsese/Baumbach/Bong Joon-Ho/Todd Phillips and James Mangold tier (at least TWO of THOSE worthies will be left out) field.
Is ANYBODY under the illusion that critics and Hollywood hold Elton/Bernie and Taron Egerton from “Rocketman” in the same adoring light that the HFPA do? Or Renee Zellweger? Those two acting wins — Taron and Renee — fall under the “Golden Globe winner, why not?” rubric. I have doubts either of them gets an Oscar nomination.
I have wondered all fall just what film the Academy would honor with “Best Animated Feature,” as there simply wasn’t a dazzler from Pixar, Disney, Dreamworks, Sony or Blue Sky to consider. “Missing Link” (Laika/Annapurna) was a tad more original than what the big boys were offering. Perhaps THIS is a category Netflix should be lobbying harder in, as“I Lost My Body”was their stand-out animated offering, and “Klaus” was more original than any Disney or Dreamworks sequel.
This list reveals the slim pickings — and it doesn’t even mention “The Addams Family” and other even lesser titles.
In any event, Oscar nominations voting ends TUESDAY, Jan. 7, the WGA and other guilds are sprinting into their final voting and the only way to know how any of this impacts the Oscars is to tune in Jan. 13 to ABC to see WHO is nominated, and plan your wagering for the Feb. 9 Academy Awards.