Unfortunately didn't have the time to write my nominations for Best Screenplay or Best Original Song though I've hedged my bets!
It goes without question that this year has been the most tumultuous for Hollywood in recent memory. The year that sexual allegations against Harvey Weinstein sparked not just a wave of change in Hollywood that has been due for over a century but a wave of other celebrities, actors and filmmakers being accused too as well as collective outspokenness in regards to it. Having watched almost every nominee, bar the nominees for TV categories, I’d say i’m once again in a good position to be able to judge this year’s contenders.
The Golden Globes always likes to throw in a few surprises; and this year will be no exception - as per usual, I will offer up my own spin on this year’s awards, taking into account what has been said from a variety of credible sources.
Just to mention before launching into these nominees; it’s worth noting I haven’t seen the following films (in their respective categories); All The Money In The World (Michelle Williams, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama), Phantom Thread (Daniel Day-Lewis, Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama), The Leisure Seeker (Helen Mirren, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy).
Best Motion Picture - Drama Nominees
Nominees: Call Me By Your Name, Dunkirk, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Like all major awards ceremonies in the States; The Golden Globes has a profound admiration for it’s own motion pictures it produces.
First and foremost; noticing Dunkirk in the mix - it seems like the obvious choice. It’s a film with a series of powerhouse performances from some of the UK’s bravest new talent - notably Harry Styles, does the name ring a bell? It most certainly does since he was one of One Direction which has since disbanded. Let’s not make popular culture the centre of this discussion but when it emerged he would make a greater-than-cameo performance in Christopher Nolan’s latest opus, it was no doubt the centre of discussion amongst the derived teenage fanbase Styles and Co. are notorious for - and box office sales and figures showed for that, reaching out to a younger audience moreso than any of his previous films (bar Inception).
It seems as if I’ve already discredited Dunkirk for what it’s worth without addressing the question of it’s strength as a candidate for Best Motion Picture - Drama. If I’m honest, I think the hype of Dunkirk died a while back (perhaps thanks to its exhaustive marketing campaign here and across the pond) and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has largely been focussing on more recent releases and hotly anticipated ones including The Shape of Water which for some reason has warranted one of the final release dates of it’s release calendar on IMDb in the UK. We’re dying to see that!
Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water was the darling of The London Film Festival when it graced Odeon Leicester Square back in October, where Sally Hawkins was tipped to be a strong contender for Best Actress come the 90th installment of The Academy Awards this March. Could the buzz generated from LFF inspire HFPA’s decision-making across the pond?
Indiewire and Vulture.com don’t even offer the slightest of similarities in regards to a consensus; and these websites often highly credible for giving a strong prediction as to what might come out on top. Indiewire predicts The Shape of Water will win whereas Vulture.com predicts Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri will win. On the contrary, if that doesn’t happen Steven Spielberg’s political drama The Post with HFPA favourites Hanks and Streep is tipped as Choice No. 2 with Call Me By Your Name being Vulture’s Choice No. 2.
If I’m honest I wasn’t the biggest fan of Call Me By Your Name; for numerous reasons. For me, there wasn’t anything beyond the precocious fabric of the story; interwoven with an unrealistic relationship that was neither tender or bittersweet. In fact it was none of those things. Call Me Crazy but Call Me By Your Name felt like Hollywood’s attempt at making a film about a tender homosexual relationship that was accessible enough for it to had a strong box office success whilst ignoring the struggle, the sexual frustration, the carnal instinctiveness and the whirlpool of emotions that relationships, no matter their orientation, take us on. Perhaps this is quite a scathing opinion of what has been proclaimed to be a universally-loved film but in actuality the film is entirely superficial and doesn’t offer anything groundbreaking which in my opinion is a discreditable offering to LGBT cinema. The very notion of this being something so marvelled about without it being accepted on a normal but critical level both wows and frustrates me. If you’re looking for a genuinely good film - try God’s Own Country - an underrated film with such a bleak and tender quietness, which truly addresses this hidden beauty we call - love.
My choice for the win would be Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - an sharp, witty and socially aware crime drama, with Frances McDormand’s poignant humour prevailing throughout, about a woman who, After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at the town’s revered chief of police. However; considering what will probably win - I’ll have to go with The Post for the pure reason of America loving all things and people American; and the three pillars of film that film carries will be quite the jury-pleaser; Spielberg (as Director), Hanks and Streep all in one.
Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Nominees: The Disaster Artist, Get Out, The Greatest Showman, I, Tonya, Lady Bird
Interestingly you could argue the flurry of Hollywood has and hasn’t purveyed in this year’s nominees for Musical or Comedy - glad we haven’t got a film which categorically isn’t either of these things which has been absurdly included much like in 2016 with The Martian. Though you could say Get Out is neither of these things. Ask Jordan Peele what he considers Get Out to be, a documentary - he calls it. There’s a fair interesting selection here of anti-Hollywood films (but not really when considering the means of production and distributors… i.e The Disaster Artist). 2018 is without a doubt the year of independent cinema; specifically the American Indie.
MAJOR SPOILER ALERT lurking in the next few sentences.
The Disaster Artist; a parody of a parody directed by James Franco, starring him and his brother - tells the making of Tommy Wiseau’s infamous The Room, the film that kickstarted and (un)arguably coined the ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ phrase and spawned a new generation of midnight movie fans. As a filmmaker, I was hiding in my seat when I discovered they’d shoot in both 35mm and HD, without even being aware of the costs, the risks… one does not simply ask for everything (and ask to buy at an equipment hire house). It was still very funny; brilliant execution I found myself seeing TDA a total of 3 times.
Get Out, Jordan Peele’s Hitchcockian-style thriller is a masterful invention of visual storytelling however he himself has been snubbed from a Best Director nomination which is unforeseen. Go and see Get Out is all I can offer!
I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Greatest Showman; having spent most of the film’s 2hr 19 minutes running time horrific flashbacks of Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables as 90216045728.. Whatever his name was. Jackman simply needs to stop making musicals. It’s had an 8/10 on IMDb and 53% on Rotten Tomatoes - for the record, not that either of those should be any true indication as to what it might actually be like.
I, Tonya is one of those unforgettable films that remarks the volatility an individual had behind and in front of closed doors. It follows the life and career of American figure skater Tonya Harding with a particular focus on her connection to her rival and Olympic teammate Nancy Kerrigan in 1994 - however don’t get me started on the fourth-wall breaking that purveys, one of my absolute pet hates but I, Tonya can be forgive as it’s authentic handling of the mockumentary sub-genre is a staplemark in the film’s dramatic delivery. It’s worth noting the film received positive praise from critics, particularly for Margot Robbie’s character as well as Allison Janney - the film has been nominated for two other awards including Best Actress - Comedy or Musical (Robbie) and Best Supporting Actress (Janney).
However, if you listen to the experts - you will no doubt know that this year’s Golden Globes (and of course inevitable Oscars race) is between Get Out and Lady Bird. I think Lady Bird may have secured it; but if you think of the strong direction Get Out has; that could also topple the former, indie darling’s chances.
We’ll see what happens here as it could get interesting, with a number of sway-able and bankable films up for the running.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Nominees: Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name), Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread), Tom Hanks (The Post), Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour), Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq).
Gary Oldman has been widely tipped to be the Oscar Frontrunner for his powerhouse performance in Darkest Hour, the transformative role into Winston Churchill - fully embodying what he must have been like, his mannerisms and of course the iconic hunchbacked look. I was exceptionally lucky to see a preview in Soho towards the end of December where I can honestly say his performance is something to behold. Oldman is long overdue an award, more favour to him winning, as this is his very first Golden Globe nomination also.
The Academy has been a fan in recent years of these so-called transformative roles; with the likes of Eddie Redmayne winning Best Actor in 2015 for his performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. So it seems more than hopeful that Gary Oldman doesn’t have much competition in his way.
Considering for a moment the other nominees; I’m not hopeful of the prospect that Timothee Chalamet could win but he may possibly get a nod for Rising Star come the EE BAFTAs - on second thought as the star of Call Me By Your Name, he could win on the merit he’s also upcoming in the industry - and there’s usually always one or two winners at the Golden Globes that either fit the category of ‘young and upcoming’ or ‘diverse’ or if two boxes can be ticked at the same time then both! His performance, besides the sheer oozing of pretension and privilege of his character, was flat and uninspiring. Maybe that’s when I was shuffling for my popcorn with disinterest.
Daniel Day-Lewis will be the dark horse of this category. A bit of an industry hermit, Day-Lewis has remarked that his performance in Phantom Thread, which marks the second collaboration with Director Paul Thomas Anderson with There Will Be Blood in 2007, will be his last… though he sort of indicated that also with Lincoln (2012), so I’m sure he will grace the screens again in between 5-10 years time. Press sources and general social media consensus suggests the UK are excited for the film’s release. On my last visit to Picturehouse Central, just days ago and also one of my mecca’s of film for a blissful arthouse injection, I noticed that tickets are currently on sale for Phantom Thread in glorious 70mm - the director’s preferred shooting format. Small Nerd-out over. Next category!
Indiewire predicts that Gary Oldman will win, whilst industry-wooer Timothee Chalamet might win. Vanity Fair, has also suggested that Oldman but also gives credit to Timothee Chalamet in their latest predictions article.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Nominees: Jessica Chastain (Molly’s Game), Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Meryl Streep (The Post), Michelle Williams (All The Money In The World).
My predictions were correct when I saw the majority of these films at The London Film Festival, most media outlets agree that six-time Golden Globe Nominee Frances McDormand should bag the award and I couldn’t agree more, the only real competition here would be Sally Hawkins who gives a career-best performance in The Shape of Water. This is equally a worry for McDormand who I admire very much, her collaborations with The Coen Brothers are perhaps some of the most remarkable of her career. However, Sally Hawkins winning would be. She has done numerous independent features over in the UK and rarely graces the really ‘big screen’, I think it’s high time she’s recognised for her contribution to modern cinema.
With the exception of Michelle Williams in All The Money In The World, which I haven’t seen yet, I agree that the nominees are all of a calibre that should be considered for the award - sometimes these categories often have a newcomer or a low-caliber performance that doesn’t quite match up to the rest - as is the case with Best Actor however here it has been considered.
Jessica Chastain’s performance in Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut Molly’s Game was bold, moving and showed her complexities. Though this might not be her career-best performance, I feel as if we’ve got more to see from Chastain, possibly in one of her next roles in the next couple of years we will see her solidify her reputation as a Hollywood great. Inadvertently, she has become a matriarch for speaking out against Hollywood, in regards to pay inequality and actor’s rights, joining the likes of Patricia Arquette and famously Meryl Streep in the ongoing battle for a Hollywood to inspire the world. I admire admire her sensibility contribution to both the political and dramatic side of cinema; both in front and behind the camera.
Meryl Streep, being the darling of Hollywood that she is (and rightly so!) deserves every award she can get. Considered by many critics to be the greatest living actress, she has been nominated a staggering 26 times, while winning 8 - making her the Queen of the Golden Globes.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Nominees: Steve Carrell (Battle of the Sexes), Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver), James Franco (The Disaster Artist), Hugh Jackman (The Greatest Showman), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out).
I think we can’t overestimate the lack of seriousness this year’s nominees bring the category.
Although Battle of the Sexes has more than a handful of comedic undertones from both its stars Emma Stone and Steve Carell - it is hardly something I’d call either a Musical or Comedy (let’s assume the HFPA haven’t turned a complete blind eye and considered this for Best Musical). Battle of the Sexes is in essence, a drama. Both trapped under the media spotlight and fighting strong personal battles in their own lives, the story tells of the culmination in the lead up towards, and the aftermath, of (what was then) the most watched tennis game of all time - in 1973.
Besides, I think Steve is quite comfortable in his career so it’s high time we give someone else a chance - maybe Ansel Elgort, James Franco or Daniel Kaluuya?
Ansel Elgort plays the title character in Edgar’s Wright’s latest octane-fuelled feel-good action comedy; Baby Driver. It’s without question the film was a smash hit with the box office and audiences alike - it’s a great film. As to whether or not it’s appropriate he wins this award over the likes of Kaluuya I’m not entirely sure - it’d be good to see Ansel in something a bit more dramatic - perhaps James Cox’s new film Billionaire Boys Club which is currently in post-production. That looks pretty good. This new film also has Kevin Spacey in it - will they scrub him out in a the space of just a few weeks before it’s release, perhaps not. Regardless of the controversy, Elgort remains a solid acting contender for years to come but perhaps not for now. His candid demeanour and little character change don’t offer up too many hopes for Elgort.
James Franco’ mesmerising performance as the self-proclaimed parody of Tommy Wiseau, Writer/Director/Star of 2003’s The Room, who in this film plays Writer/Director/Star too deserves the win. His portrayal of Wiseau was entirely believable (albeit unbelievable too), finding his friend Greg with which they make this incredible(y awful) film, defies the bounds of Hollywood and defines friendship. Wiseau is someone whose personality, charisma and enthusiasm for film and ‘real acting’ is larger-than-life. The charm that this brings when Greg comes into his life as his friend is something quite remarkable and understated - a layer of the film which is hidden beyond it’s ridiculous premise.
Most media outlets who’ve both been following the Golden Globes Predictions run-up and are credible sources have suggested James Franco will take the crown for Best Actor in this category for his performance in The Disaster Artist with a potential steal from Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out).
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy Nominees
Nominees: Judi Dench (Victoria & Abdul), Helen Mirren (The Leisure Seeker), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Emma Stone (Battle of the Sexes).
This year the competition’s tough in this category. The HFPA prefers older stars and are fonder of the ones they’ve known for a number of years like Dench, who has 12 total nominations. There are three sets of caliber set here that might rock the boat come the Ceremony.
There’s the older and very established actors such as Dench and Mirren, who HFPA might award them not just on the merit of the performance, then there’s the new-not-so-new acting talent who’ve been around for a few years but have mostly come to celebrity status post-2000 such as Margot Robbie, who rose to fame by co-starring in Martin Scorsese’s biographical black comedy The Wolf of Wall Street with Leonardo DiCaprio and a whole host of others. Robbie was also known for her portrayal as DC Comics Villain Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, which spawned a legion of Harley Quinn lookalikes come the night of Halloween 2016.
Emma Stone is an interesting choice for this award; she comes fresh off the bat of awards glory for Damien Chazelle’s La La Land with which she will most likely be remembered for the rest of her life for, so I don’t think it’s high time for her to win an award again although her performance in Battle of the Sexes was spellbinding - it’d be good to give someone else a turn, Saoirse Ronan springs to mind - we’ll get on to her next. Stone’s remarkable career so far also includes Zombieland for which she garnered significant media attention - enough for Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu to consider her for Oscar winning film Birdman.
Last but by no means least; Saoirse Ronan. Almost all media outlets (including AFP, The Evening Standard, Indiewire, Vulture.com, Vanity Fair, E!) tip Saoirse to win this category, however Emma Stone could be the dark horse - however, sadly she has been largely overlooked by the press up til now.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Nominees: Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project), Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name), Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water), Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World), Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri).
This is an interesting category, not least with Willem Dafoe being considered a Supporting Actor for his performance in The Florida Project; compared with the more appropriate Lead Actor nod considering his presence in the film and overall stature though I guess you could argue either way. Regardless, this needs to be Dafoe’s year. A veteran actor whose career spans from the likes of Oliver Stone’s Platoon (1986) to Born on the Fourth of July (1989) and from The English Patient (1996) to The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Willem Dafoe has conquered roles in the some of the very best films of modern times so it would only be fitting for him to win for his heart-wrenching performance in Sean Baker’s fourth outing as Director in this Sundance hit.
By now you will have established my feelings regarding Call Me By Your Name, of course I so badly wanted to like the film but just didn’t feel it was anything groundbreaking like it should have been - I think one of my core issues with it was the Casting. Why on earth would you cast someone like Armie Hammer (considering the roles he’s most known for) in a Sony Pictures Classics movie such as this one - I mean it doesn’t make any sense.
Richard Jenkins’ character is intriguing, a closeted gay artist in 1962 who helps his mute neighbour; played by the wondrous Sally Hawkins. His character was very three-dimensional and had an incredible arc but more simply put his character was simply a man who was dealing with his own life and his desires. Considering The Shape of Water has the most nominations at the Golden Globes (7), this could definitely be a dark horse to win.
The next nominee, Christopher Plummer, was a bit of a close call and would mark somewhat of a minor political victory for Hollywood. His inclusion in the nominees list no less is interesting. Originally Kevin Spacey was set to star and had filmed most of his scenes when the accusations against him broke out. Ridley Scott and executives found an almost immediate alternative, Plummer, with the prospect to reshoot scenes with Spacey in a matter of weeks - still sticking to the release date. His performance was credible, but not enough to secure the award.
Sam Rockwell’s incredible character arc as a despicable bigot for whom we nonetheless feel sympathy is something remarkable and something which might just make prevent Willem Dafoe’s chances at keeping pole position secured.
For me, Willem Dafoe tops the group and is the clear deserved winner in my opinion. I feel as if the HFPA might make a fool out of themselves on the night and vote for Armie Hammer however.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Nominees: Mary J. Blige (Mudbound), Hong Chau (Downsizing), Allison Janney (I, Tonya), Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird), Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water).
Let’s mix it up a bit and start with Allison Janney. She’s a long-time favourite of the Golden Globes especially in TV (this is her sixth Globe nomination and she’s never won). Now I haven’t exactly seen I, Tonya but I can confirm that her performance is something to behold so we’re very excited to see what it’ll bring come awards night; Janney is long due her Golden Globe and considering the other contenders - it’s high chance she’ll be able to obtain it.
Nominees: Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Steven Spielberg (The Post), Ridley Scott (All The Money In The World).
It has not gone unnoticed this category is exclusively male. I would have thought in 2018 the HFPA would have gotten that right but sadly that’s not the case this year - we can always be hopeful for next year and alas - at least the nominees are worth the while.
Importantly; all these films deliver strong social messages about the world we live in. The Shape of Water goes great lengths to subliminally examine love between different people. Del Toro uses the differing species as his fantastical stamp in capturing this otherworldly romance, offering up ideas of acceptance no matter who or what you may be.
On the other hand, Martin McDonagh paints a stark portrait of not settling for contentment. It is precisely the motivation for Frances McDormand’s character to paint the three controversial billboards aimed at the chief of police. She is at the very centre, and the brink at the same time, of a corrupt justice system set in smalltown America.
Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk wowed me when it graced the screens last summer. The epic which captures various moments on land, sea and sky across three time periods; a week, a day and an hour in the first world war, stars Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance among a grand troop of rising stars. It is in fact a concise re-creation of the British military’s desperate stand against advancing Nazis at Dunkirk, the use of 70mm really captures the epic scale of all of these moments in time - but you really must see the film on as big of a screen as possible (slightly veering away from the purpose of this analysis but oh well, who doesn’t love an endorsement of the grandest format in cinema.) We’re expecting big things in the technical categories for the Academy Awards that’s for sure!
You would assume Steven Spielberg would be a safe bet; being the man who has helmed once again - two powerhouse performances from some of the most important actors living today. However, considering the competition from Nolan and especially del Toro I think it’s a safe bet that we’ll be expecting more some other day from Spielberg! Same story for Ridley Scott.
Best Director has always been a tough category to choose; there are three things I believe people look out for most when considering the nominees and then the award winner - Hollywood’s considerations would be all the more superficial of course. Those three things are, especially when the HFPA choose their winner, someone who has created a visual masterpiece (a known Hollywood auteur or international auteur who has since made their debut stint at the American Box Office). In this case, the former applies to both del Toro and Nolan. The second reason is a story and dramatic piece of filmmaking that is exemplary, even if it isn’t as visually ‘present’ or powerful as ones that are purely just for the purpose of artfulness (Spielberg, McDonagh and Scott). The third reason is the social and political reasons behind the means of each production and the implications it creates/has created for audiences - for instance Three Billboards, The Post and All the Money in the World are all attacking three different but inter-relatable, and very topical, industries - justice, journalism and economy.
I choose Nolan for Best Director for tonight’s awards.