Golden Globes: ‘Slumdog,’ ‘Button’ steady…whither ‘Milk?’

Posted by · 6:20 am · December 11th, 2008

Well, I said yesterday one should always expect oddities with the Golden Globes … but even with that in mind, they never fail to pull out some genuine “WTF” moments.

Tom Cruise’s goofy Best Supporting Actor nod for “Tropic Thunder” may have been the most eccentric revelation of the morning, but surely the most significant shocker is the absence of “Milk” — presumed by many to be “Slumdog Millionaire”‘s chief rival in the Oscar race — in the Best Picture (Drama) category.

The shut-out proved even more blatant when neither Josh Brolin nor James Franco, who have been making healthy progress in the precursors, landed in the Supporting Actor race. Still processing that one — right now, I can’t think of a suitable theory to explain its absence. (But hey, at least Franco landed a left-field comedy-category nod for “Pineapple Express” … I think I know one guy who will be stoked with that.)

The producers of “Slumdog Millionaire” will no doubt be thrilled by the news, as will those of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” which claws back some momentum after taking a knock in this week’s precursors. In an unusually spread-out slate, “Button” and “Frost/Nixon” lead the pack of Best Picture nominees, with 5 nods apiece — I must admit I never expected the latter to be a field leader. (Meanwhile, in yet another of the morning’s oddities, their tally is equalled by the Best Picture-omitted “Doubt.”)

Some will be surprised by the failure of “The Dark Knight” to land Picture or Director nods, though I personally didn’t see the film the registering that strongly with the Foreign Press.

On the other hand, I naively failed to foresee that Harvey Weinstein would work his magic once more on the organisation — Kris’ prediction of a strong showing for “The Reader” was right on the money. Meanwhile, despite whispers that the HFPA wasn’t all that keen on “Revolutionary Road,” the nominations tell a different story. The nod for Sam Mendes is one I find particularly surprising; Paramount Vantage will no doubt heave a huge sigh of relief after a terrible precursor week that saw the film blanked in the Broadcast Film Critics’ nominations.

Given their taste for “Revolutionary Road,” one might have expected the film’s breakout star Michael Shannon to land a nod. That, however, would be naively ignoring the Globes’ affinity for famous names, which were out in full force today — most notably in that bizarro Cruise nod, but also in the expected Brangelina coronation, and a nomination for Ralph Fiennes in “The Duchess” that I’m sure few saw coming.

Ironically, the star-fucking was played down in the categories where it is usually most rampant: the Comedy/Musical races. Rebecca Hall’s Best Actress nod for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” is a delightful surprise, given that many guessed her Globe-favoured (but less acclaimed) co-star Scarlett Johansson would crop up in her stead. (I’m also sure I’m not the only one grateful they resisted the starry charms of Sarah Jessica Parker in that category.)

Meanwhile, my fellow “In Bruges” fans can cheer a superb showing, with recognition not just for Colin Farrell’s performance (which I saw coming), but for Brendan Gleeson and the film itself (which I certainly didn’t).

Also writing thank-you notes to the Foreign Press will be Kristin Scott Thomas’ team — after failing to make any inroads in the precursors, she rallies with a well-deserved Best Actress (Drama) nomination, while “I’ve Loved You So Long” finds itself in play in the Foreign Language race. Among those she squeezed out are indie darling Melissa Leo (who was never likely to find favour with the HFPA, in my opinion) and Cate Blanchett (whose omission will no doubt stun a lot of pundits). Might I add that this was one category I called 5/5. Hey, I’m not going to get much else right this season … let me gloat.

Finally, and I only just noticed this, the no-show of Clint Eastwood in Best Actor (Drama) is a bit of a shock … and I suspect a relief to many. At the Globes, sometimes star power only gets you so far. One would have assumed this clears the way for Penn, but given their indifference to his film, who can tell?

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38 responses so far

  • 1 12-11-2008 at 6:32 am

    NICOLASILIOP said...

    well boys and girls, It looks a pretty cool line-up to me.. I mean, The Reader and Revolutionary Road got some much needed(and diserved) love-at last, whilst edging out to Milk, which is the only REAL snub. Very well done on avoiding all the Clint hoopla, they love him..but, this year it seems they tried really hard to make a point and a very dignified one. Kudos on recognizing really good comedies like In Bruges, Vicky Cristina and Happy Go Lucky. They could have done the typical bull***t with Cadillac Records and Marley and me etc. The only weird thing is .. the Tom Cruise inclusion, but let’s take it as a joke guys.

  • 2 12-11-2008 at 6:41 am

    John Foote said...

    Stunned that “Milk” and Penn are absent — not so shocked that “The Dark Knight” is missing though happy Ledger was nominated — the Cruise inclusion is a tat…buizarre, though the HFPA is known for going for the stars, correct? Really thought Eastwood would be here for best actor, but obviously enough people are seeing the performance and reailizng it is not very good (spoken by a true Clint fan) — a little surprised by the love for “Doubt”.

  • 3 12-11-2008 at 6:43 am

    NICOLASILIOP said...

    Penn is not absent John.

  • 4 12-11-2008 at 6:50 am said...

    No “Milk”, “The Dark Knight”, Melissa Leo, Michael Shannon…that’s kind of a joke.

    Also, the voters liked Tom Cruise & Robert Downey Jr.’s performances but weren’t down with “Tropic Thunder” in the Best Picture category? Sigh…I just don’t get this stuff.

  • 5 12-11-2008 at 7:01 am

    John Foote said...

    Missed that — sorry. Could not see how they could miss him (as I did)…call it early morning Oscar blues.

  • 6 12-11-2008 at 7:09 am

    Adam G. said...



  • 7 12-11-2008 at 7:10 am

    red_wine said...

    Milk is rather surprising. And they usually have 6 nominees. So it wasn’t even that they didn’t have space, they didn’t like the film.

  • 8 12-11-2008 at 7:13 am

    Diego said...

    What!!!?? No Milk for Best Picture! ??No TDK, Wall-E, Torino or Changeling…Revolutionary Road is alive???

    Eastwood was totally snubbed for acting…and Brad pitt enters…

    And Tom Cruise for Supporting role is ridiculus! Malcovich was great in his supporting role in Changeling and Josh Brolin even better!

    Someone can explain me this nominations? This year is really strange…

  • 9 12-11-2008 at 7:37 am

    surprised downunder said...

    Do you think the HFPA left Cate Blanchett out because they knew she wouldn’t turn up to the show in January? (She’s doing 9 hour stretches of Shakespeare in Sydney at that time).

  • 10 12-11-2008 at 7:38 am

    Zak said...

    Not to mention that Meryl Streep is now the most nominated person in Golden Globe history male or female with 23 Nominations!!!!

    all hail the queen.

  • 11 12-11-2008 at 8:23 am

    Holly said...

    Happy to see attention given to the deserving “RR”

    And if Shannon had been given a supporting nod as he deserves, the “RR” would ,also, be in the ‘5’ nod pack

  • 12 12-11-2008 at 8:25 am

    Ivich said...

    This bodes really well for Slumdog Millionaire. The only thing that worries me is that majority of the Academy membership is filled with actors, a group that may not totally root for Slumdog Millionaire. And I believe that if Danny Boyle continues to win Best Director among various critics than it boosts the chances of Slumdog. Boyle has been the most courageous, zealous director of the lot. He just didn’t take on a project with no stars but also shot in a country alien to him. He embraced it and made it his own. He shot in locales where even Bollywood doesn’t dare to go. Honestly, Boyle along with Anthony Dod Mantle are the real heroes of Slumdog.

  • 13 12-11-2008 at 8:29 am

    The InSneider said...

    “In an unusually spread-out slate, both films top the list with five nods apiece, along with “Frost/Nixon”

    Slumdog didn’t get 5 nods. DOUBT did. DOUBT rules! Don’t count out DOUBT in the BP race, since The Reader is not gonna make the final 5 when it’s Oscar time.

  • 14 12-11-2008 at 8:45 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Sorry, Jeff, thought I’d corrected that already. Fixed now.

    On another note: raise your hand if you think Hans Zimmer’s “Frost/Nixon” score was more notable than his and James Newton Howard’s work for “The Dark Knight.”

    Anyone? Didn’t think so.

  • 15 12-11-2008 at 8:54 am

    Eunice said...

    I’m still pulling in for Doubt despite the mixed reviews. And yeah, thanks Zak for ringing in the bells. Meryl Streep is now officially the most nominated person for both the Oscars and the Golden Globes. That makes me grin like an idiot and shed my objectivity right now.

    I’m truly disappointed at the absence of a Michael Shannon nomination. I know that the GG noms sometimes tend to mix the popular with the truly excellent, but as much as I found Cruise funny in Tropic Thunder, his spot should have been Shannon’s. And I would have nominated Franco for Milk.

    Speaking of Milk and BP contenders, I’m surprised at The Reader and Revolutionary Road both getting BP noms. I would have taken out The Reader and put Milk in instead.

    And this girl heaves a sigh of relief at the lack of a Sarah Jessica Parker nom while simultaneously being happy for Rebecca Hall’s nomination. When they get it right, they get it right. And I never even saw the McDormand nom for ‘Miss Pettigrew’ coming.

    It’s a nice list to look at, actually, and some part of me wants to see a Slumdog win. Also, I hope Doubt wins 3/4 in the acting races, though that might be a really, really long shot. Can’t wait!

  • 16 12-11-2008 at 9:07 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    McDormand got in for “Burn After Reading,” not “Miss Pettigrew,” Eunice.

    Seriously, apart from the odd inevitable lapse in taste (“Mamma Mia,” in particular) how great are those comedy categories? “In Bruges,” “Happy-Go-Lucky,” Rebecca Hall, James Franco … stylish choices all round. I’m amazed.

  • 17 12-11-2008 at 9:26 am

    Billyboy said...

    Yes Guy, people were saying how weak the Comedy categories were this year but with films by the Coen Bros, Mike Leigh and Woody Allen I hardly call that “weak”… the obvious exception is Mamma Mia.

    I’m particulary happy for Rebecca Hall, she really deserves some attention for her work this year.

    And looking at the nominees for Comedy/Musical, anyone agrees that VCB has a good shot at winning?

  • 18 12-11-2008 at 9:42 am

    Eunice said...

    Whoops, my bad. Sorry. Thanks for calling me out on that one, Guy. (I guess I got too excited about the noms coming out. Ack. I feel so ashamed right now.)

    I’ll then have to change what I said about McDormand’s nomination. Burn After Reading was one of the smartest and funniest comedies I’ve seen in a while, so any acting nom for any member of its cast receives a big thumbs up for me. About Mamma Mia!, well I guess that nomination had to be given because of how popular it was with a relatively untapped audience, plus the fact that it did well in the box office, considering what it was up against during its release.

  • 19 12-11-2008 at 9:44 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    I’d bet on “VCB,” Billyboy.

    I’m guessing “Happy-Go-Lucky” is a little small for their liking — Hawkins should cruise to victory though. I’m not writing off “Mamma Mia,” but I think the voters might want to go for something with a bit more cred.

  • 20 12-11-2008 at 9:48 am

    Eunice said...

    Sorry, I meant ‘a big thumbs up from me’. This has to be the caffeine typing. I’ll get back to our lively discussion soon, once I get enough rest to make a decent post. Also, congratulations on getting that 5/5 for the Best Actress–Drama noms, Guy. Will I see you predicting the GG winners soon?

  • 21 12-11-2008 at 9:52 am

    JAB said...

    is Let the Right One In oscar eligible?

  • 22 12-11-2008 at 9:56 am

    N8 said...

    Clint may have been snubbed for acting, but he’s a double nominee in the music categories, so obviously HFPA still loves him. The lead actor race may just have been too crowded for them to stick him in.

  • 23 12-11-2008 at 10:04 am

    steamfreshmeals said...

    Paramount & Dreamworks should be thanking Katie Martin Kelly for her lobbying expertise with the HFPA on behalf of “Revolutionary Road”

  • 24 12-11-2008 at 10:17 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Eunice: Soon.

    JAB: No. “Everlasting Moments” is Sweden’s Oscar submission.

  • 25 12-11-2008 at 10:28 am

    G said...

    A shot at the winners (They are soooo easy to predict):

    Best Picture (Drama) – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    Best Actress – Meryl Streep, Doubt
    Best Actor – Brad Pitt, Curious Case

    Best Picture (Comedy)- Vicki Cristina Barcelona
    Best Actress – Sally Hawkins
    Best Actor – James Franco

    Best Sup Actress – Penelope Cruz
    Best Sup actor – Heath Ledger

    Best Director – David Fincher
    Best Screenplay – Eric Roth, Curious Case

    Best Animated – Wall-E
    Best Foreign – Gomorrah
    Best Score – Curious Case
    Best Song – The Wrestler

    Best TV Series (Drama) – Mad Men
    Best Actress – Sally Field
    Best Actor – Michael C Hall

    Best TV Series (Comedy) – 30 Rock
    Best Actress – Tina Fey
    Best Actor – David Duchovny

    Best Mini-Series: John Adams
    Best Actress: Laura Linney
    Best Actor: Paul Giamatti

    Best Supporting: Diane Wiest
    Best Supporting: Tom Wilkinson

  • 26 12-11-2008 at 10:35 am

    Helena said...

    I would venture that the studios behind every film on the GG Best Picture should be ‘thanking’ someone ‘for lobbying ‘ the HFPA for them

    And that goes as well for the NBR, BCFCA, LFCA,NYCA groups, to think that any of these groups are ‘immune’ to outside influences, nepotism, patronage, lobbying is a fantasy

  • 27 12-11-2008 at 10:36 am

    Chris said...

    Luckily this is only the Golden Globes. The Oscars are what will matter more.

    Come on, The Reader and Revolutionary Road over The Dark Knight and Milk? Atrocious.

  • 28 12-11-2008 at 10:45 am

    Hardy said...

    Why are people so shocked about TDK snub?

    HFPA doesn’t like action flicks. Period.

    And RR is a fantastic film.

  • 29 12-11-2008 at 10:49 am

    G said...

    Ok, so here’s how I see it.

    I think RR and The Reader needed these noms to release their films. They were gonna flop big time if they didn’t get this. And HFPA is very chummy to the Weinsteins. That’s all there is to this. They snubbed Milk because of all the films it doesn’t need the push. It’s gonna be a big hit regardless, starring every major lead male actor. Slumdog, although heating up, is still about India, viewed as somewhat foreign, and needs all the acclaim to succeed. I think the GG tries to help movies’ releases during Christmas season. The Dark Knight, of course, doesn’t really need anything.

    So, I believe these nominations are the last we’ll see of Revolutionary Road and The Reader…unless they prove to be huge hits (unlike the doomed Australia)!

    I think they can’t help but love Meryl Streep (as we all do) and she will win (I think for Doubt).

    Come Oscar time, if RR and The Reader prove too depressing for audiences, they won’t make it. There’s a level to the Oscars that takes into account how a movie connects with current audiences. And I think Milk and The Dark Knight to the main categories will make a huge comeback afterwards. Their success, impact and relevance cannot be denied once the box offices of the year are tallied.

  • 30 12-11-2008 at 11:12 am

    Chris said...

    Well said, G.

  • 31 12-11-2008 at 12:41 pm

    steamfreshmeals said...

    Very true Helena, but maybe a little extra special for the remaining Vantage staff working hard and “campaigning” for a job with the big studio after awards season when Vantage goes away for good

  • 32 12-11-2008 at 2:58 pm

    Diego said...

    It´s sad to say but last two years the 5 oscar´s nomiations for best picture were in the list…

  • 33 12-11-2008 at 3:07 pm

    Patrick said...

    Josh Brolin robbed again…both lead and support. 2 years in a row. WTF?

  • 34 12-11-2008 at 3:55 pm

    Alex said...

    I’m surprised by no blanchett since she was excellent and more deserving than Jolie but I guess she is nominated so often people might be starting to take her for granted.

    Also, Miley Cyrus is up for Best Original Song. God save us.

  • 35 12-11-2008 at 3:58 pm

    Alex said...

    And Kevin Connolly (from Entourage) as Best Actor in a Comedy Series is a nomination very much deserved

  • 36 12-11-2008 at 4:09 pm

    Ben M. said...

    Actually, while the globes have nominated Eastwood a lot (and did so today in the music categories) they have never nominated him for acting, so I think Richard Jenkins and he are both still in the hunt for best actor nominations.

    Also, now that The Reader has opened to very underwhelming reviews I think it is pretty much dead, and it probably just another case of Weinstein selling the HFPA on a film that has no real BP potential.

  • 37 12-11-2008 at 4:37 pm

    Alex said...

    A la Bobby

  • 38 12-11-2008 at 8:33 pm

    Helena said...


    Thanks for explaining more the intention of your post.