Golden Globe nominations breathe new life for 'The Master' stars, 'Django'

Posted by · 5:52 am · December 13th, 2012

The first thought that jumped to mind after today’s Golden Globe nominations announcement was, “Not too embarrassing.” Often enough awards watchers are looking to the HFPA to do what they do, fill out their list with dubious performances from movie stars and films that will guarantee a glitzy red carpet. And there’s a little of that here, though in most cases, it’s not as simple as that.

Richard Gere, for instance, gives one of his best performances to date in “Arbitrage,” so it’s a great excuse for HFPA to include him, and for quality work, thank God. Nicole Kidman’s nomination for “The Paperboy” might have been dismissed as star-loving madness, too, except the Screen Actors Guild chalked her up for a nomination yesterday (and I have no idea what’s going on there). And the lead actress, drama field could have been an excuse to shove in Halle Berry or something, but the group went with NYFCC-winner Rachel Weisz.

The second thought that jumped to mind was, “Hell yeah.” Why? Because Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” wracked up five nominations, including a Best Supporting Actor bid for star Leonardo DiCaprio. I’ve been watching all these notices come in for co-star Christoph Waltz (also nominated today) as DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson keep getting passed over, and it’s been killing me. DiCaprio is amazing in the film, a live wire. And the movie is Tarantino’s best since “Jackie Brown.” Harvey Weinstein knows how to play the HFPA, mind, but seeing a film this bold pop up throughout the nominations (it got in for Best Picture – Drama and even Best Director) put a smile on my face.

Speaking of Harvey, there is new life for “The Master” stars Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams, both of whom got in today after being passed over by the guild yesterday. They join SAG-nominated Philip Seymour Hoffman for the film’s only three nominations. But this list obviously does little to clear up the acting ranks, given the split between dramas and comedy/musicals. So while Phoenix and Gere get the boost of inclusion, Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper are over in the comedy/musical field, so everyone’s still in play and that will be a tight category to the end.

The biggest surprise, one supposes, was the big showing for “Salmon Fishing on the Yemen,” which blew past “This is 40” for nominations in the Best Picture, Best Actor (Ewan McGregor) and Best Actress (Emily Blunt) categories for comedy/musical. I confess — I haven’t even seen it. But I haven’t heard too many good things. Does this move the needle for Oscar? Not likely. Chalk it up in part to the power of CBS Films’ Terry Press over the HFPA. Still, that complete snub for Judd Apatow’s film was unexpected. Leslie Mann deserved to be on the list.

Yesterday “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” reasserted itself with a pair of big nominations, and today, it’s a Best Picture nominee for comedy/musical, and lead actress Judi Dench also got in. Her co-star, Maggie Smith, was nominated for her lead performance in “Quartet,” though not for her SAG-nominated supporting turn in “Marigold.” It’s still in the hunt for Best Picture. I thought it had gone away but it seems to have been alive right below the surface this whole time, so if anything is lurking as a potential shocker for big things with Oscar, I’d say that’s it.

And most curious to me was a single, solitary Best Picture – Comedy/Musical nomination for “Moonrise Kingdom.” It shows up nowhere else, which is odd, but this breathes a lot of life into its Oscar Best Picture hopes as both that film and fellow indie “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (shut out both today, because the HFPA just didn’t like it, and yesterday, due to eligibility issues) jockey for position in the category.

Elsewhere, other actors who doubled up after a SAG nod yesterday include Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln”), John Hawkes (“The Sessions”), Denzel Washington (“Flight”), Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Marion Cotillard (“Rust and Bone”), Helen Mirren (“Hitchcock”), Naomi Watts (“The Impossible”), Alan Arkin (“Argo”), Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field (“Lincoln”), Anne Hathaway (“Les Misérables) and Helen Hunt (“The Sessions”).

Only Mirren, Robert De Niro (who missed today for “Silver Linings Playbook” — how could they resist that?), Javier Bardem (“Skyfall”) and Adams miss out on the three-peat if we include the BFCA’s Critics’ Choice nominations from Tuesday. So, consensus is forming, certainly.

Alright, that’s enough. My take is this: “Django Unchained” gets some much-needed help. “Life of Pi” gets legitimized with Best Picture and Best Director nominations at a crucial moment. “Amour” takes a big hit from a group that really should have stuck up for it. And the top five are as clear as ever (“Argo,” “Les Misérables,” “Lincoln,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Zero Dark Thirty”).

What’s your take on this year’s announcement? Who do you expect to win throughout the categories? Have your say in the comments section below!

The 70th annual Golden Globes will be held on Sunday, January 13, 2013.

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