The 68th Golden Globe Awards Preview

With a slew of exceptional (and pretty terrible) films, directors and actors nominated this year, FILMINK gives you our tip on who will win on the big night, as well as who should win...



Ah, the Golden Globes. That most cherished of all awards ceremonies. Except for the Oscars. And the Grammys. And the Tonys. And the Emmys. And the Razzies. And the MTV Movie Awards. And the Logies. Apart from those, it is the most cherished. Oh, except for the Allan Border Medal.

To those of you who may not know, or may not care, the Golden Globes are accolades presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, or HFPA, which is made up of a bunch of journalists from all over the world who cover the American film industry. In theory, these awards are meant to recognise excellence in film and television. In practice, they are an excuse to get a bunch of famous people together, so that they might have a few laughs and feel good about themselves for once in their miserable, multi-million dollar-earning lives.

In actual fact, all joking aside, the money raised by these ceremonies goes to charity, so... shame on us for being so cynical about the whole ordeal. Anyway, on with the meat parade.

What we have here are the film categories, most of them broken down, with each candidate examined, both in terms of content and their potential for victory, as well as their current position in the overall awards race, of which the Golden Globes is but a part.

Best Picture - Drama

Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky\'s fifth directorial feature and companion piece to his 2008 film The Wrestler, Black Swan is a dark, melancholic psychological thriller of an unusual type, tapping into a dichotomy of beauty and horror within the world of ballet. With The Wrestler picking up a few awards, it will be interesting to see what success this film pulls. Despite its dark and confronting themes, it is also compelling and frankly unforgettable. Could be a surprise winner, however unlikely.


Not much to say except to the two people who haven\'t seen it. With a widely positive reception and seemingly endless and mostly redundant debate regarding the film\'s cathartic ending, Inception would be unlucky not to pick up a few awards over the season, but its complex world and inaccessibility in comparison to this season\'s other contenders make it an unlikely candidate for ultimate victory.

The King\'s Speech

The third film (Red Dust with Hilary Swank being his first and The Damned United with Michael Sheen being his second) from British television export Tom Hooper, The King\'s Speech is exactly the kind of film that wins awards. Not only is it about royalty, it is about British royalty (the very best kind of royalty, you see), and then you go a step further and it is about impeded royalty. It would not be surprising in the slightest to see this bag the top prize at the Golden Globes, as it is the type of accessible, polished material that the HFPA has gravitated towards in the past.

The Social Network

The 800-pound gorilla in the room, The Social Network has justifiably been sweeping through nearly every single critics awards ceremony across the US. It is a truly extraordinary film, practically perfect in every way, from the direction, to the acting, to the music, to the cinematography, and perhaps most notably, the writing. It\'s a cold, unforgiving film though, and that could perhaps turn off the HFPA. A win for The King\'s Speech wouldn\'t be a huge surprise, although it would be an injustice of some magnitude.

What we haven\'t seen:

The Fighter

While the release of The Fighter down under has missed the Golden Globes by a skerrick, the scuttlebutt from the US is that it\'s good. Very good. It\'s been earning praise all across the board, and is now considered a top Oscar contender (and they sure do love their boxing dramas). The question is, will the HFPA leap at it? Probably not, but it could well be a dark horse.


Best Picture - Musical/Comedy

Alice in Wonderland

If this awards ceremony were celebrating box office prowess, this record setting cinema and DVD hit would be a sure-fire winner. As it is, the Golden Globes still maintains a semblance of credibility (nothing more), and one could only assume this film\'s addition in the category is mere fodder. For such a colourful and loud film, it\'s also a strangely bland one. As a film apparently about \'muchness\', expect this film to get fleeting mentions at the ceremony merely out of obligation, as opposed to celebration. 


It is interesting to note that none of these nominated films are musicals. Not even Burlesque - yes, it has musical numbers, so on paper it might look like a musical, but that is not the case - it is an uproarious, masterful, unintentional comedy. Whether it be the reanimated corpse of Cher clacking her way across the frame, or Christina Aguilera demonstrating that she\'s about as alluring as George Negus, or Stanley Tucci reprising his role from The Devil Wears Prada, it\'s an absolute barrel of laughs. That can be the only way that the HFPA could reasonably found it to have warranted merit of any kind. In all seriousness, we must applaud a refreshingly left-field nomination such as this in an otherwise predictable awards season, pure junk though it is. Furthermore: It\'s better than The Tourist. But more on that later...

The Kids Are All Right

In such shameful company, it\'s a rather safe bet that Lisa Cholodenko\'s The Kids Are All Right will bag the top musical/comedy prize at the Globes. The reasons? It\'s socially conscious, it\'s well acted, it\'s (partially) well written, it\'s actually got a thematic structure not to mention a narrative one, and it was a relatively enjoyable trip to the movies.


In a widely questionable line-up for any category with the title best involved, it seems that any film pushing the realms of mediocrity has a sure chance. That is exactly what Red is, a mild step beyond that of mediocrity. To be fair, its eyebrow raising nomination is not entirely ridiculous when looking at three of the four other nominations, but while Red is both fun and entertaining, it is little more than that.

The Tourist

One has to wonder just what the HFPA was thinking when they nominated this reprehensible revue of rot - it is, perhaps, better fodder for the Razzies rather than any other \"serious\" award (no, the Golden Globes are not serious, but let\'s just play along for the time being). One might have thought, without having seen the film, that a film from The Lives of Others director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck that boasted talented leads such as Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie might be worthwhile - and having seen the film, we must assume that the HFPA has not.


Best Director

Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan

Like some of his competition, he is an auteur (although not in the strictest sense, perhaps), and Black Swan is a fantastic display of his talents. However, maybe it\'s the film\'s lack of scope, or the deliberate discomfort Aronofsky attempts to enforce on the audience, but he\'s not a particularly big chance, especially as he has competition in the form of three (maybe four) prime contenders at the top of their games. This is one category where the nomination alone should be recognised.

David Fincher, The Social Network

David Fincher is perhaps the most remarkable, and notable American filmmaker of his generation. Fincher does every justice possible to Aaron Sorkin\'s remarkable script, providing lean and punchy direction without ever drawing too much attention to his own involvement. He\'s got an impressive catalogue of films behind him and a strong following to boot - put your money on him collecting this trophy.

Tom Hooper, The King\'s Speech

In spite of his rather refreshing approach to what could have been stuffy, workman material, Hooper is perhaps the least notable name in this line-up, even with last year\'s terrific The Damned United to his name. And The King\'s Speech isn\'t quite as much of a director\'s showcase as its competitors are. Even if The King\'s Speech itself is able to snag the top prize, Hooper is perhaps the least likely to take the Best Director trophy.

Christopher Nolan, Inception

With Nolan\'s history at awards ceremonies (or not, as were the case), this nomination in itself is an achievement of sorts. Ignored for both Memento and The Dark Knight as Best Director nominee, this nomination feels belated, a fact that Nolan\'s ardent fans are rarely quiet about. With the visually stunning and innovative direction used for Inception, Christopher Nolan is a big chance for this gong. While David Fincher may still be the favourite, the ever-popular Nolan may be able to snatch an unexpected victory without upsetting too many people.

Whose work we haven\'t seen:

David O. Russell, The Fighter

The abrasive and unconventional David O. Russell probably won\'t win this Golden Globe. Let us not forget that he once infamously held fellow nominee Christopher Nolan in a headlock at a function. Let\'s hope that the ceremony organisers have put the table for The Fighter right next to the table for Inception...


Best Actor - Drama

Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network

If we lived in a world where an actor wins awards for the actual strength of their nominated performance, Eisenberg would have this in the bag. As it stands, history indicates that a large factor in deciding who wins the Best Actor accolade in these awards ceremonies is, well, history. To wit: whether said nominee hasn\'t won it previously yet deserved it, or if the nominated role has historical significance or relevance to \"social issues.\" The history in this instance will probably lend itself to Colin Firth for The King\'s Speech. It is a shame, as Eisenberg, formerly the \"Poor Man\'s Michael Cera\", has stepped into the role of Mark Zuckerberg, morally questionable founder of Facebook and created a dark, conflicted, corrupt, yet oddly sympathetic character.

Colin Firth, The King\'s Speech

Stalwart British thespian Colin Firth is coming off a Golden Globe (and Oscar) nomination for his remarkable work in Tom Ford\'s A Single Man last year. Those who thought Firth was robbed last year will be more than happy to award him the trophy for this award baiting role as George VI. It helps that Firth is also very good in the role, conveying the pain of a stutterer, and offsetting it with the tempestuous indignation of a prince. However good Firth may be, though, the work of Jesse Eisenberg and Ryan Gosling, at the very least, is more considerable this year. Nevertheless, the award is all but Firth\'s - a well liked, talented performer, who has gone too long without proper recognition from his industry.

Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine

Another previous Golden Globe nominee, for Lars and the Real Girl, Ryan Gosling is a red-hot contender for this award. For his role as Dean, both the young man in a blossoming relationship and then the husband in a decaying one, Gosling had to pull out his best work for a film solely resting on the shoulders of he and co-star Michelle Williams. The result is a performance that leaves a mixture of endearment and intense frustration, as Gosling blends the best and the worst sides of a man who simply wants to love his family and live in peace.

Who we haven\'t seen:

James Franco, 127 Hours

Although the film hasn\'t really taken with the American public, James Franco\'s turn as Aron Ralston in 127 Hours is, by all reports, an absolute tour-de-force that will see him become a force to be reckoned with in future years. He may well be Firth\'s strongest competition, especially due to the fact that 127 Hours is ostensibly a one-man show.

Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter

Mark Wahlberg was a surprise nomination - despite being a Golden Globe and Oscar nominee for his work in The Departed. He hasn\'t made much of a strong showing throughout the rest of the awards season though, and it\'s hard to deny that he\'s a long shot here.


Best Actor - Musical/Comedy

Johnny Depp, Alice in Wonderland

Of course the first question here is not why Johnny Depp is up for Best Actor with this film; it is, in fact, why is the Mad Hatter a role that is considered \"leading?\" Whose decision was that? This... it just... there\'s not much more to say without suffering a nervous breakdown on this one... that is, until you reach the next nomination...

Johnny Depp, The Tourist

No. Just... wrong. A bizarre move by the HFPA - surely if they just wanted the wildly popular Depp to have shown up, they could have just nominated him for Alice in Wonderland? Except he was terrible in that too. When talking about actors who have had major success in not one, but two films this year, the natural selection would surely be Leonardo DiCaprio - whereas Depp has had one of the worst years of his career, despite appearing in one of the top grossers. Which was not The Tourist. Depp saunters through the film not really ever caring - we don\'t care about him at any point, that\'s for sure.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Love and Other Drugs

A serviceable turn in a rather mediocre film, Jake Gyllenhaal has the capacity to be quite a charming and watchable screen personality - he just needs to be a bit sharper in his career choices. It\'s hard to imagine this performance snagging any awards, but when Gyllenhaal is in the company of two terrible Depp performances (and some unknown quantities \'round these parts) he might just be able to walk away with this.

Who we haven\'t seen:

Paul Giamatti, Barney\'s Version

Kevin Spacey, Casino Jack

Two performances from the indie circuit that are yet to make their way down under - Giamatti and Spacey are two excitement machines, no denying that, but Giamatti has a puzzling tendency to be miscast, and when\'s the last time you saw a great performance from Kevin Spacey?


Best Actress - Drama

Jennifer Lawrence, Winter\'s Bone

A strong performance in a decent enough film - Lawrence is the best thing about it, bringing an icy conviction that offsets a genuine love and protectiveness of her family. She\'ll find it hard to overcome more seasoned performers like Nicole Kidman and Natalie Portman in this race, but by no means should she be written off...

Natalie Portman, Black Swan

In a colourful 15+ year career filled with highlights, this is Natalie Portman\'s shining role. She is at times fragile, at others frightening, but manages to carry every moment of the film on her back, and for every moment your eyes are glued to the screen (unless cringing from the film\'s more gruesome moments). Surely the favourite for this prize, and deservedly so.

Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

A role the dedicated Williams apparently gained around 15 lbs for, this is a defining moment in her career. Her turn as the frustrated and ambitious Cindy is both compelling and tragic, and along with the aforementioned Ryan Gosling, Williams carries the film with a display of the finest acting for quite some time. It would be a shame to see Williams walk away empty handed, as it is clear she gave this role her everything.

Who we haven\'t seen:

Halle Berry, Frankie and Alice

Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole

Again, we find ourselves in the unfortunate position of having to judge a race without having seen all the contenders, but there you have it. From what we haven\'t seen, the real fire is coming from Nicole Kidman, who is earning career-best platitudes for her role as a grieving mother in Rabbit Hole. More curious is the appearance of Halle Berry, who went through a sort of career suicide after her stunning turn in Monster\'s Ball.


Best Actress - Musical/Comedy

Anne Hathaway, Love & Other Drugs

An awards baiting role (she\'s got Parkinson\'s, you see), but Anne Hathaway, a performer who seems to get better and better with each passing year, makes it work, lending Love & Other Drugs a self-effacing and human quality that is probably more than it deserved. But she\'s going to find it difficult to overcome both Julianne Moore and Annette Bening from The Kids Are All Right - two seasoned performers who are both considered \"overdue\" for awards recognition. 

Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right

Moore is a veteran of the Golden Globes, having been nominated five times previously. She has a very good role in The Kids Are All Right, perhaps the most active character of the bunch, and she manages to mix both the comedy and the drama of the piece effectively. Her biggest competition is her co-star, Annette Bening, who is considered \"more\" overdue for awards.

Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right

The only thing that could potentially prevent Bening from snagging this award would be the fact that she has already won a Golden Globe - in 2005, for her performance in Being Julia. She\'s quite good in The Kids Are All Right - it\'s the typically overwrought and oversold performance that one should expect from Bening, but less so than some of her more egregious offences. At this stage, she seems like the safe money in this category.

Angelina Jolie, The Tourist

A real head-scratcher. We\'ll go through the positives, though... No need to be snobs. Jolie\'s English accent isn\'t functioning on a Kevin Costner level of awful... that\'s something. She\'s awfully pretty at times. That\'s something else. And... erm... ah... she can walk around in high-heel shoes. That\'s something that we can\'t do. Good on her. Surely, though, the HFPA can just invite people to their awards ceremony without nominating them for something? Is that a possibility? Because there\'s no other reasonable explanation for this nomination.

Who we haven\'t seen:

Emma Stone, Easy A

A critical and financial hit, Easy A\'s success can be attributed to Emma Stone, whose performance was the key selling point for the film. Although the lasses from The Kids Are All Right are in stronger positions to win this award, Stone could be an outside chance for glory in a much-loved performance.


Best Supporting Actor

Michael Douglas, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

This turn is probably a bit too melodramatic, though to be fair, in a fairly melodramatic sequel. There would be many a raised eyebrow were Douglas to receive the award for supporting actor, especially in light of his competition. Despite having said this, Douglas was by no means bad in his second turn as Gekko, it\'s just that the character wasn\'t quite on the money (forgive us) this time around.

Andrew Garfield, The Social Network

It is his role as Eduardo Saverin that has heralded Garfield\'s graduation into the big leagues - a magnificent turn, sympathetic, at times comic, and frequently powerful. Unfortunately, there is considerably more weight behind the performances of both Geoffrey Rush and the favourite, Christian Bale, in this category.

Jeremy Renner, The Town

A rising talent, we expect to see a lot of Jeremy Renner in the next few years, and The Town shows us exactly why. His turn as cold and ruthless James \"Jem\" Coughlin shines. One would suspect Renner will have plenty more opportunities to practice acceptance speeches in the coming years, so don\'t feel too bad for him if he goes to the after party empty handed.

Geoffrey Rush, The King\'s Speech

Dual Golden Globe winner Rush (Shine, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers) has been given rather an ideal role in The King\'s Speech for someone who would want to snag some \"supporting\" trophies - support is precisely what his character provides in the film. Rush, who is accused by some of being a ham, brings vitality and charisma to his role in the film, and is highly watchable. Rush is a strong and worthy candidate in this category, but the fact that he\'s already won might just give the edge to Christian Bale.

Who we haven\'t seen:

Christian Bale, The Fighter

Terminal body-mass-shifter Christian Bale has rather undeservedly been shunned by awards bodies repeatedly over the course of his career. It seems only appropriate that when he finally does get such recognition, the statues come tumbling in like a flood.


Best Supporting Actress

Helena Bonham Carter, The King\'s Speech

Bonham Carter has been nominated a few times at the Golden Globes, both in the television and film categories. This is a performance that is not especially remarkable, but is riding on the coattails of goodwill towards the film itself.

Mila Kunis, Black Swan

This is by far Mila Kunis\' most successful role to date, and deservedly so. Her role as Lily, the doppelgänger (of sorts) to Natalie Portman\'s Nina, is both intimidating and frustrating with her free spirited and raucous nature. With such tight competition in this category, it would seem rash to call Kunis a big chance, but were she to win, it would be well deserved.

Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Great excitement for the Australian film industry - a film of ours has made a splash in the American awards circuit, which hasn\'t happened for quite a while. And what a worthy performance it is - Weaver\'s slow-burning, insidious turn as \"Smurf\" in Animal Kingdom is comfortably one of the most memorable this year. If the actual quality of the performance dictated whether or not people won awards (ha! What a quaint idea) Weaver would be a surer bet, but it\'s doubtful that the HFPA will go her way. Still, you never know with a category as shaky as this one.

Who we haven\'t seen:

Amy Adams, The Fighter

Melissa Leo, The Fighter

It is a favourite pastime of award bodies to nominate two supporting actresses from the same film. And then give their award to neither party. The Fighter might buck the trend, with veteran Melissa Leo earning rave reviews for her role as the protagonist\'s mother. Amy Adams, on the other hand, is the love interest, and like Leo, her name has popped up a few times during awards ceremonies of recent years. Leo certainly looks like the stronger candidate (to us folks who won\'t stoop to actually seeing the film we\'re talking about...) but Adams could certainly pull off an upset.


Best Animated Film

Despicable Me

The appeal of this film is no secret - the adoration for it, however, remains a mystery. It\'s a very stock-standard kiddie flick, with good dynamics and a few good gags, but it\'s awfully derivative, and from a technical perspective, not very impressive. Needless to say, it\'s the weakest of its category - the one that only really works for children, not on a separate level for adults as well.

How to Train Your Dragon

A surprisingly strong and robust film from DreamWorks Animation. The film has attracted a bit of a disturbing following - namely, people who think that it\'s better than Toy Story 3, which it isn\'t, but it is nonetheless an impressive entry among the relative mire of animated features, and it could certainly pull off an upset to win this prize.

The Illusionist

A great film, no matter which way you slice it. Sylvain Chomet\'s (The Triplets of Belleville) second feature is basically a silent film, it\'s traditionally animated, and kids will probably get restless while watching it, and so we find it hard to believe that the HFPA will give it this trophy, no matter how much it deserves it. Nevertheless, a film that all readers should track down and view at some point.

Toy Story 3

Director Lee Unkrich and co. at Pixar achieved a rare feat: a second sequel that lives up to its predecessors. A marvellous, accessible, and genuine film that tugs at the heart strings (for those who have hearts). If you\'re a gambler, take our advice, the money should be on this one.


Wonderful film, a blending of many of the elements that made Disney great in the past. In a weaker year this would be a great contender, but with top-tier work coming from not only Pixar, but DreamWorks and Sylvain Chomet, this one\'ll be cruelly left by the wayside.


In summation:

Hopefully we\'ve given you a slightly clearer insight to the types of things that have been nominated for Golden Globes this year, with a little light shed on what\'s probably going to win. Or maybe we\'re just plain wrong altogether. Who knows - what little joy there has to be extracted out of sitting yourself down to a full Hollywood awards ceremony is usually to be found within the unexpected. And, in the case of the Golden Globes, watching famous people get hammered, which they can\'t do at the Oscars...

The 68th Annual Golden Globes ceremony will be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 16 and will be broadcast worldwide.



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