Of Globes and Oscars: Award season kicks in

By AFP
Published: December 16, 2011

The Artist and The Help were surprise hits and are expected to win big at the Golden Globes. PHOTOS: FILE

The Artist and The Help were surprise hits and are expected to win big at the Golden Globes. PHOTOS: FILE The Artist and The Help were surprise hits and are expected to win big at the Golden Globes. PHOTOS: FILE
LOS ANGELES: 

Silent film The Artist won six Golden Globe nominations on December 15 and leads the field as Hollywood gears up for its annual awards season. Tied for second were The Help, about African-American servants in the US pre-civil rights era, and The Descendants starring George Clooney, both nominated in five categories for the Globes, to be presented in January. Other A-listers nominated included Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep — and even Elton John and Madonna — in what one commentator said showed the Globes organisers’ desire to get celebrities on the red carpet.

The Artist being the big winner, triggered elation from its French director Michel Hazanavicius. “I feel like I have a big, stupid smile on my face. I made this movie out of desire, and never expected this sort of response,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. The Golden Globe winners will be announced on January 15, in a show hosted for a third time by provocative British comic Ricky Gervais, invited back despite ruffling feathers at last year’s show.

The Artist was nominated for a number of categories including best comedy or musical film, best comedy or music actor for Jean Dujardin, best director and best supporting actress — for Hazanavicius’s wife Berenice Bejo. The movie which tells the story of silent film star George Valentin played by Dujardin whose career is torpedoed by the arrival of speech — had already generated buzz after winning best film and best director at the New York Film Critics Circle two weeks ago.

The Help, meanwhile, won nominations for best drama picture, best actress for Viola Davis, best supporting actress for Jessica Chastain, and best song for “The Living Proof” sung by Mary J Blige.

“I got up and watched the nominations live. I cheered out loud,” its director Tate Taylor told the Hollywood Reporter from Martha’s Vineyard, where he is working on his latest project.

It was the second day of good news for The Help, which scored four nods for the Screen Actors Guild awards, which along with the Globes are seen as a key indicator to success in the all-important Oscars.

After six Globes nods for The Artist and five for The Help and The Descendants, there were four each for Clooney-directed thriller The Ides of March, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris and Moneyball starring Brad Pitt.

Notable absentees from the Globes shortlists were Terrence Malick’s critically acclaimed The Tree of Life — which won the Palme d’Or in Cannes — as well as Cold War thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. They could still win gongs though: nominations for the Oscars are due to be announced on January 24, ahead of the 84th Academy Awards show — the climax of Hollywood’s awards season on February 26.

The Los Angeles Times noted that the Globes shortlists were celebrity-heavy — testifying to the reputation of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) for getting star power on the red carpet.

The HFPA, “once again confirmed its affection for celebrities, leaving some of the year’s darker and more challenging films and
performances off its list,” it noted.

At last year’s show Gervais lampooned the Globes for nominating a lackluster film purely to get mega-stars Pitt and Jolie to attend. “They also accepted bribes,” he said, prompting some to suggest he wouldn’t be invited back. But he was, and ratings are expected to be correspondingly high — if only to see who the British comic will insult this year.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2011.

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