Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon and Doubt lead the nominations. Of these, Doubt could use the biggest boost, since the critics had been snubbing it. But Milk and The Dark Knight, which have been doing better with critics, were mostly shut out, save for a nomination here or there. Again, it’s important to remember that the Globes are good for one or two bumps for films here or there. Oscar watching, dubious pastime that it is, is about pulling from all of the various influences and sources and then adding a dash of AMPAS in there (favoritism, nepotism, loyalty, homophobia, lust, sloth, etc.) and at last, the picture is cleared.
Still, the Directors Guild holds the most weight, even if they haven’t been exactly on target. Usually, the movies attached to the nominated directors are nominated even if the directors themselves are not.
In the acting categories, a few nice surprises, especially the addition of Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (a double nominee). After a slew of suffocated critics’ awards, it’s nice to see some of these great performances given a spotlight, no matter where it goes from here. Also, when Dave Karger said in Entertainment Weekly that Doubt’s prospects depended on whether or not all three actors received nominations his theory now holds some validity.
But of the films that got Globes recognition this morning, it remains to be seen which one will stick. The next phase after the critics, the guilds, should help as AMPAS voters await their ballots, which is now just a couple of weeks away.
This is what we like to think of as the ovulation period. This is when all of the movies shoot out in hopes of implantation, so that when they get their ballots they will know what to jot down. Even if they haven’t see everything, they will know. That the Globes noms come right now is key. Too early or too late and the fertilization fails. It looks like maximum impact has been reached.
The first week of January sees the biggies, like the DGA noms, the Critics Choice awards, etc. That is going to be perhaps indicative of how the votes are going to go but the influence won’t be as high as it is right now. This is just a theory that we’ll test out this year. We have to entertain ourselves somehow.
What these nominations do is give studios a reason to rally if they felt their film was down for the count. That means that a not-so-well reviewed movie like In Bruges or The Reader or Doubt can wash their ads with the nominations. This, in turn, will motivate voters in various organizations to watch a screener they might otherwise have discarded. That’s a good thing.¬† Doubt, The Reader and Revolutionary Road, in particular, have what they need to start kicking their campaigns into high gear.
As for Milk, its snub might not mean anything except that it can’t splash its campaign with all of those nominations. Doesn’t really matter because it won the New York Film Critics award for Best Film – I think that trumps the lack of a Globe nod. They pushed harder for the films no one else has been voting for – this tests their influence more so than if they had just gone with the flow; now, if any of these mostly ignored films goes all the way, everyone will point to Globes for being there the moment the horse were changed mistream.
Tom Cruise got a much-deserved nomination for his GREAT work in Tropic Thunder, along with Robert Downey, Jr. For this, SAG needs to join in and even then it’s hard to imagine both getting nominated for the Oscar, especially with more dramatic supporting turns waiting in the wings. While it’s great Frances McDormand was nominated, John Malkovich and Brad Pitt for Burn After Reading were not.
Right now, I’m sure a lot of us would like to go back to bed. We have two more agonizing early morning nominations to go – SAG and Oscar. Until then, Oscar watchers.