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Golden Globes: the other stories
Newsday has already posted its main story on today's Golden Globes nominations, but here are some other angles and Oscar predictions that movie fans might appreciate.
IT WAS A LOUSY YEAR FOR WOMEN. You can see this in the best dramatic actress category, which includes one unknown (Jennifer Lawrence in "Winter's Bone"), one indie darling (Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine"), two A-listers in movies we haven't seen yet (Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole" and Halle Berry in "Frankie and Alice") and Natalie Portman in a horror film ("Black Swan"). Granted, two of these movies have yet to be released, but the year has clearly lacked any "big" female performances, the kind that won Streep, Roberts and Swank their Oscars.
ON THE OTHER HAND, if Julianne Moore and Annette Bening hadn't been relegated to the comedic actress category for "The Kids Are All Right," we might have had a more interesting, more high-profile race. Both seem likely to show up as best actress Oscar contenders
WHAT IS "BARNEY'S VERSION"? It earned a single Globes nod, for Paul Giamatti as best comedic actor. First of all, the film hardly seems a comedy -- it's filled with heartbreak, suicide and the sorrow of growing old -- but even this one nomination might help it make inroads at the Oscars. It's exactly the kind of movie Academy voters should like, with great acting, a literary script (based on the Mordecai Richler novel) and a free-form feel that harks back to one of cinema's bravest eras, the 1970s.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM. The New York Film Critics Circle recently gave its animation award to "The Illusionist," which has great snob appeal: It's based on a long-lost script by the late Jacques Tati, and the animator is Sylvain Chomet ("The Triplets of Belleville"). Still, is any awards show NOT going to give a trophy to "Toy Story 3?" Disney is campaigning for it to win the best picture Oscar, and the rapturous reviews suggest that it actually has a shot (a long one, but still).
SUPPORT "THE FIGHTER." In the supporting categories, this movie would seem to have the lock. Christian Bale essentially carries the film as Mark Wahlberg's crack-addict brother, and Melissa Leo is astounding as the good/evil matriarch of their family. But even here, "The King's Speech" may rule the day. Geoffrey Rush matches Firth scene for scene, and Helena Bonham Carter, who has been playing a lot of literal and figurative cartoons, reminds us all what a terrific "real" actress she can be.
SYMPATHY FOR THE GEKKO. As a side bet, consider a cancer-battling Michael Douglas as a supporting actor winner for "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps."
BEST DIRECTOR. As often happens at the Globes (and the Oscars), the best director category is simply a repeat of the best dramatic picture category. And it's rare for the winners to be split. But in this case, even assuming that Tom Hooper's "The King's Speech" wins the top Globe, there is one director who obviously stands head and shoulders above him: Christopher Nolan, the man behind the ambitious, eye-popping (and admittedly baffling) "Inception" For the first time in years, it seems reasonable to say that the best director didn't make the best picture. Reason, of course, rarely enters into awards shows.