The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe Awards will be broadcast Sunday on NBC-TV.
Separating movies into drama and comedy/musical categories gives more choice and more depth to the annual Golden Globe awards vs. other media award programs. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took that view when it expanded this year’s best picture category to 10 films.
While variety is important, I struggle every year just to find five "bests" at the end of the year. The same goes for acting, directing and screenwriting. Why set a number? If there are five "bests," then nominate them, but if a category has just two terrific performances, name them and stop there.
Most of these films made it to Tri-Cities screens in 2009. Two of them, Nine and The Lovely Bones open here Friday, Jan. 15. A Single Man, A Serious Man, The Last Station, The Young Victoria, An Education and Crazy Heart have not. Whether they will ever make it here depends on how things go with the Oscar picks on Feb. 2.
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Some, no doubt, will — nomination or not.
All that time spent in theaters every year pays off. I’ve seen all the nominated films except for The Last Station. Some of you have traveled to other cities and have caught these films.
Of those films you’ve seen, what do you think of my picks? What are yours? Here are the categories:
Best Motion Picture Drama
Avatar: The best 3-D effects in history and more than a billion bucks at the box office do not make this a "best picture."
The Hurt Locker: Picked by many critics as the year’s best, it is an outstanding character study and a perfect picture of the pressure faced by our troops.
Inglourious Basterds: Shameless, shocking, loathsome, preposterous, excessive. Quentin Tarantino is back! The best movie he’s done since “Pulp Fiction.”
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire: The only ego in the film is it’s long title. The year’s most disturbing film proves some humans are at their best when others are at their worst.
Up in the Air: Probably the year’s best written movie and a personal glimpse into the impersonal world of corporate downsizing.
The Hollywood Foreign Press will pick — Up in the Air
Mr. Movie pick — Up in the Air, with Inglourious Basterds a close second
Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical
(500) Days of Summer: One of the best ever 20-something angst relationship movies. Great performances and very smart writing.
The Hangover: The very definition of motion picture comedy. Hands-down the funniest film of the year and of the last decade. I am still laughing at this one.
It’s Complicated: Smart romantic comedy. Great performances. This is what the great Doris Day and Rock Hudson films of the 1960s evolved into.
Julie & Julia: More Julia. Less Julie. Meryl Streep’s Julia Child is priceless and one of her best performances.
Nine: The songs are as much one note as the main character’s self-obsession conflict. Dreadfully long. Dreadfully boring.
The Hollywood Foreign Press will pick — Nine
Mr. Movie pick — The Hangover
Best Animated Feature Film
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: A three-dimensional treat that dishes out plenty of comedy in a three-course meal.
Coraline: A great horror film for kids that combines three dimensions and claymation. Definitely the best 3-D of the year.
Fantastic Mr. Fox: Claymation without 3-dimensions. A great script and perfect vocal performances led by George Clooney.
The Princess and the Frog: It’s only here because it’s Disney.
Up: An old man takes his house and a fatherless kid on the adventure of a lifetime. The early scenes where he and his wife meet and fall in love are wordless beauty that words cannot explain.
The Hollywood Foreign Press will pick — Up
Mr. Movie pick — Coraline
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama
Emily Blunt — The Young Victoria: Maybe the most human and three-dimensional portrayal of a monarch ever. Blunt’s performance is energetic and she brings so much life to Queen Victoria.
Sandra Bullock — The Blind Side: Her best work ever.
Helen Mirren — The Last Station: Didn’t catch the screening. But it’s Helen Mirren and she’s always brilliant.
Carey Mulligan — An Education: The best performance from a newcomer last year. She’s so pre-Beatles 1960s, wonderfully naive and all grown up at the same time.
Gabourey Sidibe — Precious: The most difficult part of the year and no doubt very painful for Sidibe who has to bring some autobiographical experiences to those of Precious.
The Hollywood Foreign Press will pick — Sidibe
Mr. Movie’s pick — Emily Blunt
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama
Jeff Bridges — Crazy Heart: A cliche film about a drunken has-been country recording artist gets its life from Bridges who — again — gives a movie-saving performance.
George Clooney — Up in the Air: No one tosses off a one-liner better than Clooney. He’s always good, but he's better here than usual. Clooney is a guy with an uncomplicated downsized life that helps companies downsize and downsized people downsize. Love complicates the uncomplicated.
Colin Firth — A Single Man: Firth may be the best unknown actor in the world. Year after year, he produces incredible work that goes unnoticed by anyone other than critics. Another powerful performance as a gay man in 1960s America.
Morgan Freeman — Invictus: Freeman is Nelson Mandella.
Tobey Maguire — Brothers: Proof that Tobey Maguire doesn’t need Spider-man. And it’s about time somebody noticed Maguire has real and seriously good acting chops.
The Hollywood Foreign Press will pick — Clooney
Mr. Movie’s pick — Bridges
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical
Sandra Bullock — The Proposal: Same ol’, same ol’ in this performance. The movie’s popularity and the weakness of performances in other comedies in the category get her a nomination.
Marion Cotillard — Nine: The best performance in a film full of great performances.
Julia Roberts — Duplicity: Huh?
Meryl Streep — It’s Complicated: Streep is as giddy as a school girl. Is anyone better?
Meryl Streep — Julie & Julia: Streep’s Julia Child impersonation had me howling. It’s absolutely the year’s best work.
The Hollywood Foreign Press will pick — Surprise! Two great Streep performances split the vote. Sandra Bullock wins.
Mr. Movie’s pick — Meryl Streep as Julia
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical
Matt Damon — The Informant!: Damon should do more comedy. He has exceptional timing and a perfect sense of the absurd.
Daniel Day-Lewis — Nine: This is the first-time ever Day-Lewis isn’t the best in an acting category.
Robert Downey Jr. — Sherlock Holmes: It may not be perfect but no one ever had more fun playing the world’s greatest detective.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: (500) Days of Summer: He’s all over the place on the emotional ladder in a very clever but too little seen film.
Michael Stuhlbarg — A Serious Man: A seriously good performance.
The Hollywood Foreign Press will pick — Downey
Mr. Movie pick — Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Penelope Cruz — Nine: She can sing. She can act. She’s a total babe but much, much better in a starring role in Pedro Almodovar’s Broken Embraces.
Vera Farmiga — Up in the Air: Watch out for more of Farmiga in the future. This is a listed as a drama but it really isn’t. Her ability to deadpan a great line is unbelievable.
Anna Kendrick — Up in the Air: A nice piece of work as the quintessential just out of college exec with techno ideas galore who is clueless about the real world.
Mo’nique — Precious: A frightening performance. Glad she isn’t my mom.
Julianne Moore — A Single Man: A progressive woman in love with a gay man in the 1960s. Exactly what it needs to be. No more, no less. Exceptional as always.
The Hollywood Foreign Press picks — Mo’nique
Mr. Movie picks — Vera Farmiga
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Matt Damon — Invictus: He doesn’t have a whole lot to do but look stupefied and go “rah, rah, rah.”
Woody Harrelson — The Messenger: Outstanding work from one of the industry’s best character actors in a film that really will make you cry.
Christopher Plummer — The Last Station: Didn’t get an opportunity to screen the movie, but Plummer is always outstanding.
Stanley Tucci — The Lovely Bones: When is someone going to give this guy an award? He is always incredible and his turn as the picture’s villain is creepy. Seriously creepy.
Christoph Waltz — Inglourious Basterds: Hand him the Globe. Waltz is the year’s best villain — sorry Stanley — and gives the best performance of any actor in any category this year.
The Hollywood Foreign Press picks — WaltzMr. Movie picks — Waltz
Kathryn Bigelow — The Hurt Locker: Straight ahead nuts-and-bolts war movie character study. Great work.
James Cameron — Avatar: The best 3-D ever surrounds a terribly simplistic and overused plot.
Clint Eastwood — Invictus: Clint couldn’t make up his mind if he was making a movie about a political shift or a sports movie.
Jason Reitman — Up in the Air: The best written movie of the year about corporate downsizing and downsized people.
Quentin Tarantino — Inglourious Basterds: Tarantino at his very, very best.
The Hollywood Foreign Press picks — Bigelow
Mr. Movie’s pick — Reitman
Neil Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell — District 9: A great short film does not translate into a full-length motion picture.
Mark Boal — The Hurt Locker: A great screenplay. A great movie. Powerful stuff.
Quentin Tarantino — Inglourious Basterds: Outrageous. But it’s Tarantino.
Nancy Meyers — It’s Complicated: Nothing complicated about this exceptional script.
Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner — Up in the Air: The year’s best writing — as I’ve said before — hands down.
The Hollywood Foreign Press picks — Up in the Air.
Mr. Movie’s pick — Up in the Air
OK, those are my picks. What do you think?