Earlier this week the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced their nominations for 2016’s Golden Globe Awards.
Sadly, as any commentator worth their salts will attest, both the nominations and eventual winners fall prey to dubious Hollywood politics. Genre films, independent gems and even depressing age statistics can lead to outrageous but all too predictable snubs.
With this in mind, the Right Dishonourable will attempt to answer the questions we all love to speculate on during awards season: who will win and who deserves to win?
Best animated feature film nominees
The Good Dinosaur
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie
Should and Will Win: Inside Out
This is an easy category this year, with nothing coming close to the quality of Pixar’s Inside Out. Indeed, the BBC’s Mark Kermode even suggested that the film was worthy of a Best Picture Oscar Nomination.
Frankly, the film deserves to win. The world is facing a mental health crisis, according to the UN, so any film that teaches children to have compassion towards depression and associated illnesses can only be a good thing.
Best screenplay: motion picture nominees
The Big Short, Charles Randolph, Adam McKay
The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino
Room, Emma Donoghue
Spotlight, Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer
Steve Jobs, Aaron Sorkin
Should Win: Spotlight – Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer
Spotlight tells the true story of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team – a group of investigative reporters who exposed systematic sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests in Massachusetts. The team earned the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
The film hasn’t been released in the UK yet, however the subject matter alone means that it deserves to win. We seldom see films tackle such devastating and sickening real-world events. That this film has even been nominated gives you an idea of how well it handled such a difficult subject.
Will Win: Steve Jobs – Aaron Sorkin
Though Steve Jobs performed poorly at the box office, it did extremely well with critics. But whereas some critics lamented this as proof that audiences simply didn’t get Sorkin’s mastery, I think this was more a case of poor workmanship.
If you stand back from Steve Jobs, it’s Aaron Sorkin’s worst work for a decade. Sadly, Hollywood loves him.
Best director: motion picture
Todd Haynes, Carol
Alejandro G Inarritu, The Revenant
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
George Miller, Max Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott, The Martian
Should Win: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
You know you’re doing something right if, at the age of 70, you’re hailed as directing one of the best action films of the 21st century.
Obviously it’s wonderful that George Miller has been recognised for Mad Max. But it’s clearly the odd-one-out here: in crude terms, it’s a popcorn flick competing with what will be considered more “artful” movies.
Will Win: Todd Haynes, Carol
This is a close call, but I’d place a modest bet on Carol.
Critically, all of these films were well received. Arguably The Revenant is the most interesting, but last year Alejandro Inarritu won swathes of awards for Birdman, which in all likelihood disqualify him to voters who wish to appear “fair” and “in touch”.
Word of mouth still very much counts for something in Hollywood, and with voting happening between now and January 6, I think the buzz around Carol will give it the win, if only by a whisker.
Best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a motion picture
Jane Fonda, Youth
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Helen Mirren, Trumbo
Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Should and Will Win: Either Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina or Helen Mirren, Trumbo
None of these performances tower above the rest in truth, so this award becomes a process of elimination.
The Screen Actors’ Guild awards recognizing Helen Mirren for the same role might just edge the odds in her favour. However, one could also argue that as Alicia Vikander has been recognized by the guild for a different film (The Danish Girl) that Hollywood might be in the mood to recognize the actress.
The above might seem like a cop-out, but I’d say this one was too close to call.
Best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture
Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Should Win: Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Michael Shannon was criminally overlooked by major awards bodies in 2012, when he gave the world a devastating performance in Take Shelter.
Shannon was also passed over for a Golden Globe nomination when he appeared in Revolutionary Road in 2008. The actor is intense, a virtuoso of our time. But, he tends to appear in smaller indie films – the kind that get overlooked.
For these reasons whenever Michael Shannon could win, I firmly believe her should.
Will Win: Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Elba is somewhat beloved by all, and it’s fantastic that his work is being recognized. Beasts of No Nation is a very compelling watch – though I’m a little saddened that I saw it on Netflix and not in a cinema.
Regardless, for this award I’d put money on the man who could be the next James Bond, if rumours are to be believed…
Best performance by an actress in a motion picture: comedy or musical
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Melissa McCarthy, Spy
Amy Schumer, Trainwreck
Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van
Lily Tomlin, Grandma
Should Win: Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van
This category is particularly refreshing this year, with Amy Schumer and Melissa McCarthy really making strides for comediennes.
Even so, my pick would be Maggie Smith, undoubtedly the driving force behind The Lady in the Van. Her performance was hilarious, heartfelt and overflowing with energy. She made an almost repulsive character very loveable, and that’s no easy feat.
The one snag is the film was very British in its humour, and I can’t help but think that this will hurt her chances.
Will Win: Melissa McCarthy, Spy
In some ways, this is the wrong call. Amy Schumer is probably more likely to win this award.
But in the battle of Trainwreck versus Spy, the latter is easily the better comedy. Both films tried to be feminist comedies, inverting and manipulating old tropes. But Schumer’s performance ultimately fell into cliché.
I’m going to be optimistic here and hope that McCarthy gets the recognition she deserves. She really attacked the notions that great films aren’t headlined by someone overweight, female and not “Hollywood beautiful”.
Best performance by an actor in a motion picture – comedy or musical
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Steve Carell, The Big Short
Matt Damon, The Martian
Al Pacino, Danny Collins
Mark Ruffalo, Infinitely Polar Bear
Should and Will Win: Matt Damon, The Martian
As a movie, I had a lot of problems with The Martian. Specifically, I thought that it consistently undercut any sense of tension in the narrative, which really brought me out of the film.
However, out of these nominations Matt Damon is the most deserving. He carried The Martian, so much so that the movie was noticeably slower when he wasn’t on-screen.
Damon was understandably pushed out of nominations by SAG – his performance doesn’t stand up to the likes of DiCaprio or Cranston. But, despite a year of controversial politics, The Martian proves what a brilliant actor Damon is.
Best performance by an actress in a motion picture: drama
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Rooney Mara, Carol
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Should Win: Brie Larson, Room
In this category there have been some dubious omissions. Where’s Emily Blunt’s nomination for Sicario? Or Charlize Theron for Mad Max: Fury Road? Or even Carey Mulligan for Suffragette?
Laying that aside, my pick would be Room, a film few in Britain saw despite it being a fantastic piece of cinema.
Among the critics it has done well, claiming a number of deserved awards. Lenny Abrahamson is a brilliant director and Larson is a criminally underrated actress. However, the cynic in me says she won’t win because…
Will Win: Cate Blanchett, Carol
I’m going to say something controversial. Blue Jasmine was not that good.
Cate Blanchett won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Blue Jasmine, a film that shamelessly rehashed A Streetcar Named Desire without adding anything new.
Carol, however, is undeniably a brilliant film. Kermode even called it flawless. And despite my gripes with her previous work, the could be a deserved win for Blanchett.
Best performance by an actor in a motion picture: drama
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Will Smith, Concussion
Should Win: Bryan Cranston, Trumbo or Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Now this category is a hot one this year.
On the one hand: for god’s sake please give DiCaprio more awards! He’s been nominated five times for an Oscar without winning! And it’s unbelievable that an actor whose body of work is so consistently brilliant hasn’t got more recognition by major awarding bodies.
On the other: Bryan Cranston is arguably one of the best actors working today. Breaking Bad is the most critically acclaimed series in history. But, Cranston hasn’t had many big film roles – it’d be great to see him get some major awards before he retires.
Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Eddie Redmayne is receiving a lot of praise and attention for The Danish Girl, but he did win last year for The Theory of Everything, which might hurt his chances.
Despite Steve Jobs being an overrated film, Michael Fassbender was undeniably precise – in fact, I’d argue he covered up Sorkin’s weakest script for a decade. There’s also an outside chance that Will Smith will win, as he’s trying to rejuvenate a career that’s been stuck in the doldrums for a while now.
Ultimately though, I think DiCaprio will take it. But it’s not clear cut.
Best motion picture: comedy or musical
The Big Short
Should Win: Spy
Firstly, the fact that Me and Earl and The Dying Girl wasn’t nominated here is, I think, disappointing. It was easily a better movie than Trainwreck.
Even so, as a comedy Spy was easily the best of these nominees. It was fresh, parodic, well acted and well written. The humour was simultaneously intelligent and, at times, outrageous. It was easily the funniest comedy of 2015.
Will Win: Trainwreck
You could make the case that The Martian will win this category. However, with three of this year’s films headlined by a woman, I think the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are trying to recognize an underdeveloped area of Hollywood.
Trainwreck wasn’t as funny as Spy, but it did good business at the box office and was popular with critics. What’s more, Amy Schumer is arguably more popular right now, which for my money makes Trainwreck the favourite.
Best motion picture: drama
Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
It’s nothing short of incredible that Mad Max: Fury Road has been nominated for best motion picture. And how deserved!
Without a doubt, it’s one of if not the most memorable film of 2015. It was stunning to watch, harkening back to the days of elaborate and laborious practical effects. Yes there was some CGI in the movie, but overwhelmingly this was choreographed action.
This post-apocalyptic opera is the kind of genre movie that gets overlooked by Hollywood, but amidst studios cashing in on superheroes, robots and mindless reboots, Mad Max has been a breath of fresh air.
There was Furiosa, the deft use of silent expression by Tom Hardy, the purposefully colourful dystopian wasteland, and explosive action so fantastic that somewhere Michael Bay is crying into a pile of Transformers.
Will Win: Carol
There’s nothing to complain about when I say that Carol will probably win best picture. By all accounts, it’s a perfect piece of cinema, and it’s got the stamp of an awards movie. It’s not going to surprise anyone if it wins, or give recognition to something new.
But if Mad Max won, the Golden Globes would be taking an action movie seriously arguably for the first time in its history. There have been other examples, of course – Avatar in 2009 spring to mind.
But just imagine a film including as much chaos, car chases and things exploding as Mad Max winning best picture! It could be a game changer, proving to everyone that action movies don’t have to be stupid, misogynistic or less refined than more “serious” fare.
To quote the character Nux: “What a lovely day!”
Image Credit – Golden Globes 2016 via NBC