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2010 Golden Globe Awards Nominations: The Aftermath

Hollywood’s annual trophy-gathering spree began in earnest yesterday when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association unveiled its list of nominees for the Golden Globe Awards. While not necessarily a precise predictor of Oscar success, the Globes do provide a helpful indicator of what will be on the Academy’s radar when its members prepare their own list of nominees early next year. And let’s face it: They could probably use some help finding ten films decent enough to warrant inclusion in the Oscars’ newly expanded Best Picture category.

A small, somewhat idiosyncratic group of L.A.-based journalists who write for foreign publications, the HFPA can always be counted upon to scatter a few head-scratchers among its annual list of nominees, and this year’s edition is characteristically brimming with them. Let’s review, shall we?

Best Motion Picture – Drama

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The Hurt Locker 
Inglorious Basterds 
Up in the Air

Judging from the rapturous response it received when it screened for the HFPA for the first time last week, Avatar might seem like the favorite in this category, but once the 3-D popcorn buzz wears off and voters come back down to earth, Up in the Air will probably prevail. The foreign press is a star-struck lot, and there are few stars bigger than George Clooney.

Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy: 

(500) Days of Summer 
The Hangover 
It’s Complicated 
Julie & Julia 

As much fun as it would be to see The Hangover win — just imagine the acceptance speech — it’s hard to imagine voters honoring such a bawdy, broad comedy. Nine, inspired by a Fellini’s classic 8 1/2 and featuring a truly multi-national cast, would be a lock to claim the award if it weren’t so poorly reviewed. I’m guessing It’s Complicated, a solid, respectable choice, will emerge victorious.

Best Director — Motion Picture:

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Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
James Cameron, Avatar
Clint Eastwood, Invictus
Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Eastwood scores a nomination for a film, Invictus, that was left out of the Best Drama category, while Fantastic Mr. Fox’s Wes Anderson and Up’s Pete Doctor and Bob Peterson, directors of two of this year’s best films, are snubbed, proving that the HFPA takes animation even less seriously than the Academy does.

Tarantino is practically a deity outside the U.S.; look for him to compete with Reitman for top honors.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama:

Emily BluntThe Young Victoria
Sandra BullockThe Blind Side
Helen MirrenThe Last Station
Carey MulliganAn Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious

This race is as wide-open as any this year. The best bet here is to go with prestige, and Mirren has loads to spare.

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Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama:

Jeff BridgesCrazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin FirthA Single Man
Morgan FreemanInvictus
Tobey MaguireBrothers

Pushing out Sam Rockwell (Moon), Viggo Mortensen (The Road) and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) to make room for Tobey f**king Maguire and his overblown performance as a bug-eyed twink in Brothers would be borderline scandalous if this weren’t the HFPA we’re talking about.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve already offered the award to Clooney in the hopes of ensuring his attendance at the awards ceremony.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy:

Sandra Bullock, The Proposal
Marion Cotillard, Nine
Julia RobertsDuplicity
Meryl Streep, It’s Complicated
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

The HFPA must have been in a very charitable mood, or just nostalgic for 1995, when they nominated Roberts, especially with so many superior options, like (500) Days of Summer’s Zooey Deschanel, The Brothers Bloom’s Rachel Weisz or even Whip It’s Ellen Page, to choose from.

Looks like this one will come down to Streep versus Streep. I’m going with Streep.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy:

Matt DamonThe Informant
Daniel Day-Lewis, Nine
Robert Downey Jr.Sherlock Holmes
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, (500) Days of Summer
Michael StuhlbargA Serious Man

Don’t be too shocked if Downey, with his cheeky, spirited portrayal of the iconic Holmes, walks away with this one.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:

Mo’Nique, Precious
Julianne Moore, A Single Man
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Penelope Cruz, Nine

Like the Best Actress – Drama category, there appears to be no clear front-runner. None have won Globes before (though Moore received a special “Ensemble” award for Short Cuts), and Farmiga, Kendrick and Mo’Nique are all first-time nominees. Mo’Nique, with the most buzzed-about performance on the list, has the slight edge here.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:

Matt Damon, Invictus
Stanley TucciThe Lovely Bones
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds

Waltz, by far the best part of Basterds and the most charismatic villain since Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight, is virtual lock to claim this prize.

Best Animated Feature Film: 

Fantastic Mr. Fox 
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 
The Princess and the Frog

A few months ago, Up might have been a near unanimous choice, but Fantastic Mr. Fox came along and staked its claim among the top movies — animated or otherwise — of the year. As of now, this race is too close to call.

The Golden Globes will be handed out on January 17, 2010.

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