No one has ever taken much stock in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's best of the year picks as a reliable precursors to the Academy Awards.  At best, they are a well timed marketing tool that provides awards-centric films a publicity boost at the box office.  And, this year in particular, for small films such as "We Need To Talk About Kevin," "Albert Nobbs," "The Artist" and "My Week With Marilyn" and "Shame," that could be significant.  But after the SAG Awards were announced yesterday, an actual indicator of industry and AMPAS member sentiment, have the Globes ever seemed less relevant?

Sure, "Hugo" landed nominations for best picture - drama, director and score but does that mean its Oscar fortunes are any better than yesterday when it was completely shut out of SAG?  No.  Is "Moneyball" a lock for an Oscar nod for best picture after its showing with the Globes?  Of course not.  Does Jonah Hill's double SAG and Golden Globe nominations for supporting actor help his Oscar chances?  Um, maybe, but probably not? 

When you realize that "The Ides of March," a movie this pundit was a fan of mind you, landed four Golden Globe nominations including best picture, director and screenplay it just makes you want to roll your eyes.  And the fact its actor nod in the drama field for Ryan Gosling (who was arguably better in "Drive") knocked out Gary Oldman ("Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy") and Michael Shannon ("Take Shelter") it's almost laughable.  Listen, "Ides" is 10 times the movie that say, last year's debacle of love for "The Tourist" is, but its not going to find itself on very many year-end top 10 lists.  And yet the foreign press snub Steven Spielberg in the director category for Clooney?  What a way to make yourselves irrelevant HFPA.

If any credit is due, at least the foreign press recognized Michael Fassbender for "Shame." A much classier and gutsier call than Fassbender's acting peers did yesterday.  But when Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet receive nods for the almost universally derived "Carnage" and Madonna lands an original song nomination?  Well, thank god many think Pitt actually deserves an Oscar nod for "Moneyball." It would have been pitiful to imagine he was nominated just so he'd show up on the red carpet with amour Angelina Jolie. Oh, that's right, her directorial debut landed a best foreign language film nod.  She'd make the show anyway (more on that later).  Needless to say, as my colleague Alan Sepinwall noted on the television side, it's just "silly, like always."

But just for kicks, and because it might give host Ricky Gervais some material to consider for the actual show, here's some thoughts on this year's individual film nominations.

Best Motion Picture - Drama

"The Descendants"
"The Help"
"Hugo"
"The Ides of March"
"Moneyball"
"War Horse"

Lowdown: Oh look six nominations. I thought the rules had been changed to avoid this?  Couldn't work in a seventh so "Tinker Tailor" could join the party too?

Best Motion Picture - Comedy Or Musical

"50/50"
"The Artist"
"Bridesmaids"
"Midnight in Paris"
"My Week with Marilyn"

Lowdown: "50/50" over "Beginners" or "Win Win"?  Really HFPA? It amazes me why your group even attends film festivals anymore.  At least we didn't get a "Bad Teacher" nod.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama

George Clooney, "The Descendants"
Leonardo DiCaprio, "J. Edgar"
Michael Fassbender, "Shame"
Ryan Gosling, "The Ides of March
Brad Pitt, "Moneyball"

Lowdown: Love Gosling and could have stomached him here for "Drive."  He was fine in "Ides," but not in the class of Oldman or Shannon.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama


Glenn Close, "Albert Nobbs"
Viola Davis, "The Help"
Rooney Mara, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"
Tilda Swinton, "We Need To Talk About Kevin"

Lowdown: Mara over the acclaimed turns by Elizabeth Olsen ("Martha Marcy May Marlene"), Kirsten Dunst ("Melancolia") and Felicity Jones ("Like Crazy")?  Sigh.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy Or Musical

Jodi Foster, "Carnage"
Charlize Theron, "Young Adult"
Kristen Wiig, "Bridesmaids"
Michelle Williams, "My Week with Marilyn"
Kate Winslet, "Carnage"

Lowdown: Y'know, I really think Cameron Diaz wanted to come this year. She's got to be a tad bummed she wasn't deemed red carpet worthy by the HFPA.  Gotta be happy for Wiig though.  Not many would have guessed she'd get nominated before her co-star Melissa McCarthy…not that this will affect either's Oscar chances, of course.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy Or Musical

Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"
Joseph Gordon Levitt, "50/50"
Ryan Gosling, "Crazy Stupid Love"
Brendan Gleeson, "The Guard"
Owen Wilson, "Midnight in Paris"

Lowdown: Honestly, if someone rents or discovers "The Guard" because of Brendan Gleeson's nod you can't fault that. It's surprising they passed over last year's winner in this category, Paul Giamatti, for his work in "Win Win."

Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Berenice Bejo,  "The Artist"
Jessica Chastain, "The Help"
Janet McTeer, "Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer, "The Help"
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Lowdown: McCarthy out, Woodley in.  You could say "Shame's" Carey Mulligan was in trouble, but that only would have meant something yesterday. 


Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture


Kenneth Branagh, "My Week with Marilyn"
Albert Brooks, "Drive"
Jonah Hill, "Moneyball"
Viggo Mortensen, "A Dangerous Method"
Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"

Lowdown: Whew, at least Armie Hammer isn't going to get his hopes up too high after his SAG nod yesterday.  Nice to see Brooks get the love.


Best Director - Motion Picture


Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
George Clooney, "The Ides of March"
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Alexander Payne, "The Descendants"
Martin Scorsese, "Hugo"

Lowdown:
See previous rant about Spielberg getting shafted here.  I'm not someone who bows at the Spielberg altar like some critics, but even this snub is ridiculous to me.


Best Screenplay - Motion Picture

"Midnight in Paris"
"The Ides of March"
"The Artist"
"The Descendants"
"Moneyball"

Lowdown: 99% sure this won't mean much come Oscar time.

Best Animated Feature Film

"The Adventures of Tintin"
"Arthur Christmas"
"Cars 2"
"Puss in Boots"
"Rango"

Lowdown: "Cars 2." HFPA bows to the Disney/Pixar lobbying. 'Nuff said.

Best Foreign Language Film

"Flowers of War"
"The Land of Blood and Honey"
"The Kid with A Bike"
"A Separation"
"The Skin I Live In"

Lowdown:
Angelina Jolie shows a great deal of talent in her directorial debut with "Blood and Honey," but its embarrassing the number of other foreign language films this group of international journalists looked over to make sure she attended the show.

Best Original Score - Motion Picture

"The Artist"
"W.E"
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
"War Horse"
"Hugo"

Lowdown: Y'know, one of the few good things about "W.E" is its score.  Besides the snub for "Drive," can't really argue with these five.


Best Original Song - Motion Picture

“HELLO HELLO” — "Gnomeo & Juliet"
Music by: Elton John
Lyrics by: Bernie Taupin
“THE KEEPER” — "Machine Gun Preacher"
Music & Lyrics by: Chris Cornell
“LAY YOUR HEAD DOWN” — "Albert Nobbs"
Music by: Brian Byrne
Lyrics by: Glenn Close
“THE LIVING PROOF” — "The Help"
Music by: Mary J. Blige, Thomas Newman, Harvey Mason, Jr.
Lyrics by: Mary J. Blige, Harvey Mason, Jr., Damon Thomas
 “MASTERPIECE” — "W.E."
Music & Lyrics by: Madonna, Julie Frost, Jimmy Harry

Lowdown: On the other hand, I'm a big Madonna fan, but "Masterpiece" is a terrible, terrible track.  And to snub any of the songs from "The Muppets"? Someone must have forgotten to tell you how great it would have been for Gervais to do a bit with Miss Piggy.  This is why you need Dick Clark Productions HFPA.

What did you think of this year's nominees? Share your thoughts below.

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