Inside TV+Movies with Daniel Fienberg

2009 Golden Globe Nominations: 10 Thoughts on the Movie Nods

Heath Ledger in 'The Dark Knight'
Heath Ledger in 'The Dark Knight'
Credit: Warner Bros.

With HitFix slowly building up to launch these past few weeks, I've been a little lax in my own moviegoing, enter Forecast data rather than going out to see "Frost/Nixon" or "Milk." I'll catch up. I promise.

But for now, my reaction to Thursday morning's Golden Globe nominations are based more on gut feelings than on my own opinions on the movies themselves.

Click through for those thoughts...

 

  • Because the Globes oddly choose to split up best picture into drama and comedy, but consolidate original and adapted screenplay and director into single categories, it's rare to see extensive lining up. But this year, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Frost/Nixon," "The Reader," "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Revolutionary Road" are up for best picture and those are the films up for best director and best screenplay as well, with the exception of "Rev Road" scribe Justin Haythe, replaced by John Patrick Shanley, adapting his own play for "Doubt." That's a weird lack of variation. I'm surprised not to see, say, Woody Allen sneak in with a script nomination for the apparently much-loved "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," or Mike Leigh for "Happy-Go-Lucky" or Jenny Lumet for "Rachel at the Wedding."
  • Got "Milk"? No. One of the major players in the early critics awards, the Gus Van Sant biopic received a lone nomination, for Sean Penn. I'd expect the Academy to be more welcoming to the film's politics, so I wouldn't read too much into its overall absence.
  • The gambit to position "W" as a comedy appears not to have worked, with even Josh Brolin getting shut out. The HFP has proven to be interestingly and atypically immune to Josh Brolin's charms, snubbing him last year for "No Country For Old Men" and also for "Milk" this year.
  • Speaking of snubs, "The Dark Knight" deserved more than its lone nomination for Heath Ledger. I said many a moon ago that if "The Dark Knight" reached $500 million, it would get a best picture Oscar nod and I still think that. Funny factoid, though: "The Dark Knight" composers Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, disqualified and requalified for Oscar contention, were both nominated for Globes, but separately for "Frost/Nixon" and "Defiance."
  • The nominations for "In Bruges" are both a pleasant surprise -- the movie was one of the quirky joys of the spring, despite lacking any sort of real emotional impact -- but they may be more interesting for what didn't make the cut in their place. "In Bruges" takin g a best picture comedy nod meant no room for "Tropic Thunder," "Pineapple Express" or something like "Hamlet 2," while Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson's exclusions meant that the Globes somehow weren't able to honor George Clooney for "Burn After Reading."
  • Clooney, a seven-time nominee and two-time winner, was one of several Globe favorites left scratching their heads. Sarah Jessica Parker won four Globes for "Sex and the City" and even got a nomination for "Family Stone," but despite the blockbuster status for "Sex and the City: The IMAX Experience," she was ignored. Scarlett Johnasson got four nominations in a two-year period, including oddball nods for "Girl with a Pearl Earring" and "A Love Song for Bobby Long," but the lead actress nomination for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" went to Rebecca Hall. And would a nomination for Jim Carrey for "Yes Man" have been ridiculous? Sure, but the HFP gave Carrey nominations for "The Mask," "Liar Liar" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and gave him wins for "The Truman Show" and "Man on the Moon."
  • And Carrey missed out in a year when the Globes were loving the quirky and broad comedies. James Franco was absolutely a hoot in "Pineapple Express," as were Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr. in "Tropic Thunder." The myriad nods for "Burn After Reading" are mostly a sign of "No Country For Old Men" afterglow. Oh and add Brad Pitt from "Burn" to that list of Globe favorites who got left out, though he has his "Benjamin Button" nomination to keep him warm.
  • Interesting sign of the times: Clint Eastwood gets two nominations and they're both for music, the score of "The Changeling" and the title song from "Gran Torino." But neither film got a best picture nod, nor did Eastwood get a directing nomination for either film. He also didn't get a lead actor nomination for "Gran Torino," which is a pretty big surprise.
  • Congratulations to Miley Cyrus, now a Golden Globe nominated songwriter. Meanwhile, "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" got screwed in that category.
  • Interesting to see a film as clearly loved as "Benjamin Button" and yet to have the always nominated Cate Blanchett left out. 
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