I didn’t crash until 2 am last night so I damn sure wasn’t going to bound out of bed at dawn for the Golden Globe nominations. No way. There are plenty of sites posting the nommies chapter and verse so I’ll just mention a few eyebrow raisers:
(1) No Best Motion Picture, Drama for Fences, and no Best Director nomination for Denzel Washington — Oddly, unjustly, the “Fences isn’t cinematic enough” observation has stuck to the wall as far as the HFPA is concerned. Hollywood Elsewhere’s view is that Fences, a straight-sauce delivery of August Wilson‘s finest play, has the confidence to not flourish things up with ambitious camera strategies. It just watches without comment, letting Wilson’s dialogue (along with the perfect performances) carry the ball. That’s integrity, son.
(2) No Best Supporting Actor nomination for Hidden Figures‘ Kevin Costner — I’ve noted more than once that Costner is one of those world-class movie stars who’s mastered the fine art (as once explained by James Cagney) of planting your feet, looking people in the eye and telling the truth. This steady, balanced, fair-minded vibe fortifies his Hidden Figures character, NASA honcho Al Harrison (a composite character partly based on the late Robert Gilruth), and the film as a whole.
(3) Total blowoff of Martin Scorsese’s Silence — Even among those who’ve expressed this or that concern about Scorsese’s 17th Century spiritual epic, no one is disputing that Silence is a deeply personal, fully-realized masterwork of sorts — not the easiest film to sit through perhaps but one that indisputably pays off at the end, and which sticks to your ribs for days following. It doesn’t seem right or respectful to just wave this film off like a side order of asparagus. No nominations at all.
(4) No Michael Keaton nomination for his fascinating, ethically ambiguous, neither fish-nor-fowl performance as McDonald’s kingpin Ray Kroc in The Founder — As I wrote on 12.2, “Most people like their moral-ethical dramas to adhere to a black and white scheme, and The Founder boldly refuses to do this. It treads a fine ethical edge, allowing you to root for Keaton’s ‘bad guy’ despite reservations while allowing you to conclude that the McDonald brothers were stoppers who didn’t get it.” Keaton’s brilliant performance never instructs you how to feel or what judgments to arrive at, and therein lies the genius.
(5) No nomination for Gold‘s Matthew McConaughey — I haven’t posted any opinions about Gold (Dimension 12.25), but I’m not in the least bit surprised that Matthew McConaughey‘s performance as ‘Kenny Wells’ (a gold-prospecting character based on the real-life John Felderhof, who figured prominently in the Bre-X financial scandal of the ’90s) is being bypassed for awards action. For McConaughey’s performance is the most annoyingly actorish he’s ever given, crammed with makeup and affectations — a bulky weight gain, a mostly bald head, fake teeth, an attitude of oily greediness and the relentless smoking of cigarettes in every damn scene. The only thing McConaughey doesn’t do makeup- or affectation-wise is (a) walk with a pronounced limp or (b) wear a Quasimido-like hunchback prosthetic. The McConnaissance was over after Sea of Trees, but his Gold performance made me want to run and hide — no offense.”
(6) Taraji P. Henson, the strongest character in Hidden Figures, denied an acting nomination — All I can figure is that Henson’s performance struck some as a little too broad in some ways. She’s playing a real-life mathematical genius (the still-living Katherine Johnson) but she doesn’t radiate the settled, rock-solid confidence that all brilliant people possess. Henson plays her, rather, as an overwhelmed office functionary who often wears a startled, deer-in-the-headlights expression.
(7) Tom Hanks’s Sully Performance Given The Bum’s Rush — This doesn’t figure. Hanks may not have blown the roof off but he’s fully convincing in this well-directed, underplayed hero saga, which was also rejected in terms of a Best Motion Picture, Drama nom as well as one for director Clint Eastwood.
(8) No Animated Nomination for Sausage Party — All I can figure is that maybe some in the HFPA agreed with me that it’s completely idiotic to give personalities and souls not to fruits and vegetables (a totally acceptable notion) but to factory-manufactured foodstuffs who are doing nothing except sitting on supermarket shelves as they wait to be bought so they can be bitten into and chewed to death, and yet they have hopes, dreams and sexual longings.
(9) No Nocturnal Animals nomination for Michael Shannon’s sardonic, cancer-ridden lawman. I’m presuming that the HFPA guys didn’t feel like wading into a guy who’s dying of lung cancer, largely because they would prefer to avoid this fate themselves, and particularly one who continues to smoke despite his condition.
(10) No nomination for The Girl On The Train‘s Emily Blunt. From my 10.3.16 review: “Blunt overacts her part. She looks like a dreary wreck all through the film. Did you know that even alcoholics do what they can to look good at all times? Even if they’re drunk? Blunt has no such attitude. She’s performing — mimicking — the dissolute appearance and manner of a theatrically flamboyant alcoholic for the audience rather than being an actual alcoholic as the camera watches her.”
(11) Warren Beatty/Rules Don’t Apply Blowoff. I’m sorry but if any late-fall release was fated to come up short in terms of direction or Best Picture noms, it was Rules Don’t Apply. Lily Collins was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy — good for her.
(12) With a Best Director nomination for Hacksaw Ridge, Mel Gibson is no longer a pariah, at least among the HFPA. I felt more respect and excitement about Gibson’s performance in Blood Father than I did for his Hacksaw Ridge helming, but that’s me.
(13) A nomination for Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Texas animal-psycho in Nocturnal Animals? — All I wanted to do was squish ATJ’s character like a cockroach. All he did was make me feel repulsion for his character’s psychology and behavior. Just like thousands of other actors who’ve played foam-at-the-mouth monsters in violent action films. Not worth mentioning, much less nominating.
(14) Simon Helberg’s nomination for his performance as a quietly suffering vocal coach and piano accompanist in Florence Foster Jenkins. I didn’t say a word about Helberg before because I figured early on that Hugh Grant would hog all the action, and I didn’t care enough to argue. But Helberg is clearly the life of the party in this Stephen Frears film. Good call.