COLUMN: Who will win/should win the 2015 Golden Globes?
More and more each year, the Golden Globes have become more an a popularity contest than a true precursor to the Academy Awards. What you're watching on TV is a party thrown by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and hosted by Amy Poeller and Tina Fey in an effort to be loved and share some love. To its credit, the awards show still garners legitimate attention and ratings. The winners do get a pretty positive rub and the marketers gain a few more "Winner of..." graphics to put in the newspapers next to their films.
Popularity contest or not, I do take Oscar season seriously and I'm here to lay out my predictions and picks for tonight's 72nd Golden Globe Awards. For my full swath of data covering all things Oscar-driven, check out my 2015 Awards Tracker page where I've been reading the tea leaves of who has won what so far this year. As always, I'm not a TV guy and this is not a TV blog. That half of the awards ceremony is dead to me. Let's take a look at the film categories and pick some winners.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Nominees: Alexander Desplat- "The Imitation Game," Johann Johannsson- "The Theory of Everything," Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross- "Gone Girl," Antonio Sanchez- "Birdman," Hans Zimmer- "Interstellar"
Hey, what about me? On my Awards Tracker, the leading winner in this category so far this year has been Mica Levi's creepy and extraordinary work in "Under the Skin." The sci-fi mindbender was clearly too small of a film to get attention among these more popular nominees.
Who should win and will win? I'm going against convention here, eschewing the big hitter of Hans Zimmer's "Interstellar" score, and picking Antonio Sanchez's solo drum work for "Birdman" for being not only the most deserving winner, but the likely winner. As you may have heard, because of its solo instrument work, Sanchez is not in Oscar contention in this category, even though the score punctuates the film perfectly. I'm rolling the dice for this one.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Nominees: "Big Eyes" by Lana del Ray- "Big Eyes," "Glory" by John Legend and Common- "Selma," "Mercy Is" by Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye- "Noah," "Opportunity" by Greg Kurstin, Sia, and Will Gluck- "Annie," "Yellow Flicker Beat" by Lorde- "The Hungers Games: Mockingjay- Part 1"
Hey, what about me? Is there a 2014 movie song more ubiquitous and memorable than Lonely Island's "Everything is Awesome" from "The LEGO Movie?" That's one of the larger snubs of any category of the night and should be the full winner.
Who should win and will win? This is a hard one to predict. Music is always a wild card category within a voting group of foreign tastes. Also, so many of these songs, save for one, are completely unmemorable and from forgettable movies. That's why I think the one that isn't forgettable, "Glory" by John Legend and Common from "Selma," a surging and topical statement of a song, rises above the rest. I think it both deserves it and will win it.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Nominees: "Ida," "Force Majeure," "Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem," "Tangerines," "Leviathan"
Hey, what about me? Two glaring omissions in this category come to mind. The first is the excellent "Two Days, One Night" starring Marion Cotillard (more on her later) that has won several minor awards in this category. Another big name that isn't present is "Winter Sleep," last year's Palme d'Or winner from the country of Turkey. That's a big feather in the hat to not be represented.
Who should win? Without "Two Days, One Night," this is a two-horse race between "Force Majeure" and "Ida." I think "Force Majeure" and its wildly dark story of family honesty in the face of avoided tragedy is a little too pushy and daring for these traditional voters of the HFPA.
Who will win? That means the more traditional and equally lauded "Ida" takes the win here. "Ida" is the one foreign language film that has edged itself into consideration in some circles for the main Best Picture race. That attention and acclaim will carry it to this award.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Nominees: "The LEGO Movie," "How to Train Your Dragon 2," "Big Hero 6," "The Boxtrolls," "The Book of Life"
Hey, what about me? It's a smaller foreign effort, but the "The Tale of Princess Kaguya" is the one film other than this category's probable and eventual winner that has made a significant mark in the smaller awards competitions, winning the Best Animated Feature designation from Boston, Los Angeles, and Toronto. Surely, it could have bumped one of the also-rans.
Who should win and will win? This is the lock of the night for "The LEGO Movie." This one doesn't even need an explanation. It's head and shoulders the best (and also most popular, remember, it's the Golden Globes) of the year.
Nominees: Wes Anderson- "The Grand Budapest Hotel," Gillian Flynn- "Gone Girl," Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo- "Birdman," Richard Linklater- "Boyhood," Graham Moore- "The Imitation Game"
Hey, what about me? With the Golden Globes combining the traditionally divided screenplay categories of original and adapted together into one category (which is moronic, in my opinion), the field is always packed. If anything, too few works are rewarded with a chance to compete because of the single category. Films like "Nightcrawler," "Whiplash," and "Inherent Vice" have screenplays that have won minor awards, but are squeezed out by the shrunken field.
Who should win and who will win? If this category was split, Gillian Flynn would be the slam dunk for adapted screenplay for "Gone Girl." She has been sweeping that category all season. I think more favor is given to the original screenplay contenders, which will push Flynn back from winning. Of those, it's been a two-horse race between "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Birdman." I've felt, all along, all year, that this was the one place and best place you can properly honor Wes Anderson and "The Grand Budapest Hotel." I think its the best and deserves to win, much like Spike Jonze finally winning last year for "Her." For a prediction, I'm siding with the HFPA getting this one right and giving it to Anderson.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nominees: Ethan Hawke- "Boyhood," Robert Duvall- "The Judge," Edward Norton- "Birdman," Mark Ruffalo- "Foxcatcher," J.K. Simmons- "Whiplash"
Hey, what about me? I'm constantly surprised that the Golden Globes split their lead acting awards into drama and musical/comedy, but don't do the same with their supporting categories. Of the five names here and the scope of the awards season this year, I don't think anyone is missing. You could maybe make an argument for Tyler Perry or Neil Patrick Harris from "Gone Girl," but it wouldn't be a loud one.
Who should win and will win? Of all of the acting categories this awards season, this one has been the most distant and out of reach race. J.K. Simmons of "Whiplash" has swept just about everything possible in this category, much the same way Jared Leto did last year in "Dallas Buyers Club." It's his awards to lose. It would be a big surprise to see Simmons lose. If he does, it would be because his film is little-seen and his name isn't as big as someone like Edward Norton.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Nominees: Jessica Chastain- "A Most Violent Year," Keira Knightley- "The Imitation Game," Patricia Arquette- "Boyhood," Meryl Streep- "Into the Wood," Emma Stone- "Birdman"
Hey, what about me? Once again, with the single category here, most of the five are deserving. I think the weak link is the obligatory Meryl Streep inclusion. No one is really raving that loud for "Into the Woods." She's in this race purely by reputation. The one name that deserves to be here and is missing is Carmen Ejogo for playing Coretta Scott King from "Selma." Oscar won't be forgetting her, but the Hollywood Foreign Press sure did.
Who should win and will win? Patricia Arquette was the underlying heart and soul of "Boyhood." Like Simmons, she has swept almost everything in this category. I'm putting the smart money on her as my prediction. I also think she has the best performance of the five nominees. If this turns into a surprise and a popularity contest, watch out for Emma Stone riding the "Birdman" love as the one possible upset.
BEST ACTRESS- MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Nominees: Julianne Moore- "Maps to the Stars," Amy Adams- "Big Eyes," Emily Blunt- "Into the Woods," Helen Mirren- "The Hundred-Foot Journey," Quvenzhane Wallis- "Annie"
Hey, what about me? For as much as I personally like how the Golden Globes splits drama and comedy, this is an example where it's weak and doesn't work. None of these five nominees are contenders for the Oscar next to their dramatic counterparts. All are complete wild card names thrown together for the sake of honoring someone. I can't even name a valid snub. This category is that weak.
Who should win? I have to admit that I haven't seen any of the five nominees and their films. Again, it's that wimpy of a list. If I'm picking my poison, give me Helen Mirren. She's always great and she would give the best acceptance speech.
Who will win? Here's where the popularity contest comes into play. I think Emily Blunt wins for "Into the Woods." I don't have a real reason why other than it's her and her ever-present international popularity. Where's Jennifer Lawrence when you need her?
BEST ACTOR- MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Nominees: Michael Keaton- "Birdman," Bill Murray- "St. Vincent," Ralph Fiennes- "The Grand Budapest Hotel," Christoph Waltz- "Big Eyes," Joaquin Phoenix- "Inherent Vice"
Hey, what about me? In a complete opposite result from the Best Actress half of the Musical/Comedy category, this is actually a pretty perfect and stellar field. Get the Pinterest "nailed it" meme out. The Golden Globes got one right.
Who should win? I'm going to take this category literally and choose who I think should win based on legitimate comedy. Ralph Fiennes isn't going to win for "The Grand Budapest Hotel," but he should. His frenetic and hilarious lead performance in Wes Andersson's film was the best he's been in years. He deserves this award, but a bigger name and bigger film lurks to steal it away.
Who will win? "Birdman" star Michael Keaton is the clear-cut Oscar frontrunner, without the need for drama-comedy split. He will win the Golden Globe with ease and make minced meat out of whoever comes over from the drama category next month at the Oscars. Keaton and "Birdman" are just too hot to lose.
BEST ACTRESS- DRAMA
Nominees: Julianne Moore- "Still Alice," Rosamund Pike- "Gone Girl," Reese Witherspoon- "Wild," Felicity Jones- "The Theory of Everything," Jennifer Aniston- "Cake"
Hey, what about me? Former Golden Globe and Oscar winner Marion Cotillard has won the second most Best Actress prizes this awards season and was snubbed for the Golden Globe nomination for "Two Days, One Night." I completely get why, because foreign film performances are difficult to crack into this popularity contest.
Who should win? You're going to hear high praise and a lot of love for who I think will win and that's justified. However, I would love to see Rosamund Pike win for "Gone Girl." It was the juiciest and most memorable female lead part of the year and perfectly placed in a crossover hit film like "Gone Girl." It would be so cool if she would win, but there's a big-name veteran who's been waiting a long time for this top prize.
Who will win? That veteran is Julianne Moore. I've said this since I saw the film. Julianne Moore's Early-onset Alzheimer's Disease performance in "Still Alice" is arguably the best acting performance of the year in any category and from any gender. She deserves to win and I think she gets her named called tonight.
BEST ACTOR- DRAMA
Nominees: Eddie Redmayne- "The Theory of Everything," Steve Carell- "Foxcatcher," David Oyelowo- "Selma," Benedict Cumberbatch- "The Imitation Game," Jake Gyllenhaal- "Nightcrawler"
Hey, what about me? I'll echo my sentiments from over in the Best Actor-Musical or Comedy category. This is a pretty complete field and tough to argue with. I know "Birdman" skews as a black comedy, but Keaton's performance really belongs over here with these guys. If there is one other name missing that deserves an argument it's Timothy Spall for "Mr. Turner." He won the Best Actor prizes from the Cannes Film Festival and the New York critics.
Who should win? This is the deepest category of the night in my opinion. In any other year, all of these performances are worthy to win. That said, all of them would lose if Michael Keaton was here. I loved every single one of them. I think Benedict Cumberbatch from "The Imitation Game" has the richest and deepest role of the five gentlemen here, just a nose better than Gyllenhaal. I know Steve Carell had great makeup, but it wasn't enough. David Oyelowo is so good in "Selma" too. I'd be flipping a coin, personally, between Oyelowo and Cumberbatch, for my personal pick.
Who will win? With the international voting body, I think this is a battle of the Brits between Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch. If it was the popularity contest that we think it is sometimes, this award would be between Gyllenhaal and Cumberbatch and their Q-ratings. Instead, I think discerning voters will give Eddie Redmayne the win for playing Dr. Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything." It's the showiest performance combining charm, drama, and that incredible physical transformation. He gets the edge in a tight race.
Nominees: Ava DuVernay- "Selma," Wes Anderson- "The Grand Budapest Hotel," Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu- "Birdman," David Fincher- "Gone Girl," Richard Linklater- "Boyhood"
Hey, what about me? We're back to a merged category that doesn't split for comedy and drama. This isn't so much about snubs here as it is a place where you could make links to gauge Best Picture consideration. In many cases, your director needs to be nominated for you to win Best Picture. In a way, it's very telling that Morton Tyldum isn't here for "The Imitation Game," James Marsh for "The Theory of Everything," or Bennett Miller for "Foxcatcher." That tells me more than who is supposed to be here. My pick for the most obvious snub is Clint Eastwood for "American Sniper," but I wouldn't know who you replace.
Who should win? I think this is a perfect time and place to make some history and honor what would be the first African-American woman to win this award. My vote would be for Ava DuVernay for "Selma." It's an excellent and well-crafted film that is timely and properly poignant to shower with praise. I'm rooting for that history, but I think the Oscar frontrunner is still the favorite to win.
Who will win? Richard Linklater has been piling up awards and recognition all year for his expansive creation of "Boyhood." These are now the awards that matter and the time to assign the proper respect. Even with DuVernay, no one else's directorial efforts rival the 12-year labor-of-love that become "Boyhood." This one feel like a lock and a well-deserved one.
BEST PICTURE- MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Nominees: "Into the Woods," "Birdman," "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "St. Vincent," "Pride"
Hey, what about me? Am I allowed to call "Whiplash" a musical since we're calling "Birdman" a comedy? No? Then this field is fine and weakened by the presence of lesser films like "Pride." I'll bite my tongue.
Who should win? There is no doubt in my mind that the "should" part of this category and award belongs to "The Grand Budapest Hotel." That's a real comedy and a sterling effort worthy of Best Picture consideration, period, regardless of genre. It deserves it more than what will win on every level. It's a shame that it's going to lose.
Who will win? Even though it loosely belongs in this category, the clout of "Birdman" will win in this half of the Best Picture honors from the Golden Globes. It's the hot commodity and the more recognized fall film compared to the older Wes Anderson film from last winter. Its freshness and Michael Keaton love will carry its favor.
BEST PICTURE- DRAMA
Nominees: "Boyhood," "Foxcatcher," "The Imitation Game," "Selma," "The Theory of Everything"
Hey, what about me? I've said it in my reviews this season. Both "Foxcatcher" and "The Theory of Everything" didn't impress me. Give me "American Sniper" and "Whiplash" over those two every day of the week. Heck, I'd even take "Interstellar" or "Unbroken" over "Foxcatcher" and "The Theory of Everything." There's no contest with me and my personal preferences. "Whiplash" was my #1 movie of last year.
Who should win and will win? See, this is where the seeds planted in the Best Director category show up to handicap this race. The directors for "Foxcatcher," "The Imitation Game" and "The Theory of Everything" did not get nominated. I know that sometimes that doesn't matter, but, this year, I think it's quite telling. Scratch those three out and make this a two-horse race between "Boyhood" and "Selma." Both are universally regarded and both really deserve to win. Either of them winning would be wonderful in my book.
However, I have to pick one. I think this is where dividing the Best Director winner and the Best Picture winner are fair. If the Golden Globes vote for history and honor Ava DuVernay for "Selma" as Best Director, then give Best Picture to "Boyhood." Since I predicted that Richard Linklater is the stronger lock to win Best Director, I think "Selma" rides its fresh momentum to a surprise win over "Boyhood" for Best Picture- Drama. I still think "Boyhood" will probably win the Oscar, but I think the Golden Globes will give us the curveball of "Selma" and make it a contender against "Boyhood" going into the Oscars.