What to watch for at the Golden Globes

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Glenn Whipp

LOS AN­GE­LES — Golden Globes. Sun­day night. Imag­ine this sce­nario at the Bev­erly Hil­ton: Some­time af­ter co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler en­gage in a lit­tle word­play about grav­ity and their for­mal wear and belt out a par­ody of some song from Mary Pop­pins (maybe I Love to Laugh with a dance line of call girls from The Wolf of Wall Street high-kick­ing in the back­ground), Robert Red­ford wins the Globe for lead ac­tor drama. The Hol­ly­wood icon takes to the stage and de­liv­ers a beau­ti­ful, mov­ing speech. The television cam­eras pan the ball­room. Ev­ery­one’s a lit­tle verklempt. Red­ford’s heart­felt ac­cep­tance speech re­minds ev­ery­one why they love and ad­mire him. Os­car mo­men­tum is clearly on his side. Then, Thurs­day morn­ing, the Mo­tion Pic­ture Academy an­nounces its nom­i­nees for lead ac­tor: Bruce Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chi­we­tel Ejio­for, Tom Hanks and Matthew McConaughey. No Red­ford. No Os­car. Just plenty of bad headlines sport­ing some pun from Red­ford’s movie All Is Lost. Can’t hap­pen, you say? Prob­a­bly not, even though academy mem­bers have dis­played a strange aver­sion to watch­ing All Is Lost, mak­ing it the least-seen film fea­tur­ing a lead-ac­tor con­tender. That’s a prob­lem, one that can be over­come, pro­vided enough vot­ers love Red­ford and/or his su­perb work in the film.

Still, the Bev­erly Hil­ton ball­room may be the one place to see Red­ford, who was over­looked by the Screen Ac­tors Guild and the Bri­tish Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) this awards sea­son. What else should you be watch­ing closely at the Globes on Sun­day? A few el­e­ments of in­trigue:

Will 12 Years a Slave be­come the movie in “trou­ble”? There’s no over­lap be­tween the 85 jour­nal­ists in the Hol­ly­wood For­eign Press As­so­ci­a­tion and the 6,028 academy mem­bers vot­ing for the Os­cars. The only thing that the Globes can do to in­flu­ence that event is pro­vide a stage for a con­tender to give a great speech that lodges it­self in Os­car vot­ers’ brains and sticks there un­til they mark their fi­nal bal­lots. Last year, the Globes show came af­ter Os­car nom­i­na­tions had been an­nounced, and when “snubbed” Ben Af­fleck won di­rec­tor for Argo, it seemed to start the ball rolling for that movie to even­tu­ally take the best­pic­ture Os­car. This year, if Globes vot­ers fol­low their pen­chant for spec­ta­cle ( Avatar in­stead of The Hurt Locker) and go with Grav­ity over 12 Years a Slave for best pic­ture drama, it could be a small sig­ni­fier, par­tic­u­larly if Grav­ity di­rec­tor Al­fonso Cuarón wins as well. That sce­nario would raise the stakes for the Pro­duc­ers Guild of Amer­ica hon­ours on Jan. 19. Should Grav­ity win there too, you’d see Os­car pun­dits pulling out their erasers and mov­ing Cuarón’s vis­ually stun­ning outer space sur­vival story to the top of their lists, par­tic­u­larly be­cause 17 of the past 24 PGA win­ners have gone on to win the academy’s best pic­ture, in­clud­ing the past six in a row. Twelve Years a Slave needs to take the PGA or the Globe award to avoid be­ing viewed as an early also-ran.

Will Amer­i­can Hus­tle con­tinue its as­cen­dancy? The Globes’ best com­edy/ mu­si­cal pic­ture cat­e­gory has long been filled out by sub­par movies such as The Tourist, Bur­lesque, RED and Alice in Won­der­land (all four in one glo­ri­ous year!) whose HFPA jun­kets, one sus­pected, must have com­pen­sated for the short­com­ings seen on­screen. This year, though, there were a num­ber of hy­brid come­dies, in­clud­ing Her, In­side Llewyn Davis and Ne­braska, sar­donic films that tack­led such weighty sub­jects as aging, hu­man con­nec­tion and the suf­fer­ing of the artist. Not ex­actly LOL stuff. Moe, Larry and Curly would have felt as out of place in these films as that cat on the sub­way in Llewyn Davis, though the boys prob­a­bly would have en­joyed the hi­jinks at Strat­ton Oak­mont in The Wolf of Wall Street. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk! For all the con­sid­er­able merit on dis­play in those nom­i­nated movies, the Globe will likely go to David O. Rus­sell’s con artist romp of rein­ven­tion, Amer­i­can Hus­tle. And with its A-list cast — Jen­nifer Lawrence, Chris­tian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams — it’s easy to imag­ine Hus­tle tak­ing the Screen Ac­tors Guild film en­sem­ble award Jan. 18 as well. Should Rus­sell’s movie win again the next night at the PGA Awards, it’ll be Argo all over again. With the way it hits that sweet spot be­tween the se­ri­ous his­tory les­son con­tained in 12 Years a Slave and the pop­corn thrills of Grav­ity, Amer­i­can Hus­tle would start to feel like the in­evitable best pic­ture Os­car win­ner.

While on the sub­ject of win­ners, can any­one stop Cate Blanchett? No. Though the Globes vot­ers, like ev­ery­one else, knows that no one, this side of Tom Hanks, gives a bet­ter speech than San­dra Bul­lock.

Will Red­ford have com­pany in the Globe-win­ning snub club? There could be as many as three Globe win­ners side­lined by the academy. HFPA favourite Leonardo DiCaprio, a nine­time Globe nom­i­nee, is the favourite to win lead ac­tor com­edy/mu­si­cal for his high-wire he­do­nist in The Wolf of Wall Street. If Red­ford gets an Os­car nod, DiCaprio prob­a­bly won’t. Or they could both be by­passed in favour of For­est Whitaker ( The But­ler) or Joaquin Phoenix ( Her). Four-time Globes nom­i­nee Adams, mean­while, ap­pears poised to win her first Globe for her steely, sexy turn in Amer­i­can Hus­tle. For months, it has been widely as­sumed that the Os­car ac­tress slate would con­sist en­tirely of past win­ners — Blanchett, Bul­lock, Emma Thomp­son, Judi Dench and Meryl Streep. It’s pos­si­ble that lineup sticks. How­ever, the BAFTA snub of Streep, cou­pled with the mixed re­views given Au­gust: Osage County, could in­di­cate that the 17-time nom­i­nee might be given the year off. Not to worry, though. Streep has three movies com­ing out later in 2014, in­clud­ing one ( The Homes­man) in which she plays an in­sane woman and another ( Into the Woods) where she sings. Re­sis­tance is futile.

PAUL DRINKWA­TER/NBC

Co-hosts Tina Fey, left, and Amy Poehler at the 2013 Golden Globes; be­low, best-ac­tor nom­i­nee Robert Red­ford in All Is Lost.

DANIEL DAZA/ ROAD­SIDE AT­TRAC­TIONS

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