Golden Globe nominations are delightful
Awards season can be awfully fraught for critics and fans of pop culture. But in talking to my critic friends, I found that a lot of us share the sense that these squabbles feel less weighty this year, in the context of a highly fraught presidential transition.
Removing some of the freight we place on the awards system feels freeing, in a way, especially since the Golden Globe nominations announced Monday included a number
Eof nice surprises. Here are some nominations the Hollywood Foreign Press Association doled out that made me happy:
1. Best Picture nominations for “Hell or High Water” and “Deadpool”: David Mackenzie and Taylor Sheridan’s “Hell or High Water” is an outstanding modern Western that I worried would be forgotten by awards-season voters due to its summer release. Fortunately, that’s not the case. And the HFPA’s recognition of “Deadpool,” a wholly filthy, highly original superhero
Emovie, shows a nice sense of breadth and sense of humor.
2. Best Actress, Drama nomination for Ruth Negga: Negga might have the most arresting set of eyes in the acting business right now, and watching her evolution from shy country girl to unshakably dignified civil rights pioneer in “Loving” was one of the more extraordinary experiences I had at the movies this year.
3. Best Supporting Actor nominations for Mahershala Ali in “Moonlight” and Octavia Spencer in “Hidden Figures”: I tend to find it satisfying to see people win awards for doing things that typecasting or stereotype would suggest they couldn’t do. So it’s particularly nice to see Ali be recognized for one of the two roles he had this year that allow him to be infinitely tender, and to see Spencer, often cast as a black forgiver to white people, get nominated for a part where she resolutely refuses to coddle white co-workers.
4. Best Actress, Comedy nomination for Issa Rae: “Insecure” is a truly terrific comedy about that period of life when you’re supposed to know what you want and how to get it, but both of those tasks feel more out of reach than ever.
5. The Best Supporting Actress nomination for Thandie Newton: As usual, it’s awkward and annoying watching awards bodies try to fit actors from ensembles into lead and supporting acting categories. Even if I think Newton might have deserved to be nominated as a leading player for her work in “Westworld,” that’s a minor quibble. As Maeve Millay, a robot who comes to realize that she could live a different kind of life, Newton was alternately tender and pitiless. That we saw her as a person rather than her body is a testament to both Newton’s acting skills and to the “Westworld” directors who worked with her.
6. Best Animated Feature Film nomination for “Zootopia”: I am mostly just boggled that “Zootopia,” a movie that mashed up “Godfather” homages with sexy tigers and a critique of policing, existed at all.