7 Stories and Subplots To Watch Among the '09 Golden Globes Film Nominees

The hype has settled and the nominees are read, and thus the Golden Globes peek over the awards-season horizon. With their weird, sprayed-on lacquer glow comes a succession of questions and concerns: Julia Roberts? Tobey Maguire? It's Complicated? Believe it, believe it, and believe it. But that's just the start of the fun. As inconsequential as so many perceive the Golden Globes to be, there are plenty of viable story lines to consider among today's nominations on the film side. To wit:

1. As usual, these are not your Best Picture Oscar nominees.

It's really easy to get exercised about the quality of the Golden Globes nominees, but I've got to say it every year: These awards are based in no other reality beyond the one that a) has studios lobbying for any pre-Oscar visibility they can arrange and b) delivers ratings to NBC, which stabilizes TV licensing revenue for the shadowy nominating cabal known as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. So while you might cringe today at the potential for It's Complicated or The Hangover to usurp those precious slots thought owed to Up or An Education, take a deep breath and step off the ledge.

2. Harvey Weinstein means business.

Around this time last year we witnessed The Weinstein Company's late-year Reader blitz start paying off. If you thought that was intense, wait until you see what Harvey uncorks for '09. Blessed with three movies of variously improved quality -- Inglourious Basterds, A Single Man, and Nine -- and the panoply of celebrated performances therein, you may very well see almost everything represented here also represented through the Academy. NB: In the Oscars' expanded Best Picture category, Harvey may very well be the only studio chief with two horses in the race. And why not? For once his titles actually deserve it.

3. Tobey Maguire. Hilarious.

Who does Jeremy Renner have to blow to get a Golden Globe nomination around here? Nobody, apparently -- but if, as one wag reported, your pal Leonardo DiCaprio throws a lavish pre-nomination party in your honor where the entire voting body goes home with a Blu-ray player, you'd probably get a Golden Globe nod as well. On the one hand it's just another reason not to take the Globes seriously. On the other, it's the kind of galvanizingly untoward behavior that reinforces your faith that the Academy will do right by Renner next month.

4. Sandra Bullock will win.

But for what? A predicted dual nominee for The Blind Side and The Proposal, she's not competing against herself a la Meryl Streep, which improves her odds even more than her already formidable, HFPA-dazzling star power in the dramatic category. Gabourey Sidibe will contend, but I'd just give Bullock the Dramatic Best Actress trophy now.

5. The Best Actor - Comedy/Musical category. Also hilarious.

When a sick child pukes in a grocery store, someone calls for a mop and a bucket. When the studios puke in a Golden Globes category, someone calls for a vote. What gives? Day-Lewis and Gordon-Levitt, fine. Damon and Stuhlbarg, sigh, I guess. Downey? Groan. And people complain there are no good comedic roles for women in this business.

6. Get ready for two and a half months of James Cameron/Kathryn Bigelow trend pieces...

The formerly married (um, to each other) Best Director nominees are also the front-runners for Academy consideration in March. If you thought those Josh Brolin/Javier Bardem and Mickey Rourke/Sean Penn love-ins in '07 and '08 were annoying, you might want to tune out until spring.

7. ...and joint Christoph Waltz/Mo'Nique photos.

They're likely to win out for the rest of the season, making their requisite Supporting Actor/Actress pictures the one guaranteed get for every press room along the way. By Oscar night, they'll probably feel like they're married.


  • SaltySue says:

    2. Harvey Weinstein means business.
    I'm not sure A Single Man, Inglorious Bastards and Nine are locks for a BP Oscar.
    4. Sandra Bullock will win.
    I'm not so sure about this either. I think Streep will win in comedy and Mulligan in drama. But I have to give Sandy props for being able to weather the All About Steve shit storm and garner herself awards buzz. However, this could be credited to a horrible year for movies, where even B movies are getting nominations.

  • Single Man doesn't have to be in the running for BP. Firth and Moore are locks in acting categories. Nine is in and has two or three more acting probables. IB is in, and then Tarantino for director/screenplay, Waltz for supporting... that's a pretty good year.
    Overall, I can't really argue about the horrible year for movies, but it's not like the HFPA knows any better.

  • Strepsi says:

    It's a better year than 2007: easily the best movie I saw that year was Transformers.
    I like seeing great performances in unlikely places. I'd like to see Sam Worthington nominated for his really great supporting performance in Terminator: Salvation. What I mean is, I'd like to see Sam Worthington.