It's hard to comment on the Golden Globe nominees (full list here) completely yet, because one hasn't seen most of the films. But as someone used to lists, I smell unashamed crowdpleasing. There's something for everyone in this year's lot, and while that's not a bad thing, there's too much of the overfamiliar and too little of the small.
Awards are silly, especially those like the Globes and the Oscars. We denounce them every bloody year when our favourites don't win, but the real reason we follow them is because of the spotlight they shine on films. Prominent projects from established superstar filmmakers and actors, yes, but more because we discover little nuggets amidst the nominees. Nuggets we might otherwise have overlooked.
This one, on the other hand, reads like the top ten most popular films on a bittorrent site. There's Clint Eastwood's Invictus, James Cameron's Avatar, and Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. There are smash hits like The Hangover. And where the directors aren't big blokes, the stars are: George Clooney, Penelope Cruz, Robert Downey Jr and the safest awardshow steed to bet on, Meryl Streep. And she's nominated twice.
The three real discoveries of the year -- Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire, The Hurt Locker and District 9 -- have already been discovered. The three films have gotten sensational press and had made it to our list of must-watch movies anyway. So there, no surprises.
But hang on, I'm complaining about a mainstream list of poster-friendly nominees from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association? From the people who have two sets of nominees, split up between Drama and Musical/Comedy? Sorry. I must have lost it for a while there, these people have always been a publicist's delight.
Anyway, here's the good news: it's nice to see the spotlight fall on a charming little love story like (500) Days Of Summer, the most relevant romance for our generation. Also, they have done well -- if predictably -- with most of their television nominations, and my favourite new American comedy series, Modern Family, has been nominated and I hope to golly it beats 30 Rock.
And now for the obligatory crystal-ball gazing. Basically Avatar will do a Titanic and sweep the Oscars for everything besides acting, but the Globes might not go the same way. Best Drama will be a tossup between The Hurt Locker and Precious, the latter being this year's Slumdog Millionaire. George Clooney should take home Best Actor (Drama) over Morgan Freeman's Nelson Mandela portrayal in Invictus, but they'll make up for it by either giving Clint Best Director or Matt Damon Best Supporting Actor. You know the drill. And what about Star Trek? Damn, Quentin Tarantino's going to be ticked off.
What's your take on the list? Pleasantest surprise? Most glaring omission? Write in at email@example.com and visit the blog at http://rajasen.wordpress.com for more randomness, cinematic and otherwise. For now, after speaking of lists so much, I leave you with this link to an older Senterfold: The Mad Joys Of Listmaking. Have a good week.