April 24, 2014
Friday, December 13, 2013

Globes favour farcical comedy, grim drama

Cast members from American Hustle celebrate the film’s seven Golden Globe nominations.
By Jake Coyle
AP Film Writer

12 Years a Slave and American Hustle lead nominations with seven nods each

The searing historical epic 12 Years a Slave and the con-artist caper American Hustle lead the 71st annual Golden Globes with seven nominations each.

The nominations announced yesterday morning in Beverly Hills, California, by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association suggested American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave — one farcical and outlandish, the other grimly accurate — may be this year’s Oscar favourites.

Hailed by critics as the movies’ most unblinking portrait of slavery, 12 Years a Slave verified its front-runner status with nominations including best film drama, Chiwetel Ejiofor for best actor in a drama, Steve McQueen for best director and Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong’o for their supporting roles.

American Hustle dominated on the Globes’ other category side: comedy or musical. The fictionalized story of the FBI’s Abscam investigation in the late 1970s earned nominations for best movie comedy and David O. Russell for best director. Much of its starry cast received nominations, including lead actors Christian Bale and Amy Adams, as well as last year’s Oscar darling, Jennifer Lawrence for best supporting actress.

Also in the mix are Alexander Payne’s father-son road trip Nebraska, with five nominations, including best actor for Bruce Dern. The space odyssey Gravity earned four nominations, as did the Somali pirate thriller Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks as the kidnapped cargo ship captain.

Alfonso Cuarón’s innovative 3-D spectacle Gravity, for which star Sandra Bullock received a best actress nomination, should be a bigger Oscar heavyweight at the Academy Awards, which honour technical categories that the Globes don’t. With more than US$630 million in worldwide box office, Gravity also figures to be the populist favourite.

This year’s comedy competition — usually a mixed bag compared to the dramatic categories — could be the strongest field ever for the Globes. Aside from American Hustle, the group includes Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, Spike Jonze’s Her and the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis.

The soulful futuristic romance Her and ‘60s Greenwich Village folk tale Inside Llewyn Davis both reaped three nominations, including nods for its stars: newcomer Oscar Isaac for Llewyn Davis and Joaquin Phoenix for Her.

The last film of 2013 to screen, Scorsese’s three-hour financial industry extravaganza had been one of the biggest question marks this awards season. After being snubbed on Wednesday by the Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations, it earned a nomination for Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance as an out-of-control Wall Street trader, along with the best picture nomination.

The 77-year-old Dern rounds out best actor in a comedy for his performance as a taciturn Montana man who believes he’s won a mailing sweepstakes. He’s joined on the dramatic best actor side by another 77-year-old veteran, Robert Redford. The actor, who hasn’t ever won an acting Oscar, was nominated by the Globes for his nearly unspoken performance as a man shipwrecked in the Indian Ocean in All Is Lost.

In the dramatic best picture category, 12 Years a Slave was joined by Captain Phillips, Gravity, Philomena and Rush. Most notably shutout was Lee Daniels’ The Butler, the Civil Rights history told through a long-serving White House butler played by Forest Whitaker.

The awards and their boozy telecast are known for a desire to attract stars, even if their films aren’t quite up to snuff. (It will be a long time before the HFPA, a collection of about 85 largely freelance journalists, lives down its nominations for Johnny Depp’s The Tourist). This year’s ceremony on January 12 will again be hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who led last year’s broadcast to 19.7 million viewers, a significant bump for the Globes. They often serve as preamble to the more prestigious Oscars, which will be held on March 2.

This year’s Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award will be given to Woody Allen. A long absentee from award shows, he isn’t expected to attend. His latest film, Blue Jasmine, a portrait of a bitter, fallen socialite played by Cate Blanchett, won nominations yesterday for Blanchett and Sally Hawkins.

The last two years, one of the Globes’ best-picture winners went on to top the Academy Awards. Last year, the Globes awarded Ben Affleck’s Argo best picture for drama.

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