Sunday, December 31, 2017

Golden Globes I

I've seen all of the Golden Globe nominated pictures except Call Me By Your Name and I, Tonya but will hazard a guess at winners in best pictures because neither of those directors was nominated. Best Picture Drama nominees are Call Me By Your Name, Dunkirk, The Post, The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Last year's winner was Moonlight, a much loved and admired film about a gay man's journey of self-discovery. I get the sense that despite what reviewers describe as a sensitive and provocative narrative and outstanding performances by its two leads, Call Me By Your Name hits the same notes as Moonlight and so might be eliminated for that reason.
Dunkirk strikes me as the kind of big scale / big message / big risk picture that often receives awards for its daring. Director Christopher Nolan, who is greatly admired as an auteur, was nominated for best director. It's a large ensemble drama that experiments with point of view and time and though it featured several notable performances not one was nominated. Also it was released early in the year and may have been forgotten.
Steven Spielberg's The Post is an entertaining picture but in no way is as strong as his reputation and that of his cast would project. Meryl Streep, though quite good, did not have to stretch for this performance; it's well within her range. The same is true for Tom Hanks, who along with Streep has been nominated and whose Ben Bradlee is actually more of a supporting role to Streep's Katharine Graham. I feel their nominations were more by default than merit.
Guillermo Del Toro's The Shape of Water is a beautiful picture with many elements Del Toro's fans have come to expect -- bold visuals, sentiment and magic. That Sally Hawkins and Richard Jenkins, not exactly Hollywood A-listers but outstanding character actors nonetheless, have been nominated along with Del Toro suggests the Hollywood Foreign Press sees the movie as a thoroughgoing work with committed performances in front of and behind the camera.
In 2008, the Coen Brothers' No Country for Old Men was denied the Best Picture and Best Director wins though the Coen's did receive the award for best screenplay. Three Billboard's, though directed by nominee ballsy British director Martin McDonagh, feels like a Coen Brothers picture because of its sardonic tone and bloodletting and, yes, Frances McDormand, a Globe nominee. Like No Country, its dark coloring and ambiguous ending might be a bit too much for voters more willing to celebrate the liberation of the spirit of a earthbound mute custodial worker who saves her life by sacrificing it. I think The Shape of Water will win.

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