Each year, all the big names in film gather to congratulate themselves and a hundred of their closest friends.
The Awards Season is a big deal in Hollywood, with millions of dollars going toward publicity and campaigning over several months. This is all for a little statue and maybe 30 seconds of screen time before the orchestra starts the awkward get-off-the-stage-now music.
The big two award ceremonies are, of course, the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards — for anyone other than film snobs, these are the only award shows worth mentioning.
The Academy Awards, or Oscars, are bestowed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and focus solely on films.
The Golden Globes, which are seen as the Academy Awards’ drunken, more hip cousin, are given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and award achievements in both television and film.
This year’s 70th Annual Golden Globes was held on January 13.
With the impeccable Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting, the show was the most entertaining it has been in years.
The nominations, however, were largely as predictable as ever: the period pieces “Lincoln” and “Argo” were first and second in number of nominations; the Best Picture — Musical or Comedy category was full of duds (was “Salmon Fishing In the Yemen” really one of the top 5 musicals or comedies this year? Really?); Meryl Streep was nominated; and “Homeland” swept the television categories.
One of the few interesting points, though, came with “Django Unchained” tying “Argo” for the second most nominations with five. Quentin Tarantino’s latest has been wildly popular with audiences and most critics, despite his films being divisively controversial, to put it mildly.
The only real upset of the night was “Argo” winning Best Picture — Drama and Best Director.
“Argo,” starring and directed by Ben Affleck, was certainly an extraordinary film, but most critics had called Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama Bin Laden manhunt story, “Zero Dark Thirty,” to win.
This development is especially interesting considering that Bigelow was shockingly snubbed by the Academy Awards and not nominated for Best Director.
Indeed, there are far more interesting nominations for the 85th Annual Academy Awards, to be held on February 24.
The most exciting category is always Best Picture — and in this case, nearly every film nominated would deserve to win.
“Les Miserables” and “Life of Pi” were both good movies, but hardly on the same tier as the also nominated “Lincoln” or “Zero Dark Thirty.”
Two of my personal favorite films this year, “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Django Unchained” are nominated, but I would not expect to see their names called.
The real surprises are the nominations for “Amour” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”
“Amour” is surprising because it’s a foreign film, spoken entirely in French. It’s deservedly nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, but I would be shocked to see it win Best Picture. The story is breathtaking and wonderfully original, but it lacks the epic quality that Best Picture winners are expected to have.
With zero nominations at the Golden Globes, I expected “Beasts of the Southern Wild” to be another fantastic indie movie ignored by the Academy.
Instead, the film is nominated in Best Picture, Best Director for Benh Zeitlin, Best Actress for Quvenzhane Wallis (at 9 years old, she’s the youngest Best Actress nominee ever), and Best Writing — Adapted Screenplay.
It’s likely that “Beasts of the Southern Wild” will be overshadowed by all the huge names it’s up against in these categories, but its nominations are a wonderful surprise.
The rest of the categories look fairly standard — Best Production Design and Best Costuming are all fantasy or period pieces, and unexpected movies like the resolutely mediocre "Snow White and the Huntsman" show up in Best Visual Effects.
But with such great movies nominated and Seth McFarlane hosting, it looks like the Oscars will be worth watching this year.