Monday, January 12, 2009

Rethinking the Race: Post-Globes

It was a good ceremony.  Even with the winners I didn't necessarily agree with, everyone was in high spirits and it gave great speeches; it was an infectious and enjoyable affair.  But if the Globes is the dress rehearsal for the Oscars, what do we make of it?

What can be said of Slumdog Millionaire's staggering, 4-win sweep of everything?  Slumdog is a good movie, maybe even a great movie, and it brims with a vitality and narrative urgency that doesn't come around too often.  It knows it's flawed and contrived, and embraces itself all the more (less can be said of Button, which tries to mask its clunkiness towards the end).  At the very least, it's a wonderful technical accomplishment, and I think Danny Boyle will win Best Director.  But the Globes have been a kiss of death since 2003, and will Slumdog carry itself into the Oscars?  It's a hopeful, loud, magical kind of movie that people want to believe in, that people get freakin' exuberant over, and hell, there hasn't been a happy movie to win the Oscar since...Chicago?  Return of the King?

And what of Kate Winslet's double win?  The Reader is category fraud of the highest order; everyone recognizes she's the film's lead, so will she get double-nommed in Lead, canceling herself out, or will the confusion keep her from getting nominated at all?  I think it's her year.  She's been shut out far too many times, and the Academy knows this.  The stars are aligning for her.

Heath Ledger will win the Oscar and it will be the best moment of the night.

Mickey Rourke helped himself out - what a beautiful speech; he spoke from the heart without feeling sappy, and he felt relatable and personable.  His comeback and his performance meld together, it's almost too good to be true, and a performance like his comes once in a few years.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona and In Bruges could yank Original Screenplay nods; how shocking(ly wonderful) that would be.

But what of the nominations themselves?  Frost/Nixon seems to be on its way to multiple nods including Picture even though I can't find anyone singing its praises.  The Dark Knight, despite the Globes snub, has surged into nearly all the Guilds - it's support is obviously wide and I still think it will get nods in the majors.  Milk and Slumdog will get in easily, and Button will get nominated, but similarly has very few people who absolutely love it (it's beautiful and flawed, will get buckets of noms and probably win nothing - see also Gangs of New York).

It was a weak year for film, to be sure, but are we to think that only this handful of films will stand out and the nominations will be overwhelmed by these five or so?  More speculation to come, as the first day of classes this semester makes me stop...

No comments: