With Thursday's announcement of the 2011 Golden Globe nominations, the Oscar race is officially in full swing. The Globes nods, however, are hardly a perfect preview of what Academy Awards voters are thinking. For starters, by dividing the major motion-picture races into two categories, comedy and drama, the Globes make room for twice as many nominees. But the nominations announcement comes at the tail end of a busy week in awards season — many critics' organizations just handed out honors and the Screen Actors Guild announced its nods — and pundits often take the opportunity to gauge how the Oscar race is stacking up. Which films and actors just saw their awards stock rise, or fall? Here's a look at the winners and losers:
As expected, The Artist "cemented its position as the season's frontrunner," says Guy Lodge at HitFix. The charming silent film's six nominations — which include Best Comedy Picture, Director (Michael Hazanavicius), Comedy Actor (Jean Dujardin), and Supporting Actress (Berenice Bejo) —make The Artist the film to beat. (Sadly, Uggie the dog continues to be overlooked.)
For a while, it looked as if Oscar chances for Ides of March, the political thriller directed by and starring George Clooney, were nil. The awards-season machinery has so far largely ignored the film, making its four Globe nods "the biggest surprise" of the day, says Oliver Lyttelton at Indie Wire. The film's strong showing — Best Drama Picture, Director (Clooney), Drama Actor (Ryan Gosling), and Screenplay — undeniably brings the film "back into the awards discussion," says Adam Waldowski at Gold Derby. With his additional Best Actor nod for The Descendants — not to mention that film's impressive five nominations — "George Clooney is the King of the Globes this year," says Steve Pond at The Wrap.
Four of the Oscars' Best Actress slots have been all-but-locked for a while now: Viola Davis for The Help, Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady, Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn, and Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs. But with consecutive nods from SAG and the Golden Globes, Tilda Swinton "does seem to be firming up" her position as that fifth nominee for her performance as the mother of a teen who commits a school shooting in We Need to Talk About Kevin, says Willa Paskin at New York.
With its five nods, The Help also had a strong Globes showing, and is seen as a likely bet for four major Oscar nominations at this point: Best Picture, Best Actress (Davis), and Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain). For a while, Chastain's awards prospects seemed uncertain, says Lodge, but "her awards season narrative has been set" now thanks to a burst of momentum from the SAG, the Globes, and the Critics Choice Awards.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
A complete shut out from the Globes "came as a decisive blow" for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, says Waldowski. The drama, about a boy dealing with his father's death on 9/11, was expected to be a strong contender for Best Picture, Director (Stephen Daldry), Supporting Actress (Sandra Bullock), and Supporting Actor (Max Von Sydow), but after coming up empty at both the Globes and Wednesday's SAG announcements, the film's Oscar chances look seriously diminished.
Bridesmaids scenestealer Melissa McCarthy's awards campaign was on a roll this week, collecting numerous critics' trophies, earning SAG and Critics Choice nominations, and generating Oscar buzz. She failed, however, to make the Globes' shortlist in the Best Comedy Supporting Actress category, leaving critics baffled. "I had to check my Golden Globes score sheet multiple times" to ensure that she was actually missing, says Jeff Labrecque at Entertainment Weekly. Her exclusion is the "most head-scratching snub," says Paskin at New York. Bridesmaids got other boosts, however, thanks to a Best Comedy Picture nod and star Kristen Wiig's inclusion in the Best Comedy Actress division.
Tree of Life
Tree of Life, a film that has polarized critics, was also "completely shut out" from the Golden Globes, says Labrecque. Though Terrence Malick's extremely artsy drama has been racking up Best Picture accolades from a number of critics' groups, neither the film nor acting contenders Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain were recognized (though the thespians earned nods for Moneyball and The Help, respectively).
War Horse did manage to get nominated for Best Drama Picture — as the field was extended to six, instead of five, nominees — but its director Steven Spielberg had no such luck, says Lyttelton. That the film hasn't received the rousing support that The Artist, The Descendants, and Hugo have is making its Oscar hopes "look incredibly bleak," says Paskin.