It’s been an uncertain time for Hollywood the last few years; the Me Too movement has done some much needed housecleaning (albeit with some unfortunate collateral damage) even as it’s left an industry always known for its debauchery and over-the-top shenanigans scrambling to come to terms with a very politically correct overcorrection. Goodbye irreverence, hello quota mandated, Twitter fueled hostility (hey, Twitter, leave Star Wars alone already!) where even reading and enjoying a book by Laura Ingalls Wilder is now looked at with contempt and setting foot inside of a theatre named after actor Fredric March (The Best Years of Our Lives) is seen as a politically charged keg of dynamite. Not helping matters has been the increasing separation and polarization of people based off of politics. I won’t even touch that one ‘cause I just don’t feel like trending on anyone’s Twitter feed in any era. In short, it’s been a very tense time that some have referred to as a culture war, a struggle between the Old Guard and the New. Well placed bromides about throwing out the proverbial baby with the bathwater just won’t cut it in this crazy charged atmosphere where the logic seems to be…volatile, to put it mildly; which brings us to the upcoming Golden Globe Awards this Sunday evening.
In perhaps a sign that cooler heads might finally be prevailing, NBC has brought back former host and outstanding comedian in his own right, Ricky Gervais to ride roughshod over Sunday night’s proceedings. After a year or two of veritable Golden Globe snooze-fests, the Hollywood Foreign Press and NBC higher-ups have decided to bring the four time controversial host known for his acerbic wit back for a fifth round. This is good news in my house where the Golden Globes are roundly viewed as the looser and hipper redheaded cousin to the more prestigious Academy Awards. We sat out last year’s debacle out of sheer boredom, if not indifference, deciding that an evening of working on our taxes might just be more exciting and less stuffy than the Hollywood proceedings at the Beverly Hilton. In hindsight, I think we made a great choice.
This year is different, however. Not only are most of the actual nominees more interesting and deserving in my humble opinion (The Irishman, 1917 and Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood are big faves in our neck of the woods) but the return of Gervais adds an element of good-natured fun and unpredictability to the proceedings. My wife and I are united in our belief that it’s always fun to see the always too-cool for school Johnny Depp squirm at a Gervais lobbed The Tourist grenade even as other Hollywood elite look about uncomfortably for that Exit door.
So who are the frontrunners to keep an eye on this year, nomination-wise? Marriage Story is being touted as a sort of return to form for director Noah Baumbach (although apparently the film directed itself as Baumbach is woefully missing from Best Director nominations). Martin Scorsese has numerous noms for his beautiful The Irishman; ditto Quentin Tarantino for his Valentine to 1960s Hollywood, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. So smart money should be put on these two directors working at the height of their field.
The acting category is a cornucopia of awesomeness: Leonardo DiCaprio and Joaquin Phoenix exemplify what true and consistent acting chops they possess via their turns in the aforementioned Tarantino film and in Todd Phillips’ Joker, respectively. But Eddie Murphy’s return to form in the impressive Dolemite is My Name and the always resplendent Jonathan Pryce for The Two Popes are two nominees to keep an eye on, too.
Saoirse Ronan is quietly building an acting resume to die for as is witnessed by her nomination for Little Women, although the odds-makers in Vegas would tell you that the smart money is on Renee Zellweger for her astounding performance as Judy Garland in Judy.
Our good pals over at VOX have provided a full score card of Golden Globe nominees so you can awe and impress your friends. Check them out!
So set aside any indignant moral outrage about the exclusion of New Zealand earth worms from all pertinent categories and save all of that energy on opening a bottle of Vino and popping some popcorn and settling down to enjoy a recharged Golden Globes this Sunday on NBC at 7:00 PM CST.