Viola Davis vs Frances McDormand? Hamilton vs. Borat? Meryl vs Meryl?
2020 was an odd year for Hollywood and there’s no reason to think awards season won’t be just as odd. We’ll find out how weird it could get this Wednesday when nominations drop for the Golden Globes. There are so many possible storylines; some are obvious while others are a critic’s fever dream. But they’re all fun and give you something to talk about during a lull in your next office Zoom meeting.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) runs the Globes. It’s a small, tightly-knit group of a few dozen entertainment journalists that honor movies and television while separating dramas from comedies and musicals. That means more nominations for more stars!
Oh The Drama
Two heavyweights are expected to go head-to-head in the Best Actress in a Drama Film: Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Frances McDormand in Nomadland. McDormand was the frontrunner coming out of Toronto International Film Festival, but Davis has been the darling since Ma Rainey hit Netflix.
Zendaya could hear her name called for her work in Malcolm and Marie, and Sophia Loren could pick up a nomination for The Life Ahead. The HFPA loves their legends.
And there’s no legend they love more than Meryl Streep. She’s expected to pick up her 30th Golden Globe nomination for her work in The Prom. But I can see her getting her 31st nomination as well, for her performance in Let Them All Talk. The film was so-so and had plot holes big enough to sink a cruiseliner. But her performance was good, the HFPA’s affection for her is strong, and the phrase “double nominee Meryl Streep” has a certain ring to it.
Joining Meryl on the Comedy Movie side could be Rashida Jones for On The Rocks and Michelle Pfeiffer in French Exit. But the nomination I’m most excited about is for Maria Bakalova. She played Borat’s daughter in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. She nailed the role and was a perfect counter to Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat.
And speaking of everyone’s favorite crazy Kazakh, Borat could do battle all evening with an American icon: Hamilton. Both films are likely to get nominated in the Movie Comedy or Musical category, and Cohen is a favorite to get a nod along with Lin-Manuel Miranda. That’s an awards show cagematch worth tuning in for, especially if Cohen shows up in a singlet.
Picking the guys in Best Film Drama is tough, and somber. The late Chadwick Boseman is a lock to get a nomination for his work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. But this isn’t a sympathy nod. His performance is outstanding and would be in this conversation no matter what.
Other solid performances will still be recognized. Tom Hanks isn’t getting a lot of buzz, but he’s good in News of the World and, you know, he’s a legend. I’m also a fan of Delroy Lindo’s work in Da 5 Bloods.
Disney-Pixar’s Soul is the leading contender for Animated Feature, and deservedly so. Pixar’s first movie aimed more for adults than kids shook me to my, well, soul. It’s not in the discussion for either of the Best Picture categories, but it should be.
Hollywood found 2020 to be a catch-22. It’s never been easier for people to see films since most, eventually, went straight to streaming. At the same time, dark theaters meant movies had trouble generating buzz and getting noticed in the overpopulated VOD world. So when the Golden Globes nominations are finally announced Wednesday at 8am ET, you’ll likely see a lot of celebrities you recognize starring in movies you don’t.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
Since the announcements are at 8am ET, I’ll be having a Prosecco with just a splash of OJ.. to keep it acceptable!