The Hollywood Foreign Press gave the major motion picture studios a little jolt this morning. Wherever they could, the 90-member group veered off the page toward independent films and HBO offerings, leaving crumbs for the big boys.
MPAA head Jack Valenti — who tried to stop this from happening by attempting to ban screener tapes — must be getting a lot of calls this morning from his boss.
Indie films were especially highlighted in the acting categories. In best supporting actor/actress, Alec Baldwin and Maria Bello got their first ever citations for their work in "The Cooler." Peter Sarsgaard got a nod for "Shattered Glass." Both Holly Hunter and Evan Rachel Wood got supporting and lead nominations, respectively, for "Thirteen." Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson got lead nominations for "Lost in Translation." Hope Davis sneaked in for "American Splendor" and Patricia Clarkson, the year's Best Independent Film Actress, got in for "Pieces April."
Most importantly, Charlize Theron got her first nomination for anything for her work as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in "Monster," a film so small that last night's premiere barely had heat or hors d'oeuvres.
"I'm overwhelmed," Charlize told me this morning after the nominations were read. "When I made this movie I hoped five people would see it." With the other actresses in her category divided into past winners/nominees or first timers/teens, Theron cracked: "I guess I'll sit at the kids' table!"
My personal faves? Uma Thurman made it in for "Kill Bill: Vol. 1," which will propel her toward an Oscar nomination. Because the Globes are divided into comedy and drama categories, though, one of the other women in drama — Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Scarlett Johansson , Evan Rachel Wood, or Theron — will drop out for the Oscars to make room for Diane Keaton. (She'll win the Globes comedy actress award.) My guess is the drop out will be Blanchett, whose work in "Veronica Guerin" was good, but the film itself was forgettable.
With Wood and Johansson in the mix, though, we essentially have two teenagers among the nominees for best actress. That says a lot about how filmmakers imagine women.
Kidman, by the way, has won or been nominated so many times now that they might as well give her a permanent Golden Globe with one of those label makers and a blank spot for the name of the film.
Another personal fave, Albert Finney, from "Big Fish," made it into the best supporting category. (The supporting categories mix comedy and drama.) "Big Fish" itself got a nomination for best comedy, and although I loved "Big Fish", "Lost in Translation" is sure to take that prize. The other nominees for best comedy or musical were "Bend it Like Beckham," "Finding Nemo," and "Love Actually."
And here's a shocker: "Something's Gotta Give" was shut out, even though Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson were nominated. Columbia Pictures must not have catered to the Hollywood Foreign Press. Also ignored, on the drama side: Jim Sheridan's "In America," which now has an uphill battle.
But Renee Zellweger got her nomination for best supporting actress in "Cold Mountain." She's the winner, just in case you didn't know, here and at the Oscars. You can bet on it.
As for best picture regarding the Oscars, the trick for "Lost in Translation," a very popular film directed by Sofia Coppola, daughter of "The Godfather" director Francis Ford Coppola, will be to try and knock "Seabiscuit" off the list the Globes delivered. Good luck. The four other nominees — "Cold Mountain," "Lord of the Rings," "Master and Commander" and "Mystic River"-are very solid.
Meanwhile, on the TV side, I couldn't help but wince for Kelsey Grammer, who presented some of the nominations this year. "Frasier" got nothing, not even a crumb, replaced by newer and not necessarily better shows. It's time, I'm afraid, to let "Frasier" go without looking back.
The other big TV nominations swung heavily toward HBO, which must be sending a chill through the Hollywood community this morning. None of the usual suspects from network shows got supporting nominations. Most of the recognition went to HBO's "Angels in America," "Sex and the City," and "Six Feet Under." That was a loud thud you heard coming from "The West Wing," which may have term limits after all.