When you want big-name movie stars to come to your show, but they’re not really award material, what do you do? Nominate ‘em anyway.
That’s how the 80-member Hollywood Foreign Press managed to stick in Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie, Jodie Foster and John Travolta this year. The only real surprise is that they didn’t really go for it and plug in old faves Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. That shows surprising restraint on their part.
But there was no restraint in the Best Film/Drama category, where the group put in seven titles instead of the conventional five to get everyone in. Now they’re guaranteed an appearance by Oprah Winfrey for producing "The Great Debaters," as well as all kinds of nominees from the six other dramas and five comedy/musicals.
In the latter category, the HFPA somehow thinks "Charlie Wilson’s War" is funny. (It’s not.) The biggest comedy of the year, Judd Apatow’s "Knocked Up," was consequently knocked out of the category.
They also seemed to think Philip Seymour Hoffman was funny in "The Savages," even though it’s a dramatic performance. This must mean that they thought "The Savages" was a comedy. (It’s not.) Laura Linney, Hoffman’s co-star, could thereby have been competing with Nikki Blonsky from "Hairspray." How utterly ridiculous.
When the Academy Award nominations come out, expect to see the Best Actress category revised to comprise Linney, Cate Blanchett, Julie Christie, Helena Bonham Carter, Marion Cotillard and Keira Knightley or Ellen Page. Gone will be Jolie, Jodie Foster (another ridiculous nomination from the Globes) and Amy Adams, who is fast becoming this generation’s Julie Andrews.
The weirdest nominations? John C. Reilly for "Walk Hard" and Travolta for "Hairspray." The latter is odd because Queen Latifah, the one "Hairspray" actor who deserved a citation, is missing. And the one movie missing completely: Sidney Lumet’s "Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead," a film so mishandled this year that it’s completely shocking.
On the TV side, which we don’t get into as a rule, all I can say is ABC must not have fed or watered the HFPA properly. "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" were completely shut out, and "Brothers and Sisters" picked up only nominations for what the group probably thinks are its bankable international stars, Sally Field and Rachel Griffiths.
The Golden Globes are what they are: an excuse for a party and a ratings-grabber on TV. They are not to be taken too seriously, and no one, as they say, should try this at home. The bigger drama this year, anyway, will be whether the show actually airs at all.
The Dave Clark Five finally made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Thursday morning, one year after their real induction was stolen from them. Other inductees are Madonna, Leonard Cohen, the Ventures and, at long last, John Mellencamp. The latter nominee has been pushed and pushed by Jann Wenner year after year. It’s probably best just to get it over with.
Passed over were ridiculous nominees such as Donna Summer and Afrika Bambaattaa.
Madonna, who has nothing to do with rock, got in, however. For VH-1, which produces the show for TV, she’s the only drawing card on that bill. I’m sure the channel is already making desperate calls to Justin Timberlake and Amy Winehouse to see if they can sing (or if they know) a Cohen song.
To offset the usual lack of R&B inductees (meaning no black people), the Hall is giving a special award to Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff of Philadelphia International Records for not paying royalties to their artists for many years. Check out rulings against them concerning the O’Jays (http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/documents/opinions/05D1141P.pdf) and Billy Paul, all of whom have been reported previously. Maybe previous inductees the O’Jays will perform "For the Love of Money."
But Gamble & Huff have been coming to the dinner for years and paying for their tickets, so their time has come. Still not in, and never will be: Billy Preston, Chubby Checker, Hall & Oates, Chicago, The Moody Blues, Todd Rundgren, Mary Wells, a dozen or so DJs who made rock 'n' roll history, Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, Bad Company and so on and so forth…
Editor's note: The below was published before the Golden Globe nominees were named Thursday morning.
Thursday morning we’ll be getting nominations from the 80 or so members of the Hollywood Foreign Press for the Golden Globe Awards. Pundits will be popping up all over TV with ideas about how the Oscar winners for 2008 will be affected by these choices.
The answer is: They won’t be.
In fact, winning the Golden Globe, or even being nominated for it, seems to work as a detriment much of the time to getting close to the Oscars. On only a few obvious occasions have they overlapped. The Motion Picture Academy, which has more than 5,000 voters, is considered more discerning and less interested in star power or who will look good on their telecast.
Indeed, the Academy tends to zig once the Globes have zagged. If you get a Globe nomination or win, your chances for an Oscar seem to diminish greatly.
Last year, the Academy Award for Best Picture went to Martin Scorsese’s "The Departed."
Which film won the Globe? "Babel." Do you remember "Babel"? It was not a great movie, but for a few months it had a lot of hype. And Brad Pitt. The Globe members, who are questionably press and only some of them foreign, love movie stars.
The Globers also chose "Dreamgirls" as best picture for comedy or drama. It wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar for best picture. Of the actors they picked for best in comedy or drama, none was nominated for an Oscar, either. Whoops!
The Globe nominations for best drama last year were "Babe," "Bobby," "The Departed," "Little Children" and "The Queen."
For comedy/musical they were "Borat," "The Devil Wears Prada," "Dreamgirls," "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Thank You for Smoking."
In 2006, the Globers chose "Brokeback Mountain." It did not win the Oscar, you know. "Crash" received the Academy Award. The other Globe nominees: "A History of Violence," "The Constant Gardener," "Match Point" and "Good Night, and Good Luck."
In fact, in 2006, the Globers completely dumped Steven Spielberg’s "Munich," which was later nominated for an Oscar -- and rightly so. This year to make it up to him they’re giving Spielberg a Lifetime Achievement Award — even though they snubbed his last film completely.
In 2006, the Globers also snubbed "Capote" for a best (drama) film nomination. The Oscars restored it.
In 2006, the Globers also chose five in the comedy/musical category. Not one of them was nominated for an Oscar.
Their 2007 best foreign language film? Clint Eastwood’s "Letters from Iwo Jima." They love Clint, who doesn’t? The Oscars chose the German film "The Lives of Others." The latter had no stars. The former drew Clint to its TV broadcast. That’s the idea. The Globes are about getting stars to the NBC show on Jan. 13.
And that may not be so easy this time. If the Writers Guild is still on strike, the Globes show may well be picketed. The HFPA only gives one award for a screenplay, not discerning between adapted and original material, for film.
It does not give any writing awards for television work at all. That’s not good, because TV writers are the biggest segment of the WGA on strike and won’t much care about harming the broadcast.
A WGA picket line would mean actors such as George Clooney and Pitt — the people most desired for the Globes show — would not cross it to save their lives. The tax-free $6 million received by the HFPA from NBC would then be in jeopardy. And then the fun begins!
Meanwhile, this could be an interesting year for the Globes in a new way. It’s the first time the show and a potential nominee share a producer. Dick Clark Productions, which actually produces the Golden Globe show for NBC, is owned by Washington Redskins’ Dan Snyder.
Snyder is also partnered with "Lions for Lambs" producers Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner. The movie was critically lambasted, however, so the odds of it getting a Globe nomination should be zero.