By Don Simpson | January 14, 2012
As the token film snob of Smells Like Screen Spirit, it was probably not the best idea for me to write a preview of the 2012 Golden Globes. Up until the last couple of years, I have typically agreed with more of the Golden Globes’ nominations (and winners) than those at the Academy Awards. I do not know what has happened over the last couple of years, but me and the Golden Globes have drifted very far apart in our opinions of what is good. I suspect this is related to the recent lack of award-worthy films being produced by the major studios in Hollywood. For whatever reason, the Golden Globes seem reluctant to turn towards the independent film world no matter what, opting to instead nominate a mediocre mess of Hollywood films. My message to the Golden Globes: Just because Woody Allen, Alexander Payne, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg all released films in 2011 does not mean that they or their respective films are worthy of nominations; the same goes for actors such as Glenn Close, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Tilda Swinton and Charlize Theron.
When the nominations were initially announced, I was shocked to discover that Drive, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Melancholia and The Tree of Life were completely ignored despite their prominence on most critics associations’ year-end lists. Beginners, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Shame each received fewer nominations than I would have ever anticipated. But probably the most egregious oversight of them all is the complete ignorance of The Muppets in the “Best Picture: Comedy or Musical” and “Best Original Song” categories.
So, like modern presidential elections in the United States, I feel like I have been left to choose the best of the worst. For this reason I opted to not only give my predictions and preferences from the pools of nominees, but I also chose to list whom I believe should have nominated. Of course the following entries are all just my own humble opinions. There are plenty of people who think Hugo and The Descendants are great films, I just do not understand why…
BEST PICTURE: DRAMA
Predicted winner: The Descendants
Preferred winner: Moneyball
My thoughts: I did not see The Help or War Horse because, honestly, I knew I would not like either one. The Descendants, Hugo and The Ides of March are all very average films that — despite being made by great directors — are not worthy of a “Best Picture” nomination. This would have been a great year for the Golden Globes to look outside of the studio system for some of their nominees.
BEST PICTURE: COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Predicted winner: The Artist
Preferred winner: The Artist
My thoughts: This is a Golden Globes category that I will never understand. Is 50/50 considered a comedy because it features Seth Rogen? And what the heck is My Week With Marilyn doing in this category?
Predicted winner: Martin Scorsese (Hugo)
Preferred winner: Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
My thoughts: As much respect and admiration as I have for the directorial talents of Woody Allen, George Clooney, Alexander Payne and Martin Scorsese, their 2011 releases totally underwhelmed me. This would have been a perfect year to showcase some new filmmakers in this category.
BEST ACTRESS: DRAMA
Predicted winner: Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs)
Preferred winner: Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
I would have nominated: Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia), Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Jessica Chastain (The Tree of Life), Michelle Williams (Meek’s Cutoff)
My thoughts: This is the category of the 2012 Golden Globes that is destined to frustrate me more than any other. I am still paralyzed with disbelief that the Golden Globes would snub the two greatest performances of 2011: Elizabeth Olsen and Kirsten Dunst. But, hey, at least they got Rooney Mara right; too bad she is a long-shot against all of the other nominees.
BEST ACTRESS: COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Predicted winner: Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn)
Preferred winner: Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn)
My thoughts: Though I can think of no other actress more qualified to portray Marilyn Monroe, My Week With Marilyn is probably the weakest film of Michelle Williams’ career. Nonetheless, Williams deserves the award if only for the rest of her amazing resume. That said — I actually would not be too sad if Kristin Wiig walks away with this one.
BEST ACTOR: DRAMA
Predicted winner: Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
Preferred winner: Michael Fassbender (Shame)
BEST ACTOR: COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Predicted winner: Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
Preferred winner: Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
My thoughts: Okay. I’ll admit it. I love Ryan Gosling, but his nomination for Crazy, Stupid, Love only proves how dire the states of the comedy and musical genres are today.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Predicted winner: Octavia Spencer (The Help)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Predicted winner: Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
Preferred winner: Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
My thoughts: Christopher Plummer winning Best Supporting Actor is probably the only sure thing of the 2012 Golden Globes.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The nominees: A Separation (Iran), The Flowers Of War (China), The Kid With The Bike (Belgium), In The Land Of Blood and Honey (USA), The Skin I Live In (Spain)
Predicted winner: A Separation
Preferred winner: A Separation
My thoughts: Historically, the Best Foreign Film category has been a total crap shoot in terms of nominees and winners. This year my biggest surprise is that Aki Kaurismäki’s Le Havre was snubbed.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Predicted winner: The Adventures of Tintin
Preferred winner: Rango
I would have nominated: The Adventures of Tintin, Arthur Christmas, Puss In Boots, Rango, Winnie the Pooh
My thoughts: I think the only reason most of my preferred nominees match the actual nominees (I would substitute Cars 2 with Winnie the Pooh) is because 2011 was such a lackluster year for animated films. But, hey, at least in 2012 we have a Studio Ghibli film (The Secret World of Arrietty) to look forward to.
Predicted winner: The Artist
Preferred winner: Moneyball
My thoughts: Even though I do not believe the The Artist screenplay is worthy of a nomination here (let alone a win), it is really great to see a silent film get recognized for its script.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Predicted winner: Ludovic Bource (The Artist)
Preferred winner: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
I would have nominated: Daniel Bensi & Saunder Jurriaans (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Alexandre Desplat (The Tree of Life), Alberto Iglesias (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Cliff Martinez (Drive), Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo)
My thoughts: I do not like the award-winning soundtrack for Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross’ The Social Network (2010) because it seems to work against the images, rather than with them. Their soundtrack for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is quite the opposite; in fact, no other soundtrack from 2011 compliments its related film as well as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo does. Besides, the Golden Globes probably will not want to reward Kim Novak’s accused rapist — the soundtrack for The Artist…right?
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
The nominees: “Hello Hello” by Elton John (Gnomeo & Juliet), “Lay Your Head Down” by Sinead O’Connor and Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), “The Living Proof” by Mary J. Blige (The Help), “The Keeper” by Chris Cornell (Machine Gun Preacher), “Masterpiece” by Madonna (W.E.)
Predicted winner: “Lay Your Head Down” by Sinead O’Connor and Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs)
Preferred winner: None of the above
I would have nominated: “Immigrant Song” by Trent Reznor and Karen O (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), “Life’s a Happy Song” by Bret McKenzie (The Muppets), “Man or Muppet” by Bret McKenzie (The Muppets), “Nightcall” by Kavinsky and Lovefoxxx (Drive), “So Long” by Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward (Winnie the Pooh)
My thoughts: I rarely agree with Golden Globes nominees for the Best Original Song category and this year is no exception. For one — the Golden Globes ignored ALL of the fantastic original songs from The Muppets and Winnie the Pooh?! I really do not understand how that could happen. I should also note that even though the lyrics for “Immigrant Song” are not original, I still consider Trent Reznor and Karen O’s song to be completely original. Technically, “Nightcall” is not an original song either, but it works so brilliantly in Drive I would want to nominate it anyway.