Golden Globes: What do they mean for the Oscars?
It’s been 15 years since Harvey Weinstein had a clear best-picture Oscar front-runner at this stage in the award season. How will he handle being the odds-on favorite with "The Artist"? And would "Seinfeld's" Elaine Benes like “The Artist” any more than she did “The English Patient”?
While we ponder those questions, let’s look at how this week’s noms from the Globe voters, Screen Actors Guild and Critics Choice have changed the landscape for best picture and the other Oscar categories.
PICTURE: Who, among the likely nominees, might best “The Artist”? Possibly “The Help,” which has a devoted following among older academy members. Maybe “Hugo,” though it won’t have a presence in the lead acting categories. “The Descendants” will have acting nominees but may be shut out in the below-the-line races. “War Horse” will soon be earning box-office ribbons, which could translate into a boost with voters.
LEAD ACTOR: George Clooney, Jean Dujardin, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio swept the Globes, SAG and Critics noms. The quartet seems on solid footing, even DiCaprio, who has transcended “J. Edgar’s” disappointing reception. Michael Fassbender and Gary Oldman rank as the leading contenders for the fifth spot, though Oldman’s blanking this week indicates trouble. Demian Bichir’s SAG nod for “A Better Life” makes a great story, but it’s unlikely he can ride the momentum to the Kodak Theatre come February.
LEAD ACTRESS: Viola Davis, Michelle Williams and Meryl Streep swept through the week as expected, and Glenn Close shored up her standing after being passed over by the Spirit Awards. After going 3-3 this week, Tilda Swinton looks good for the final spot, though one shouldn’t discount Rooney Mara, either. More academy members will be watching “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” than “We Need to Talk About Kevin” over the holidays.
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Albert Brooks’ SAG snub reinforces the notion that this category belongs to Christopher Plummer for his beautiful turn in “Beginners.” Brooks still gets in, as will Kenneth Branagh, who went 3-3 in the week’s precursors. Max von Sydow got bupkis, but it’s hard to imagine his silent turn in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” won’t connect with older academy members. And Paramount will be pushing Ben Kingsley hard for “Hugo,” knowing an acting nomination will help the film’s standing in the best picture race.
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Octavia Spencer and Berenice Bejo connected with all three groups. Jessica Chastain did too and, importantly, for a single performance (“The Help”) of the many roles she had this year, which gives academy voters a clear signal. (Not that they necessarily needed it, since, as mentioned, “The Help” plays huge with this group.) Melissa McCarthy and Janet McTeer had good weeks too. That could be the final nomination group, though newcomer Shailene Woodley remains strongly in the mix.
-- Glenn Whipp
Photo: A scene from "The Artist." Credit: The Weinstein Co.