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Golden Globes: Five meaty story lines to chew on

January 15, 2012 | 11:00 am

'The Artist'

Sure, Ricky Gervais looms large over today's Golden Globes--it's less a question of whether he'll make an HFPA joke as it is how many he’ll make.  But tucked beneath those mildly sinister undertones come a wealth of interesting  award-season questions. You've probably not thought much about them, but that's okay--we're here to think of them for you.

Herewith, then, five mini-dramas to keep an eye on as the film portion of the kudos telecast unfolds Sunday evening at the Beverly Hilton/on your NBC affiliate.

No small actors. Meryl Streep has a pretty strong hold on the actress race for her role as Margaret Thatcher in "Iron Lady"--it's hard to conceive of too many snagging the Oscar from her oft-nominated hands, though Tilda Swinton will give it a shot. The Oscar actor race, on the other hand, feels a lot more wide open. Like an early primary, there's support for many. George Clooney has built a base (for "The Descendants", his non-political pic). Dujardin speaks loudly with his silent role in "The Artist." And Brad Pitt's Billly Beane turn in "Moneyball" has its share of fans.  The Globes will clarify this picture—or, since it splits up actors between comedies and dramas, muddy it.

Wedding artistry. There aren’t many award-season square-offs that pit a black-and-white silent film against an R-rated comedy created by the likes of Kristen Wiig and Judd Apatow. But that’s pretty much what the category of best motion picture musical or comedy brings as “The Artist” competes with “Bridesmaids.” Will the HFPA go twee and prestigious or bridal-gown down-and-dirty?

Stuck in traffic. Christine Lahti was trapped in the bathroom. Ryan Bingham forgot to leave the bar. Every few years at the Globes a winner invariably ends up in the wrong place at the right time. Will someone be awkwardly far away when their name is called? Hard to know. But if you were to bet on someone missing their cue because they were doing something more fun, the smart money is on Ryan Gosling and/or Michael Fassbender.

Feeling animated. By most metrics, it's been a down year for animation. But that's actually had a weirdly drama-inducing effect on the award race. Usually Pixar can be counted on to garner a healthy share of  votes. Not so this year, with the studio's "Cars 2" a middle-of-the-pack choice. Plenty of others stand a shot of breaking free, including "Rango," "Puss in Boots" and "The Adventures of Tintin." And we'll get a good sense on Sunday of what to expect down the road: the Globes have foretold Oscar's animation winner four straight years.

Direction-less. Speaking of crystal balls, the director showdown at the Beverly Hilton is, well, not exactly predictive of what we'll see in the helmer category six weeks from now. In fact, only once in the past four years have the Globes and Oscars aligned on director. Still, the Globes race is a juicy one: will Hazanavicius get swept in on a tide of Artist-mania? Or will one of two moviedom fixtures, Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen, make a run at him? Secondary subplot: the former will certainly show up at the Globes and the Oscars. We're less sure about the latter.

RELATED:

Photos: Gervais' top insults from last year's Golden Globes

Golden Globes: What do they mean for the Oscars?

Golden Globes: HFPA chief risks repeat Ricky Gervais performance

--Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: "The Artist." Credit: The Weinstein Co.


 
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