24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

« Previous Post | 24 Frames Home | Next Post »

How 'The Tourist' got three Golden Globes nominations and 'True Grit' got nada

December 14, 2010 |  3:57 pm

  Dep

Filmgoers peering at the Golden Globes through an outsider's lens might find themselves flummoxed: How did "The Tourist," the Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie movie with dismal reviews and a middling CinemaScore, land three major nominations, while the plaudits-winning "True Grit" came away empty-handed?

Beyond the usual (though not unconvincing) explanations about the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and its politics of studios and stars, is there something else going on?

One theory: "The Tourist" plays right into the HFPA's hands while "True Grit" plays away from them.

Arguably the biggest assets of "True Grit"  are its verbal dexterity and comedy -- the two areas in which winning over the HFPA is trickiest. At the two screenings of the film for the group, said one person in the room, no one was laughing.

Also not helping: The HFPA doesn't typically love westerns or, for that matter, remakes. In fact, remakes rarely make much hay with most awards voters. Even the occasional one that does, such as "The Departed," does so when most voters haven't seen the original and have little to compare it to. 

In other words, those wondering why Jeff Bridges was overlooked by the Globes may be able to point to the simple explanation that he's playing against John Wayne.

At the other end of the spectrum, the HFPA appreciated "Tourist" as a best picture (comedy or musical) because it's a fundamentally European movie, not only in setting but in pacing and sensibility. The group has a history of preferring movies with a European flavor in that category even when they're not exactly tours de force ("Notting Hill" and "Chocolat," the latter of which also happened to star you-know-who, come to mind). And they choose them over more conventional American comedies such as "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" (or, this year, "Get Him to the Greek" and "Due Date").

Of course, what makes for a comedy in the first place is one of the more vexing questions whenever the Globes roll around. According to a person familiar with the HFPA procedures this year, "The Tourist" was submitted for consideration as a drama and the HFPA changed it to a comedy. "True Grit," on the other hand, was submitted as a comedy, and the HFPA changed it to a drama. They just really didn't find it funny.

-- Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Johnny Depp at the Berlin premiere of "The Tourist." Credit: Thomas Peter / Reuters

More: Awards Tracker: 'The King's Speech leads; 'The Fighter' comes out swinging

 

Comments