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

December 14, 2010 |  3:57 pm


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


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 () | Archives (16)

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When I read this headline at your Twitter link to it I totally expected I would see a picture of members of the HFPA bending over to kiss Johnny Depp's butt.

Are you sure you got the image right here?

Why are we still paying attention to this organization and show? Could it be because they keep promising drunk celebs saying stuff they shouldn't on live TV? Because that's the only think about the Globes that seems to have any traction with the public.

Isn't The Tourist a remake itself?

No matter how you rationalize it, selecting "The Tourist" for any major award is a debacle.

True Grit is NOT a remake, considering the 1969 Wayne film can hardly call itself a true adaptation of the novel. From everything I've heard, it's one of the best films of the year.

Not surprising that the HFPA didn't "get" True Grit. Wouldn't expect a bunch of fuzzy foreigners to understand the Coen Brothers, and they never have, and never will. Which is why both Fargo and No Country for Old Men got snubbed at the Golden Globes, then was lavished with praise at the Academy.

I expect the same to occur here.

The foreign press needs to slapped across the head...seriously. The Tourist isn't worthy of a golden globe especially with Angelina Jolie in the movie. I wonder how much she paid them to nominate her or how many kids she promised to adopt from their country. Get a grip, there's plenty of star power in the movies nominated. Throwing her name in insults the quality of the acting of the other actors and actresses.

I totally agree with all the previous commentators.

Although I generally love Johnny Depp's character portrayals, The Tourist was incredibly thin in script, plot and characterization. Angelina Jolie was just so much eye-candy.

This movie was like flat champagne.

Yes, "The Tourist" is a remake of the 2005 French film, "Anthony Zimmer," which starred Sophie Marceau and Yvan Attal.

Hmmm... maybe I saw a different movie than all of you. Although I haven't seen "True Grit" yet, I did see "The Tourist." I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. In fact, it's the first movie my friend and I have liked in a long time.

Regarding the following comment:

"Not surprising that the HFPA didn't "get" True Grit. Wouldn't expect a bunch of fuzzy foreigners to understand the Coen Brothers, and they never have, and never will."

Is this why they changed the rules at Cannes following Barton Fink's win for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actor? Or why they won Best Director for The Man Who Wasn't There? And received another nomination for Best Film with No Country for Old Men..?

Hm... "Fuzzy foreigners" indeed.

Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, and Brad Pitt mean more to them (attendance-wise) than the entire cast of True Grit. I'm not saying it's fair, but it is what it is.

Frankly, I think Salt was a much better movie and felt Angelina should've been nominated for it rather than The Tourist.

All of these arguements are missing the point entirely...the Golden Globes are supposed to be a major cinematic award given to films of a certain deserving quality. The fact that the Golden Globes still divides its "Best Picture" category among "Dramas" and "Musicals or Comedies" is completely absurd. If a film is to stand up and be recognized as best of the year, why does it matter what supposed genre it falls under?

"The Tourist" is a dram-edy but was so entirely bad as a film it does not matter what it was. The fact that it was nominated under any category that begins with "Best Picture" is so utterly appalling on every level I thought a hacker had played with the Globe nominations when they were first posted. What is the point of this "Musical or Comedy" category if this is the type of junk nominated. The only serious contender in that category is "The Kids Are Alright" and IT'S NOT EVEN A COMEDY!!!

I have a bachelor's degree in film and consider myself an avid filmgoer. The HFPA has disgraced themselves and everyone who watches films with their outrageous choices. It is now, more than ever, obvious that nominations are only occasionally given on merit. The biggest factor in Hollywood is who you are and how much money you have. Big freakin' surprise! I would like the thank the HFPA for at least not beating around the bush and making it utterly clear they have hidden motives. They should be ashamed of themselves and should not have the right to be linked to cinema in any form.

@Chelsea9018: You really need to calm down. It's not as if the HFPA did something REALLY appalling, like nominate Hasbeen Jennifer Aniston for Best Actress in any of her forgettable cinematic debacles. She can keep making the same rom com slop until she is 50 (which is right around the corner) and we will never EVER have to hear her name mentioned as a nominee for anything except DUMPEE of the Century.

Hasbeen Aniston Who cares what Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are doing or not doing? I’m so sick and tired of looking up information on Jennifer Aniston and Angelina’s name coming up. People, you guys need to stop buying into all this bs. Seriously, anyone who believes that Jennifer is waiting around for aging Brad Pitt and his six kids and have to deal with Angelina Jolie has got to be crazy!With all said and done, Angefuckinglina should kiss the nice ass of Jennifer Aniston over and over and over

you people act like the golden globes have ever NOT been a joke.

"The Departed" was a western? Really???

The article refers to "The Departed" as a remake, which it is, not a western.


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