December 11, 2014

OscarLand: Golden Globe Movie Nominees


Although it’s always worth remembering that the Golden Globes are awarded by the few dozen foreign journalists of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (and in many cases that should be phrased as “journalists:”) whose opinions would mean absolutely nothing if they didn’t have a nationally televised TV show to present their picks, the fact is that the Globes have become increasingly respectable over the years, with fewer of the WTF nominees that used to dot their choices.  This year, once again, their nominees are by and large in accord with conventional sentiments.  Let’s take a look at what the Globe nominees, along with other recent critics group choices, say about the current state of the Oscar race.



The biggest surprise of the morning was the absence of Unbroken among the nominees.  Angelina Jolie has long been a Globe favorite (one of their most scandalous recent nominations was a Best Actress nod for her work in the egregious The Tourist), but her labor of love was nowhere to be found today.  Did she fail to show up for a HFPA lunch or otherwise snub the group?  We don’t know, but so far Unbroken‘s haul among critics has been underwhelming, with just mentions in Top 10 lists from AFI and the National Board of Review to its credit.  Foxcatcher probably took its place among the nominees, a major coup for the Sony Classics release that has up until now been seen as more of an actors’ piece than a contending film.  Gone Girl, A Most Violent Year and American Sniper were also among the films hoping to be named.

Early Favorite:  BOYHOOD

Dark Horse:  SELMA



This category always has its share of surprises, since the bulk of serious awards contenders tend to be dramas.  The Globes showed their eternal weakness for Harvey Weinstein and his wiles, as St Vincent made the list (although not his Begin Again).  More shocking was the inclusion of Pride, a tiny CBS Films release that came and went from theaters.  That was a slot that could have gone to the new version of Annie, or to Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice.

Early Favorite:  BIRDMAN



NOMINEES:  Steve Carell, FOXCATCHER, Benedict Cumberbatch, THE IMITATION GAME, Jake Gyllanhaal, NIGHTCRAWLER, David Oyelowo, SELMA, Eddie Redmayne, THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

Gyllenhaal’s inclusion would have been a surprise if he hadn’t gotten a SAG nod yesterday.  He and his studio Open Road have aggressively campaigned for the nomination, and it paid off, allowing Gyllenhaal to pass Bradley Cooper, Ben Affleck, and Unbroken‘s Jack O’Connell.  This was also Kevin Costner’s best shot to score something for his performance in the godawful Black Or White.  David Oyelowo’s nomination is a sign of how much the HFPA admires Selma, and it remains to be seen if he can really be a factor in the race.

Early Favorite:  Eddie Redmayne

Dark Horse:  Benedict Cumberbatch (or possibly Oyelowo)


NOMINEES:  Jennifer Aniston, CAKE, Felicity Jones, THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, Julianne Moore, STILL ALICE, Rosamund Pike, GONE GIRL, Reese Witherspoon, WILD

Aniston’s nomination, for a micro-budgeted indie that’s being released by a brand-new company and will have been seen by almost no non-media, non-festivalgoing moviegoers by the end of the year, is a testament to how well-liked she is in the industry, and how hard she’s worked to put her performance on the map.  There were no overwhelming frontrunners omitted from the list, although this could have been an opportunity for Marion Cotillard, Shailene Woodley or Gugu Mbatha-Raw to establish a claim for Oscar purposes.

Early Favorite:  Julianne Moore

Dark Horse:  Reese Witherspoon


NOMINEES:  Ralph Fiennes, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, Michael Keaton, BIRDMAN, Bill Murray, ST VINCENT, Joaquin Phoenix, INHERENT VICE, Christoph Waltz, BIG EYES

The Harvey Weinstein influence can be seen in the fact that both Waltz and Murray are nominated, with Waltz a particular surprise.  (Although once again Weinstein’s Begin Again was passed over, here for Mark Ruffalo’s performance.)  Phoenix’s nomination is a welcome piece of promotable news for Inherent Vice, which can use some.  Chris Rock or Bill Hader could have nabbed a surprise nomination here, but it wasn’t to be.

Early Favorite:  Michael Keaton

Dark Horse:  Bill Murray


NOMINEES:  Amy Adams, BIG EYES, Emily Blunt, INTO THE WOODS, Julianne Moore, MAP TO THE STARS, Quvenzhane Wallis, ANNIE, Helen Mirren, THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY

Once again, one has to wonder what Angelina Jolie did to alienate the HFPA, as besides the Unbroken snubs, she would have been an easy nominee here for her performance in the giant hit Maleficent.  The slim chance that Jenny Slate could get recognized for her terrific work in Obvious Child went unfulfilled.  Instead, the HFPA made Moore a double nominee for David Cronenberg’s uneven Hollywood black comedy, and rewarded moppet of the moment Wallis.

Early Favorite:  Amy Adams

Dark Horse:  Helen Mirren


NOMINEES:  Robert Duvall, THE JUDGE, Ethan Hawke, BOYHOOD, Edward Norton, Birdman, Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher, J.K. Simmons, WHIPLASH

There were no surprises here at all, although Tom Wilkinson could have stolen a nomination for Selma.  The interesting part will be whether the notoriously celebrity-centered HFPA will ignore the higher-profile Hawke and Norton for the lesser-known Simmons.

Early Favorite:  Edward Norton

Dark Horse:  J.K. Simmons


NOMINEES:  Patricia Arquette, BOYHOOD, Jessica Chastain, A MOST VIOLENT YEAR, Keira Knightley, THE IMITATION GAME, Emma Stone, BIRDMAN, Meryl Streep, INTO THE WOODS

Once again, a very uncontroversial group.  Laura Dern might have found a way in for Wild, and the fact that she didn’t  hurts her Oscar chances.  The adventurous choice here would have been Tilda Swinton for Snowpiercer, but that didn’t happen.

Early Favorite:  Patricia Arquette

Dark Horse:  Emma Stone


NOMINEES:  Wes Anderson, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, Ava DuVernay, SELMA, David Fincher, GONE GIRL, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, BIRDMAN, Richard Linklater, BOYHOOD

Because the HFPA nominates 10 movies but only 5 directors, there are always interesting exclusions.  This year, only 4 of the 10 directors of the Best Picture nominees made the cut, because the Globe voters named David Fincher as a nominee even though Gone Girl didn’t have enough support to be named itself.  (Gone Girl was also the only non-Best Picture nominee to get a Screenplay nomination, strongly suggesting that if it hadn’t been for the Drama vs Comedy/Musical structure of the awards, Gone Girl would have been in the group’s Top 10.)  The directors of Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything on the drama side, and of Into the Woods, Pride and St. Vincent for Comedy/Musical, weren’t carried along with their pictures, which probably puts those movies into the 2d echelon of nominees.  Once again, of course, Jolie and Eastwood are notable by their exclusion.  Best Director is also the biggest category where Boyhood (Drama) and Birdman (Comedy/Musical) will square off, meaning that both movies can win in their respective categories, but only one of their directors.

Early Favorite:  Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Dark Horse:  Richard Linklater


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."