Sunday, January 15, 2012

Split Decision

The 69th Annual Golden Globes were held tonight in Los Angeles and in an odd year that's produced a number of very good films and great performances without producing an obvious frontrunner for the big Oscar crown (although The Artist has had that buzz for awhile), the Hollywood Foreign Press delivered a rather tantalizing split decision.

In my mind, the eventual Oscar for Best Picture could go to The Artist, The Help, The Descendants or Hugo. For awhile -- before it was released -- there was a general feeling that Steven Spielberg's The War Horse was built for the prize, but it's not had the reviews, word of mouth or box office needed to make that a reality, and recently was left off of some key guild award lists.

For the record, here's the top-tier award winners tonight:
  • Best Motion Picture — Drama: “The Descendants”
  • Best Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical: “The Artist”
  • Best Director — Motion Picture: Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”
  • Best Actress — Drama: Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
  • Best Actor — Drama: George Clooney, “The Descendants”
  • Best Actress — Comedy or Musical: Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”
  • Best Actor — Comedy or musical: Jean Dujardin, “The Artist
  • Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, “The Help”
  • Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
  • Best Screenplay: Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
Is The Descendants the timeless classic its producer thought it was in his speech tonight? Is Harvey Weinstein unstoppable this year with The Artist, a crowd-pleaser, if not doing Descendants type box office? Can Martin Scorsese's Hugo, also with the weaker box office, sneak in there (it really feels like a classic) and take the prize?

Then there's The Help. Classic Hollywood middlebrow take on an important historical moment, filled with fine performances and a rare female-dominated cast for a picture this size. Could Viola Davis break past Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams in their pitch-perfect historical recreations and, with Octavia Spencer looking like a frontrunner now for Best Supporting, lead the team to victory, even without a Best Director nomination?

Which one is that most compelling combination of spectacle and sentiment that makes a "Most Picture?"

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