Globes: Gold rush

The nominations have touched off all the prep and planning. Who will be the actress designers are itching most to dress? Reese? Keira? Ziyi? Charlize?
Which brings me to something that crossed my mind last January while watching Golden Globe arrivals from a seat backstage at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. A small group of entertainment reporters from around the world for one night control millions of dollars.


Think about it: This micro-economy of gowns, jewels, limos, publicity, catering, flowers, TV rights, production costs, media expenses, travel and more is set into motion by 80-90 individuals — some of whom hold other jobs because the ones that got them into the Hollywood Foreign Press Association don’t pay a decent living. Is this part of what’s great about Hollywood or part of what’s wrong with it?

Globes: The perils of forecasting

In the just-out Dec. 19 issue of In Touch Weekly, awards guru Tom O’Neil predicted a disastrous run-in — or a tabloid jackpot, depending on your point of view — at the Golden Globes. “You can count on both Jen (Aniston) and Brad (Pitt) getting nominated,” he wrote, thinking Aniston was a sure thing for “Rumor Has It,” while Pitt would contend with “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” Oops. Not even their respective squeezes — Vince Vaughn and Angelina Jolie — made the cut when nominations were announced today. Looks like we may have to wait a while longer for that crash-and-burn moment.

Globes: The Dame is cautious

Dec. 5, 2005: Oscar winner and awards favorite Dame Judi Dench on the buzz surrounding potential accolades for her role in “Mrs. Henderson Presents.”
“It is speculation and speculation goes on about lots and lots of people. I think it’s rather dangerous to have it said about you. I don’t want it to distance anything and nothing actually could add to the fantastic time we had doing this film. We really did have the most extraordinarily infectiously terrific time.”

Dec. 13, 2005: Newly Golden Globe nominated Dame Judi Dench
“I am absolutely thrilled, delighted and terribly honoured.”

Note the “u” in honored. Veddy British, that.

Message on a Beach

OK, so Oscar winner Frances McDormand apparently needed some persuasion to join the cast of “North Country.” Director Niki Caro already had Charlize Theron and was closing in on Sissy Spacek and Woody Harrelson.

McDormand, on the other hand, was decidedly undecided. Caro even got vibes that F.M. was leaning toward never doing another film.

So with the studio urging her to start casting around for a second choice to play union leader Glory, Caro asked for the weekend to play her last remaining ace.

“I live in New Zealand, and there’s this wild and remote beach where there happened to be a raging storm that weekend,” says Caro. “However, I got my husband and my friends to write in letters 50 feet high, “Say Yes, Fran” like a big marriage proposal.”

The tides were not always cooperative and the storm made things extra tricky. Apparently, there were casualties. Caro’s husband broke his toe and their two children got ear infections. However, Caro filmed the beach message with a digital camera from a nearby mountain and e-mailed the footage off to McDormand.

“I figured if that doesn’t do it, it can’t be done,” said Caro.

The next morning, Caro found an e-mail reply from the actress: “Jesus Christ. I surrender!”

Which makes you wonder what it would take to get McDormand _ who just got a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actress _ to do Caro’s next film. Skywriting anyone?


HFPA to Spielberg: Good night and good luck

Yes, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. threw a couple of bones to Steven Spielberg’s “Munich.” But no best picture nomination? “Munich”‘s Oscar chances aren’t as dead as those of “Memoirs of a Geisha.” Yet. But no one is calling “Munich” the front-runner any longer, either. Including Spielberg among the group’s list of six directors is hilarious. HFPA members don’t like “Munich” enough to put it among its 10 nominated pictures, but Spielberg is Spielberg and his mug on TV will boost viewership more than David Cronenberg’s. It’s all about the ratings isn’t it?


Globes: They’re not all bad

I’ll leave the ritual bashing of the Golden Globes nominations to my able colleagues today. Me, I think it’s time to mention a few positive things about the much-made-fun-of Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
For example, I personally know two people in that group who understand film as an art form as well as any of my fellow Los Angeles Film Critics Association members. They’ll remain nameless, though, just in case that’s a breach of some HFPA bylaw.
No kidding, now: The nonprofit HFPA donates significant portions of its TV show earnings to film preservation and similar worthy efforts. All movie lovers, even hardcore cineaste snobs, owe the group gratitude for that.
But a nomination for Will Ferrell and none for Vince Vaughn? That’s just pathetic. Not bashing the Globes, just stating fact.

Globes: Will anyone watch?

Surprisingly serious batch of small, smart films in the Golden Globes drama category. Which leads me to worry: will anyone watch the TV show? I mean, c’mon; the Globes are about ratings, not recognizing quality. What’s happening to the world? Oh wait; they also nominated some pretty actresses (Charlize Theron, Ziyi Zhang, Gwyneth Paltrow) from bad movies. Whew! That ought to draw some eyeballs next Martin Luther King Day. Thank heavens the HFPA hasn’t entirely misplaced its priorities.


Globes: TV nominees

This year, it seems, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has inverted its usual pattern: Films receiving top Golden Globe nominations are more of the independent and/or cutting-edge sensibility, while the TV nominees fall more squarely in the realm of highly commercial, good-old-fashioned entertainment.
Best TV drama nominees are Commander In Chief,? Greys Anatomy,? Lost? (all ABC) Prison Break? (Fox) and Rome? (HBO). TV Comedy nominees are Curb Your Enthusiasm,? Entourage? (HBO), Desperate Housewives? (ABC), Everybody Hates Chris? (UPN), My Name is Earl? (NBC) and Weeds? (Showtime).
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Why not an Ape?

If the Oscar voters were the least bit adventurous, then Andy Serkis would get a best supporting actor nod for playing the big ape in “King Kong.” Even his Oscar-winning co-star Adrien Brody told
our film critic Bob Strauss that he thinks “Kong may be one of the best leading men this year”
Serkis even did double duty, first acting opposite his co-stars during the filming — creating a touching relationship with Naomi Watts’ Ann Darrow — then doing it again wearing motion-capture sensors to create the animated ape. Brody doesn’t know how getting a nomination for Serkis would work _ and neither do I _ but it’s time for the Academy to take some chances. When’s the last time you saw that much love on the screen?


Critics: That was quick

… if you’re talking true quality, anyway. Three of the more legitimate critics organizations have named “Brokeback Mountain” the best picture of 2005. Not that that means we’re going to be spared two-and-a-half months of the most desperate, unseemly campaigning to convince everybody that a gay cowboy movie just can’t be the best that cinema could do this year. But with the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle and the Boston Society of Film Critics all anointing Ang Lee’s deeply touching tale tops, any other entries will just be running to win popularity contests, not any claim to artistic superiority.