Predictions of an Idiot – Golden Globes ’21
Make no mistake, I know nothing. Not about film. Not about awards. Nothing. To even pair me with running down the potential contenders of this year’s awards landscape is a troubling long shot, one that I find myself in charge of. My betting average is roughly 1% in success rate, but I’ll hedge them further with these predictions. It should be said that, for the record, these are not the films I believe are worthy of the award, but films that will, unfortunately, win the award. If I’d had my say then Another Round would explode into a landslide of awards success. But it was not to be, and the snubs found throughout these nominations are a surprise to the general public, but a matter of fact for us snobbish critics.
BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Inevitable, undeserved winner: Mank
Snubbed film that was better: Another Round
Had it been me in charge of these awards (which, thankfully, I am not) then I’m not entirely sure I’d change much in this category. Mank, Nomadland and The Trial of the Chicago 7 range from excellence to solidity and offer up all the usual, prospective tropes critics enjoy. Mank will take the top spot, though. In part due to its romanticisation of a period of history long past its sell-by date, but also because it marks the return of David Fincher. A pairing such as that is even enough to fend off Aaron Sorkin’s placid writing and directing styles in The Trial of the Chicago 7. Odd underdog and underwhelming contender Promising Young Woman features also, but feels like a long shot. The Father, too, feels like it may have released too late to bank off of audience approval, and is entering this race solely on critical acclaim. A bold strategy, let’s see if it pays off…
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Inevitable, undeserved winner: Frances McDormand (Nomadland)
Snubbed actress that was better: Radha Blank (The Forty-Year-Old Version)
Is there any resistance to the inevitable triple crown McDormand will receive for her outstanding work in Nomadland? Surely only a fool would back Vanessa Kirby’s ineffective but fine portrayal in Pieces of a Woman or Carey Mulligan’s lukewarm abilities in Promising Young Woman. As for the other two, Viola Davis and Andra Day, commiserations to your possibly fine work, it is simply not the year for you, no matter how remarkable or mundane your performances were. There are only so many hours in the day, and with Netflix’s reign of content resulting in more than a handful of damp drivel, I have cleared my schedule of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Inevitably, though, it will crop up at some point, just not in the winning category.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Inevitable, undeserved winner: Gary Oldman (Mank)
Snubbed actor that was better: Jude Law (The Nest)
As tragic the passing of Chadwick Boseman may be, there is much discussion about whether he received his nomination for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom through sheer talent or terrible circumstances. Nevertheless, it is a nice tribute to see him among the potential winners, although even death and a finely tuned, exemplary lifestyle is not enough to shunt Gary Oldman out of his award-winning ways. He lends himself to the eponymous role found in Mank with all the conviction he usually displays when his agent hints at an award. Riz Ahmed is the budding hopeful, who turned in not one but two exceptional performances this year with both the nominated Sound of Metal and inevitable BAFTA sweeper Mogul Mowgli. As for Anthony Hopkins in The Father and Tahar Rahim in The Mauritanian, well, hard cheese guys. It’s not your year to shine.
BEST MOTION PICTURE – MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Inevitable, undeserved winner: Hamilton
Snubbed film that was better: On the Rocks
Considering Hamilton is illegible for an Academy Awards nod, the Golden Globes have been presented with the odd opportunity to hand off their award for “Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy” to a film that is a frontrunner nowhere but here. Surely it will batter away The Prom, a sickly, glossy film that should not be seen, heard or thought of, let alone nominated at one of the three mainstream ceremonies. Palm Springs and Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm are the amicable comedies that the voters will snub however accepting the general consensus was for the both of them. As for Music, if that picks up the win then Film Twitter will be a bloodbath. Survival of the fittest in that regard. A real gritty fight, like a cross between Braveheart and The Magic Roundabout.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Inevitable, undeserved winner: Anya Taylor-Joy (Emma.)
Snubbed actress that was better: Rashida Jones (On the Rocks)
The cracks of COVID are beginning to show, and a fairly weak category consisting of films released in the early, crying days of 2020 or films that have yet to release at time of writing dominate here. None of these nominations pop out as anything truly great, they are acceptable leads in an otherwise difficult year for film. Omissions were inevitable, with Elisabeth Moss in The Invisible Man, Meryl Streep in Let Them All Talk and Evan Rachel Wood in Kajillionaire the inevitable, expected snubs. As for the potential winner, Anya Taylor-Joy stands out. Not because she is the best of the bunch, but because she is the only performance I remember or have seen. This one could go to any of the five and have the same lack of consequence for everyone involved.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Inevitable, undeserved winner: Dev Patel (The Personal History of David Copperfield)
Snubbed actor that was better: Mads Mikkelsen (Another Round)
Glad I may be to see Dev Patel nominated for work in a feature film, it is difficult to suggest his was the best performance from this year. Mads Mikkelsen clearly shined throughout Thomas Vinterberg’s latest masterpiece, a film that has struggled to find any real success in the mainstream categories and will have to be content with an “International Feature” nomination. Seeing James Corden nominated for The Prom is a crime against cinema that many bigger and better journalists than I have touched upon, but surely there were stronger performers available. Perhaps this is their valiant effort to push him out of their view? Offer him the chance to win an award, snub him, and lock him in the underground cell they hopefully have waiting for him. Out of sight, out of mind.
BEST MOTION PICTURE – ANIMATED
Inevitable, well-deserved winner: Soul
Snubbed film that was better: N/A
I would find it nigh on impossible to find a more deserving winner than Soul. Wolfwalkers is an exceptional piece of unique beauty, but life is cruel and it will not shine so brightly when producers are concerned with its lifespan. In fact, it’s hard to consider an animated film outside of the five nominations here, for even The Croods: A New Age was one of the few animated films to receive some form of mainstream release. Perhaps Phineas and Ferb: Candace Against the Universe would be a better option than Onward or Over the Moon, just for some sense of variety. But it is hopeful nonsense to believe it had a chance at all, these shows do not take kindly to feature films of television topics, hence the omission of Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge on the Run and Happy Halloween Scooby-Doo.
BEST MOTION PICTURE – FOREIGN LANGUAGE
Inevitable, well-deserved winner: Another Round
Snubbed film that was better: N/A
My love for both Another Round and Minari gives me hope for this category. They are the two front-runners, and I imagine audiences globally will be gripped by fear if neither of these win. Still, Another Round is the clear choice, and the finest film of last year.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Inevitable, undeserved winner: Amanda Seyfried (Mank)
Snubbed actress that was better: Allison Janney (Bad Education)
We may be nearing a year on from the release of Bad Education, but it surprises me how well Janney’s performance as a corrupt school teacher has stuck with me. An inevitable snub thanks to release date ridiculousness, this award will almost certainly go to one of the five nominated. That is as far as I feel comfortable commenting on this one. Seyfried feels like the obvious shoo-in for her work on Mank, but Olivia Colman with The Father and Jodie Foster with The Mauritanian strike up some good underdogs. Why Hillbilly Elegy has been nominated is beyond me, and as admirable as Glenn Close is, it is clear for any working mind to see that that film is not going to propel her to the awards glory she is so desperate for. She must have a good agent to worm her way into this category though, so credit where it’s due. Helena Zengel was nominated for News of the World, too, if anyone is interested.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Inevitable, undeserved winner: Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7)
Snubbed actor that was better: Peter Macdissi (Uncle Frank)
Undoubtedly, The Trial of the Chicago 7 will pick up one of the major acting awards. I’d hedge my bets on it being supporting actor, solely because Eddie Redmayne doesn’t have the scope to win a second award as a leading man, nor do academy voters have the nerve to snub Michael Keaton a second time. That wound still stings, does it not? Cohen is the safe choice, although it would be nice to see Bill Murray or Daniel Kaluuya pick up roles for their strong efforts outside of Sorkin’s awards-bait. Leslie Odom Jr. with One Night in Miami is a harsh callback to only a few months ago when everyone believed this would sweep awards left and right, and as for Jared Leto in The Little Things, the less said about that the better. Check out Peter Macdissi in the already forgotten Uncle Frank, a touching supporting role that sees him spar well alongside Paul Bettany and Sophia Lillis.
BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE
Inevitable, undeserved winner: David Fincher (Mank)
Snubbed director that was better: Abel Ferrara (Siberia)
Returning to big-screen entertainment a mere six years after your previous film is bound to turn some heads. Such is the success of David Fincher, whose efforts throughout Mank are certainly not without merit, but have been praised beyond compare. They have been hailed as a heavenly return from a creative genius, when in fact he’s slapped a black and white filter over some decent call-backs to the Golden Era of Hollywood. Nice that may be, it will unfortunately usurp Nomadland. With The Trial of Chicago 7, Promising Young Woman and One Night in Miami all appearing, the “Best Director” category smacks of uninspired, expected choices. Throwing a left of field choice into the mix, Abel Ferrara’s masterful musings in Siberia are the perfect antidote to awards-baiting blockbusters.
BEST SCREENPLAY – MOTION PICTURE
Inevitable, undeserved winner: Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7)
Snubbed screenplay that was better: Jasmila Žbanić (Quo Vadis, Aida?)
Of course The Trial of the Chicago 7 will win. Aaron Sorkin probably penned that screenplay and used The West Wing Golden Globes as paperweights for his pile of notes. Sucking up to Sorkin may not be too terrible an idea for awards voters this season, although it does mean Nomadland is cut short of glory once again. As for the snubs, of course I had to fit one festival film in the mix, for Žbanić has written and directed the inevitable best feature of this year. Once Quo Vadis, Aida? Slumps off of the festival circuit and onto on-demand video, then you’re doing yourself a disservice by not watching it. Masterful and moving, pure poetry in motion that comes to grips and terms with Bosnian genocide. Heavy stuff, and toxic for popular awards shows. It’s hard for Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to crack jokes about Ratko Mladić, I suppose.