The Golden Globe nominations were announced today and among the surprises were strong showings for the late-in-the-game “Django Unchained” and the under-the-radar “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.” The latter, a sweet comedy from early in the year, earned nods for the picture and actors Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt in the comedy/musical categories. The rest were expected. "Lincoln" dominated with seven nominations, and both "Django" and "Argo" made a strong showing with five--all three earned best picture, director, and screenplay nods. The only other film to score in all three categories was Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty."
There was good and bad news for The Weinstein Company. The strong showing of Quentin Tarantino’s “Django” is great, but it bumped two other Weinstein films out of some categories. With actors Leondaro DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz earning supporting nods, Robert DeNiro failed to earn recognition for “Silver Linings Playbook.” And Tarantino’s director nomination left no room for “Silver Linings” director David O. Russell or “The Master” helmer Paul Thomas Anderson. Also left out of the director race: Tom Hooper for “Les Misérables.” Instead, “Life of Pi” director Ang Lee made the cut, alongside predicted nominees Ben Affleck (“Argo”), Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty”), and Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”).
Continuing to surprise is Nicole Kidman, who managed to pop up again after Wednesdsay’s SAG nomination announcement, earning a supporting actress nod for her role in the gothic potboiler “The Paperboy.” It’s starting to look like Kidman has a real shot as an Oscar nominee with her performance in the critically panned film, perhaps best known for a scene in which she urinates on co-star Zac Efron after his character is stung by a jellyfish.
Also managing to gain some traction is Rachel Weisz, who earned a drama actress nod for her work in the little-seen “The Deep Blue Sea.” The actor was pretty much off the radar until last week, when the New York Film Critics Circle named her best actress for the film. Weisz might be in the running, despite failing to score a SAG nomination.
Which brings us to the question of what this all means to the Oscar race. It’s important to remember that Golden Globe voters are not Academy voters. The Globe voters are a rather questionable group of approximately 100 international journalists that form the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and has been rocked by various scandals over the years. The organization has a reputation for being only interested in getting celebrities to their awards show, and sometimes make peculiar choices like nominating Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie for the critically reviled 2010 film “The Tourist”—and then placing them in the comedy/musical category. They’re also known for holding grudges against actors who aren’t fond of giving press—Sean Penn found his 2007 film “Into the Wild” shut out completely and was the sole nominee for 2008’s “Milk,” which went on to earn many Oscar nominations, including best picture and director. Penn wasn’t even named best actor by the Globes that year; he lost to Mickey Rourke from “The Wrestler,” but still took home the Oscar. More recently, a former publicist for the Globes filed a lawsuit after he claimed he was let go after insisting members stop accepting money and gifts in exchange for supporting certain films.
So, at the end of the day, the Golden Globes shouldn’t be taken as any kind of serious precursor to the Academy Awards. No one expects "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" to feature into the race. And films as recently as “True Grit” were completely shut out by the HFPA, only to go on to fare very well at the Oscars. At the same time, a little recognition couldn’t hurt. And now “Django,” Kidman, and Weisz have a little more heat going into the awards race.
Full list of nominees here.