Magazine article Variety

Races Clearer, or Murkier?

Magazine article Variety

Races Clearer, or Murkier?

Article excerpt


The Golden Globes feted '12 Years a Slave' and 'American Hustle' with seven nominations each, but 'Rush,' 'Philomena,' 'Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom' and 'Labor Day' all scored more than expected, while 'Lee Daniels' The Butler,' 'Lone Survivor' and Fruitvale Station were shut out


The HFPA threw a number of curveballs in its best picture, drama, category, breathing new life into pics like "Rush" and "Captain Phillips," which had been virtually invisible on the early season awards score sheet. "Philomena" was another surprise, especially considering it contains far more genuine humor than a number of entries in the Globes' comedy category. But it was no surprise to see Steve McQueen's Antebellum epic "12 Years a Slave" or Alfonso Cuaron's boundary-breaking "Gravity" on the list, and barring an epic upset, those should be the films to beat.


12 Years a Slave (1), Captain Phillips (2), Gravity (3), Philomena (4), Rush (5)


Were one to stage a marathon viewing of this year's nominees for best picture, musical or comedy, it seems unlikely that much hilarity would ensue. Ranging in subject matter from a parent's decline into dementia ("Nebraska") to stock market sociopathy ("The Wolf of Wall Street"), government corruption ("American Hustle"), digital-age heartbreak ("Her") and the crushed dreams of a homeless folk musician ("Inside Llewyn Davis"), there's hardly a laugh riot in the bunch. But this may be an even stronger overall selection than its counterpart in drama.


American Hustle (1). Her (2). Inside Llewyn Davis (3), Nebraska (4), The Wolf of Wall Street (5)


Robert Redford ("All Is Lost") wowed Cannes, where the movie premiered, and his one-man show is a true, almost dialogue-free, tour de force that may nab a Globe, since Cannes winner Bruce Dern scored a nomination in the Globes' comedy or musical category. But it could be time for Chiwetel Ejiofor's quietly powerful performance in "12 Years a Slave" to grab some kudos. It's a tough category, as voters could make a case for Tom Hanks as Walt Disney ("Saving Mr. Banks"), Idris Elba as the titular figure ("Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom") and Matthew McConaughey ("Dallas Buyers Club").


Chiwetel Ejiofor. "12 Years a Slave" (1), Idris Elba, "Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom" (2), Tom Hanks. "Captain Phillips" (3), Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club" (4), Robert Redford, "All Is Lost" (5)


Bruce Dern ("Nebraska") nabbed acting laurels at the Cannes festival, and his haunting and funny perf has also gained attention from critics' groups, who seem to think the acting race is between Dern and Robert Redford. However, Oscar Isaac has been singled out for "Inside Llewyn Davis," and he also does his own singing in the film. Christian Bale ("American Hustle"), Leonard DiCaprio ("The Wolf of Wall Street") and Joaquin Phoenix ("Her") continue to illustrate why they are Hollywood's preeminent actors.


Christian Bale, "American Hustle" (1), Bruce Dern, "Nebraska" (2), Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Wolf of Wall Street" (3), Oscar Isaac, "Inside Llewyn Davis" (4), Joaquin Phoenix, "Her" (5)


Cate Blanchett has nabbed kudos already from critics groups for her portrayal of a super-rich woman who becomes unhinged after her husband's financial scandal leaves her destitute, but Sandra Bullock carries "Gravity" despite a strong supporting turn by George Clooney. The rest of the category is rounded out by awards veterans Judi Dench, Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, maybe the one surprise in this category for the Christmas opener "Labor Day," which was seen at Toronto but didn't garner overwhelming buzz.


Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine" (1), Sandra Bullock, "Gravity" (2), Judi Dench, "Philomena" (3), Emma Thompson, "Saving Mr. …

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