Magazine article Variety

Tears, Laughter, and Diversity Make for a Strong Cinematic Lineup

Magazine article Variety

Tears, Laughter, and Diversity Make for a Strong Cinematic Lineup

Article excerpt


For the first time since 2005, major studios were shut out of this year's best picture category, with nominations instead going to films from smaller independent distributors like Summit, Lionsgate and A24. Likewise, the films in the category are, for the most part, intimate and personal, powered by character-driven plots that wrestle with themes like love and death and family identity. It was no surprise that critical favorites "Moonlight" (5), which scored six nominations; "Manchester by the Sea" (4), which scored five"; and "Lion" (3), which nabbed four; were among the selected films. All three of them are, in their own right, coming-of-age portraits dealing with the messy aftermath of crushing losses and less-thanideal childhoods. "Hacksaw Ridge" (1), which signals Mel Gibson's return to directing after a decade-long hiatus, is bigger in scale in that it's one the bloodiest anti-war films to emerge in recent history, but at its core is the struggle of a WWII conscientious objector who refuses to abandon his morals and beliefs. "Hell or High Water" (2), while a gritty bank heist thriller set in West Texas, is really a story about two brothers struggling with the death of their mother and angling to rescue her ranch from foreclosure and restore the family name. In its choices, the HFPA seems to be acknowledging the fact that while we're not all bank robbers or heroic soldiers or even the product of a broken home in 1980s Miami, we're all more alike than different. - Malina Saval


Damien Chazelle's "La La Land" (9), with its seven Golden Globe nominations overall, looks to be the one to beat in this category. The film first assumed that mantle when it debuted at the Venice Film Festival earlier this fall. But it's a strong field, as Mike Mills' "20th Century Women" (6), stocked with a great script and knockout ensemble, may attract voters looking to upset the conventional wisdom. Also in that vein are nominees "Deadpool" (7) and "Florence Foster Jenkins" (8). If "La La Land" doesn't win this category, expect "Deadpool" to take it: The quirky superhero saga is a box office mega-hit and a great unconventional choice for HFPA voters. "Florence Foster Jenkins" has its fans, and the Globes love Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, so that may be a factor in this race. It's a crowd-pleaser and a solid choice. Meanwhile, it's great to see a small and terrific film such as "Sing Street" (10) make the cut, especially since it was released early in the year. Director John Carney hasn't had much luck with the Globes in the past, being snubbed for 2007's beloved hit "Once" and 2013's "Begin Again." - Carole Horst


With the Globes acting categories being split into drama and comedy/musical, there's always an extra opportunity to reward worthy performances. Despite talk that Viggo Mortensen (14) might be placed in the comedy category for his humorous but not totally comedic turn in "Captain Fantastic," the HFPA classified the film as a drama and Mortensen managed to score a deserved nomination (the third of his career). Joel Edgerton (12) of "Loving" landed his first Globe nom for his quiet turn as half of an interracial couple in Jeff Nichols' picture. With two great films this year, Martin Scorsese's "Silence" and Mel Gibson's "Hacksaw Ridge," Andrew Garfield (13) was ultimately nominated for the latter (marking his second Globe nom), in which he plays an Army medic who won't carry a gun. It's not a surprise, considering "Silence" was shut out and "Hacksaw Ridge" scored noms for picture and director. But the category seems to come down to Denzel Washington (15) as a tough patriarch in the 1950s in "Fences" and Casey Affleck (11) as a man recovering from an unspeakable tragedy in "Manchester by the Sea." Both are undeniable powerhouses in heralded films. And while Affleck has been racking up the critical awards lately, including wins from the National Board of Review and Gotham Awards, Washington is difficult to deny. …

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