Filling Out My Golden Globes Ballot

golden-globes-logo

By: Connor Lenahan

Tonight are the 71st Golden Globe awards and I could not be any more excited. We are now heading into awards season, which means award shows and ballots and arguments and movies and television and Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

I spent a large amount of my 2013 in movie theaters and with the quality of films to come out last year I regret nothing. Well, maybe seeing Sharknado in theaters, but that’s it. The Golden Globes are always a fun night because it makes no sense. I did my best to follow along with the movies that would be “important” come Oscar season and still ended up missing a scary amount of nominees for tonight.

This doesn’t really shock me though. The Golden Globes play by their own rules. A few years ago they Hollywood Foreign Press nominated The Tourist (Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp) for Best Picture – Comedy. Two problems came out of this: 1. No one thought The Tourist was a comedy and 2. No one thought The Tourist should have been nominated for anything. It was a critical failure (20% on Rotten Tomatoes). Yet this is exactly why the Golden Globes are fun. They are unpredictable and just a tiny bit insane.

With that in mind, I am not going to waste time trying to predict what will win, as I will most likely be wrong 95% of the time. Instead, here is what I would have voted on if given an official ballot. I haven’t seen everything nominated which is the equal fault of the HFPA and myself, so all nominees with asterisks I will hold off from commenting on. Wouldn’t be fair to make assumptions based off a trailer or less. Without further ado, here’s my ballot.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

BP Drama

Best Picture – Drama

Nominees: 12 Years a Slave, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Rush, and Philomena*

Before we get too far I want to go on the record by saying 12 Years a Slave was not only the best movie I saw last year by a wide margin, but also one of the best I had ever seen. I never before had an experience where I left the theater not only speechless but breathless and shaking as well. I could barely move. This movie is a masterpiece of cinema. Wesley Morris of Grantland penned an essay about the excellence of 12 Years a Slave that captures the power of the film better than I could ever hope to. This is the toughest watch of the year, but by far the best one out there. 12 Years a Slave is going to and should win tonight and unless something miraculous happens it will (deservingly) win Best Picture at the Oscars as well.

Gravity was a cultural phenomenon in 2013. The movie made bank ($670 million) and was critically applauded as well. What Gravity does, brings the viewer into space, is unheard of. This isn’t “bringing you into space” like Star Wars or Apollo 13 or The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars; this movie is the genuine article. You feel as though you are flying around with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock without gravity. This is the best CGI work I’ve ever seen and deserving of every technical award ever invented. That said Gravity is slightly problematic in hindsight. The first viewing is flawless, but when trying to watch it again I found myself disinterested in Sandra Bullock’s backstory in the movie. Also, the ending to the movie feels a little over the top. Exciting? Hell yeah. Reaching for happiness at any cost? Also yes. It loses its polish the more times you watch, but it’s still a great experience and a technological accomplishment of the highest regard.

I found myself surprised by Rush. I wasn’t figuring it to be anything amazing, but then I saw the on screen chemistry between Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl. I came away impressed with the movie itself, one of the better sports movies I have seen in a while, but more so by the actors. I questioned why Thor was racing cars against a Nazi sniper until they entirely sucked me into the movie. Rush was far from perfect but it is exceedingly entertaining, definitely worth a Sunday afternoon viewing.

Finally, Captain Phillips was way better than I expected. I figured from the trailers that it would be a highly predictable movie, which is slightly unfair as it is a true story, and ultimately formulaic. Then I saw the reviews coming out saying that it was absolutely worth my time to go see it. Then I ended up crying at the end. But we will cover that soon. The film was tense and engaging with A+ performances from Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi in the lead roles. Captain Phillips was my happiest movie surprise last year.

 

My Pick: 12 Years a Slave

………………………………………………………………………………………………

BP Comedy

Best Picture – Comedy/Musical

Nominees: American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street, Nebraska, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Her*

Due to my winter vacation from Boston and the inability for Scranton to get limited releases I missed Her by days in both cities. I’m going to see it on Monday with my friend Montana and I would not be surprised if it were to shake up my pick in this category.

This category is stacked. This is going to be a fistfight. I love every movie in this category. I saw The Wolf of Wall Street thrice in theaters and wrote 1,700 words about it a few days ago. I still can’t quite pinpoint what makes me enjoy it so much but I can’t stop watching it or thinking about it. It’s just terrific.

American Hustle is a movie that was tailor made for me. I am a huge homer for David O. Russell after Silver Linings Playbook and the entire cast is comprised of actors I adore. The story is fantastically thought out and gets better with multiple viewings. Everyone comes to play in this movie; Bale, Adams, Renner, Lawrence and Cooper are all in top form. They even start the movie with “Dirty Work” by Steely Dan. It’s insanely entertaining and incessantly rewatchable. In a year without 12 Years a Slave this would have to be the frontrunner for Best Picture at the Oscars.

Nebraska was absolutely hilarious. I thought it might have some humorous moments judging from the early trailers, but I wasn’t figuring that I would be struggling to breathe from laughing so hard. Nebraska is not just funny, but heartbreaking and sweet as well. It’s an easily lovable movie and one of my personal favorites from last year. There’s a decent chance I might go see this in theaters again if I can.

Inside Llewyn Davis was odd. I remember coming out of the movie confused. It’s impossible to explain what this movie is about and fully capture what’s going on in the story. The more I digested it, the more I liked Inside Llewyn Davis. It’s intentionally heartbreaking, but I liked that. There are far too many movies that come out and the protagonist gets exactly what he/she wants. I respect movies with the audacity to go for a downer ending. Inside Llewyn Davis fits that perfectly. I need to watch it again to truly get what is going on, and I’ll probably end up absolutely falling in love with it. Also, the soundtrack is flawless.

 

My Pick: American Hustle. I was torn between The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle but I believe I give the edge to everyone in the ensemble cast giving their all over Leo owning every scene. Yeah it’s a razor thin margin and it’s painful to choose between them. It’s like picking which one of my children lives and which dies.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

BAM D

Best Actor – Drama

Nominees: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, and Idris Elba*

Chiwetel Ejiofor is great in 12 Years a Slave and makes you feel the pain that Solomon Northup feels being torn away from everything he knows and loves. It’s a moving performance that probably will win tonight. I would have no problem with this at all.

That said; I would vote for Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club. I grew up with McConaughey being a leading man in romantic comedies and it was socially acceptably to make fun of him for being a beach bum that got by on good looks only. Then a few years ago, when The Lincoln Lawyer came out, I started to hear people respecting him as an actual “actor.” He kept coming out with critically acclaimed movies/performances in Killer Joe and Mud (two movies I own in my house and I have ashamedly not watched) before dropping the mic with his role as AIDS patient Ron Woodruff in Dallas Buyers Club. He’s able to make the audience care about an asshole like Woodruff. His commitment to helping those in need and circumventing the FDA overshadows his drug abuse and womanizing from the beginning of the story.

Redford’s performance in All is Lost has been garnering him critical buss for months and it is widely believed he could be in line to win tonight and at the Oscars for his role of a shipwrecked sailor. I saw All is Lost and came away completely underwhelmed. The movie just wasn’t all that good. Redford was pretty good and I was rooting for him at the end, but it wasn’t Earth-shattering as it’s being talked up. It wasn’t even the best performance of a ship captain in 2013. Tom Hanks does a terrific job for all of Captain Phillips and then in the final scene he delivers the best acting I’ve seen in quite some time. This scene gives me chills. I have only started to tear up at three movie moments: “Brooks Was Here” in The Shawshank Redemption, the incinerator scene in Toy Story 3 (no shame), and the final scene of Captain Phillips. I even started tearing up watching it on my laptop in my kitchen. It’s that good. I think they could award him for that scene alone and I’d be more than okay with it.

 

My Pick: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

………………………………………………………………………………………………

BAc C

Best Actor – Comedy/Musical

Nominees: Bruce Dern, Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Joaquin Phoenix*

Bruce Dern is great in Nebraska as the aging Woody Grant. He’s adorable yet deep. He’s calm yet troubling. As some reviewers have commented, it’s hard to remember Dern isn’t actually Grant. He’s believable on a number of levels, including those he probably wasn’t aiming for.

Christian Bale is a hell of a lot funnier than I realized. He plays it fairly straight in American Hustle, not trying to be explicitly funny but when he is threatened by the mob and has an argument with his wife, Jennifer Lawrence, he’s perfect. The world needs more of Christian Bale freaking out. His turn in American Hustle isn’t particularly surprising because I cannot remember the last time I saw him give a poor performance; he was even good in Out of the Furnace, a monumentally disappointing film. Bale is top notch as always.

Oscar Isaac was captivating as Llewyn Davis, and definitely gets a bump for singing his characters songs himself. Again, I need another showing of the movie, I feel as though I should have been paying better attention to his performance than I was.

Then there’s Leo. For my full thoughts I will direct you to my review from a few days ago, but I have three words: Cerebral Palsy Phase. Game, set and match.

 

My Pick: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

………………………………………………………………………………………………

BA Drama

Best Actress – Drama

Nominees: Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Emma Thompson, Judi Dench*, and Kate Winslet* (Full Disclosure: I did not even know Labor Day, the film which Winslet is nominated for, existed until this morning.)

I could talk about the performances of Bullock and Thompson, both of which I enjoyed, but it would be a waste of time. Blanchett won this statue and the Oscar the minute Blue Jasmine was released. I loathed Blue Jasmine when I saw it, but Blanchett was amazing in it. I feel as though I owe her a second chance. Nonetheless, betting on Blanchett is like betting that the sun will rise tomorrow.

 

My Pick: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

………………………………………………………………………………………………

amy-adams-american-hustle-movie-photos_1

Best Actress – Comedy/Musical

Nominees: Amy Adams, Greta Gerwig*, Julie Delpy*, Julia Louis-Dreyfus*, and Meryl Streep*

Oops. My bad. I didn’t realize I missed all of those. Adams and Streep were the only ones here considered to be factors in the Oscar race. Much like Her I barely missed August: Osage County meaning all I got to was Adams. Good thing she was expected to win this anyway.

 

My Pick: Amy Adams, American Hustle

………………………………………………………………………………………………

BSActor

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Jared Leto, Michael Fassbender, Bradley Cooper, Daniel Bruhl, and Barkhad Abdi

Daniel Bruhl’s turn as Niki Lauda is powerful. I had only ever seen him as the slimy Nazi sniper Fredrik Zoller in Inglorious Basterds before Rush so I knew he could act. I didn’t realize he could really act. Lauda is a meticulous prick but his success makes it worth the trouble. He’s cocky when he’s both on and off the track, but he’s also emotionally damaged by the crash that nearly killed him. Hemsworth might get top billing, but Bruhl is the true star from Rush.

Bradley Cooper is the best actor alive at nailing the role of loveable douchebag. His performance as FBI Agent Richie DiMaso is fantastic, because you despise the character while laughing at the destruction of his investigation by Bale and Adams. DiMaso is an overambitious and slightly crazy person, and Cooper makes sure you can’t take your eyes off of him.

Barkhad Abdi has no business being as good as he in in Captain Phillips. He’s terrifying despite being the least physically intimidating villain in history. It’s neither his weapons nor his crew that make him such a great villain, but his determination. He is the guy that’s always looked over for the job because of his size. They think he can’t hang with the big boys. This is his chance to prove to the world the big boys can’t hang with him, no matter what it takes. Not much is more terrifying than someone who won’t listen to reason and doesn’t know when to quit while they are ahead. Abdi was stellar in Captain Phillips.

Yet, as good as Abdi was, he wasn’t the best cinematic villain. That distinction goes to the unbelievable Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave. It’s one thing to capture the essence of a villain. To make the audience realize you are the bad guy. It’s another to tap into evil; to genuinely portray the worst of the worst in humanity. Fassbender’s Edwin Epps is reprehensible, abusive, vulgar, manipulative, insane and unforgettable. His role here was the strongest of the movie, and could easily win myriad deserved statuettes.

The only problem is that we knew Fassbender was amazing going into this movie. We expected no less from him, especially when he is working with Steve McQueen. The duo made two critically applauded films, Hunger and Shame, together that cemented their status as stars. It’s another thing to come out of nowhere with a drop jaw performance that no one saw coming. Jared Leto is most notable for starring in My So-Called Life in 1994, numerous movie roles in the late 1990s (my favorite being Paul Allen in American Psycho) and being the lead singer of 30 Seconds to Mars. No one ever anticipated that he would give a masterful performance as transgender AIDS patient Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey is fantastic in this movie, and Leto is exceedingly better. Leto steals every scene he is in and is truly the emotional linchpin of the story. If you aren’t moved by Leto’s performance, you don’t have a heart. If you’re not impressed by Leto’s performance, you don’t have a brain.

 

My Pick: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

………………………………………………………………………………………………

BSActress

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: June Squibb, Sally Hawkins, Lupita Nyong’o, Jennifer Lawrence, and Julia Roberts*

June Squibb in Nebraska is everything. I couldn’t breathe anytime she was on screen. I was laughing that hard. She was the single funniest character of the year and I love her. She’s amazing, just the absolute best. I can’t even criticize her, it’s like she’s my grandma. I really love Nebraska, and she is a big reason why.

I really hated Blue Jasmine though. Everyone in this movie was annoying. Sally Hawkins was whiny and weak. I didn’t like her character nor did I think she did all of that great of a job in the movie. Then again, when you are going against Cate Blanchett playing your sister in world-destroyer form it’s not really fair.

Lupita Nyong’o was great in 12 Years a Slave. Much like Ejiofor you feel her pain, only hers is different. Where as Solomon is in emotional pain, Nyong’o’s Patsey is in physical pain repeatedly at the hand of Fassbender. Fassbender forces himself upon her and she doesn’t struggle. She’s a broken person without a fight to give. She is incredible in the scene where Patsey is mercilessly whipped. Emotional and believable. Just powerful. You can’t look, yet you can’t look away.

And then we come to Jennifer Lawrence. In a movie stacked full of Oscar nominees and winners she somehow not only steals every scene she’s in but also wins the movie. The best character from American Hustle is Rosalyn and it isn’t really close. Science oven fires, questionable parenting, blabbing to the mob, and lip-syncing to “Live and Let Die” while dusting are all just perfect. Lawrence is unbelievable with the comedy and still nails her emotional turmoil over her crumbling marriage. Plus she kisses Amy Adams. Yup that’s enough, we have a winner.

 

My Pick: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

………………………………………………………………………………………………

BD

Best Director

Nominees: Steve McQueen, Alfonso Cuaron, Paul Greengrass, Alexander Payne, and David O. Russell

There is one scene that won this for Steve McQueen for me. When Solomon decides to fight back against a slave handler played by Paul Dano he is placed into a noose and hung from a tree. Solomon is just barely able to stand on the ground below to keep himself alive. The camera is static. We see him dangling there; tip toing the ground in an effort to keep breathing. Hours pass before he is saved. It’s beautiful filmmaking of the worst of humanity. It’s burned into my memory for the rest of my life. Any director that can do that to me deserves the praise.

 

My Pick: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

………………………………………………………………………………………………

breaking-bad-image-2

Every Television Award

I stopped watching normal television a while ago. I’ve found binge watching shows to be much more pleasurable. I’m impatient and I don’t apologize for it. Over the past three weeks I began and finished the entirety of Breaking Bad. It was far and away the best television show I had ever seen. All I know is anytime Breaking Bad is nominated tonight they deserve to win. I have no knowledge of anything else. Sorry not sorry.

 

My Pick: Breaking Bad (Drama Series), Bryan Cranston (Drama Lead Actor), Aaron Paul (Supporting Actor), No Clue (everything else)

………………………………………………………………………………………………

The 71st Golden Globes air tonight at 8PM on NBC

Connor Lenahan (@ConnorLenahan) is the founder and editor-in-chief of Connorlenahan.com. He is a freshman at Boston University, majoring in journalism. He can be emailed at lenahan@bu.edu