That being said, this year's pack is a pretty interesting mix of the good, the bad, and the stupid. These are the nominees.
BEST PICTURE (DRAMA)
The King's Speech
The Social Network
Since there are only five nominees in each picture category, some things had to be left out. Surprisingly, The Fighter squeaked in, and based on the stellar reviews and terrific box office the film's received, it looks like a major Oscar player after all. However, the snub for 127 Hours has to hurt. Otherwise, the other four films are the same ones on everyone's list: will The Social Network still be rolling when the ceremony happens in January?
BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Halle Berry, Frankie and Alice
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
The Berry nomination is probably the most surprising, since she's barely been discussed. Her film has received middling reviews, but she's earned praise for her performance as a woman with multiple-personality disorder. Does she have a shot at the Oscars? If her precursor buzz builds now, its more than possible, but in a crowded actress field I don't see her prevailing. The others have been in the picture for a while, and major kudos to the Globes for recognizing Williams. I have a lot of faith in that film (I can't wait until it arrives here), and I'm hoping to see it succeed.
BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King's Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours
Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine
Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter
Despite the lack of talk about his performance (even though practically everyone else in the cast has been praised), I'm not surprised to see Wahlberg here, and I still think he's good for an Oscar nomination: his film has momentum, he's supposedly good in it (I'll let you know soon), and he's playing a boxer, an Academy favorite. Again, great shout-out to Gosling, and Eisenberg is being more and more established as a real contender. Meanwhile, True Grit didn't receive a single nomination, including for Jeff Bridges, and Robert Duvall is absent too for Get Low. Are these campaigns in danger? Duvall's might be, but we'll wait and see.
BEST PICTURE (COMEDY/MUSICAL)
Alice in Wonderland
The Kids Are All Right
Every year this is the single-most infuriating category. Its not that I'm opposed to a separate category for comedies and musicals, because otherwise there are great films that would never be nominated as a best picture just because they are a comedy or a musical (a stigma that really grinds my gears; its as if a film is inferior to a drama because its funny or has song-and-dance routines. Come on, world, get with the picture!) What really irks me about this category is the films it chooses to honor, which are usually not the best comedies or musicals of the year (though they've done well here the past few years) and sometimes aren't even comedies or musicals at all! Case in point: Alice in Wonderland, that dreadful excuse for a film that made a killing at the box office by charging $15 a ticket to watch crap in an extra dimension, and The Tourist, which is arguably a light thriller that didn't do so well at the box office this past weekend and hasn't won critics over either. In fact, the only films to score "generally favorable reviews" (ie, 60 or above) on Metacritic are The Kids Are All Right (86) and RED (61); the average Metacritic score for these five films is 57, while The Tourist scored an abysmal 37. That latter film was probably included so that its stars, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, would show up, but as you'll see below, they were individually nominated. So there's no excuse to nominate the film over other, better comedies such as Greenburg, Easy A, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World or Love & Other Drugs. In fact, why didn't Toy Story 3 get any love here? I know its an animated film, but the previous two installments were nominated here (Toy Story 2 even won), and animated films have been nominated here in the past. Why choose Alice over it? It just doesn't make any sense, and a year after giving The Hangover this prize (when (500) Days of Summer, It's Complicated, Nine, and half of Julie & Julia were better films), I can't forgive them for this inexplicable nonsense. Also, The Kids Are All Right will win this - at least it'd better win.
BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Anne Hathaway, Love & Other Drugs
Angelina Jolie, The Tourist
Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right
Emma Stone, Easy A
This, unlike the previous category, is actually really good for the most part. Its bittersweet to know that this will probably be the only time Bening and Moore will share the category for their dual-lead roles (especially when I personally liked Moore in the film more than Bening), but for some reason, the Oscars don't believe in dual-leads anymore (I'm still holding out for it to happen, though). Major kudos for recognizing Stone's fiercely funny performance in Easy A; she carried the film with aplomb and comedic brilliance. I don't expect much other awards for her, but at least she gets a little recognition from her peers. Notable abscenses: the Burlesque ladies (Christina Aguilera and Cher, whichever is considered lead) and Lesley Manville, who seems to be cooling down a lot lately. She's been a safe bet for so long, if she misses out, who will take her place?
BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Johnny Depp, Alice in Wonderland
Johnny Depp, The Tourist
Paul Giamatti, Barney's Version
Jake Gyllenhaal, Love & Other Drugs
Kevin Spacey, Casino Jack
Remember when Depp was very good at choosing roles that showed his range as an actor, whether it was the intensity he brought to Blow, the bravura comedic chops he brought to Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and the weirdness he reveled in in Edward Scissorhands? Well, those days seem to be over, since a look at his recent work, upcoming films, and two nominations above seem to suggest he's coasting on goofy, over-exaggerated motions and accents; Jack Sparrow in different settings, if you will. Here's hoping that one day he gets back on track. The only one here in real consideration for an Oscar nod is Giamatti (sadly, not the ever-charming Gyllenhaal, who I thought was terrific): he's been brought up a couple of times, but even he doesn't seem all that likely. And this category is a terrible predictor for the Oscars: in the last five years, only two of the 26 nominees here earned Oscar nods the same year (Joaquin Phoenix in 2005 for Walk the Line and, ironically, Johnny Depp for Sweeney Todd in 2007; both won this category but failed to win the Oscar).
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech
Mila Kunis, Black Swan
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
This category is really starting to shape up, and at this point I wouldn't be surprised if this is mostly what the Oscar category looks like. Kunis is a surprise, and I doubt she's going to go too far down the awards trail, but it's nice to see her here.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE
Christian Bale, The Fighter
Michael Douglas, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech
I get the feeling Douglas is here for star power and sympathy, since he didn't exactly earn raves for his reprisal of Gordon Gekko (for which he won the 1987 Best Actor Oscar). Dispiriting the lack of Mark Ruffalo, who was so good in The Kids Are All Right but may miss out on his first well-deserved Oscar nomination. He's so laid-back in his performance, or at least seems to be, and that's probably what's hurting his chances: it doesn't look like he's doing as much as he actually is.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
How to Train Your Dragon
Toy Story 3
I imagine at this point these are the five top contenders for the three Oscar slots, and with Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon easy locks, its a fight for which of the other three will get the last one. My money's on The Illusionist, since they loved The Triplets of Belleville, director Sylvain Chomet's 2003 film. As far as the Globes go, I'm starting to think this category's existence is the reason Toy Story 3 didn't land a Best Picture nod. The shame of the animation ghetto. As an aside: if you liked How to Train Your Dragon and other Dreamworks Animation films, good news! The studio is rolling out two more Madagascars, at least two more How to Train Your Dragons, and five more Kung Fu Pandas over the next decade. Happy trails to you.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The Concert (France)
The Edge (Russia)
I Am Love (Italy)
In a Better World (Denmark)
Biutiful, The Edge, and In a Better World were all submissions from their respective countries for Oscar consideration, so if any of them prevail it could be significant to its chances (though we'll see the Oscar shortlist for this category any day now...). Its really great to see I Am Love get nominated here and elsewhere; perhaps it can squeak into another category at the Oscars.
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
David Fincher, The Social Network
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Christopher Nolan, Inception
David O. Russell, The Fighter
This is a very possible scenario for the Oscars, and I honestly don't have a bone to pick with any of them. Its a little surprising that Russell got in but 127 Hours's Danny Boyle didn't, and I suspect the latter will be Oscar-nominated, but otherwise this looks like a fairly solid category. Its really nice to see the brilliance of Aronofsky (a personal favorite of mine) finally getting recognition. Notable absence: Clint Eastwood, a Globes favorite, whose film Hereafter is surprisingly completely absent from the proceedings.
Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right
Christopher Nolan, Inception
David Seidler, The King's Speech
Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Since the Globes don't specify between adapted and original screenplays the way the Oscars do, this category can only give us a taste of who the likely front-runners are. They're all worthy scripts (to my knowledge - the only one I haven't seen is The King's Speech), and I suspect they'll all be Oscar nominees.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Alexandre Desplat, The King's Speech
Danny Elfman, Alice in Wonderland
A.R. Rahman, 127 Hours
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network
Hans Zimmer, Inception
The Elfman nomination is depressing: its far from his best work, and there were better scores this year that should be here. What's surprising to me is that Reznor's and Ross's score for The Social Network keeps getting nominated: its a non-traditional score that relies on heavy sounds rather than the more traditional fare voters go for. Its still got a long hike for Oscar glory: they generally don't like composers they haven't nominated before.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
"Bound to You," Burlesque; Music by Samuel Dixon, Lyrics by Christina Aguilera & Sia Furler
"Coming Home," Country Strong; Music & Lyrics by Bob DiPiero, Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsay, Troy Verges
"I See the Light," Tangled; Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Glenn Slater
"There's a Place for Us," The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; Music & Lyrics by Carrie Underwood, David Hodges, Hillary Lindsay
"You Haven't Seen the Last of Me," Burlesque; Music & Lyrics by Dianne Warren
This too is a really hit-or-miss category. I can see Tangled crossing over, as well as one of the Burlesque numbers. Otherwise, who knows.
BEST TELEVISION SERIES - DRAMA
The Good Wife
The Walking Dead
The Globes have a funny place in terms of television. They're right between Emmy awards, so there's a kind of mix of last year's honorees and a mid-season report card for next year's show. So with that said, Boardwalk Empire and The Walking Dead seem to have the Globes' vote of approval, and I can certainly see the former making the Emmy cut for next year. But no Breaking Bad?
BEST ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION DRAMA
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Piper Perabo, Covert Affairs
Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
Case in point: Margulies and Sedgwick are back, and Moss (supporting at last year's Emmys) is here too. But the new kids are a strange mix: Sagal, best known for her comedy work on Married...With Children and Futurama, has received ecstatic reviews for her performance on the motorcycle-gang drama, and many felt that she deserved an Emmy nomination last year. On the other hand, where the hell did Perabo come from? Her show wasn't a runaway success critically or commercially, so, huh?
BEST ACTOR IN A TELEVISION DRAMA
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Hugh Laurie, House
Buscemi's the only name that doesn't show up in this category year after year. Its good to see him recognized; sometime I'm going to find a way to see Boardwalk Empire (probably going to have to wait for the DVDs).
BEST TELEVISION SERIES - COMEDY/MUSICAL
The Big Bang Theory
The Big C
Nurse Jackie continues to befuddle, but for the most part this is pretty much the expected set, and a good choice of comedy shows. Is The Big C really a comedy? I only saw the pilot, and it felt like a drama with comedic overtones. But maybe its more like a really dark comedy with dramatic overtones. Who knows.
BEST ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION COMEDY/MUSICAL
Toni Collette, United States of Tara
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Laura Linney, The Big C
Lea Michele, Glee
No surprises here, except maybe that Michele was nominated. I'm guessing that's based on the back half of the first season, because there's no way she was nominated for season two. As for the win, will it be reigning Emmy champ Falco, or will Collette or Linney pull the upset?
BEST ACTOR IN A TELEVISION COMEDY/MUSICAL
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Steve Carell, The Office
Thomas Jane, Hung
Matthew Morrison, Glee
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Again, Morrison has to be based on....something. The Globes really like Jane, too, as this is his second or third nomination in this category for Hung (which isn't a huge show, no pun intended). The others are more or less as expected.
BEST MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
Pillars of the Earth
You Don't Know Jack
And so the miniseries Emmy champ, The Pacific, gets to square off with the TV movie Emmy champ, Temple Grandin. Who will emerge victorious? Carlos is a funny thing: its a miniseries that was also released in theaters as a full-length film, directed by French auteur Olivier Assayas. I'm intrigued that it made the cut here instead of film, but I guess it had an infinitely better shot here.
BEST ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
Hayley Atwell, Pillars of the Earth
Claire Danes, Temple Grandin
Judi Dench, Return to Cranford
Romola Garai, Emma
Jennifer Love Hewitt, The Client List
Hewitt's nomination comes from a Lifetime movie, if that tells you anything. I don't have much to say about this, other than I expect Danes will repeat her Emmy victory here.
BEST ACTOR IN A MINISERIES/TV MOVIE
Idris Elba, Luther
Ian McShane, Pillars of the Earth
Al Pacino, You Don't Know Jack
Dennis Quaid, The Special Relationship
Edgar Ramirez, Carlos
Luther isn't actually a miniseries or a TV movie, its a regular series on BBC, so I'm really confused as to why Elba is nominated here. Can we assume that Carlos will make a big run at next year's Emmys, or is that just a pipe dream?
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS ON TELEVISION
Hope Davis, The Special Relationship
Jane Lynch, Glee
Kelly MacDonald, Boardwalk Empire
Julia Stiles, Dexter
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Here the Globes don't make any distinctions, so the television supporting categories are a free-for-all of comedies, dramas, miniseries, and TV movies, as you can see above. I'm a huge fan of Dexter, so I'm looking forward to being able to check out Stiles's performance on the show this past season at some point.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR ON TELEVISION
Scott Caan, Hawaii Five-O
Chris Colfer, Glee
Chris Noth, The Good Wife
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
David Strathairn, Temple Grandin
Is Caan really that good on Hawaii Five-O? Its not on Hulu (thanks, CBS), so I don't really know anything about the show. The Noth nomination is a bit of a surprise too, since the men on The Good Wife hardly generate any awards buzz (unless they are this year?). This one's a toss-up: it could be any of them as far as I know.
So there you have it: this year's Golden Globes. Care to share your thoughts on any or all of this? Comments are not only welcome, but encouraged!