Officially, Golden Globe ballots aren't due until next Wednesday, but most members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. are voting today and Friday, having just received their ballots.
The timing of when they cast their votes is significant because much has happened since nominations were announced on Dec. 15. Take "Nine," for example. HFPA members seemed to dig Rob Marshall's adaptation of the Tony Award-sweeping Broadway musical so much that they gave it five nominations — the second-most of all films this year (after "Up in the Air," which received six).
However, "Nine" — which cost $80 million to make — has flopped at the U.S. box office, earning only $14 million so far, and film critics have not been kind. It only has a 48 rating at Metacritic. Lou Lumenick of the New York Post calls it a "tacky, all-star botch."
But some key reviews have been positive. Variety said "Nine" "impresses and amuses," but that review came out on Dec. 4. One month later, "Nine" is perceived as a misfire. Will that matter to musical-mad Globe voters or will they be blinded by its megawatt star-power: Daniel-Day Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, etc.? HFPA members are notorious for swooning over superstars.
Globers adore musicals so much that tuners almost always win the award for best comedy/musical picture when nominated ("Sweeney Todd," "Dreamgirls," "Moulin Rouge," "Evita"). On rare occasions they lose, that's true — for example, last year when "Mamma Mia!" was defeated by Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." "Mamma Mia!" was fantastically successful at the box office ($609 million worldwide), but film critics refused to hug that mamma.
Perhaps "Nine" is similar to "The Producers," which Globers seemed to like at first, giving it four nominations in 2005. However, by the time they voted just prior to the awards ceremony, it was clear that the Broadway smash hit hadn't transferred successfully to celluloid. It lost best comedy/musical picture to a film that, curiously, could be labeled a tuner too — "Walk the Line."
Photo: Penelope Cruz in a scene from "Nine." Credit: The Weinstein Co.