In the spirit of the holidays, I promise to give members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association a break and not snoop among them until after New Year's Day. Till then, though, let me offer some general prognostication about the comedy/musical film races like I recently did with the drama film slots.
BEST MOTION PICTURE, MUSICAL OR COMEDY
"Across the Universe"
"Charlie Wilson's War"
The foreign press really dig that unique Yankee movie experience, the musical. If a successful one is nominated here, even amongst blockbuster comedies, it usually wins ("Dreamgirls," "Moulin Rouge!" "Chicago," "Evita"). Much has been made this year about HFPA members' peculiar love of "Across the Universe," but let's recall that they also adored that low-energy, s-l-o-w-e-d-down screen adaptation of "Phantom of the Opera" a few years back, which flopped at the b.o. and lost at the Globes (to songless "Sideways," no less). So forget "Universe." This year they're also ga-ga over "Hairspray," which was hugely and surprisingly successful and could win, but it's old (came out last summer) and silly, not having "Sweeney's" gravitas and artistic cred. Besides, "Sweeney" is the only rival whose director is also nominated. That doesn't always equal victory. "Babe" won without helmer Chris Noonan being nommed, beating "The American President," whose Rob Reiner made the directors' list. But that overlap between categories usually fingers the winner ahead.
BEST ACTOR, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Johnny Depp, "Sweeney Todd"
Tom Hanks, "Charlie Wilson's War"
Ryan Gosling, "Lars and the Real Girl"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Savages"
John C. Reilly, "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story"
When I attend the Golden Globes, I prefer to hang out back in the general press room where you can dish with winners and swap snarky comments with your journo pals. But I'm awfully glad I made an exception in 2004 (for the 2003 awards year) and agreed to sit out in the audience at a banquet table among the nominees. What a shock! Throughout the night I witnessed the sore losers — of which there are legions — get up and leave during the telecast's commercial breaks. That year I sat next to the "Six Feet Under" table. Soon after they lost best drama series to "24," all of the cast members save one scooted, leaving behind Frances Conroy, who had to wait around for the best-actress category. She won. Later that night I spied the poor dear sitting alone at the HBO party downstairs, her Golden Globe in her lap, a forlorn look on her face and not a fellow cast member nearby to help her to celebrate. Jerks!
But the biggest shockeroo of all occurred when the winner of best comedy/musical actor in a film was announced. "Pirates" nominee Johnny Depp didn't even bother to wait until a TV commercial break. After losing to Bill Murray ("Lost in Translation"), the big baby ran out so fast that I thought the Beverly Hilton was ablaze.
Well, I guess losing can get kind of rough on an ego-pampered star after a while. It was Johnny's fourth Globes defeat. He's lost three more since then ("Finding Neverland," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"). Last year he didn't throw another tantrum exit because he didn't attend.
This year I think it's obvious that he'll be heading in the other direction at last, up to the podium to accept his first Globe in eight nominations, then heading to the press room to join us. No other actor in this race has a prayer, so I was told by several HFPA members when I snooped before the holidays.
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