The Quest for the Best

Annette Bening (l) and Julianne Moore in "The KIds Are All Right."

The Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards’ pre-season prepares us for the Super Bowl that is the Oscars
by Donalevan Maines

It just dawned on me that I don’t remember a single thing about last year’s Golden Globe Awards.

I always mark January by the Golden Globes, the way a sports writer rings in the New Year with bowl games and football playoffs.

But it turns out that last year I was otherwise occupied with a loved one who went blind. He had surgery (after surgery after surgery). It was months before they took off his last set of bandages, and he looked up (through the eye that was operated on) and told the surgeon, “So that’s what you look like!”

Our ordeal was over. I came home. But “awards season” was an afterthought.

Enough backstage patter. Let’s get to this year’s nominees for two award-fests that often serve as reliable precursors of cinema’s biggest night, the Academy Awards, as well as next summer’s Emmy Awards.

Chris Colfer (l) and Jane Lynch in "Glee."

The 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Nominees are voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a handful of Los Angeles-based “journalists” who supposedly write for overseas publications. Their modus operandi is to nominate both bona fide stars and breakout stars-du-jour so they can walk the red carpet, appear on the telecast, and get plastered. The ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel begins at 7 p.m. on January 16 on NBC.

The Golden Globes always promise a starry, starry night, and this year’s slate of acting nominees forecasts that we’ll see Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in designer duds, along with Johnny Depp, Nicole Kidman, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Halle Berry, Mark Wahlberg, and upcoming Oscar hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway. However, nomination-deprived Leonardo DiCaprio might ignore the event, just as he snubbed the Oscars when he didn’t make the cut for Titanic in 1998.

This year, it’s both curious and fortuitous that The Kids Are All Right is nominated in the comedy or musical category. That means it doesn’t have to compete against heavyweight Oscar-bait dramas. Also, both stars, Annette Bening and Julianne Moore, scored best actress nods.

It would have been thrilling to see Jim Carrey nominated for I Love You, Phillip Morris, but we’ll always have Huntsville.

Among dramas, the big winner at major critics’ awards, The Social Network, gained some stiff-upper-lip competition from The King’s Speech. The Fighter came out swinging across the board, and Black Swan, which features Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis in a sex scene fraught with danger, won multiple nominations.

Prediction: A big night for The Kids Are All Right.

In TV categories, Glee repeated its Emmy splash with nominations for Matthew Morrison, Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, and Jane Lynch; Modern Family won nods for both Eric Stonestreet and Sofia Vergara; and Thomas Jane scored as the well-endowed coach on Hung.

Our town’s Emmy winner Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) is nominated for best actor in a TV comedy (for the first time), while Robert DeNiro is assured a trophy for the previously announced Cecil B. DeMille Award.

Now, on to the awards show that is set five days after Oscar nominations are announced on January 25.

The 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. Nominees are chosen by a select group of the screen actors’ union. All dues-paying members of the guild may vote on the winners, who become instant favorites for an Oscar. The ceremony at the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center begins at 7 p.m. on January 30, simulcast on TNT and TBS.

The Kids Are All Right joined the four major dramas as nominees for best cast, but Julianne Moore was bumped for best actress in favor of Hilary Swank in Conviction.

Golden Globe shutouts who bounced back with SAG’s stamp of approval included Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right), Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), Robert Duvall (Get Low), and character actor John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone).

Prediction: The Social Network will stake its claim to win best picture, and at least three winners in the four movie acting categories will repeat at the Oscars.

In TV, Glee’s Chris Colfer was promoted past Matthew Morrison in the best actor category, but Modern Family’s Ed O’Neill and Ty Burrell knocked out co-star Eric Stonestreet as well as Jim Parsons.

Jane Lynch and Sofia Vergara moved up to the best actress race.

Both shows won nominations for best cast in a comedy series.

This year’s special honoree, winner of the lifetime achievement award, is veteran actor Ernest Borgnine, age 93. Many Brokeback Mountain fans still haven’t forgiven Borgnine for allegedly participating in the successful bloc vote for Crash to win best picture at the Oscars in 2006 so that a “gay cowboy movie” wouldn’t win. Borgnine admitted he hadn’t even seen Brokeback Mountain. (Has he seen Crash?) I wish I could quit you, Mr. Borgnine, but I liked you in TV’s McHale’s Navy and the Oscar-winning Marty.

The Academy Awards broadcasts live on ABC on February 27. Folks, please remember that I missed awards season last year. In all the excitement, I’m liable to look dumbfounded and ask, “What is Mo’Nique doing at the Oscars?”

Behind the Scenes:
Larry McMurtry’s ‘Hollywood: A Third Memoir

In events leading up to the 2006 Golden Globes ceremony, Larry McMurtry teased reporters that if he were to win for co-writing the script for Brokeback Mountain, he would say “something controversial.” Really? The Louis L’Amour of our generation revealing something provocative about Hollywood’s first gay love story set in cowboy country? What might he say? Well, McMurtry did win, but the big controversy? That he composed the script on a typewriter, not a computer. Whatever. Likewise, this memoir of his adventures in moviemaking isn’t steamy at all. Its most “controversial” assertion is that a few readers think that cowboys Gus and Call in Lonesome Dove were gay. It seems slim pickings, too, for 50 years behind the scenes of classic, star-studded films such as Hud, The Last Picture Show, What’s Up, Doc?, and Terms of Endearment. Some chapters are less than 60 words in length.

Donalevan Maines is a regular contributor to OutSmart magazine.


Don Maines

Donalevan Maines is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.

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