The glitz and glamour of Awards Season is firmly upon us, and this Sunday (8th January) sees the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards stroll into Beverley Hills. Celebrating the very best in film and television from the past twelve months, the ceremony is expected to be as exciting as ever, with many of Hollywood’s elite stepping out to strut their stuff upon the red carpet.
Here at Filmoria, we love a group feature, and this week we tasked our hardworking staff with selecting a pick for their favourite nominee from any of the categories which make up the Golden Globes (read the full nominations list here).
Rather than predicting what we think will win, or offering an elongated assessment of what we think should win, instead we’ve devised a digestible way of showcasing what our team members will be championing on Sunday night.
Best Motion Picture – Animated
Zootopia – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Chosen by James Wheatley
In an era where unique blockbusters are few and far between – often deemed a risk unless they’re related to an existing property or franchise – it’s in animation that we get to see big-budget original storytelling, and 2016 provided quite possibly the best year for the genre in recent memory. The list of films that haven’t made this shortlist would still include some worthy winners (Your Name especially…) however, Zootopia is the only choice for me.
The film follows Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), a small-town rabbit who dreams of being a police officer in the big city. She teams up with Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a con artist fox, to investigate the disappearance of some other residents. The two encounter various other species of animals along the way, as the fast-paced adventure zips along (aside from when it slows down to sloth-pace in the excruciatingly hilarious DMV scene). Beautiful craft is a pre-requisite for animated movies these days, so it’s no surprise that this is visually stunning. The imagination that’s gone into the colourful city landscapes to adapt them for animals of all different sizes is both funny and at times ingenious.
Zootopia could’ve easily been like any other talking animal movie, but instead it was so much more. This is an important work; rich with themes and ideas. Without feeling preachy or cheesy, it offers valuable life lessons throughout; highlighting key social issues in a innovative manner. It is the kind of picture audiences of all ages should – and will – revisit for years to come.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama
Rami Malek – Mr. Robot
Chosen by Kevin Perreau
With Anthony Hopkins’ almost effortless performance in Westworld left off, and Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones snubbed as well, there are absolute no certainties in this category. Newcomer Billy Bob Thornton in Goliath and comedy genius Bob Odenkirk were both exceptional. Matthew Rhys and Liev Schrieber also were stand-out actors in their not so popular, respected shows.
However, Rami Malek’s perfect and daring delivery left audiences flabbergasted once again. After season one of Mr. Robot has us relishing for more of Rami Malek, the second offering left the perfect amount of curiosity and excitement week after week. Malek’s delivery almost seemed surreal, to blend not only the difficulties within himself, but everything that is happening in the tech world. It was all clearly shown in the intricacies of Malek’s acting, from the deadpan eyes to the outbursts with Mr. Robot (Christian Slater). Quoted from Malek to HFPA, “I always felt like an outsider and this role really speaks to that.” The portrayal and balance of a broken man split into two worlds, struggling with mental illness and a tech savant with plans was absolutely perfect and only seems like the role he was born to play.
An extremely difficult character, yet so distinguishable and relatable at the same time. This is Malek’s second nomination at the Golden Globes, in the second season of Mr. Robot, who deserves recognition for his use of his haunting eye delivery alone.
Best Director – Motion Picture
Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals
Chosen by Darryl Griffiths
A man renowned for his sophistication and style away from the world of film. If his debut A Single Man was the project that saw him dazzle as he walked the runway for the first time, Tom Ford’s follow-up Nocturnal Animals is him truly calling the shots with his own audacious fashion show. Tantalising his audience as he draws inspiration from various genres. The sleaze and stifling heat that dominates its almost Western whodunnit, anchored by Jake Gyllenhaal’s Tony as he brings his own story to life. Juxtaposed by the cold interior and exteriors in both character and setting as Amy Adams’ disillusioned Susan, as she rolls her eyes at the superficial and catty dialogue spouted by her fellow artists, lending themselves more to a low-rent thriller.
In the fusing of such elements, Ford thrillingly puts a lens up to the consumerist junk many are all so happy to digest and frighteningly so in our current climate, that can ultimately form our own personas. The provocative Lynchian opening of a plus-size women shimmying and swaying a fine example, that can so easily be interpreted as warped amusement. Yet it is a telling reminder of how comfortable and empowering they truly are, a trait Ford’s characters ultimately do not share as they struggle with the oppression or emptiness of their minds. A narrative tapestry and intoxicating worlds to truly marvel at. The focus is strong in Ford. A worthy winner for Best Director.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Joel Edgerton – Loving
Chosen by Freda Cooper
This trophy is pretty much a foregone conclusion, with only a combination of fire, flood and act of God likely to stop Casey Affleck walking away with the gold. But if there’s one of the contenders I’d like to see cause an upset, it’s Joel Edgerton. Surely it’s only a matter of time before his name is etched on a major award or two. A producer, director and writer in his own right (The Gift, 2015), he’s still best known as an actor, a career that’s seen him in some illustrious company. Think Zero Dark Thirty (Chastain), The Great Gatsby (DiCaprio) and Black Mass (Depp). Of late, he’s become a Mike Nichols regular, firstly with Midnight Special and now with Loving.
Edgerton, and co-star Ruth Negga, give breathtaking performances as the multi-racial couple who defied the law of their home state of Virginia and got married. Nine years later, their dream came true as they saw that law overturned. The role of Richard Loving allows Edgerton to play to his considerable strengths. He’s a quiet man, not especially articulate but with an ability to get to the heart of the matter in just a few words. Why should they be allowed to be married? “We ain’t hurting nobody.” He’s not going to the hearing at the Supreme Court, so what message should his lawyer give? “Tell the judge I love my wife.” As an actor, Edgerton has the rare ability to conceal his own intelligence, yet Loving isn’t a man without emotion. All becomes clear towards the end, when he shows what we always suspected lay beneath that gruff, monosyllabic exterior. It’s a career best performance; one that marks out Edgerton as a future winner. And, if 2017 doesn’t turn out to be his year, then it won’t be long before it is.
Best Television Series – Drama
The Crown – Netflix
Chosen by Chris Haydon
There have been plentiful reports on the budget for Netflix’s audacious £100 million drama, but not enough detailing just how astonishing it actually is. The Crown is undoubtedly the streaming services’ most toweringly detailed offering – laden with majestic set design, costume, make-up, lighting, and in particular cinematography – but this is so much more than merely another period piece. Lead by Peter Morgan’s exquisite scripting (arguably the most assured screen storytelling and dialogue arrangement of the year), and rendered by immaculate performances from Claire Foy, Matt Smith, and John Lithgow, the show beautifully underpins an icon of modern British history whose life and influence has provided significant effect on more than just the Monarchy, rather the globe.
Watching the birth of a new England following World War II unfold as a bright-eyed Queen Elizabeth II (Foy) takes her rightful place upon the throne is both fascinating and rewarding. Across the ten hours of the first season (a second has been commissioned), audiences uncover the heightened relationships shared with her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh (Smith), an ageing Winston Churchill (Lithgow), and a rich assortment of fellow Royal and parliamentary figures, as well as gain intimate insight to the inner-workings of the Sovereign. Morgan’s decadently realised drama, assisted by a rapturous score, and a sprawling ensemble of performers operating at full capacity makes The Crown not only remarkable viewing, but essential and worthy of this award. For this author’s sterling, Netflix’s big-bank production is the finest new show currently on air.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Amy Adams – Arrival
Chosen by Scott Allden
This category is unquestionably going to be one of the highly contested awards at this year’s Globes. With lauded performances from Ruth Negga (Loving) and Natalie Portman (Jackie) hotly tipped for awards season, they head a three-horse race with my pick for the category, Amy Adams, for her role in Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival.
The film is an intelligent, thought-provoking and emotional take on extraterrestrial contact. Dusting away the familiar and throwaway tropes attributed to science fiction, in particular stories involving the human race interacting with alien species. And Amy Adams’ portrayal as linguist Dr. Louise Banks is the thumping heart of the film from beginning to end. She assuredly exhibits moments of awe, anxiety, determination, grief and amazement as the events of the film slowly unwind. Ironically, a magnetic, sensual and emotively-driven connection builds to Dr. Banks and her experiences through Adams’ wonderful acting. The much noted ‘twist’ that reveals itself during the third act, conjures up yet more adoration and heartbreaking sentiment toward Adams’ performance. It eventually segues into one of my favourite final acts in a film of the entire year. And let’s not forget, a performance can only really be as good as the film it’s a part of (and vice versa). Thankfully Villeneuve proves with Arrival that he is one of the finest filmmakers working today.
An extraordinary production with mature, realistic and probing questions about mankind and its ability and sometimes inability to connect. With Amy Adams exhibiting a beautifully subtle yet powerful performance that deserves to be held in as high regard as some of the finest in recent memory.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Colin Farrell – The Lobster
Chosen by Liz Tresidder
Colin Farrell’s career has been a mixed bag, to say the least; highlights like In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths are paired with a whole range of duds (the less said about Winter’s Tale, the better). But, as Farrell’s working relationship with Martin McDonagh suggests, it’s his comedy roles where he really shines. Yorgos Lanthimos’s pitch-black comedy The Lobster might seem like an odd choice for an actor with a starring role in the latest Harry Potter spin-off saga, but for some reason, it works. Beautifully well, in fact.
A transformed, almost unrecognisable Farrell shuffles passively around Lanthimos’ follow-up to the haunting Dogtooth, an equally dark tale exploring a world where it’s illegal to not be in a relationship. It’s a strange, definitively surreal film, but Farrell’s gentle turn suits the flat oddness of the dialogue and grounds some of the narrative’s wilder aspects. Farrell’s performance is a tour de force of restraint, but it’s when he allows that restraint to crumble – perhaps most tellingly in the scene where his brother (who also happens to be a dog) is kicked to death – that we see his true potential.
Best Original Song – Motion Picture
“How Far I’ll Go” – Moana
Chosen by Chris Haydon
Competition is fierce in this category, with many willingly placing bets on La La Land‘s “City of Stars” (not the best song from the movie…) to take the prize, but the rightful recipient belongs to the House of Mouse. Walt Disney Animation Studios have vastly upped the game over the last decade, and their latest effort Moana – a lyrical, soulful, and immensely beautiful assortment of colour and culture – features a track which calls back to the iconic heritage of traditional Disney orchestral.
“How Far I’ll Go”, profoundly performed by lead actress Auli’i Cravalho, epitomises the heartfelt messages of the film; exploration, independence, purpose. She embodies a character breaking free from the shackles of conformity and expectation, instead favouring her native will, head, and heart. The track has the commanding power of Frozen‘s “Let It Go”, which went on to biblically irritate every parent and person over the age of 20 thanks to incessant replays, but bares a sincerity which enables each listen to feel special and intimate, rather than thunderous and operatic.
The song has validity to the film’s narrative, tonal palette, and ethos, but also as a singular piece of original music. Unlike “City of Stars” or rival nominees such as “Faith” from Sing (yeah, who cares…), Moana‘s signature vocal is a centrepiece for its young heroine and her maiden voyage, rather than humble promotion. There’s no telling how far Cravalho’s voice will go, but here’s hoping it reaches the podium’s distance.