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The Golden Globes nominations -- it's just a party, after all

Liz Smith

"TO SUCCEED in life you need two things: ignorance and confidence." -- Mark Twain

WELL, the Golden Globe nominations are out, and as usual, some things don't make sense. But I suppose that's the fun of it, yes?

"Birdman" is nominated in the "comedy" category. Perhaps it was intended as a comedy, but I found it more a disturbing study of an unstable actor. Maybe in Hollywood, that's amusing.

Glad Michael Keaton was nominated for his amazing turn, along with Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne for their films; ditto Rosamund Pike, so viciously potent in "Gone Girl," and Felicity Jones in "The Theory of Everything." (I'm somewhat disappointed that Ben Affleck was not nominated for his performance in "Gone Girl." I think it's the best he has ever been.)

And there are nominations for actors in films that have been little seen, or not yet at all. This is, after all, the Hollywood Foreign Press, and they have different standards. I'm sure, for instance, that Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt are wonderful in "Into the Woods," but who's really seen it yet? And Jennifer Aniston's "Cake" is in quite limited release. But she worked the festival circuit and has been nominated.

I caught Aniston with Conan O'Brien last week. She looked spectacular. I swear not a day older than during her TV reign on "Friends." And not creepily preserved, either. No distorting sausage lips. But she seemed somewhat guarded, unable to totally relax. Life in a fishbowl isn't all it's cracked up to be. (That, or the uneven bodice of her dress, was making her self-conscious -- one side of it looked ready to explode or fall down.)

PLEASED with the Golden Globe TV nods to Liev Schreiber for "Ray Donovan," William H. Macy for "Shameless," Viola Davis for "How to Get Away with Murder," Edie Falco for "Nurse Jackie," Julianna Margulies and Alan Cumming for "The Good Wife." Dominic West and Ruth Wilson for the compelling "The Affair" and the divine Jessica Lange for "American Horror Story: Freak Show." (This is one twisted show, packed with dazzling, brave performances from all the cast.)

And a special shout-out to Frances McDormand, nominated for "Olive Kitteridge," a four-part cable series about decades of family dysfunction. It's what "August: Osage County" wanted to be. McDormand is magnificent as an intelligent, dissatisfied woman who cannot bring herself to ever not speak her mind. McDormand's Olive is vastly unlikable but deeply sympathetic, even loveable at some level. This show, which aired on HBO, didn't seem to receive a lot of publicity or build-up. Or maybe I just missed the "coming attractions." I recommend checking it out via On Demand.

Be warned -- it's lifelike. That is, depressing. But, listen, there's always Turner Classic Movies with all those uplifting Esther Williams musicals for when we're feeling blue.

WHAT DO the Golden Globe nominations really mean? They mean a 3-1/2-hour party at the Beverly Hilton, with everybody getting toasted at their tables and not taking it terribly seriously. The SAG Awards nominations are out, as well, with some of the same actors nominated, along with different ones. I'm not going to bother doing that run-down because, well -- the SAG party isn't nearly as much fun! (Although who can suppress giggling when that show begins and various stars stand up and make some pretentious statement, ending with "I am an actor!")

And now we prepare for the Oscar nominations. No party there. Just sitting in your seat being bored, or the actors and other nominees realizing, "Oh, my, I actually want to win!" (This phenomenon happens even to people who aren't nominated for anything. We all want an Oscar.)

Then everybody, winners and losers, rush off to the celebrity-laced acid trip that is the Vanity Fair gala.

SPEAKING OF Vanity Fair, I haven't had a chance to read VF's cover story on Bradley Cooper. But it's hard to miss. Cooper is staring straight out at me (that's my delusion and I'm sticking to it!) Those blue eyes! He's playing pool and the cover line is subtlety itself -- "Bradley Cooper Has Balls!"

(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)

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