Allow me to begin my take on this morning's Golden Globe nominations with a sigh of relief: the extremely shallow, incredibly exploitative assumed Oscar contender "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," one of the worst movies of the year, received zero nominations. None. Not, as some predicted, for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Max Von Sydow) or Best Supporting Actress (Sandra Bullock). Well done, Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).
Now that I got that off my chest, some other thoughts:
-- "The Artist" maintained its front-running Oscar status, picking up nominations in every major category expected (Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress). As someone who really likes the movie and thinks the backlash is absurd, I'm happy.
-- Great to see recognition for Rooney Mara, who brings complexity to a badass in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." And I'm very much in favor of the love for Kristen Wiig, who's not just funny but endearing and vulnerable in "Bridesmaids" (her performance required a lot more than Melissa McCarthy, who was left off the list). Once again, however, Glenn Close ("Albert Nobbs") takes a spot better suited for Elizabeth Olsen ("Martha Marcy May Marlene") or Kirsten Dunst ("Melancholia"). I realize those are Oscar long shots, but I'm going to keep singing this song until voters sing it with me. (Not going to happen, I know, I know.)
-- Congrats to Michael Fassbender ("Shame"), whose film's NC-17 rating thankfully wasn't enough to deprive him of a much-deserved nomination. And kudos to the HFPA for including Brendan Gleeson, the meat, potatoes, whiskey and beer of "The Guard." As for another nod for Leonardo DiCaprio ("J. Edgar"), Gary Oldman ("Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy") should be irritated by now.
-- Clearly the HFPA loves George Clooney, which is why "The Ides of March" scored a surprising Best Picture nod with a Best Director nod for Clooney, on top of Best Screenplay for "Ides" and Best Actor for "The Descendants." Other than the Best Actor nod, that's undeserved, but I prefer it over giving that picture spot to "The Tree of Life" or the director spot to "Tree" helmer Terrence Malick or Steven Spielberg ("War Horse").
-- Nice to see "50/50" in the Best Picture (Comedy or Musical) category, though, since the movie works better as a comedy than a drama, I would have liked to see Seth Rogen acknowledged for his funniest performance in years, rather than a disappointingly skin-deep turn from the usually flawless Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
-- In a terrible year for animated films, the best ("Winnie the Pooh") is left out and the worst ("Cars 2") is included with a few mediocre movies ("Puss in Boots," "Rango") and a few OK ones ("The Adventures of Tintin," "Arthur Christmas"). Bummer.
-- How do you leave "The Muppets" out of the Best Original Song category? The movie itself is an entire Best Original Song category. Life's not a happy song when stuff like this happens.