Review: the seventy-fourth annual Golden Globe Awards

by Sebastian Wurzrainer | 1/10/17 1:45am

Within the world of film, the Academy Awards (Oscars) represent the pinnacle of an actor or actress’s career. It is the one awards ceremony that really matters. Unlike other awards shows such as the People’s Choice Awards, the Oscars are voted on by Hollywood elites, which means the winners are being rewarded for their efforts by their peers, lending the ceremony a prestige that others lack. For this reason, many film critics now see the Golden Globe Awards as the appetizer before the Oscars, giving us some sense for which films may win the truly important statuettes next month. This is the perspective I intend to keep in mind as I share my thoughts on some of the winners and nominees of the 74th annual Golden Globes.

Best Motion Picture: The winners of this year’s “Best Motion Picture” were “Moonlight” and “La La Land” for “Drama” and “Musical or Comedy,” respectively. This probably makes these two films the two top contenders for the Best Picture Award at the Oscars, which should be interesting. Not only did “La La Land” win an outstanding seven awards, setting a new record previously held by “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Midnight Express,” but the Oscars love to award films explicitly about the film industry, such as “Argo.” “Moonlight,” on the other hand, didn’t do nearly as well at the Globes, but it is a drama which is generally advantageous when it comes to the Oscars. The film predominately stars African-American actors and is written and directed by Barry Jenkins, an African-American filmmaker. Following a boycott by Jada Pinkett-Smith and lower viewership last year, the Oscars desperately needs to prove that it can actually reflect and honor diversity. Giving Chris Rock the position of host was only a small first step in 2016.

Further singing the praises of “La La Land” (pun intended): Back in September, I referred to “La La Land” as “magical” and I stand by that statement. Nonetheless, I was surprised that Damien Chazelle managed to win both “Best Screenplay” and “Best Director,” considering that the other four nominated films in both categories were all dramas. I think the wins were well deserved, but the Oscars are generally less warm to musicals and comedies, so Chazelle sadly may not fare quite so well next month. I won’t get a chance to see “Moonlight” until Feb. 17, so I currently can’t judge which film should win the Oscar, but the Globes have clearly placed both of them ahead of the pack.

Best Original Song: “La La Land’s” “City of Stars” may have won this category, but I can’t fathom why the songs from John Carney’s “Sing Street” were overlooked. It feels like unfair treatment to such a wonderful film. Hopefully, the Oscars won’t make the same mistake.

Best Actress – Drama: French actress Isabelle Huppert won for her performance in the psychological thriller “Elle.” It’s nice to see a performance in another language being given a major award, especially when the topic is as graphic as sexual assault. It doesn’t happen all that often.

“Deadpool”?: “Deadpool” may not have won anything, but its two major nominations fascinate me. The Golden Globes is known for making odd choices, and I suspect when some of the novelty of “Deadpool” has worn off, it will join “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Tourist” in the category of “What Were the Golden Globes Thinking?” I don’t expect the Oscars will pay Wade Wilson the same respect.

By and large, this year at the Golden Globes went by as one might have predicted. At the very least, it reminded me just how many quality films the industry released last year. Here’s to looking at what 2017 has to offer.