Golden Globes shortlist 'a red rag' to bullish Ricky Gervais
Organisers appear to have put 'red carpet power' ahead of movie magic in their choice of nominees
HAVE the organisers of the Golden Globes just shown a red rag to an English bull? Ricky Gervais managed to insult Robert Downey Jr, Johnny Depp and – obliquiely – Tom Cruise when he hosted the 2011 event. Now, with a galaxy of Hollywood stars nominated for next month's Globes, the possibilities for schadenfreude are little short of fabulous when Ricky takes to the stage of the Beverly Hilton on 15 January.
Assuming they dare to show up, George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep and even Madonna are all ripe for being Gervaised.
Reacting to yesterday's shortlist, several Tinseltown observers have noted that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association – the body behind the Globes – appears to have put red carpet star power ahead of movie magic in choosing its nominees.
As Nicole Sperling of the Los Angeles Times put it, the HFPA has "confirmed its affection for celebrities" leaving some of the darker and more challenging films and performances off the list. It was the "largely lighter, more accessible" films that got multiple nods - such as George Clooney's comedy drama The Descendants, the 1960s civil rights drama The Help and the much-lauded French silent film The Artist.
Stars nominated include Leonardo DiCaprio for his performance in J. Edgar, Brad Pitt for Moneyball and Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady. Even Madonna received two nominations for her critically panned love story W.E.
Sperling says that Barry Adelman of Dick Clark Productions, the production company behind the annual glitz-fest, made no bones about what's key to the show - and that's star wattage. "This isn't a show you're going to want to miss – Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender – all age groups – men and women – the icons and the newcomers all in one mix."
Tim Robey in The Daily Telegraph notes the inclusion of the Bosnian war film In the Land of Blood and Honey. At first it looks like the odd one out - until you see that it was written and directed by non other than Angelina Jolie. "Perhaps they plain loved it and didn't even know who was behind it," says Robey. "One somehow doubts this."
Continuing the theme, Pete Hammond at Deadline Hollywood writes: "It's the kind of photo opp that makes the Globes such an attractive bet for NBC and all the salivating entertainment shows that cover it in such detail."
However, says Hammond, it doesn't really matter so much who wins. The real suspense and fun of it all will be finding out how far Ricky Gervais will go with his jokes and who will be the most uncomfortable star in the room.
GOLDEN GLOBES SHORTLIST – THE KEY CATEGORIES:
Best motion picture, drama
The Ides of March
Best motion picture, musical or comedy
Midnight in Paris
My Week with Marilyn
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
George Clooney, The Ides of March
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Best actress, drama
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Best actor, drama
George Clooney, The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio, J Edgar
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Best supporting actor
Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Best supporting actress
Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Best foreign film
The Flowers of War
In The Land of Blood and Honey
The Kid with a Bike
The Skin I Live In