Welcome to For Your Consideration, an unapologetically obsessive weekly conversation about the Oscar race. Between now and March 2, 2014, Vanity Fair digital director Michael Hogan and Huffington Post senior entertainment editor Christopher Rosen will survey the landscape in advance of the 86th annual Academy Awards.
Rosen: Hello, Mike. In the immortal words of Jay Z, you crazy for this one, Golden Globes!
The wacky and arbitrary Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group of tastemakers who deemed "The Tourist" an awards-worthy film, neglected to nominate Oprah Winfrey for Best Supporting Actress on Thursday, a snub as insane as Robert Redford's Screen Actors Guild snub on Wednesday. We (I?) thought Oprah and Bob (we tight) were going to win Oscars! What gives?
Well, maybe not much. Despite the Globes' snubbing of Queen O, I still have confidence in that Oscar nomination. It seems like the HFPA just weren't enamored with "Lee Daniels' The Butler," despite an all-star cast and the push of awards king Harvey Weinstein. It was shut out at the Globes, just like "Fruitvale Station." (Do with that information what you will, but note that "12 Years A Slave" grabbed seven nods.)
So, what do the Globes tell us? Not much, but here's my reading: "American Hustle" has turned this awards season into a three-team race, joining "Gravity" and the aforementioned "12 Years." Our favorite movie scored seven nominations, including a sweep of the acting categories where it was eligible. That's good!
The other thing the Globes revealed? That I'm a nutter for having "Saving Mr. Banks" as the Best Picture Oscar winner. It might not even get nominated, following poor showings at SAG and the Globes. Shows what good going out on a limb did for me. Hey, remember when I picked "Argo" last year? That was fun.
Hogan: Hey Chris, don't beat yourself up about "Saving Mr. Banks" -- the argument made a certain twisted sense, and why not take a flyer when the alternative is to join a chorus of people all saying the same thing?
I mean, unless your goal is to be right! The truth is, you lucked out with "Argo" last year, so it's no surprise you got a little cocky. But who am I to talk? I was right there with you on Team "Banks" -- at least until I saw the movie.
Where I think the Globes can be genuinely predictive is where they line up with Wednesday's SAG nominations. We now know that Daniel Bruhl will probably get that Best Supporting Actor nomination we were all predicting for him back in September. (Does this mean someone will finally read the interview I did with Bruhl and Niki Lauda, the F1 driver he plays in "Rush"? Yeah, thought not.) We also know that the Sony publicist who told me back in the spring that Barkhad Abdi, whose name even she hadn't yet memorized, would score an Oscar nod was not smoking something illegal. Finally, we know that the enthusiasm for Lupita Nyong'o and Jennifer Lawrence for Best Supporting Actress is very real, though they'll most likely have Julia Roberts and June Squibb to contend with.
Speaking of Roberts and Bruhl, should we pause for a moment to talk about these two suspicious examples of category fraud? Is it just me, or does the fact that "August: Osage Country" ends, however controversially, with Julia Roberts riding off into the sunset suggest that hers was a leading role, not supporting? And Bruhl -- well, let's just say that "Rush" is his movie if it's anybody's. If I didn't know better, I'd say he was shunted off into Best Supporting Actor because he isn't as famous or handsome as Chris Hemsworth. (In fact, I do know better: the real reason is that he would have no chance against the Murderer's Row of A-listers in the Best Actor race.)
But here's my favorite thing about today's nominations in the motion picture categories: four acting nominations for "American Hustle"! Sure, there are 33-percent more slots at the Globes, thanks to the practice of splitting Best Actor and Actress into drama and comedy sections, but do you think this means there's any hope for my man Christian Bale to break into the Oscar race?
You don't, do you?
I have more questions: Would we be talking about Michael Douglas and Matt Damon as Oscar contenders if a studio had deigned to release "Behind the Candelabra"? And where's the love for "Mad Men"? Has Don Draper finally lost it?
Rosen: If Bale is going to break into that crowded Best Actor field it will truly have to be the best he's ever done. (Bows.) I still don't see it happening, but I like your enthusiasm. From the feet up, mothereffer!
Re: the category fraud. That stuff is as real as ever. Even "August: Osage County" writer Tracy Letts would agree. He told me that Barbara, Roberts' character, is the protagonist of the film (and that Streep's Violet is the antagonist):
Something rather unorthodox in the play is that I introduced the protagonist of the piece as late 30 minutes into it. That's unusual. I didn't want to do that in the film, but it was important that we meet the protagonist of the film earlier on, and that we also stick with her later, hence the shot of Barbara driving away at the end.
I would love to have been a fly on the wall during those back-room conversations about the awards campaign for "August: Osage County." Fingers crossed we get a "Saving Mr. Banks"-y movie about that in 40 years.
As for your other questions: "Mad Men" has now boomeranged from an awards lock to a non-factor: Draper and Co. didn't even score any SAG nominations! To me, though, that only makes the genius of the show more powerful and lovable. Who wants to root for the guys who get all the plaques? (You, since you root for the Yankees. Dig.)
With regard to Douglas and Damon, however, that might wind up being be one of the great what-might-have-been questions in Oscar history. Let me take you back to 2011, when my old boss, Stu VanAirsdale, talked to producer Jerry Weintraub about Steven Soderbergh's then-untitled film.
"A lot of people think I'm nuts making a movie about Liberace. I don't! I've got a great script, it's a great story, and they're great characters. That's what I make movies about. It's going to win an Academy Award," he said. When Stu asked him for whom the Oscar bell would toll, Weintraub had two words: "Michael Douglas."
Hogan: Too bad about "Behind the Candelabra," since it was everything to plenty of viewers: father, brother, lover, best friend.
Regarding your Yankees dig, let's just agree that, between the two of us, one has a much better track record of picking the winners.