Before the Golden Globe nominations were announced this morning, British hopes rested on the forthcoming film adaptation of Les Miserables, directed by Tom Hooper, who won an Oscar in 2011 for The King’s Speech.
Les Mis is indeed in the running for Best Picture (Comedy or Musical), though there were also surprise nominations for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, which suffered a lukewarm critical response when it was first released in March.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which awards the Globes, is considered a fair predictor of the Oscars, but also faces annual accusations that its choices are skewed to attract as many big-name stars as possible to its red carpet and black-tie dinner.
At the 2011 ceremony, host Ricky Gervais famously mocked Johnny Depp for having been nominated, despite Depp’s film The Tourist earning universal derision from reviewers. “It seems like everything this year was three-dimensional,” Gervais joked, “except the characters in The Tourist.”
Among the British stars now expected to attend the 2013 ceremony are Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt, both nominated for Salmon Fishing; Judi Dench of Best Exotic; and Helen Mirren and Rachel Weisz, who will contest the Best Actress (Drama) category for their work in Hitchcock and Deep Blue Sea respectively.
“It’s the first major red carpet occasion of awards season,” said Nick James, editor of the film magazine Sight & Sound, “so the HFPA need the maximum number of dresses on that carpet, and the widest range of hot talent on their list. They probably have a small eye on that, but I don’t think it’s too bent in that direction.”
The Globes are likely to be dominated this year by the imposing figure of Abraham Lincoln; Steven Spielberg’s film about the dramatic final days of the 16th President’s life leads the field with seven nods, including Best Picture (Drama), Best Director and Best Actor (Drama) for Daniel Day-Lewis. It is closely followed by Argo, Ben Affleck’s comic thriller about the Iran hostage crisis, and Quentin Tarantino’s latest, Django Unchained, which garnered five apiece.
The Globes are a good indication of who might earn Oscar nominations in the acting categories, said James, “But it’s a poorer indication of Best Picture, because of its split between Drama and Comedy categories. I can’t see Salmon Fishing in the Yemen on the Oscar list, and Best Exotic Marigold probably won’t make it either.”
Nominations for Best Director all went to the helmsmen of the five Best Picture (drama) nominees, meaning Hooper did not get a look-in.
Eric Fellner of Working Title, who produced Les Miserables, told The Independent: “It’s a great day for Les Mis and for Working Title. I’m sure Tom’s disappointed, but you can’t have a film without a director, so if the film’s being recognised, then Tom is being recognised. He did a brilliant job.”
British hopes will be just as high in the Globes’ television categories, where Downton Abbey, The Hour and Episodes all picked up nominations. Damian Lewis, shortlisted for Best Actor for his role in Homeland for the second year running, said he was “just so happy to have a really good reason to stop Christmas shopping for a day.”
Best actor in a comedy or musical
Ewan MacGregor (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen)
Best actress in a comedy or musical
Emily Blunt (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) Judi Dench (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
Maggie Smith (Quartet)
Best series, drama
Best actor, drama
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Best actress, drama
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Best series, musical or comedy
Best miniseries or movie
Best actress, miniseries or movie
Sienna Miller, The Girl