Retcon This! – The 2011 Golden Globe Nominations

In the ever-evolving landscape of fandom, there are simply some things that should not have happened. In Retcon This!, we examine some of the more questionable aspects of our beloved geek properties.

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As 2010 comes to a close and 2011 begins, we are now in the midst of awards season, where nearly every facet of mass entertainment takes time to hand out trophies based on what they felt were their best offerings of the past year. In the world of film and television, the first major awards event is the Golden Globe Awards, which has historically been viewed as an early predictor for which films or shows will receive Oscars or Emmys later on in the year. In the past few years, however, the show has lost a bit of the prestige and respect it used to have in the eyes of fans and critics. We saw signs of this decline last year, when it awarded the Best Picture award to the extremely overrated and overhyped Avatar and the Oscars refused to follow its lead, choosing instead to honor the much more interesting The Hurt Locker. The Golden Globes aren’t the only awards show that has made mistakes, but this year’s crop of nominations includes a higher amount of head-scratchers than usual, primarily in one particular category and in the case of a few striking omissions.

The main category in this year’s Golden Globe nominations that confounds me the most is the category for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical. First off, are there really enough musicals being released each year to still warrant the genre to be lumped in with comedies? When the only musical represented in the category is the Christina Aguilera vanity piece Burlesque, it’s clear to see that this particular type of movie may not warrant its own shared category anymore. And while I wouldn’t say that 2010 was the best year for comedy movies, I’m sure there were other films that better suited the category than many of the ones that were nominated. The five films nominated for Best Comedy or Musical are Alice In Wonderland, Burlesque, The Tourist, Red, and The Kids Are Alright. I have yet to see any of these movies, but I wouldn’t categorize any of them as an all-out comedy. Alice is a fantasy film, The Tourist and Red are action thrillers, and The Kids Are Alright is a family drama. These movies may have humorous aspects to them, but calling any of them “comedies” is quite a stretch. If we’re going to be this loose with the category, why not nominate Toy Story 3, which not only was one of the best animated features of the year but was one of the best movies of the year, period, and had a number of very humorous scenes? Sure, it’s also nominated in the Best Animated Feature category, but let’s not forget last year’s Oscars, in which Up was nominated for Best Picture and Best Animated Film. The people in charge of the Golden Globes also could have used this category to nominate some of the smaller, quirkier comedies from the past year, such as Cyrus and It’s Kind of a Funny Story. Perhaps the most glaring oversight in this category is the complete absence of Joel and Ethan Coen’s darkly humorous remake of True Grit. Either of these suggestions would better represent the category in my opinion.

Everyone's smiling in the poster, so this must be a comedy, right?

Everyone's smiling in the poster, so this must be a comedy, right?

Speaking of True Grit, the Hollywood Foreign Press’ complete exclusion of that film from any awards consideration is puzzling, considering all the critical acclaim and good buzz the film has been generating. Jeff Bridges, the previous year’s Golden Globe and Oscar winner for Best Actor, has earned a lot of acclaim for his starring roles in both True Grit and Tron: Legacy, yet he failed to get nominated for either film. Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, and newcomer Hailee Steinfield all have been hailed by critics and audiences for their performances in True Grit, but for some reason they’ve also been shut out. Meanwhile, both Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie have been nominated for their performances in The Tourist, which no one is really saying much of anything about. It’s as if the people behind the awards nominated them just to make sure these two megastars showed up for the ceremony so that people would tune in to see them, which isn’t exactly a good reason to put them up for these awards.

That’s not to say there aren’t a few pleasant surprises amongst the movie nominations. It’s nice to see Jennifer Lawrence getting recognized for her impressive performance in the indie gem Winter’s Bone, but the fact that the great John Hawkes wasn’t nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the movie is a major oversight. Hopefully, these mistakes will be amended once the Oscar nominations are announced, but I’d still like to find out just how the people in charge of the Golden Globes chose their nominees and what their qualifications are for picking some of them. If ever there was a year that justified a “do-over” when it comes to honoring the best in film, 2011 is definitely the time to do it.

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Who ARE these people!?

Ben Gilbert is an avid comic and movie fan, father of two amazing kids, and husband to one awesome chick. He resides in the hills of East Tennessee and still doesn't quite know what he wants to be when he grows up.

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  1. Joshua says:

    “The main category in this year’s Golden Globe nominations that confounds me the most is the category for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical. First off, are there really enough musicals being released each year to still warrant the genre to be lumped in with comedies?”

    That’s just it, Ben, there AREN’T enough musicals released each year to warrant their own category, so they lump them together with the comedies. That said, I don’t agree with giving a nomination to any musical that comes out, just because there are so few. I have the same beef with the way the Academy hands out animation Oscars to just about anything that fits the category, regardless of quality, or lack thereof.

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