The Golden Globes nominations — gee whiz

Okay, so we know the Golden Globes are strange.

Nikki Finke will give you a vision of low-rent corruption that, for all I know, is entirely true. It sure seems to match the often bizarre-to-inexplicable nominations and awards at times. One thing is sure, few of us will ever let the Globes live down that infamous 1982 award to Pia Zadora when she won “New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture” award for a movie called “Butterfly.” People make fun of the fact that the less than superb actress won the award, but it’s a lot more shocking when you consider that her competition was probably two of the more exciting movie performances of the entire 1980s, Howard E. Rollins in “Ragtime” and, more famously, Tim Hutton in “Ordinary People.” I guess they split the pro-talent vote. The category was dead within two years.

Meanwhile back here in 2010, the dramatic “Best Picture” list is mostly in line with the movies that are generally getting a lot of awards and nominations, though I’m sure people will have the usual disagreements. (I know I do). Also, no big surprise, “The Social Network” and “The King’s Speech” did very well in the nominations. “The Fighter” and “Inception” also got a bit of a boost that might Academy voters keep them in mind as Oscar dark horses.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in

This year’s “Comedy or Musical” Best Picture category is, however, a real doozy. It really looks like the foreign press thinks that comedies don’t really have to be good to be nominated; it’s a sort of twisted semi-reverse snobbery. I know reviews and awards are not the same, but the critically drubbed “The Tourist” got a “Fresh” rating of 07% from “Top Critics” and 20% from critics overall at Rotten Tomatoes. Could the reactions of Hollywood Foreign Press members be that different from domestic press?

I know there’s been some quibbling about whether it qualifies as a “Comedy.” That doesn’t really bother me. I’m sure it’s trying to be funny and probably has a happy ending. That makes it a comedy in my book, though not necessarily a good one. Also, I have nothing against contrarians who laud movies others deride, but the Hollywood Foreign Press isn’t some group of freethinking cinephiles in the tradition of Pauline Kael and Manny Farber.

Cher and Stanley Tucci dish about awards in As for the other films in the category, only “The Kids Are All Right” has been generating the kind of overall appreciation that makes it awards material. “RED” is a reasonably well-liked, successful film, but this will probably be it’s only award nomination outside of genre-specific groups. “Alice in Wonderland” did very well but got a “meh” critical reaction overall and will probably get some technical Oscar nominations. “Burlesque” is a movie that people barely liked as a sort of guilty pleasure and pretty clearly is only on the list because the Golden Globes people really want Cher and Christina Aguilera to drop by.

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Meet your new Spider-Man

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I was just about to start get down to business on this week’s already quite late box office preview — which you’ll now be seeing here tomorrow morning — when I saw the bombshell, though not really surprising, press release posted over at Deadline.  26-year-old Andrew Garfield has already been mentioned several times as a possible choice for the Marc Webb Spider-Man reboot (remember when you had to wait at least a decade for those?), and I think it’s probably a good, perhaps better than good, choice, though he’s slightly grown-up if they really do intend to make him a high school kid.

As per Wikipedia, Garfield was born in my hometown of L.A., but raised mostly in Surrey, England, which I imagine is a somewhat different atmosphere. On the other hand, I guess you can take the boy out of Hollywood but you can’t entirely take Hollywood out of this boy. He has one of the two lead roles, alongside Jesse Eisenberg in David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming “The Social Network,” not to mention the science fiction drama/love story “Never Let Me Go.”  He’s also appeared in “Lions for Lambs,” and “The Other Boleyn Girl.” In less mainstream fare, he’s also had in the lead role of the first film in the “Red Riding” trilogy of made-for-British-TV thrillers, a huge critical smash last year which had a limited theatrical release stateside. He’s also done more than his share of stage work and has won a BAFTA (British Oscar) for the low-budget British drama, “Boy A.” In other words, he’s doesn’t seem to be a lightweight.

As far as his box office potential goes, who knows? However, the dual-passport holding American-English-Jewish Garfield, who despite his cosmopolitan background made his success without any apparent industry or artistic connections, is just geeky enough to be relatable for boys and believable as a bit of an outcast, but, I’m guessing, also quite handsome enough to make girls swoon a bit. (He’s already been an MTV “hump day hottie,” so I guess there’s my proof.) The only aspect I’m unsure of is the whole vague “star power” thing. I’ll get back to you on that one.

Garfield has came up on my radar, however, because of his surprisingly good work in a hugely problematic role in “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnussus.” The uneven Terry Gilliam fantasy saddled him with a badly muddled character in which we were supposed to still kind of like him despite the fact that he was being persistently mean to adorable Lily Cole. Garfield wasn’t entirely successful in making his character work the way it should have in the film’s story, such as it was, but he impressed me by keeping things about as believable as I can imagine under the circumstances. Making Peter Parker come to life after that should be a comparative breeze.  Let’s just see how he handles the clear potential for A-list status here.

Anne Thompson has some more.

  

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Filmgoing young females end the reign of the Na’vi, finally

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Yes, so for those who read Friday’s post, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Carl DiOrio was wrong and Nikki Finke was more right than even she knew on her first, non-updated, version of her weekend box office post. The Nicholas Sparks adaptation starring Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum, “Dear John,” seriously exceeded even the most optimistic expectations this Superbowl weekend and took down, at last, the seven-weekend long domestic box office “Avatar”  juggernaut. The make-up of the audience that generated $32.4 million for Sony and Relativity Media according to Box Office Mojo was not surprising. As per Finke:

Females made up 84% of the opening weekend audience, while 64% of the moviegoers were under age 21.

Still, I should add that this was definitely a case of “Dear John” winning, not so much “Avatar” losing. James Cameron‘s science fiction spectacle from Fox is still holding remarkably well, dropping less than 25% this week and netting some $23.6 million. The distinctly shorter length of “Dear John” is another obvious advantage.

John Travolta in On the other hand, Pierre Morel’s all-out action picture, “From Paris with Love,” starring John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers is shorter still, but it’s possible this was just the wrong weekend to release that kind of a movie with male fans of balls-out action distracted by the year’s #1 sports event. The film came in a very poor third with only a bit over $8.12 million for Lionsgate. C’est la vie. And here’s one more plug for the Bullz-Eye feature on Parisian-based films of all genres, “We’ll Always Have Paris,” which I say completely without bias or pride of co-authorship.

In other news, “Crazy Heart,” the country music drama featuring a nearly certain Oscar-winning performance from Jeff Bridges, was not a tale of Americana-style heartbreak. It nailed a very respectable $3.65 million in 819 theaters, which got it into this week’s #8 position. The week’s biggest per-screen was for a movie that is technically a television miniseries. The “Red Riding” Trilogy, which originally aired on English television, nailed a per screen average of $15,500 thousand. Of course, that’s in exactly one theater. Still, not bad considering it’s actually three films.

  

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