The nominees for the 2014 Golden Globes have been announced, once again giving the world (and the show biz world) a preview of what might be in store for the 2014 Oscars race. Some people care about the various awards – others certainly don’t – but it is a reality in our culture that movies and TV shows in contention for awards become topics of discussion – and being in the “know” when the discussion comes around always feels better than not being in the know.
Here you will find a concise list of the movies and TV shows you should be in the “know” about as the 2014 Golden Globes (and general awards season) approaches. We’re skipping the big ones (like who HASN’T heard of Gravity before now?) and will stick to informing you about the lesser-known picks on the Globes nominee list.
Look, you could keep saying “12 Years A Slave” throughout Golden Globes AND Oscars season and you’ll probably end up on the right side of every discussion. Steve McQueen’s horrific drama about one man’s ordeal in the southern slave trade has awards pedigree written all over it.
Acting, directing, technical awards – this film could walk away with some big ones. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should; if you can’t (or don’t want to), just think Passion of the Christ brutality set in slavery-era America (to the rhythm of a Hans Zimmer score), and you’ll get the idea of why this film is resonating so much.
American Hustle director David O. Russell reunites with cast members from his last two awards-contender films, The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook; Scorsese reunites for fifth time with his leading muse Leonardo DiCaprio (and some new friends, like Jonah Hill) for Wolf of Wall Street.
Both are outrageous true-story caper-dramadies dissecting America’s greed culture; both hit theaters around Christmas; both are likely to attract a large adult crowd and critical praise – but early word is that Marty and Leo win this contest with some fantastic work in Wolf.
You’ll be hearing a lot of talk about the “hipster picks” Her and Inside Llewyn Davis this awards season. Her is a quirky romance about Joaquin Phoenix falling in love with his Siri operating system (Scarlett Johansson); Llewyn Davis examines artistic struggle via a ’60s musician (Oscar Isaacs). Both films explore humanity with wit, heart and style – but neither of them necessarily belongs in the “Comedy or Musical” category, since both are really character dramas.
Still, if you want to be in the “know” for that esoteric discussion with the film snob crowd, better find out if and where they’re showing near you in the coming weeks.
Further down the list of “must know” films are Dallas Buyers Club and Nebraska. The former (about a medicine-slinging cowboy dying of AIDS ) features some award-worthy performances from Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto; but in this year of heavy competition, it’s Leto’s street-smart cross-dresser supporting role that’s likely to win.
Nebraska is from The Descendants director Alexander Payne and follows a road trip with an estranged father (Bruce Dern) and son (Will Forte). The film is slowly creeping out of the festival circuit and into awards circles with nominations for lead and supporting acting, direction, writing, and that surprising “Best Picture” nod.
While the films themselves may not take top awards, these performances from some industry veterans are likely to be the focus of some discussion:
Blue Jasmine – Woody Allen’s latest about a depressed housewife has made the “Best Actress – Drama” category a near lock for Cate Blanchett, with an Oscar nom sure to follow.
All Is Lost – Robert Redford does a one-man show (without saying much) as a guy lost out on the treacherous sea. While he might not win over more favored choices (Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years) Redford is excellent in the film.
Philomena – People are more likely to say “Oh hey, there’s Judi Dench again!” rather than actually checking out this quirky, funny and moving film about an odd-couple road trip to search for a long-lost son.
To the handful of you who didn’t outright skip this slide, you want to be able to mention that animated film The Wind Rises was made by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki and would be a big win if it (a cartoon) takes Best Foreign Language Film.
However the early favorite in that category is Blue Is the Warmest Color, a French film about a young woman who comes into her own by way of a (quite explicit) relationship with an eccentric blue-haired girl. Props to you if you pronounce the names of stars Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos correctly.
Showtime has some strong freshman dramas that are about to get a visibility push thanks to this year’s Golden Globes nominations. So you better catch up on both, pronto.
Masters of Sex (about a scandalous and groundbreaking human sexuality study) sounds titillating, but it really is a Mad Men-style examination of modern day topics (gender politics, sexual identity, racial inequality) via a 1950s period setting. The cast – led by Globes nominee Michael Sheen and snubee Lizzy Caplan – is fantastic.
Ray Donovan earned a nom thanks to lead actor Liev Schreiber and supporting actor Jon Voight – both of whom are electric on the show, about Hollywood’s top “fixer” and his hard-knock Boston family.
Whatever ground Netflix gains in the awards season race is substantial, as the debate about the future of TV continues.
House of Cards already won some big Emmy Awards, proving the Netflix model doesn’t hinder chances at critical acclaim; Orange is the New Black is one of the most talked-about new shows of the year, so it’s not a surprise that star Taylor Schilling got recognized.
What is telling is that both series made it, while broadcast staples like Game of Thrones and Walking Dead did not.
As different avenues of viewing offer shows to a global audience, BBC (and its subsidiaries) is gaining ground in the US. Word of mouth has propelled series like the Idris Elba-led Luther or the BBC America breakout hit Orphan Black into solid cult-hit followings – and now, Golden Globes nominations as well.
Whatever happens at the Globes, these BBC hits (and many other great series that the network airs) should be a focus of your attention.
What else should you be in the “know” about this awards season?
The usual suspects – Big Blockbusters with critical acclaim are always popular discussion points. Gravity will likely be the most popular this year.
Tom Hanks – He’s back (big time) in this awards season race, with both Captain Phillips and Saving Mr. Banks now picking up awards steam.
Indie Prestige – They might not have a lot of nominations, but films like Enough Said (James Gandolfini’s last movie) and August: Osage County (with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts) are sure to be topics for the arthouse/intellectual crowds.
Network vs. Cable – Network TV still has a hold on the comedy award noms, but drama has almost totally been conquered by cable (and now streaming) programming.
The 71st Golden Globe Awards will air Sunday, January 12, 2014 on NBC.