The Golden Globe awards were announced by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) on the 13th January 2008. The ceremony, unfortunately, had to be cancelled due to the ongoing strike by the Writer’s Guild, as they decided to boycott the function.British drama, Atonement stole the show with a stunning Best Motion Picture-Drama win. The film, which had lost out on almost all major precursors, won over the heavily favoured critic’s darling, the Coen Brother’s, No Country For Old Men. The Coen Brothers, Joel and Ethan also lost out in the Best Director category to another surprise win, Belgian director Julian Schanbel, who was rewarded for his unorthodox style in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Most of the other awards went as expected. Daniel Day Lewis moved one step forward towards a second Oscar, when he was named Best Actor- Drama for his take on a turn-of-the-century oil prospective in director Paul Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. His closest competitor, Johnny Depp won the award for the Best Actor-Comedy/Musical for his brilliant performance in the title role in Sweeney Todd- The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The two have, among themselves have taken almost all the major awards in the run up to the Oscars, the bulk of them being taken by Lewis. The best Actress Oscar is still a wide race with veteran Julie Christie winning the award in the Drama category for Away From Her and another favourite Marion Cotillard winning in the Comedy/Musical category for La Vie en Rose. The two are considered the frontrunners for the top prize. Also in the race is twenty-year-old Ellen Page, who even though lost out to Cotillard, is still a major contender for her performance in Juno. All three have some of the characteristics, which make them major contenders. Christie, an Oscar veteran who won years back for Mary Poppins, has given a brilliant performance as the neurotic Alzheimer’s patient in Away From Her. The Academy loves to give the top prize to veterans, especially if they return after a long time to give an outstanding performance. The same factor played a big role when Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn won the top acting prizes in 1982 for On Golden Pond. One thing going against her is the fact that her film is ‘not big enough’ and its publicity machinery is poor compared to the other performers. On the other hand, Cotillard performance has generated a major buzz in America considering the fact that Foreign
Language films are not usually favoured at the Oscars. Till now only two people have won an acting prize for performance in non-English films the great Sophia Loren in 1962 and Roberto Benign in 2000. Robert De Niro won an Oscar for Best supporting actor for a predominantly non-English role in The Godfather II. Cotillard has won a lot of the major precursors and the Academy is likely to consider her past achievements as well. This including an Oscar-friendly role makes her a potential winner. The dark horse in this category is Ellen Page, who was considered a front-runner until the mid of December, when Christie and Cotillard started to grab the critics attention. However she still remains a very good contender for the top prize. In the event of a confusion the Academy is likely to go fort he safer choice (likely to be Christie) in the long tradition of the Oscars. The Best Director trophy also seems wide open. The Coen Brothers, who have swept the critics awards suddenly, seem at a back foot. But they are still the best bet, considering that the Golden Globe winner Schnabel‘s film is in a Foreign Language. Tim Burton, who directed a magnificent transition of Sweeney Todd from the proscenium of Broadway to the silver screen, is also a strong contender, but the buzz for the films seems to be ebbing. The newfound darling of the Screen Actor’s Guild and the Producer’s Guild, Into The Wild director, Sean Penn is the dark horse in this category. The academy loves great actors who are even better behind the camera (think Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford) and as such his chances seem more than good. Also he is expected to receive much support from the Actor’s Guild, which makes up the largest group among Oscar voters and the film has been receiving solid reviews, together with a growing momentum as the Oscars come nearer.Most of the other awards went as expected. Spainard Javier Bardem won the trophy for the Best Supporting Actor for No Country for Old Men and Cate Blanchett won the Best Actress award for the Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There. These two have more or less consistently won throughout the critics’ choice and are expected to win through to the Oscars as well. The other winners include Best screenplay for the Coen Brothers, Best Song for Into The Wild and Best Original Score, Dario Marianelli for Atonement. Ratatouille won the award for the Best Animated Film and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly won the Best Foreign Language Film.