The Golden Globe awards which kick started the Oscar fever has given a major boost to director Joe Wright’s British drama Atonement. The film starring Keira Knightley and James Mcavoy got a thunderous applause from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which gives out these annual awards with seven nominations. The Tom Hanks- Julia Roberts starrer Charlie Wilson’s War got five nominations. But the critic’s darling No Country for Old Men is still the favorite to bag the top prize come Oscars. The film, which is best placed to beat it, would be Sweeney Todd, which boasts of an amazing performance by Johnny Depp. The nominees for the Best Motion Picture- Drama are No Country for Old Men, Atonement, Michael Clayton, American Gangster, Eastern Promises, The Great Debaters and There Will Be Blood. For the Best Comedy/Musical Sweeney Todd is facing Juno, Hairspray, Charlie Wilson’s War and Across the Universe.
The acting nominations were almost on expected lines. Veteran Julie Christie is in a firm position for another Oscar after her first for Mary Poppins, this time for the film Away from Her. Giving her a fight in the award for the Best Actress in a Drama is Cate Blanchett for The Golden Age and Keira Knightley for Atonement. Belgian star Marion Cotilard is the firm favorite to win the award for the Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical for her performance in the film La Vie en Rose. She has already won awards from the Boston and Los Angeles Film Critics, but she faces a spirited challenge from little Ellen Page (Juno) and Helena Bonham Carter (Sweney Todd). But the top acting award (male) seems to have narrowed down a bit to George Cloney (Michael Clayton), Johnny Depp (Sweney Todd) and Daniel Day Lewis (There Will Be Blood). The awards this year are so open that its hard to predict in any of the categories. The most difficult seems to be the award for the best film. The award for the best director is also open with the Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men), Sidney Lumet (even though he has not received a Golden Globe Nomination), Tim Burton (Sweney Todd) and another Belgian Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) all vying for the top prize. The Coen brothers, it must be mentioned has almost swept all the critics prizes and are among the major contenders.
There were some other surprises as in The Kite Runner being nominated in the Best Foreign Film category and Ridley Scott getting a directing nod ahead of Sidney Lumet. The Golden Globes will be given on the 13th of January and is expected to give the first major indication as to who the major winners may be. Before that the critics associations of various cities and some international prizes are given off. But they influence the Oscars much less. The Golden Globes are seen as the major boost to the chances of Atonement which was not considered an Oscar front runner till this year. The nominations also virtually seal the chances of Indian actor Tabu to win an Oscar nomination after she was passed over for the Best Actress in a Drama in what was considered a weak field. The other Indian who had some chances of getting a nod, Irfan Khan lost out to a very strong field. However it must be said that Mira Nair’s The Namesake was named as one of the Best Independent Films this year by the National Board of Review.