Best Drama – 1917
I just have a feeling 1917 could surprise everyone by winning Best Drama at the Golden Globes. Obviously, The Irishman, The Joker and Marriage Story have higher profiles and have been generating buzz for months now, but 1917 is about to hit cinemas and watching it is a powerful experience. I think it’s got more of a personal touch and appeal than Dunkirk from a few years back, a film which got nominations but couldn’t convert them into wins. Sam Mendes’ WWI adventure is far more likeable a picture and has all the technical bravura to impress audiences plus top line cameos from the greats of British cinema that will lend it a certain gravitas with voters. The Irishman is a fine example of its genre, but is it a classic? I think 1917 is the only film that immediately cements itself as a classic of its genre, a war film, a WWI film and an anti-war film.
I’m still going for Martin Scorsese as Best Director though. You can’t really argue with that as a statement. He’s on top form with The Irishman, even using special effects with intelligence and emotion: that much-discussed de-ageing technology isn’t a gimmick at all but brings the viewer around to meditate on the passing of time, the mortality of flesh, the physical and moral consequences of the life we lead.
Probably the most divisive film of the year for me was Once Upon A Time In …Hollywood. So many people found it indulgent. You can’t argue with that, but you can either revel in the indulgence or just find it tiresome. It took me a couple of viewings to love it. That ending is so wild and violent – pure Tarantino, in fact – but the rest of it is so beautifully done. So careful in design and scene construction, so detailed and loving. Is it a comedy, or a musical (the category in which it finds itself at the Globes)? I certainly think it’s got a lot of funny lines and moments and it’s got a lot of great music sequences. I’d love Rocketman to win here as that’s a really good musical. It’s always an odd category So who knows? I do know that Brad Pitt is fabulous and he should get something out of all this.
Actor – Antonio Banderas
Who knew he could even do this? Antonia Banderas is so brilliantly good in Pain & Glory, it’s as if he’d been waiting his whole career for a role this perfect. And what a joy to watch him seize the moment and master it. Cannes gave him Best Actor and I really want him to succeed everywhere else too. He’s famous enough, too, for the fact that it’s a foreign language performance to cut through any reservations voters have tended to have in that regard over the years. Anyway, aren’t the Globes voters supposed to be foreign?
Supporting Actor – Joe Pesci
He’s too good in The Irishman for anyone to ignore. Pacino is in this category but I can’t warm to his OTT Jimmy Hoffa. Pesci is just superb, calm, menacing, twinkling – you can’t take your eyes off him and you’re constantly wondering what he’ll do next, how he’ll react. It’s a supporting performance that guides the whole film along. Much as I love Brad Pitt, I can’t refuse Joe Pesci.
Actress – Renee Zellweger
My first reaction when I saw Judy was to email the film company with “Give Renee the Oscar now.” Sometimes you just see a performance that you know can’t be bettered in awards terms. Zellweger’s central turn blows the rest of the picture away (it’s all about her) but she captures all the wit, frailty, delusion and glamour of Judy Garland on her uppers and downers, trapped in a dank London. None of the other contenders get to do it all – singing, dancing, crying, panicking – quite like Renee does. Plus it’s Judy Garland, old Hollywood, torch songs, icons – the stuff we go to the movies for, study movies for, have awards ceremonies for.
Supporting Actress – Laura Dern
She’s great in Big Little Lies, in Little Women, and gets the best speech in Marriage Story, so Laura Dern’s definitely having a moment. I hope those moments are enough to build up to a single win. Most money is Jennifer Lopez, mainly for pole dancing at 50 in Hustlers, and Annette Benning is quite excellent as Elizabeth Warren in The Report (even if the movie itself was rather disappointing).
Foreign Language – Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Exquisite, sexy, radical, heartbreaking – what more does a film have to do? In a very tough Foreign Language category, Celine Sciamma’s gorgeous movie feels like the smartest. But it hasn’t managed big wins yet, despite being a lot of people’s Palme d’Or favourite. You couldn’t argue if Parasite or Pain and Glory won, nor would you really mind Ladj Ly’s thrilling urban policier Les Miserables striking a victory for multi-cultural tinder box Paris. But it’s the Portrait of that lady on fire that burns longer in the mind and the soul.
TV Drama – Killing Eve
Maybe I’m being overly patriotic, but wouldn’t it be good to see Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh up there getting awards? It’s a home-based drama that took on America and won. Maybe the second series wasn’t quite as original or as edgy as the first, but if there were silly moments, it was still stylish and daring and risky. That’s what I loved – the risk. I don’t think the other nominees walked such a tight rope, and none in such great outfits.
TV Comedy – Fleabag
Stands to reason that a comedy should make you laugh. Fleabag did that, even more so in this last series than the first. But it also made you squirm. The acting is brave, original and risky (that’s a Phoebe Waller Bridge thing, clearly) and the rest of the contenders here don’t have that – for all that I loved the Catskill-set season of Mrs Maisel, it doesn’t confront and provoke like Fleabag and her hot priest.
Actress in TV Miniseries – Michelle Williams
I’m really hoping Michelle Williams gets the nod for her performance as Gwen Verdon in the mighty impressive Fosse Verdon. Sam Rockwell is good but a bit showy, as the chain-smoking philandering choreographer Bob Fosse and his awful hair, but Williams anchors that whole show trying to give dancer Gwen her spotlight after all these years. She breezes, dances, sings, quips and inspires, perfectly judging the voice and the physicality of her character, so that she’s just a bit bigger than real life. It’s a movie star performance in a TV show about a stage diva who was denied her crowning glory – until now.
Actor in TV Drama – Billy Porter
I’ve loved Pose, both series so far and Billy Porter is a central figure, playing the Vogue Balls’ flamboyant MC, the one and only Pray Tell. It’s a fabulous idea for a show, carried off with style and a sense of fun laced with poignancy by the whole cast but Porter gives it a touch of class, dignity, wisdom and some zinging one-line put downs.
The category is TV Drama and it’s 10 10 10 10 for Billy Porter – the Golden Globe trophy will look tiny compared to those giant baubles they hand out at the Balls.