Friday, June 08, 2007

Random analysis of the day:
GG Best Picture (Comedy/Musical)

Is it just me, or are there already five films (either on the horizon or already released) that look like major contenders for this award? They are:

Hairspray (July)
I'm Not There (September)
Knocked Up (already in release)
Once (in limited release)
The Savages (release date TBA)

It might be a bit early to be calling a major category at the golden globes, but then again, it might not. One reason it might not is that this year has more high-profile musicals than most. Even more importantly, it has more musicals that look likely to succeed.

Once, for one, has already done so, at least with critics if not with the public. So far it's only gotten a teeny tiny release in major cities, but it's also been raved up and down (deservedly). Just look at its rotten tomatoes page. The reviews alone could earn it a place in the lineup. Assuming more people see it in the coming months and it gets a good DVD release, it should be a real contender for at least a nomination.

Hairspray, meanwhile, looks likely to succeed at least with the public if not with the critics. It looks very box-office friendly and has several big stars to prop it up. And unless it's just straight-up BAD (which seems unlikely), commercial success should earn it a spot. Well-publicized musical + commercial success + not sucking = easy nomination at the globes.

And of course I'm Not There is looming. This is perhaps the biggest question mark of the five (we still know very little about it, or how weird it is), but it's also the one I think has the best chance to win. Unless a BIG critical favorite emerges (a la Sideways) that is NOT I'm Not There, I think the Dylan pic could totally win it. This category loves musical biopics, as evidenced by recent nominees Ray and Walk The Line (the latter won). Often the emphasis, awards-wise, is on the stars, but I think the fact that this one has lots of stars all playing the same role could lead people to heap all the prizes on the film itself. I could be wrong - it could still be WAY too weird for the mainstream - but I've been beating its drums for a long time now, and I'm not gonna stop any time soon.

Among non-musicals, Knocked Up has already proved itself in both reviews and box office power. There's usually one straight-up comedy in this field every year, a well-reviewed mainstream hit that isn't seeking awards at all, but was just so good and/or successful that globe voters can't help but go for it. These films are often propelled by an acclaimed lead performance, but not always. Think The Devil Wears Prada, Legally Blonde, Bridget Jones' Diary, Bend It Like Beckham, etc. I think Knocked Up will be that film this year. Unfortunately, The 40-Year-Old Vergin was not nominated in its year, but it deserved to be, and I think globe voters will remember that and make up for it by nominating Knocked Up (Judd Apatow wrote and directed both films).

For the last spot, I'd go with The Savages, one of those contemporary indie dramedies that often find a place here. It seems firmly in the vein of Sideways, The Squid and the Whale, and other films that don't have much box office pull, but are critically acclaimed and awards-seeking, and benefit from comedy/musical categorization.

There are of course many ways this lineup might not pan out. Once could prove too small, Knocked Up too mainstream, I'm Not There too weird. Hairspray could flop. The Savages could go drama. Etc. But right now, these five look very likely... so we may already have our five nominees.

But whither Sweeney Todd??? I forgot all about it. But I lied when I said I'm Not There was the biggest question mark; the wild card's totally Todd. Clearly, I don't think it'll hit. All the signs, IMO, are pointing to a big miss. But I hope I'm wrong. And even if it doesn't hit, all the prerelease buzz could earn it a spot here. For now, let's say it flops big time, and gets snubbed. Really, could there be FOUR musicals nominated in this category? I don't see Todd replacing sure-to-be-great I'm Not There, sure-to-be-big Hairspray, or already acclaimed Once, so that means the category'd have four musicals. Crazy. Has that ever happened before?

Sorry, I get obsessed with this category early. It's one of my favorites. I love how it juggles the mainstream, the indie, comedies, dramedies, animated films, big musicals, small musicals, comedic musicals, dramatic musicals, animated musicals, and others, and pretends they're all the same kind of film. It just gives my brain joy to try and process it all.

Are there any more big films I'm forgetting? (thanks, Glenn, for the tip on Sweeney) Anything that looks like it will obviously bump off one of these five? Please let me know if I am.

I may be overestimating Once's chances because I love it, but the HFPA does not ignore great reviews. A best pic oscar nod may be out of the question, but this category seems well within reach. At least I hope so. This is a GREAT musical that is also a lovely romantic comedy. Films like this are what this category was made for.

And I'm not kidding about I'm Not There winning. I really think it will happen. It should have the right combination of critical respect, decent box office, big star wattage, and awards-friendly subject (Bob Dylan) to offset the potential roadblock of being "too weird." As long as it's relatively accessible, I think its chances are strong. Though being relatively accessible is not a given. We shall see...

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Blogger Kamikaze Camel said...

You don't think Sweeney Todd will make an appearance?

I could see Hairspray scooping nominations but not winning any. Obviously we can't tell until it opens, but at the moment there seems to be support for Blonski, Travolta and Walken, plus Pfeiffer and Queen Latifah.

There does seem to be an ubundance of musicals this year though.

7:47 AM  
Blogger adam k. said...

Oh wow, I'd forgotten all about Sweeney Todd. That tells you how much faith I have in its being good. But I suppose even if it's not, it will probably be nominated here.

I'm definitely expecting Travolta to be nominated, and Blonsky could make an appearance in comedy actress, too. Pfeiffer could also be in the cards for supporting actress.

Hmm, if I were serious about this post, I'd have to add a bit about Sweeney Todd. Maybe I will.

There really are a ton of musicals this year. I hope they're all good.

10:59 AM  
Blogger adam k. said...

Plus, Glenn, why haven't you voted?? Do you not like Pitt or Law?

My ego is very much attached to how many people vote in my contests.

11:01 AM  

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