GOLDEN GLOBE SPOTLIGHT:Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)
Now for the comedic and musical men. Ahhh, the men. It's not nearly as competitive for them as it is for the ladies, but it is still a race worth exploring (if you, like me, love the men). Anyway, here are the leading contenders, as I see them:
DON CHEADLE (Talk to Me)
In his corner: Lots of goodwill in the industry. He's a very strong actor with only one previous nom to his name (for Hotel Rwanda). And once again, he's earned critical acclaim for playing a real person. I don't know much about this film (I missed it during its theatrical run), but it seems likely to earn him a nod in such a weak year.
But... the film never quite caught on the way it might have. It didn't make much money, and no one seems to be talking about it anymore.
(Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End)
In his corner: They love him. They've nominated him for the last two Pirates films. Why stop now? Depp's been a fixture at the globes for the past few years.
But... Captain Jack's kinda played out. Been there, done that, twice over. And Depp-wise, Sweeney Todd is where it's at this year.
Then again... they might just as soon nominate him for both (they did it for Leo last year). Call it "double Depping."
JOHNNY DEPP (Sweeney Todd)
In his corner: Legendary, immensely challenging role. It's comedic AND dramatic AND musical. It's been awards-bait before, at the Tonys. And Johnny's having a great year. And the globes love him. I don't see how he can miss.
But... what if he butchers it??? If the film's a total bust, and people start saying he's sullied Sweeney Todd, then I suppose they might snub him. Maybe.
Then again... I really think he'll get nominated either way. They've nommed him for crap before (Willy Wonka anyone?).
RYAN GOSLING (Lars and the Real Girl)
In his corner: He's a great actor, still riding high from last year's success, Half Nelson... and his Lars is totally unlike that previous (oscar-nominated) role.
But... some people don't like the quirk. Plus, the HFPA didn't even nominate him for Half Nelson... so maybe they won't nominate him for this? And speaking of Nelson, this perf is bound to suffer by comparison; it's hard to follow up Dan Dunne.
In his corner: Lovely, beautifully naturalistic performance in a movie that many people love. His acting, his singing and his songs carry the film. One could argue that he's the principal creative force behind Once.
But... he's not famous AT ALL. He's not even an actor, really. Nor is he American (his competitors are all of the above). Voters will have to REALLY love the film for him to get in. And even if they do, it's easier for them to just nominate one of his songs.
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN (The Savages)
In his corner: Strong performance in a prestige film. Great scene partner in Laura Linney. He's had a great year, and it's probably easiest for voters to honor it by nominating him here.
But... men don't usually win awards for films like this; I'd say Linney's a more likely nominee. And some say she overshadows him anyway. Plus, there's always the off chance he'll compete in drama (in which case, he'd probably be snubbed).
SETH ROGEN (Knocked Up)
In his corner: Lead role in acclaimed hit film. That usually spells N-O-M. Could be the "mainstream" choice if voters are sick of Depp.
But... that's a big "if." And with romantic comedies, it's usually the women who win awards... not to mention, his female co-star is much more famous than he is. Plus, though he's very funny and engaging, he kind of reads as just a schlub playing a schlub... and that's not too hard. If either of the leads gets a nom from this film, it'll probably be Katherine Heigl.
JOHN TRAVOLTA (Hairspray)
In his corner: This category loves him; he's won it before. And this year, he gave the most talked about performance in a well-reviewed hit. When you leave the film, you definitely remember him (even if you'd rather not). Voters may be nostalgic for the Travolta of yore, to the tune of a nomination here.
But... it's really a supporting role. Since it's a lead in the play, and sticks out so much in the film, voters might ignore that fact and place him here anyway... but that's not a given. Plus, the performance is divisive; there's a good chance it won't be nominated at all.
I'd say all these men have a shot at the shortlist (assuming of course that Travolta's not placed in supporting, and Hoffman's not placed in drama). I think the list of 5 will be culled from these 8 (I'm also assuming, for the sake of argument, that if Sam Riley in Control gets any traction, he'll follow Cotillard into drama). Am I missing anyone? I do think, for the record, that the Jameses (Marsden and McAvoy) would be #9 and #10 respectively (for Enchanted and Becoming Jane). They're both having stellar years. But since they're also both playing second fiddle to their female co-stars, I don't expect to see either of them on the shortlist.
Right now I'd say the list will consist of Cheadle, Depp, Depp, Gosling and Hoffman, with Depp (for Sweeney) and Gosling being the two locks. But I'm probably wrong.
Who do you guys think it'll be? Discuss in the comments.