The Excitement Builds…Golden Globe noms announced

OK, kids … this is one of the big ones. The Golden Globe nominees were announced last week, giving us our first glimpse at what are expected to become the quintessential films and shows of 2014.

The winners in the film categories (to be announced at the Big Show on January 11, with Amy and Tina at the helm again — yay) often go on to the Big-Big Show, the Oscars, on Feb. 22… that means the Globe noms are not just a preview of award-winners to come, but also our first chance to start devising movie-themed goodies for our annual pre-Oscar party and food contest. 

In fact, it’s become hard for me to scan the list of nominees without automatically assigning food-puns to the actors, directors, and producers — Eggs Benedict Cumberbatch, anyone? — and even more so this year because I have yet to see most of the films. That said, here are a few early impressions:

It’s nice to see Jennifer Aniston on the Best Actress (Drama) list, finally, and for a movie called Cake, too! That’s an easy entry for a food contest… so no excuses, future guests. Aniston did win a Globe for her role on Friends in 2003, but she’s never been among Jennifer Aniston 2011.jpgthe heavy-hitters on the film side of things, and from the looks of it she has as good a chance as everyone else in the category: Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike, Reese Witherspoon, and Felicity Jones. I dare say she might even be the favorite, with Moore nominated in another category (Best Actress, Musical or Comedy), Pike and Jones representing the newcomers, and Witherspoon starring in a film that was just released to the masses this month.

In the Best Actor, Mini-series/TV Movie category, it feels like Take Two for Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, who were already pitted against the all-powerful Bryan Cranston at the Emmys and therefore only worth a handful of beans. I personally feel like their collective moment has passed but I’m always game to hear McConaughey wax poetic about Neptune, so may the best Wood-a-been win. 

Best Supporting Actress, Mini-series/TV Movie is another interesting category for performances; we’ve got Kathy Bates playing a bearded woman, Allison Janney playing a recovering alcoholic, Uzo Aduba as an inmate, Joanne Froggatt as a maid, and Michelle Monaghan as a cheatin’ heart… it seems to be the year of the unsung hero.

One of my favorite categories, Best Song, is largely populated by the new pop elite: Sia, Lorde, Lana del Rey, Common, and John Legend are joined by veterans Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye. My pick here is Lorde for Yellow Flicker Beat (Hunger Games: Mockingjay), because it’s just a great tune.

…What say you?

Grammy Thoughts,_Jr..jpgThe GRAMMY Nominations just rolled out, signaling the start of Awards Season … although a few ceremonies have already come and gone in recent months, in what seems to be an effort to extend the life of statuettes. Hollywood Film Awards? Yeah, no thanks.

I do love Awards Season in its traditional form, though, and as per usual I’m scanning the list and musing on the odd mention here and there. Some of my preliminary thoughts:

Best Pop Vocal Album

This category has quite the range, including Miley Cyrus’ irritatingly misspelled Bangerz as well as Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith’s much-more-excellent albums, X and In the Lonely Hour, and some Katy Perry and Coldplay mixed in for good measure. I feel a bit removed from this category as I’m not up-to-date with all of the music included, especially Nikelodeon’s latest Trick-at-Nite Ariana Grande’s. But I hope the singer-songwriters win out — namely Sam or Ed as I mentioned before and not necessarily Coldplay — which I feel is on the list solely to cover the awards show’s 35 – 45 age demographic.

Best Urban Contemporary Album

This is not a new category — it was added in 1958 — but I’m still confused by what an urban contemporary album is, especially when two nominees are entertainment powerhouses (Beyonce and Pharrell), two I’ve never heard of (Mali Music and Jhene Aiko, sorry) and one doesn’t bear mentioning. New Artist

With the understanding that I-G-G-Y will probably be walking home with the Gramophone, I’m glad to see HAIM on the list.

Best Pop Solo Performance

I see what you did there, Pharrell and John Legend. You submitted live versions of your hits because the studio versions weren’t eligible. Crafty.

Best Metal Performance

Tenacious D is nominated for best Metal Performance. I repeat, Tenacious D is nominated for best Metal Performance.

Best Rap Song

It took nine people to write Kanye West’s ‘Bound 2,’ and Kim Kardashian wasn’t one of them.


Emmy Noms: So Delicious

I pored over this year’s Emmy Nominations list when it was released last week with my usual zeal for both awards shows and lists.

What I saw were many signs of life in the creative arm of the entertainment industry: renewed battles between veterans and newcomers, multiple nominations among actors, writers, and directors, and recognizable names in all sorts of categories, from cinematography to choreography, to name a few.

Regarding the latter, let’s start with Writing for a Variety Series: Fred Armisen and former Sleater-Kinney rocker Carrie Brownstein for the win, anyone? There’s also an oddly celebrified Voice-over Performance Category; Seth MacFarlane and Seth Green go without saying here, but Sam Elliott and Lily Tomlin? The playing field has widened.

I love the new and still-evolving award categories, too, like Best Interactive Program. While I think those at the helm of said programs need to put a little more work into the titles — Game Of Thrones Season Three Enhanced Digital Experience is kind of a mouthful — the fact that they even exist is a nod and-a-half to the power of social media. Holla.

Then there are the categories that probably aren’t new, but are no less intriguing to me in today’s fast-paced media climate. They stand out as growing pains. I can’t help but wonder: does there really need to be a category for Documentary or Nonfiction Series, Documentary or Nonfiction Special, and an Informational Series or Special? I gather that ‘Informational Series’ is geared more toward educational or awareness material, but it still makes me think of George Carlin’s Flammable-Inflammable Rant.

Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role confuses me too. Is it the effects we’re talking about here? Or special effects surrounding one character, like Barnabas Collins of Dark Shadows? The nominees in this category don’t help me, either. Two are for pilots and four are for shows on premium channels that I don’t get. I honestly didn’t even know Starz still existed but way to go, Da Vinci’s Demons.

Circling back to the stars and the shows they’re on, though, because hey — they’re fun — there are a slew of people to root for. I, of course, focus on the shows that I follow and by no means is that an exhaustive treatment of what’s on t.v. today. That said, I do have a few favorites:

Best Drama Series

While I watch both Mad Men and Breaking Bad, and both had amazing seasons, I have to give this year to Walter White and Company. The writers started with a high school chemistry teacher and will ultimately end with a character of whom any reasonably minded human is terrified. Recognize.

Actress in a Drama

I want Elisabeth Moss to take the Emmy home; Peggy Olson is the glue that holds the Mad house together. That said, I don’t think she will. I watched Robin Wright in House of Cards and Vera Farmiga in Bates Motel, and if I had to choose between the three I’d take Farmiga for the knock-out, but I also think Wright has the critics’ support.

Actor in a Comedy
Jason Bateman stands out in this category for me not just because I really want him to win — call it Sympathy for Nichael Bluth — but also because he’s surrounded by a flock of award-winners. Give the little guy a chance.

Supporting Actress in a Comedy
The supporting categories are more interesting to me than the Lead noms most years, and especially this year. These are the character players. The funny women after my own heart. The sauce.

Vying for the nostalgia vote are former child stars Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory) and Anna Chlumsky (Veep), joined by now-seasoned comedy veterans Jane Lynch (Glee), Sofia Vergara (Modern Family), Jane Krakowski (30 Rock), and Julie Bowen (Modern Family). Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie) is my top candidate. Her portrayal of the warm-hearted, socially awkward, professionally adept Nurse Zoe is one of the best performances on television in its nuances alone.

Guest Actor in a Drama

I Tweeted earlier in the year that I though Harry Hamlin’s turn as the latest partner at Sterling Coop was his best, and apparently, the critics agree.

Guest Actress in a Drama

Many of us didn’t know whether to cheer or shed a tear when we saw Linda Cardellini, our beloved Freaks and Geeks Lindsay, getting all Betty Rubble Cray Cray on Mad Men. With an award at hand, now we can just cheer. Ironically, of course.

My ultimate favorite in this category has to go to two-time nominee Joan Cusack as agoraphobic Sheila on Shameless, though. No one can play a house-bound housewife with a sex-toy fetish like Joan Cusack. And I mean that as a compliment.

Honorable Mentions

  • Anthony Bourdain is nominated for three — three — Emmys. I’m beginning to think I should add ‘win an Emmy’ to my bucket list. Apparently it’s more attainable than I previously thought*.
  • Christina Hendricks, you have some tough competition. But I want this be your year. And so does Johnny Walker.
  • Liz & Dick managed to squeak an Emmy nom under its belt before fading into obscurity: for hairstyling.
  • There’s all sorts of buzz around the Netflix-based nominees this year, but For the Emmy? That’s progress.
  • Rory Kennedy is nominated for Direction of a documentary about her mother, Ethel.
  • Betty White.

The Lifetime Achievement Award goes to:

The Simpsons on its Emmy nom for Treehouse of Horror: XXIII.

Final Thoughts

It’s true that the fame-names drew me into further discovery of those lesser-known categories. But the categories themselves kept me looking, and hopefully there are future writers, composers, editors and producers out there doing the same… the opportunities are only growing.

* I kid. He’s actually a multiple Emmy winner. I just wanted to dish it out.