By Devin D. O'Leary
'Tis the Season—It's the giving time of year, and what better to give your favorite Hollywood star than an award nomination? Yes, it's that pre-Oscar time of year, when every organization in America starts handing out awards in hopes of getting some good press coverage and maybe a visit from Naomi Watts in an evening dress.
The biggest pre-Academy Awards statuette undoubtedly belongs to the Golden Globes. Handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association on January 17, the Golden Globes last week nominated a bevy of Hollywood films for consideration. The Aviator, Closer, Finding Neverland, Hotel Rwanda and Million Dollar Baby were all nominated for Best Drama. The Golden Globes (which, unlike the Oscars, hands out separate statues for comedy) nominated Sideways, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Ray, Phantom of the Opera and The Incredibles for Best Comedy/Musical. Jamie Foxx got nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy/Drama alongside Paul Giamatti (Sideways), Jim Carrey (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Kevin Kline (De-Lovely) and Kevin Spacey (Beyond the Sea). Leonardo DiCaprio lead the Best Actor in a Drama category for The Aviator. Also nominated were Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda), Liam Neeson (Kinsey), Javier Bardem (The Sea Inside) and Johnny Depp (Finding Neverland). Best Comedy/Musical Actress nominees included Annette Bening (Being Julia), Ashley Judd (De-Lovely), Emmy Rossum (Phantom of the Opera), Kate Winslet (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Renée Zelwegger (Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason). Best Drama Actress nominations went out to Scarlett Johansson (Love Song for Bobby Long), Nicole Kidman (Birth), Imelda Stanton (Vera Drake), Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby) and Uma Thurman (Kill Bill, Vol. 2). Among the Best Foreign Film contenders are The Chorus, A Very Long Engagement, Motorcycle Diaries, House of Flying Daggers and The Sea Inside.
Earlier, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Chicago Film Critics Association, the San Francisco Film Critics Association, the Boston Film Critics Association, the Southeastern Film Critics Association and the New York Film Critics Circle all chose Sideways as their best film of the year, paving an already golden road to the Oscars.
While Sideways looks like a shoo-in in a lot of Oscar categories, I'm still rooting for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (at least in the Best Original Screenplay category) and feel that Martin Scorsese's The Aviator is an underrated horse in the Oscar race. In my mind, Million Dollar Baby is highly overrated and Phantom of the Opera is just plain awful. But we'll just have to wait until Feb. 27 to see who takes home gold at the Oscar ceremony.