Nominations for the Academy Awards will be announced Thursday, and film critics are asking how Sunday’s Golden Globes could affect voters’ decisions. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association named Matthew McConaughey best actor in a drama, and “12 Years a Slave” and “American Hustle” won best drama and best comedy. But after a year of virtuoso acting and filmmaking, Academy voters have plenty of options.
Cate Blanchett, named best actress in a drama for her role in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” on Sunday, is generally expected to win the Oscar for best actress as well. Ronan and Mia Farrow protested strongly when Allen, whom they believe is a pedophile, won the award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globes, but Academy voters might ignore the controversy.
The best actor category is more competitive. McConaughey won the Golden Globe award over Robert Redford, whose work in “All is Lost” has devoted admirers among critics. Redford was not nominated by the Screen Actors Guild last month, and few are optimistic that the Academy will nominate him for an Oscar either.
“Redford may be out because the Sundance Kid refuses to do media or mix with the showbiz crowd. Heck, he didn’t even do a press junket for ‘All Is Lost,’ which hurt the film,” Tom O’Neil told the Los Angeles Times.
Ann Hornaday called Redford’s role his best performance in his long career. “He not only deserves to be nominated, he deserves to win — even in a year crammed with superb lead-actor performances,” she wrote.
Whether “American Hustle” or “Gravity” wins the award for best picture over “12 Years a Slave” could depend on how comfortable the Academy feels with Steve McQueen’s horrifying portrayal of antebellum slavery, according to Mike Hogan:
12 Years a Slave, despite being the most accomplished and important film of the year, has always been a hard sell for Academy voters, who tend to be old, white, and neurotically obsessed with what message their Best Picture selection sends to the rest of the world in terms of America’s reputation. To be clear, I think this is wrongheaded, but I’m telling you what I’ve been led to believe, and that is that the Academy worries that people around the world will hate us more if they wreath 12 Years a Slave, with its unflinching depiction of institutionalized sociopathy, in laurels. They would feel more comfortable rewarding a film like American Hustle or Gravity, so the question is whether they will take the easy way out or decide to do something brave and historic. . . .
At the end of the day, though, I think voters will conclude that neither Hustle nor Gravity has the gravitas to overcome 12 Years a Slave.
More often than not, members of Hollywood’s foreign press and the Academy disagree about a year’s best films. The film that won the Oscar was named best in its category at the Golden Globes only four times in the past decade, notes Ben Zauzmer.
Find a complete list of Sunday’s winners here.