The Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild nominations were recently announced, and they gave us a glimpse of what to expect come Oscar night on March 7th. Most of the winners of the Golden Globes and SAG's go on to win the coveted Oscar trophies, but it's also fun when an upset occurs and someone unexpected wins! Here's a list of five of the films that I think you should definitely look out for and will certainly have a presence at this year's Oscars.
After the hugely successful musical "Chicago", which won six Oscars in 2003 including Best Picture, director Rob Marshell follows it up with "Nine". Based on a 1982 Broadway musical of the same name, which was inspired by Federico Fellini's autobiographical film 8¬Ω, the film has the most amazing cast ever assembled in a long time with six (yes SIX!) Academy Award winners and one Grammy winner. Are you ready? The cast includes Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Fergie, Judi Dench, and Sophia Loren. Scheduled to be released in the US on December 25, "Nine" tells the story of a famous film director Guido Contini as he struggles with a midlife crisis that is effecting his creativity and leads him to have a variety of romantic involvements. He tries to find harmony in his professional and personal lives, and is forced to balance different women in his life including his wife, his mistress, his muse, his costume designer, and his mother. The movie scored five Golden Globe nominations including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy as well as acting nods for Lewis, Cotillard and Cruz.
When this small film was made, which didn't include any big movie stars except for a small role played by Mariah Carey, it didn't have a distributor and didn't seem like it would be big. But it started playing in various film festivals, including Cannes and Sundance (where it won the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize for best drama) critics and people started raving about it. It caught the eye of Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry and they immediately provided promotional and financial assistance to the film, eventually becoming Executive Producers. The films tell the heartbreaking story of Precious, an obese and illiterate 16 year old girl living in Harlem, as she tries to overcome several obstacles in her life. Her father raped her and impregnated her twice and she lives with her abusive unemployed mother (played magnificently by Mo'nique, who was nominated for both a Golden Globe and SAG for this role). The movie made history when it earned $1.8 million in 3 days after playing in less than 200 theaters.
Movies based on actual events or telling the stories of real people almost always get nominated, so it was no surprise when Clint Eastwood's latest film Invictus, which details Nelson Mandela's life during the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. After Mandela was elected President of South Africa, his main goal was to end apartheid and the initiation of full democratic elections where the black majority population can vote. South Africa's rugby team consists of almost all White players but most of the Black population hate them and cheer against them. With South Africa hosting the upcoming Rugby World Cup, Mandela hopes to unify his nation; he meets with the rugby team's captain Francois Pienaar and convinces him that if the team can gain the support of black South Africans and succeed in the World Cup, the country will be unified and inspired. Both Morgan Freeman (who plays Nelson Mandela) and Matt Damon (who plays Pienaar) earned nominations as well as director Clint Eastwood.
Up In The Air
Earning the most nominations (six) at the Golden Globes, Up In The Air comes from the director of Juno and stars George Clooney as Ryan Bingham, a man who constantly travels around the country (collecting air miles excessively along the way) to various workplaces and conducts employee layoffs on behalf of bosses too cowardly to do it themselves; basically he fires people for a living. Traveling all the time limits him from having a personal life and he doesn't mind, but when he meets a woman who‚Äôs so similar to him that even though they both believe in the idea of living solo, they begin to fall in love. The movie was selected as one of the Top 10 Movies of 2009 by the American Film Institute and nominated for Best Motion Drama – Drama at the Golden Globes as well as George Clooney for Best Actor – Drama.
How can someone follow up directing the 1997 blockbuster Titanic, the highest earning movie ever? You create something unimaginably new, and that's exactly what director James Cameron did. He hasn't released anything since Titanic and he spent all that time working on Avatar. He developed a brand new 3-D camera for the film along with entirely new technologies for motion capture. The movie's budget was reportedly around $300 million. The story is set in the year 2154 as a group of humans try to colonize Pandora, a far away planet filled with lush forests, floating mountains, and a huge moon that fills the night's sky. Its inhibitors are the Na'vi, blue creatures who stand 3 meters tall. The humans want a mineral that sells for millions of dollars and its found under one of the Na'vi 's most sacred places. I wont spoil any more of the plot because seriously you have to watch this film, its an experience like never before. The technology is so developed that you cant tell what is computer generated and what's real; so much effort was put into this film and into the smallest details (for example, Cameron hired a linguist to invent an entirely new language for the Na'vi). With four Golden Globe nominations, including Best Motion Picture – Drama, expect Avatar to collect numerous Oscars in the technical categories.
Now I hope you have a clear round up of some of the most important movies of the year. The Golden Globes will air January 13, then on March 7th the biggest night for movies will air, the Oscars. So get your popcorn (or whatever snack you love) ready and be prepared for a spectacular night of glam, gold and… drama!
– Abdulla Al-Mulaifi