Glenn here with a tuesday top ten on a topic dear to my heart, and Nathaniel's too. We both have a strange fondness for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual Golden Globe Awards. Beyond the gif-ready celebrities-getting-drunk setting and the organisation’s occasional flurries of bonkers brilliance (too many to list), I think I like most of all that their splitting of films between drama and musical/comedy means so many very worthy films get big awards and nominations that they otherwise wouldn’t have. The general rule of thumb is that musicals have a much easier time getting a nomination because there are far fewer of them and, thus, stick out more. Sure, Burlesque, Across the Universe, Nine, and Mamma Mia are recent examples of none too acclaimed musicals landing big time best picture nominations.
But what about those that didn’t? There’s more than you’d think!
11 with an Asterisk
Given the somewhat lax definition of “musical” by the HFPA – Ray? Coal Miner’s Daughter? Walk the Line? The Rose? – it’s a surprise that Robert Altman’s classic Nashville and Lars von Trier’s masterpiece Dancer in the Dark weren’t classified as such. The former because, well, it’s also pretty funny, right? The latter because it was a true, honest to god MUSICAL in the tradition sense. Altman’s ode to country garnered a whopping 11 nominations (including multiple for the now defunct “Best Acting Debut” category) and Dancer in the Dark snagged one for Bjork’s performance. Still, it’s about as dramatic as you can possibly get so we’ll let it slide.
TOP 10 MOST MYSTIFYING GOLDEN GLOBE MUSICAL SNUBS
10. Xanadu (1980)
Nominated instead: Airplane!, The Coal Miner’s Daughter (won), Fame, The Idolmaker, Melvin & Howard
Oh sure, laugh! Yes, this infamous movie was scorned upon release, but so was Burlesque and they had no trouble nominating that fabulosity twenty years later. Given the universal acclaim for, if nothing else, its soundtrack you’d think it could have at least gotten an original song citation for the title track. No, it’s not great art but who’s ever heard of Taylor Hackford’s The Idolmaker since?
Nine more increasingly acclaimed and tuneful snubbees after the jump
9. Purple Rain (1984)
Nominated instead: Beverly Hills Cop, Ghostbusters, Micki + Maude, Romancing the Stone (won), Splash
Okay, again, not a film of any great art per se, but Prince’s first big screen outing is arguably one of the greatest rock musicals ever made and given The Purple One’s ubiquity at the time its lack of a nomination outside of original song (for “When Dove’s Cry”) is a surprise. Never mind though, for Purple Rain remains the greatest album ever recorded. Ahem.
8. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
Nominated instead: Bridget Jones’ Diary, Gosford Park, Legally Blonde, Moulin Rouge! (won), Shrek
Now, we know the HFPA at leasT saw the film because writer-director-star John Cameron Mitchell received a much-deserved nomination in the acting category. Why oh why then did they pass it over – this fantastically energetic, sexually funky rock musical! – for Shrek or (and I say this as a huge fan) Legally Blonde? There’s little sense to that and I’m surprised Mitchell didn’t show up to the ceremony in full Hedwig costume and start snatching wigs left and right as a consequence. I’m disappointed, actually.
7. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Nominated instead: Funny Lady, The Return of the Pink Panther, Shampoo, The Sunshine Boys (won), Tommy
What fresh hell is this line up from 1975? Yikes! I’m very much aware that the film’s reputation is one that has grown exponentially over the years and that it was savaged upon release, but… well, do we need to go to the Burlesque well once more? It’s status as one of the original midnight movies (the cultural phenomenon that everybody cinephile should have their research hats on for) and a cult pop icon will mean it remains on the cinematic tongue far longer than any of the 1975 nominees. Tommy? Really?
6. A Prairie Home Companion (2006)
Nominated instead: Borat, The Devil Wears Prada, Dreamgirls (won), Little Miss Sunshine, Thank You for Smoking
Given the much publicised “Altman’s final film!” element as well as a cast to make the starf***ing HFPA salivate, they chose to not go with this wonderful nostalgia trip. No, not even Queen Meryl could convince them to ditch the lone dud in Jason Reitman’s young career, which is a shame. Meryl and Lily Tomlin’s familial duet has more emotion and tenderness in it than one could possibly imagine and, ya know what, the Globes nominated Prêt-à-Porter so what gives?
5. South Park: Bigger Longer, and Uncut (1999)
Nominated instead: Analyze This, Being John Malkovich, Man on the Moon, Notting Hill, Toy Story 2 (won)
Before the HFPA bowed to Academy statistical pressure and gave animated films their own category, cartoons would frequently be nominated and occasionally even win. Rather than this hilarious musical comedy they nominated a flippantly racist romcom (Notting Hill) and a comedy refuge for passed their prime mugging actors (Analyze This), which gives the Academy the upper hand in this instance. See also: no nomination for The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).
4. Without You I’m Nothing (1990)
Nominated instead: Dick Tracy, Ghost, Green Card (won), Home Alone, Pretty Woman
I tried to describe this film to a friend other night and it went thusly: “So, it’s a Sandra Bernhard stand-up film, but it’s been adapted into a movie, and, like, Sandra Bernhard plays Sandra Bernhard performing her stand-up routine. But it’s a film.” Needless to say, my friend didn’t quite get it. Then I mentioned Sandra performs a pastie-enhanced rendition of Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” and I think I sold it.
3. Anything with the word Muppet in it!
Not nominated: The Muppet Movie (1979), The Great Muppet Caper (1981), The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), The Muppets (2011)
It felt like a legitimate surprise when the Golden Globe’s failed to nominate The Muppets last year. It shouldn’t have been, however, since the HFPA have not once nominated any of the Muppet movies for Best Picture! In fact, the 1979 original lays claim to the only nomination for the entire franchise (“The Rainbow Connection” for original song)! They average much better with the Academy, usually garnering a song nomination apiece, with last year’s “reboot” taking home the franchise’s first statue. Note they also failed to nominate Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, a travesty all its own.
2. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
Nominated instead: N/A.
This particular oversight is made all the more baffling and absurd since the category, in only its third year of existence, decided to award no film at all! A perfectly acceptable roster of all musical nominees (let alone straight comedies!) could have been made out of this Howard Hawks’ Monroe/Russel starrer, Calamity Jane, The Band Wagon, Lili, and Kiss Me, Kate, but they chose to abstain instead. The HFPA must prefer brunettes.
1. All That Jazz (1979)
Nominated instead: Being There, Breaking Away, Hair, The Rose, 10
Consider this: the Golden Globes, in 1979, did not nominate either The Muppets Movie or All That Jazz. Maybe I’m just biased – Bob Fosse’s Palme d’Or winner is my favourite film of all time – but this is crazy bananas! But, you know, they had Hair to nominate instead! The second of Fosse’s films (after Cabaret, of course) to come an unofficial second in the Oscar race, All That Jazz’s lone Globe nomination was for best actor (that’d be Roy Scheider). Isn’t that just startling? To think, of the two musical spin-offs of Fellini’s 8 ½, Rob Marshall’s Nine is the one with a best picture nomination from the Globes! Wonders will never cease…