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Golden Globes 2022 tries to do better as Lady Gaga brings the outrage

Peter Bradshaw

THE Golden Globes nomination list has been announced with a solemn introduction from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s president Helen Hoehne, to the effect that the Globes’ much-criticised controlling body was “trying to be better” and that its constituent membership was more diverse than at any other time in its history. Which is better, I suppose, than being less diverse than at any time in its history.

At any rate, leading the pack are Belfast, Kenneth Branagh’s unashamed heartwarmer about the home town of his early childhood, with seven nominations and Jane Campion’s stark, twisty western-Gothic psychodrama The Power of the Dog, set in 1920s Montana with Benedict Cumberbatch as the troubled, angry cattleman who begins a toxic duel with his new sister-in-law played by Kirsten Dunst and her sensitive teenage son, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee.

Campion’s brilliant, haunting drama has the amplitude and seriousness which may well convince the Globe voters that this is a major movie – which I think it unquestionably is, as it takes the tropes and forms of the western and contorts them with novel ideas about sexuality and dysfunction. And it has what so few movies of any sort have – a really satisfying and unexpected ending. Branagh’s Belfast, which coolly declines to conform to the accepted expressions of anger and misery long considered essential in dramatising the Troubles, got itself some social media mockery from some. But its heartfelt generosity and tenderness won my heart and I am not at all surprised, and rather pleased, to see it in a commanding position.

The Power Of The Dog.
The Power Of The Dog. Photograph: Kirsty Griffin/NETFLIX

Coming up behind, the story is a little different. It is a bit heartsinking to see Adam McKay’s extremely moderate apocalyptic climate-crisis satire Don’t Look Up pick up four nominations, ahead of so many superior movies. It is the beneficiary of the Globes’ “musical or comedy” category which, though a good thing in and of itself, is probably very generous to a movie that thinks it’s funnier and more meaningful than it actually is. And I have to say I am a bit baffled by Aaron Sorkin’s strained Being the Ricardos getting three nominations), with its imagining of backstage office politics in the production of the 50s TV classic I Love Lucy with Nicole Kidman conscientiously but implausibly impersonating Lucille Ball.Advertisementurn:uuid:d63da233-9b96-1101-a484-11019b96d63d

On the other hand Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story is such a wonderful movie, though hampered by some critical meh-ing and disappointing box office news. I’m hoping that some of its four nominations will be converted into wins, though in the best musical or comedy category it is up against one of my favourite films at the moment, one that I could imagine watching every day for the next six months: Paul Thomas Anderson’s miraculous 70s LA age-gap comedy romance Licorice Pizza.

I wouldn’t bet against Will Smith getting the best actor Globe for his starring role in King Richard: a rich, smooth and effortlessly charming true-life drama about the formidable and driven Richard Williams, coach and dad to the legendary tennis sisters Venus and Serena Williams. Smith, however, is up against really tough opposition in the form of Mahershala Ali who gives a very thoughtful and absorbing performance in Benjamin Cleary’s Frankenheimian sci-fi mystery Swan Song, as well as Denzel Washington as Macbeth in Joel Coen’s stark monochrome reading of the Shakespeare play.

Further down the list, I am disappointed to see David Lowery’s superb prog-rock Arthurian fantasy The Green Knight get zero nominations and there might also be some critical tearfall over a similar snub to Mike Mills’s C’mon C’mon– though I was less impressed than others by this self-consciously sensitive film. There might be some eyebrows raised (like mine) over Ruth Negga (justifiably) getting a nomination for her excellent performance in Rebecca Hall’s Passing, but not her co-star Tessa Thompson.

On the best actress – drama list my betting is on the outrageous Lady Gaga in House of Gucci. Nobody brings the drama like LG, but this film should really have been in the musical or comedy category – though perhaps putting it with the serious films perpetuates the joke. Kristen Stewart is tipped for silverware by many for her role in the entertaining if fundamentally silly drama Spencer, imagining Princess Diana’s dire final Christmas with the royals. Olivia Colman is superb in The Lost Daughter, and this could be another triumph for her.

So a very reasonable Globes list, with the oddest of odd couples, Campion and Branagh, poised to clean up.

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