The Golden Globes are interesting, mostly, as a barometer for the awards event Hollywood really cares about - Oscar Night. Nobody even hosts the Golden Globes - it's just a big schmooze-fest, really, and a chance for stars to parade down the red carpet in their fine feathers, but it's always been the underperforming kid brother to big brother Oscar, and this year is no different. It's considered news that Chris Rock wasn't asked to host the Oscars, or that Billy Crystal turned the gig down, and, finally - hurrah! - we have an Oscar host in Jon Stewart, so now we can all sleep at night . The Golden Globes? Eh. No one cares, much, except for perhaps wondering who's going to be this year's Miss Golden Globes, er, Globe (this year it's Dakota Johnson, daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson).
As an Oscar predictor for Best Director, the Globes really don't tell us much - six of the past ten Best Director Globe winners have gone on to win the Oscars .Four of the films nominated in the Best Director category are also nominees for Best Picture: Match Point, Good Night and Good Luck, The Constant Gardener, and Brokeback Mountain. Over the past ten years, half of the Golden Globe Best Director winners also won for Best Picture. Bottom line - you could probably be just about as accurate in predicting the Golden Globes Best Director winner and what that might determine for Best Picture at the Globes, and Best Director at the Oscars, by having a monkey draw names out of a hat. But let's pretend that some actual analysis goes into the voting process for these awards anyhow, just for kicks.
Woody Allen (Match Point )- Critics have almost universally hailed Match Point as Woody Allen's best film in years. Roger Ebert ranks it right up there with Allen's best work - Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, Manhattan, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Everyone Says I Love You. Allen is also nominated in the Best Screenplay category for Match Point, and with the film's intricate plot and snappy dialogue, he may have a good shot at a win in that category. Allen previously won at the Globes for Best Screenplay for Purple Rose of Cairo (1985). He was last nominated for Best Director for Hannah and her Sisters in 1986, but lost out to Oliver Stone for Platoon. Allen was snubbed by the Director's Guild of America (DGA) for a nom, which has accurately predicted the Best Director Oscar 51 of of the last 57 times. If Allen's going to win a trophy, this year, it's more likely to be a Globe than an Oscar. Maybe the HFPA will throw him a bone - he's not getting any younger.
George Clooney (Good Night and Good Luck) - If there's a guy in Hollywood today who can do it all, Clooney seems to be it. He won a Golden Globe in 2001 for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy/Musical for O, Brother, Where Art Thou?, and has three noms under his belt as an actor for his role as hearthrob doctor Doug Ross on ER as well. His directorial debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, was an uneven but strong effort, and he's been producing as well (Syriana, A Scanner Darkly). Good Night and Good Luck is his first director nod, but he's up against some major heavyweights here. This nomination gives Clooney a lot of cred, but I think he's unlikely to win this round. If he does pull it off, though, he might have an actual shot at Oscar. He's also the hottest nominee, and up for the DGA, so if those count for anything, they could boost his chances.
Peter Jackson (King Kong) - You get the feeling Jackson was nominated for King Kong more for the ape and the thrill ride than anything else. Kong was a fun movie, sure, with rocking special effects, but it isn't a Best Picture nominee, and rightly so. For one thing, it's longer than it needed to be by about 45 minutes of sexual inneundo and mooning, lovestruck eye contact between Naomi Watts and her giant ape. A fun flick to catch on a Friday night maybe, but worthy of Best Director? I think not. Jackson still has his trophies from Return of the King to polish, though, and loads of talent as a director. This isn't his year for it, but we'll be seeing him again.
Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) - Lee is one of the most versatile directors working today. He's not afraid to explore different genres, and he's succeeded well with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Sense and Sensibility, and now the critically-acclaimed "gay cowboy flick", Brokeback Mountain (okay, I'm giving him a "get out of critics' hell free card" on Hulk). Brokeback Mountain is a downer of a story, sure, but so was Titanic, and it won Golden Globes for James Cameron for both Best Director and Best Picture (not that I'm saying it should have, mind you - just noting that it did). Lee is nominated for the DGA's prize as well.
Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener) - Meirelles was overlooked for a Golden Globe nom for City of God in 2004, and lost out on Oscar Gold that year to Peter Jackson finally cashing in his chips on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I don't think this is going to be his year for the Globes, either. Although the critics almost universally (well, except for our own Ryan Stewart) loved The Constant Gardener, Meirelles faces stiff competition, especially from Lee, Clooney and Allen.
Steven Spielberg (Munich) - Spielberg got the cold shoulder from the Screen Actor's Guild, the Writer's Guild of America, and the Producer's Guild, but the DGA liked Munich enough to toss him a nom. This is Spielberg's tenth nomination for a Best Director at the Golden Globes; he's won twice, for Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List, two of his more serious films. Although Munich has the potential to be the kind of "serious" Spielberg film the HFPA voters might be likely to go for, I don't see him beating out Lee or Allen this year.
My Prediction: It would be great to see Allen finally win a Golden Globe for Best Director, after being nominated three other times, but my money is on Globe golden boy Ang Lee , who won for Best Director in 2001 for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Best Pic for Sense and Sensibility in 1995. Lee is a versatile director, and Brokeback Mountain is a critic's pet if I've ever seen one. I wouldn't be surprised, actually, to see Lee get the double-whammy this year for Best Director and Best Picture.