17 January 2010

All That Glisters Is Not a Gold Executive Card

It always surprises me how quickly the Golden Globes come around. One minute it's Christmas and you're stuck in Blockbuster City and the next, you're looking at the nominations for the various categories, which, this year at least, don't seem to correlate very closely with the movies you've seen and loved over the past year.

Before I could make the selections for my favourite in each category, however, I had to go to see Up in the Air, the latest film from Jason "Juno / Thank You for Smoking" Reitman. I often enjoy a bit of Clooney and I'd wanted to see the film when it premièred at LoFiFest but by the time I'd booked all of my tickets to see Clive's performances, Up in the Air was all booked up. Never mind--although it was very entertaining and Le Clooney was very good in his usual charming-but-cynical role, I didn't laugh quite so much as I did during Juno.

Clooney plays a guy who travels 320-odd days per year on business--his business being firing people on behalf of wussy bosses--and who has millions of air miles and every executive club card available but not much in the way of a personal life or indeed a life. His apartment is almost bare--there isn't even a Nespresso machine! Le Clooney meets two women, one of whom is a fellow frequent flier he encounters in a bar at a corporate hotel and the other works at his company. In fact, she is a bright young thing who basically wants to start firing people over Skype instead of in person; Clooney objects, mainly because he likes his life of travel rather than because he worries about the effect it would have on the firees. He is charged with training up the Bright Young Thing in the art (or is it a science?) of firing people and they take to the air together.

As the film progresses, thanks to the two women, Clooney starts to see the error of his ways and so it is perhaps a surprise that when someone utters the line, "Your real life? I thought I was part of your real life," it is said to him not by him. Luckily, the ending is rather trite although Clooney is a lot more fun to watch when he's being the regret-free, (emotional and physical) baggage-free cynic than the slightly emo "oh hey, have I wasted a large portion of my life with my crazy attitudes?" guy who surfaces towards the end of the film.

So, onto the Globes. As ever, these aren't my predictions, just my favourites in each category. Hopefully, by the time the Oscars roll around, I will have seen all or almost all of the films in each of the major categories and I will have more to choose from (equally, I hope that the films included come Oscar-time fit more closely with my thoughts on the best films of the past year).

  • Best film (drama): Up in the Air (although I would really have categorised it as a comedy--relative to other films I've watched at least) -- I've seen four of the nominees
  • Best film (comedy/musical): Julie & Julia -- I've only seen that and (500) Days of Summer and it was a tough call; neither was outstanding for me
  • Best director: Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds) -- I've seen four but if I'd seen Clint Eastwood's Invictus yet, I suspect I would have voted for that instead
  • Best actor (drama): George Clooney (Up in the Air) -- by default as it's the only film I've seen, though I plan to see Invictus, A Single Man and Brothers
  • Best actress (drama): Carey Mulligan (An Education) -- by default but she was great
  • Best actor (comedy/musical): Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes) -- out of the three I've seen
  • Best actress (comedy/musical): Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia) -- I've seen Duplicity too but I was too busy looking at Clive to notice Julia Roberts much
  • Best supporting actor: Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) -- by default
  • Best supporting actress: Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air) -- almost by default
  • Best foreign language film: Broken Embraces -- but I suspect when I finally see A Prophet, I'll rate that more highly
  • Best screenplay: Up in the Air
I don't watch enough TV to pick from the TV categories but suffice to say Mad Men, Jon Hamm and January Jones get my votes.

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