STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Golden Globes list looks like ominous backlash

Article Image

Netflix led in total nominations for the 77th Golden Globe Awards, thanks to a strong showing from the films "Marriage Story" and "The Irishman."

Posted: Dec 9, 2019 8:20 PM
Updated: Dec 9, 2019 8:20 PM

The Golden Globe nominations were announced this morning, and leading the pack are "The Irishman," Martin Scorsese's three-and-a-half-hour Jimmy Hoffa epic, and "Marriage Story," Noah Baumbach's semi-autobiographical divorce drama (with five and six nominations, respectively).

Notably missing from the list of Best Picture (both drama and comedy) and Best Director nominations: A single film directed by, or even remotely about, women.

Infuriatingly absent is a nomination for Greta Gerwig and her "Little Women," a radical new examination of the relationship between women and art. That subject is actually twice snubbed here, with the omission of Celine Sciamma, director of the rapturous and daring "Portrait of a Lady on Fire," from the Best Director list. (Lest you think Sciamma's foreign-ness might have disqualified her, look no further than Bong Joon-ho's rightful inclusion on the Best Director list for his incendiary, gorgeous "Parasite.")

Also conspicuously shut out: Marielle Heller and her drama "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," a wonderful, moving ode to Fred Rogers and his enduring legacy of kindness. Supporting actor Tom Hanks merited a nod; Heller, and the film itself, did not.

It's also well worth noting that in a year when Netflix scored such an impressive yield of nominations for "The Irishman," another electrifying work they produced, "When They See Us" -- a work from Ava DuVernay that transformed how our society sees the plight of the Central Park Five -- was completely shut out. And Regina King, who's delivering one of the year's best TV performances on HBO's "Watchmen," is also absent on the nominee lists, as is any mention of the critically-raved-about show. (This may just be the HFPA's big "OK, Boomer" year.)

Anyone else feeling a trend here in the big categories?

"The Irishman" comes to the Globes on a rising tide of early support: The critics association of which I am a member, the New York Film Critics Circle, just awarded it Best Picture (I'd never reveal my own vote, but draw your own conclusions); the National Board of Review did likewise, and the American Film Institute gave it a place on its Top Ten Films of the Year list.

I would never bet against Scorsese or the public's appetite for his endless stream of mob dramas. I don't really get the appeal -- older white guys treating women like garbage and killing one another off randomly doesn't float my boat -- but I know it to be true, and I do respect Scorsese as an absolute master of his craft.

But what does it say that we are still celebrating films that marginalize women to the extent that both "The Irishman" and "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" - whose helmer, Quentin Tarantino, is nominated for Best Director - have done? In the former, Anna Paquin speaks all of seven words; in the latter, purportedly about the Sharon Tate murder, Margot Robbie as Tate is relegated to a near-wordless, manic pixie doomed girl performance.

Both of these have been think-pieced ad nauseam and excused by their actresses as just fine, so... well, if they say so.

Relatedly, consider recent commentary (also heavily think-pieced) by Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola about their derision for Marvel movies as not being real art. Comic book movies are "the same thing over and over again," said Scorsese, the man who has made approximately 3,000 films about the mafia and zero featuring women in any real capacity.

"The Irishman" arrives at a very different moment in film history than, say, Scorsese's 2006 drama "The Departed" (when it pulled down six Globe nominations). Just last week, Sundance announced its roster of films for the 2020 festival: Fully 46% of them are directed by women, a record-breaking stat and a bold statement that gender equity in film is making strides forward. That 46% is what made hearing this morning's nominations so deeply depressing to those of us who'd just like women to get a fair hearing in what's considered Great Art in the film biz.

And there are few better examples of great art than "Portrait of a Lady on Fire," currently out in a limited-run release for awards qualification - but headed for a wider release in February. Set in the late 1700s, it revolves around a romance between a noblewoman reluctantly having her portrait painted to impress an arranged-marriage fiance, and the female portrait artist commissioned to do the job.

It is, in every way, a stunningly unique piece of work - cinematographer Claire Mathon makes every frame resemble a lush painting of the era - but its most delicious trick is to create a world nearly devoid of men in an era where the patriarchy reigned supreme, and to celebrate the liberty found therein. There is a lesbian romance; there is an abortion; there is deeply felt friendship and an exploration of the constraints of being a female painter during a time when women were not allowed to look at the male form to learn how to paint it, effectively prohibiting them from creating what would be considered, well, Great Art. It is a dreadful call to have left writer/director Sciamma ("Tomboy," Girlhood") off the Best Director list.

In "Little Women," meanwhile, director and screenwriter Gerwig ("Lady Bird") has reimagined the novel by Louisa May Alcott in a way that addresses head-on the obstacles Alcott faced in trying to publish as a female writer in the mid-1800s. Gerwig mischievously works in quotes attributed to Alcott rather than her characters (including a favorite of mine, about her thoughts on marriage: "I'd rather be a free spinster and paddle my own canoe") and uses her screenplay to illustrate just how "Little Women" ended up with a puzzlingly cheesy romantic ending for its cheese-shunning protagonist, Jo March.

Globes voters have chosen to sweep these remarkable films aside to celebrate a slate of films about the male experience, from the wise guys of "The Irishman" to the incel-sympathetic "Joker" to the ubiquitous award-bait of a war film in "1917" to the papal buddy dramedy "The Two Popes."

We get it, Hollywood Foreign Press Association. It's time to bring the focus back to men and men's experiences. After all, we've had a couple of years of talk about #MeToo and #TimesUp and systemic discrimination against women and people of color in the film industry. Time for a breather, am I right?

I hope I'm wrong, actually. But if the Globes and other early nominations are any indication (which they frequently are), we're heading for a celebration of white men and their problems at the Oscars this year as well. I'm not suggesting male-centric films, or male directors, are not deserving of recognition. But I think I speak for a significant number of viewers when I say that, following last week's news that Kamala Harris had to drop out of the presidential race for lack of funding, this morning's announcements don't feel like an encouraging way to head into 2020. Art, if it's done right, is indelibly linked to culture. What do today's picks say about where we stand on gender equality?

Huntsville
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 50°
Florence
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 50°
Fayetteville
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 43°
Decatur
Overcast
51° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 51°
Scottsboro
Scattered Clouds
55° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 55°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 161537

Reported Deaths: 2718
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23940385
Mobile17123319
Tuscaloosa10602141
Montgomery10503199
Madison955798
Shelby760565
Baldwin676869
Lee664965
Calhoun476562
Marshall447451
Etowah441952
Morgan430835
Houston423934
DeKalb355429
Elmore327858
St. Clair311342
Limestone297031
Walker287493
Talladega276437
Cullman266525
Lauderdale240543
Jackson225317
Autauga212631
Colbert210232
Franklin209432
Blount200925
Russell19833
Chilton192332
Dallas189227
Dale184952
Coffee183611
Covington177329
Escambia175831
Clarke138717
Chambers138047
Tallapoosa137287
Pike136414
Marion110931
Barbour10559
Marengo104622
Butler101941
Winston94713
Geneva9427
Pickens89018
Lawrence88533
Bibb86115
Randolph84616
Hale78130
Cherokee76414
Clay76312
Washington75812
Henry7316
Lowndes72128
Monroe66310
Bullock65117
Crenshaw61230
Fayette59913
Perry5996
Cleburne5799
Conecuh57213
Wilcox57112
Macon54320
Lamar5235
Sumter48621
Choctaw39512
Greene34516
Coosa2173
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 256880

Reported Deaths: 3263
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby37335570
Davidson32679345
Knox1319395
Rutherford12406115
Hamilton12175112
Williamson738756
Sumner6371113
Wilson492063
Putnam461059
Montgomery438960
Out of TN427836
Sullivan398150
Madison391880
Washington376753
Bradley370323
Blount351536
Sevier349722
Maury345839
Robertson268143
Hamblen254750
Tipton246623
Dyer233638
Unassigned22306
Gibson222749
Coffee198726
Hardeman193133
Greene187654
Obion185523
Anderson181314
Bedford178920
Trousdale17899
Dickson176319
Fayette175925
McMinn171238
Lawrence170720
Loudon169012
Cumberland166927
Carter166636
Wayne16197
Weakley161026
Jefferson160424
Monroe152129
Warren150711
Lauderdale149517
Henderson144126
Hardin143522
Roane14208
Macon138125
Franklin133623
Haywood132028
Hawkins127228
Overton126120
White125214
Johnson11927
Marshall119011
Carroll116926
Cocke115014
McNairy115029
Rhea114119
Campbell110413
Cheatham109712
Bledsoe10344
Smith103214
Giles100738
Lake9904
Lincoln9453
Fentress94411
Crockett90722
Henry83712
Hickman82915
Marion81210
DeKalb78617
Chester74115
Decatur67911
Grainger6364
Grundy58712
Union5554
Claiborne5437
Polk54013
Unicoi4775
Jackson4716
Humphreys4654
Morgan4587
Lewis4425
Benton43410
Cannon4322
Houston43117
Clay41815
Scott4085
Sequatchie3632
Stewart34811
Perry3435
Meigs3376
Pickett2879
Moore2832
Van Buren2122
Hancock1253

Community Events