At first glance, the major loser in this year’s Golden Globe nominations would appear to be Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, his superb daymare about a 1950s London fashion designer; it gets its mandatory best actor (drama) nod for Daniel Day-Lewis in his valedictory performance but nothing in the way of best film or best director. Nothing, furthermore, for Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049, starring Ryan Gosling as a younger-generation replicant-hunter who winds up on the track of his predecessor, Harrison Ford. Nor is there anything for the red-hot topicality of Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit – and in fact the best director category has, depressingly, been turned into a boys’ club; all the more dismaying considering that Sofia Coppola picked up the director’s prize in Cannes for her The Beguiled (not noticed here). And in the foreign film category, Robin Campillo’s excellent BPM (Beats Per Minute), his drama about the ACT UP campaign in Paris, has not been nominated.

Meanwhile, The Shape of Water, The Post and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri are the frontrunners. Yet the most striking winner – at this early stage – is Ridley Scott’s action drama All the Money in the World, which in its re-shot form with Christopher Plummer replacing the disgraced Kevin Spacey in the role of ageing oil baron J Paul Getty, must surely have been shown to the Globes’ Foreign Press Association voters in record time. They must have been hustled into screening theatres to see it, or had the screener discs messengered to their LA homes in vehicles accompanied by motorcycle outriders. The Globes have rewarded it with a best director nomination for Scott, best actress (drama) for Michelle Williams and a best supporting actor (drama) nomination for Plummer himself. This is, I suspect, the most emphatic way that the Globes is responding to the #MeToo debate.

Otherwise, perhaps the clearest indication of mood with the Golden Globes is given in the best director list which, for reasons never fully articulated, is not split into the serious/light categories of “drama” and “musical or comedy” the way the actual picture and acting nominations are.

Guillermo Del Toro gets his director nod for his wonderful film The Shape of Water, which also gets best picture (drama), best screenplay and best score; Sally Hawkins is nominated for best actress (drama), Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer in the best supporting categories. I think this could be Del Toro’s masterpiece or at any rate the best film of his career so far: superior, in my view to his hugely-admired Pan’s Labyrinth. The Shape of Water is a sublime film, a reverie with a beautifully judged tragicomic tone, meshed with a melodramatic excitements of a thriller and the strange exaltation of science fiction. Almost miraculously, the film itself seems to float, easily and gently, as if assuming the weightlessness of being in water. As Elisa, Hawkins has her best role since her Poppy in Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky in 2008; Jenkins has a gentle, seductive intelligence as her unhappy roommate, and Spencer is funny, smart and sharp as Elisa’s co-worker Zelda: she provides the movie with much of its sinew and grit.

Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in The Post.
Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in The Post. Photograph: Niko Tavernise/AP

Martin McDonagh has a best director nomination for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: his fierce, sharp, laceratingly painful and violent black comedy about a middle-aged woman who stages a public complaint about the incompetent cops in her small town who have not yet caught the rapist who murdered her teenage daughter. This she does by renting three disused billboards just outside of town. Frances McDormand is a very plausible nominee for best actress (drama) in this role – a frontrunner, in all probability – and Sam Rockwell might find that his career moment has finally arrived with best supporting actor nomination for the indolent, racist cop. It also gets screenplay and score nods. It is a terrifically watchable and tremendously written film.

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is the colossally powerful, overwhelmingly emotional film which has duly got a director and best picture (drama) nomination and Hans Zimmer must surely be in pole position to convert his best score nomination. However, there are no acting nominations here, perhaps chiefly because the film itself is the star, with its gigantic and almost hallucinatory sense of spectacle.

The magnificently productive and creative Steven Spielberg gets his nomination for the heartfelt and supremely watchable The Post, his gripping drama about how the Washington Post, its proprietor Kay Graham and editor Ben Bradlee became the warriors of real news against fake politics – battling to publish the Pentagon Papers in 1971, leaked documents which proved government mendacity on Vietnam. The case was the John the Baptist which preceded the Jesus of the Watergate investigation. Meryl Streep of course gets her nomination for actress as Graham, and likewise for Hanks as Bradlee. Rousing though these turns are, neither provides the shock of the new exactly, I suspect that neither will win and the prize might more readily go Spielberg or to first-time screenwriter Liz Hannah for best screenplay.

Otherwise, Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name has a nomination for best picture (drama); it is a wonderful film which certainly has a very good chance at winning. Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet are superb co-stars in this love story, although oddly it is Chalamet who is nominated as a lead and Hammer for a supporting role, although this may well be how they were put forward to maximise the film’s chances. It’s difficult to gauge at this stage how much of a chance this film has, whether it will be the Brokeback Mountain of its day, or fade as a quasi-“foreign” film which will offend against that great imperative of modern Hollywood: mainstream relatability.

Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalament in Call Me by Your Name.
Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalament in Call Me by Your Name. Photograph: Allstar/Sony Pictures Classics

Jordan Peele’s Get Out has a best picture (musical or comedy) nomination and it is the brilliant satire on liberal racism which rode high in the best-of lists from critics this year – including mine. It also has a best actor (musical or comedy) for its British star Daniel Kaluuya, though its director, Jordan Peele, did not. It is a film to make us all once again ambivalent about the Globes’ division by genre. There is every indication that a film like this would simply not get anything at all in a system like the Academy awards, which tends to favour only the safer, more middlebrow-serious and correct type of period drama. And yet the way that Get Out is fenced off is exasperating.

Lady Bird has a best picture (musical or comedy) nomination – the coming-of-age film about a young woman played by Saoirse Ronan that has, in the larger sense of the term, gone viral. Its word-of-mouth support has arguably been equal to the conventional determinant factors of reviews and advertising spend. It is a film that has attracted passionate fan loyalty from the outset, so the lack of a nomination for its director Greta Gerwig is disappointing (though Gerwig does get one for screenplay). This could be one of the year’s most admired films, and yet its representation at the Globes is relatively modest.

James Franco’s uproarious The Disaster Artist is a breakout hit that has got people talking in a similar, if less intense, way to the manner in which way Sacha Baron Cohen’s gobsmackingly maladroit monster Borat once had all Hollywood at his feet. Franco quite rightly has a best actor in the musical or comedy category – and in fact I can’t think of a performance which deserves so obviously to be considered in this sense. But I think that The Disaster Artist’s awards run will begin and end with the Globes.

Margot Robbie in I, Tonya
Margot Robbie in I, Tonya Photograph: Allstar/Clubhouse Pictures

Elsewhere I, Tonya – with Margot Robbie as the notorious ice-skating badass Tonya Harding – is the best picture (musical or comedy) category along with Michael Gracey’s PT Barnum musical The Greatest Showman. These are the dark horses of this event, but Robbie has been much admired for her performance which some are comparing, tongue-in-cheek, to Will Ferrell’s notorious skate-dude Chazz Michael Michaels in the comedy Blades of Glory.

Elsewhere in the acting nods, super-Brit Dames Judi Dench and Helen Mirren have chances for their turns respectively in Victoria & Abdul and The Leisure Seeker and Emma Stone and Steve Carell have nominations for their terrifically good, but essentially unassuming turns in the wonderfully entertaining Battle of the Sexes, the very shrewd recreation of the Bobby Riggs/Billie Jean King tennis confrontation of 1973. Mary J Blige has a well-deserved supporting actress nod for Mudbound – but it is very disappointing and obtuse of the Globes not to give Dee Rees a directing nomination here.

So big prestige wins are in prospect for The Shape of Water and The Post, although I hope that Lady Bird, Call Me By Your Name and Get Out can somehow all do enough to attract the notice of Academy Award voters.


Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Oscars 2018: The Shape of Water and Frances McDormand steal the night – as it happened
The biggest night in film had one of the most unpredictable best picture races in years, but top acting prizes all went with the favourites

Benjamin Lee in New York, Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, Morwenna Ferrier and Lauren Cochrane in London

05, Mar, 2018 @6:45 AM

Article image
The full list of nominations for the Oscars 2018
All the nominations for the 90th Academy Awards, which take place on 4 March at the Dolby theatre in Hollywood

Guardian film

23, Jan, 2018 @2:05 PM

Article image
The full list of nominations for the Golden Globes 2018
All the nominees for the 75th Golden Globe awards in both film and TV categories, from The Shape of Water to Big Little Lies

Guardian film

11, Dec, 2017 @2:41 PM

Article image
Oscar nominations 2018: a cautious, comfort-food list in Trumpian times
The Shape of Water leads a nominations list that offers up exotic fantasy and imagined past, but is missing something ferocious and polarising

Peter Bradshaw

23, Jan, 2018 @4:14 PM

Article image
Academy of excellence… The Observer’s alternative Oscars
Ahead of the official Academy nominations on Tuesday, Observer critics pick their own shortlists

Mark Kermode, Wendy Ide, Simran Hans and Guy Lodge

21, Jan, 2018 @8:00 AM

Article image
Bafta nominations 2018: no female directors again betrays #MeToo message | Peter Bradshaw
Guillermo del Toro’s swirlingly sensuous fantasy Shape of Water leads the list, but why on earth has Greta Gerwig missed out – again?

Peter Bradshaw

09, Jan, 2018 @10:42 AM

Article image
The state of the Oscars race: who's in the lead after the big film festivals?
With Venice and Toronto out of the way, there’s an ultra-competitive best actress race shaping up – but a lack of major best picture contenders

Benjamin Lee

19, Sep, 2017 @10:00 AM

Article image
Bafta nominations 2018: Shape of Water leads the way as Joanna Lumley announced as new host
Fantasy drama receives 12 nominations for revamped awards, which will be presented by Absolutely Fabulous star following Stephen Fry’s departure

Gwilym Mumford

09, Jan, 2018 @8:25 AM

Article image
Oscars 2018: Shape of Water leads the way with bumper 13 nominations
Guillermo del Toro fantasy picks up highest total, closely followed by Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Gwilym Mumford

23, Jan, 2018 @1:56 PM