Globe Nominations and Critics’ Choices

Adam Driver in Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story (2019)

After a busy weekend of listing, nominating, and awarding, many critics and movie lovers rose early on Monday morning to catch the nominations for this year’s Golden Globe Awards. On the film side of the list, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story leads with six, followed by Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood with five each. But the real stories to emerge from this year’s round are the overwhelming presence of Netflix and the exasperating absence of women filmmakers.

As Nellie Andreeva points out at Deadline, never before has a single distributor dominated both the film and television nominations. Netflix has scored thirty-four nominations in all, seventeen in the film categories (more than double its closest competitor, Sony Pictures Releasing, with eight) and another seventeen in the television categories, where the company nudges ahead of HBO’s total of fifteen. Brooks Barnes and Nicole Sperling put it this way in the New York Times: “It is Netflix’s world. Hollywood just lives in it.”

To the credit of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which organizes the Globes, two films directed by women, Lulu Wang’s The Farewell and Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire, have been nominated for best film in a foreign language. Otherwise, though, female directors have been shut out of races for best director and screenplay, and for both best motion picture categories, Drama and Musical or Comedy. “It’s par for the course for the annual event, which has only ever nominated five women for best director in its seventy-seven-year history, with only Barbra Streisand (a two-time nominee) going home with a win for her Yentl,” writes IndieWire’s Kate Erbland.

Announcing its nominations for the thirty-fifth Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, the American-Canadian Broadcast Film Critics Association has fared slightly better in that it’s included Greta Gerwig among the seven filmmakers up for best director and her Little Women among the ten films up for best picture. But for the most part, this race will be one between frontrunners The Irishman with fourteen nominations and Once Upon a Time with twelve. Following with eight and nine respectively are Little Women and Marriage Story. Placing Marriage Story at the top the list of his favorite twenty films of 2019, Time Out’s Joshua Rothkopf calls it “the most nuanced movie yet made about divorce, in all its heartache and banality.”


Beyond these nominations, some actual awards were presented over this past weekend, which was a good one for Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts’s For Sama. The personal chronicle of several years spent in Aleppo as the Syrian civil war rages has won best feature at the thirty-fifth IDA Documentary Awards and best documentary at the European Film Awards. This year’s EFAs, though, were really all about Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite, winner of best film, comedy, director, actress (Olivia Colman), cinematography (Robbie Ryan), editing (Yorgos Mavropsaridis), costume design (Sandy Powell), and hair and makeup (Nadia Stacey).

This year’s Prix Louis-Delluc, presented by a jury of around twenty French critics presided over by Gilles Jacob, the former president of the Cannes Film Festival, goes to Joan of Arc, Bruno Dumont’s follow-up to Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc (2017). And the jury has given the prize for best first film to Stéphane Batut’s Burning Ghost. The story of a lonely young man who escorts the dead to the afterlife won the Prix Jean-Vigo earlier this year.

Several critics’ organizations this side of the Atlantic gathered over the weekend to cast ballots and announce their awards. The Los Angeles Film Critics Association voted up quite a list, presenting its career achievement award to Elaine May, its Douglas Edwards experimental/independent film/video award to Ja’Tovia Gary for The Giverny Document, and its new generation award to Joe Talbot, Jimmie Fails, and Jonathan Majors for The Last Black Man in San Francisco.

The LAFCA’s documentary award goes to Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s American Factory, and in her in-depth profile in the new issue of Film Quarterly, Patricia Aufderheide notes that, this year alone, Reichert “received lifetime-achievement awards at the Full Frame and HotDocs festivals, was given the inaugural ‘Empowering Truth’ award from Kartemquin Films, and saw a retrospective of her work presented at the Museum of Modern Art in New York . . . A lifelong socialist-feminist and self-styled ‘humanist Marxist’ who pioneered independent social-issue films featuring women, Reichert was also in 2019 finishing another film, tentatively titled 9to5: The Story of a Movement, about the history of the movement for working women’s rights.”

Mary Kay Place wins the LAFCA’s best actress award for her performance in Kent Jones’s underseen Diane, and best actor goes to Antonio Banderas for playing a version of Pedro Almodóvar in Pain and Glory, the LAFCA’s selection for best foreign language film. Pain and Glory also tops Eric Kohn’s best-of-2019 list at IndieWire, where he writes that “in the pantheon of the films-about-filmmaking genre, it’s a paragon of the form.” IndieWire’s senior film critic, David Ehrlich, has created one of his famous video countdowns for his top twenty-five. The fourteen-minute montage crescendos to his #1, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, for which Céline Sciamma has won the LAFCA’s best screenplay award.

The LAFCA has given three of its top awards to Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite—picture, director, and supporting actor (Song Kang-ho). The New York Film Critics Online and critics’ groups in Toronto and Washington, D.C., too, are going with Parasite. Philadelphia critics, though, have selected Rian Johnson’s comedic whodunnit, Knives Out. As it happens, Justin Chang, who has rolled out his list of 2019 favorites in the Los Angeles Times as a string of themed pairings, has placed Parasite and Knives Out together at the top: “Although hardly alone among the 2019 pictures that fearlessly confronted class rage (Us, Hustlers, Joker, Ready or Not), these two bitingly funny, righteously political, and unexpectedly cathartic puzzle-box thrillers gave me my happiest moments in a theater this year—and, in the case of Parasite, the most wrenching.”

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