On Sunday, the Golden Globe Awards kicked off awards season, and the selection of movies that won might imply that the old model of what makes an award-winning movie might be changing.
“In the Golden Globes, no film dominated, they really spread out the awards in an interesting way,” said MSU professor and pop culture expert Gary Hoppenstand. “I wonder if that’s going to translate to the Academy Awards — that there is no apparent, clear-cut winner.”
One of the biggest surprises was the success of “Django Unchained,” which won two of the four categories it was nominated for. Director Quentin Tarantino won best screenplay, while Christoph Waltz won Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz.
Hoppenstand said that filmmakers, such as Tarantino, typically are overlooked in the awards ceremonies.
“Quentin Tarantino is sort of the bad-boy of Hollywood filmmakers,” he said. “And as such, if I were to guess, I would guess against him more than for him. There’s been a certain degree of controversy with the movie, especially in regards to its intense racial content.”
He said that “Django Unchained” might not see that same success in the upcoming Academy Awards, which take place on Feb. 24.
“The Academy (Awards) tends to be very conservative,” he said. “It tends not to reward innovative or experimental or highly controversial kinds of films. They tend to have a certain model that they look at that fits these awards. ‘Lincoln’ fits that model, other films like ‘Argo’ fit that model. With ‘Django Unchained,’ Tarantino is looking to push the envelope. When you push the envelope, you step on toes, and you create a controversy that in terms of awards season, may not be the best for you.”
As a whole, Hoppenstand believes the current format of the movie industry is counter-intuitive to producing creative, different movies.
“The industry is so conservative,” he said. “I’m not speaking politically conservative, I’m speaking socially conservative. When you’re making a $50 million movie, edgy doesn’t necessarily translate into good box office. And that’s what they want. They want good box office.”
James Madison freshman Nathaniel Strauss predicted that Argo or “Les Misérables” would win the Best Picture Oscar.
“It’s a toss-up, but I really like Argo,” he said. “I also really liked Les Mis. It’s a very different kind of film. I would hope that it would win.”
Hoppenstand, like Strauss, predicted that either “Argo” or “Les Misérables” will win Best Picture honors.
“We’ll see if they are as innovative as the Golden Globes,” he said. “I would be surprised if one of those two films didn’t win best picture.”
At least one student, however, has a strong feeling that Spielberg will go back to his winning ways, as advertising junior Mike Temrowski believes “Lincoln” is a good bet to win.
“In general, it captured the whole time frame of when Lincoln was alive,” he said. “They did a good job mimicking his behavior and getting his character down.”