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Who will win gold?

With the Golden Globes due to take place next Sunday, Paula Fleri-Soler peers into her crystal ball to see who could – and who should – be up for an Oscar next month.

It is now customary that as one year segues into the next, cinema lovers are regaled with a number of appealing and high profile titles as studios roll out their best product for awards consideration.

The Best Director race is between Scorsese and Hazanavicius

Last year proffered a wide assortment of films, many of which have already won prestigious awards as they jockey for position in the countdown to the ‘big ones’ – the Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars.

Next Sunday will see the Golden Globe ceremony taking place (the prizes given out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association). The Golden Globes are often regarded as accurate predictors of the Oscars, and a look at the nominations together with the awards handed out to date by some of the main film critic societies in the US offers a clear indication of how the nominations for the Oscars will shape up.

With their tradition of splitting the best film, actor and actress nominees between dramas and musicals/comedies, the Golden Globes cover a wide spectrum of films.

The 11 films nominated for Best Film in the two categories are the critically acclaimed French black and white silent film The Artist, female buddy comedy Bridesmaids; The Descendants, starring George Clooney in what is being hailed as his best performance ever; ensemble piece The Help, Martin Scorsese’s fantasy Hugo, political drama The Ides of March, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, Brad Pitt starrer Moneyball, memoir My Week with Marilyn, Steven Spielberg’s epic War Horse, and surprisingly but no less deservingly, cancer comedy/drama 50/50.

With the Oscars having widened its Best Picture field to 10 nominations, the nominations list will probably look rather similar to the above, although I think the likes of 50/50 and The Ides of March (which I feel has lost momentum since its initial critical success) will give way to David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, surprisingly absent from the Golden Globes’ best film nods, and the thoroughly deserving Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, while director Terrence Malick’s mind-boggling and mysterious The Tree of Life may somehow sneak in there. A cursory glance at the awards dished out by some US film critic societies reveals that of the above, the main contenders for Best Picture glory this year are The Artist – adored by critics and awarded Best Picture by the Boston Society of Film Critics (BSFC) and New York Critics Circle (NYCC); The Descendants, awarded Best Picture by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association LAFCA), and Hugo, which won the National Board of Film Review’s (NBFR) Best Picture award.

Both Martin Scorsese and The Artist’s director Michael Hazanavicius have already picked up Best Director awards and I believe the Golden Globe race is between them, as will eventually the Best Director Oscar race

The acting categories are the subject of heightened interest this year as both actor and actress races are wide open and it is difficult to predict at this juncture what the final tally will be.

The actors categories include favourites George Clooney, who’s already won the NBFR award for The Descendants; Brad Pitt, Best Actor recipient of both the BSFC (for Moneyball) and the NYCC (for both Moneyball and The Tree of Life), and Michael Fassbender, LAFCA’s choice for Best Actor in Shame.

Other serious contenders include Jean Dujardin for The Artist; Leonardo Di Caprio’s turn as FBI legendary director J. Edgar Hoover in J. Edgar, and Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier in My Week with Marilyn. Ryan Gosling may well be acknowledged for his work in either Drive or The Ides of March.

The Best Actress category is similarly too close to call. Of course Meryl Streep is the frontrunner for her steely turn as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, but polls indicate that she faces stiff competition from Tilda Swinton in hard-hitting family drama We Need to Talk about Kevin and Michelle Williams’ astonishing portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn. These three have already started to take home awards (including, respectively, the Best Actress awards handed out by the NYCC, NBFR and the BSFC) and all three feature on the Golden Globes nominations lists.

Other actresses being spotlighted through the awards season are Viola Davis for her performance in The Help, Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs, Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo while Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet’s names are being bandied about for their respective performances in Carnage.

Coming out of left field – and there is nothing like a new name to spice things up – is the actress Yun Jung Hee who was awarded by LAFCA for her performance in South Korean drama Poetry.

The Academy Award nominations will be announced on January 24, while the ceremony proper will take place on February 26.

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