Joker Golden, Dark Night Not So Much

The collection of part-time journalists that make up the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced the Golden Globe nominations today and managed to lock in Heath Ledger's Oscar hopes and skewer The Dark Knight's chances, all in one fell swoop.

The Golden Globes have an incredible amount of influence for such an otherwise unremarkable and insignificant group. Its crowning achievement is having created an award show and getting the Hollywood to buy into it as a way to market their movies. Which means what they nominate tends to carry a lot of weight with everything that follows. Or they are just a crutch for lazy/busy members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

So when Heath Ledger's darkly electric performance was nominated, posthumously, for Best Supporting Actor, it means you can check that box off on your Oscar ballot right now. It's the free box everyone gets on their bingo card. Subsequently, the Globes snubbing of The Dark Night throws some cold water on the chance of an Academy Award for the comic book adaptation. The Globes have twice as many Best Picture slots as the Oscars, and without this nod, the odds for Gotham's savior have faded. That's award season for you.

The other curiosity of this time of year is kudos being piled high upon films that nobody but select critics have seen. It rankles me about being told that the best film of the year is something that you haven't even has a chance to see. For example, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button won't be out until Christmas Day, and it is leading the nominations.

Not that I don't want to see it, of course. It looks great, I like Brad Pitt and director David Fincher has yet to let me down. And were that not enough, there is a trailer for it that uses a perfect piece of music from Arcade Fire.

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