Sizing Up the Boomer Golden Globe Nominees

It’s the proverbial revving of the annual award season engine – the announcement of the Golden Globe nominees – and three celebrated septuagenarians, along with talent in the 45-plus set, lead the pack.

Often seen as a harbinger of awards to come at the Oscars just a few months later, industry watchers and fans alike eagerly await news of names in the running at January’s Golden Globe ceremony. So how do the boomer film nominees fare against the competition? We break down the film categories to find out (for a complete list of Golden Globe nominees, click here):

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Best performance by an actress in a motion picture – Drama

The nominees:

Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock, Gravity

Judi Dench, Philomena

Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

Kate Winslet, Labor Day

Their chances: Current Zoomer cover lady Emma Thompson, 54, is fantastic in Saving Mr. Banks, while Judi Dench, at 79, is only a year younger than the oldest ever Golden Globe winner (Jessica Tandy, who won in 1990 for Driving Miss Daisy). I wasn’t a fan of Blue Jasmine, but you can’t deny Cate Blanchett and, likewise, Kate Winslet always has a chance when nominated. Still, Gravity proved one of the year’s biggest films, and you have to think Sandra Bullock, 49, is the one to beat.

Best performance by an actor in a motion picture – Drama

The nominees:

Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips

Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Robert Redford, All Is Lost

Their chances: Captain Phillips was thrilling, but Hanks, 57, played a character very similar to himself in likeness and personality, unlike in other award-winning turns. Redford, at 77, would be a feel-good winner, but, like McConaughey, I think his odds are long. Personally, because of how much I loved 12 Years a Slave, I’d like to see Ejiofor take it but, ultimately I think the battle for the statue will be between him and Elba.

Best performance by an actress in a motion picture – Comedy or Musical

The nominees:

Amy Adams, American Hustle

Julie Delpy, Before Midnight

Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said

Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Their chances: Whether it’s film or television, the supremely talented Louis-Dreyfus, 52, continuously shows why she was able to escape “the Seinfeld curse” of a downhill career once the show ended. Delpi’s no stranger to award nominations, and critics ate up Before Midnight, while Gerwig not only starred in but also co-wrote Frances Ha. The only downside for all of these great actresses is that Meryl Streep, 64, starred in August: Osage County in the same year. Her turn as an illness-stricken, pill-dependent, crass widow should take this award easily, unless the voters want to avoid the predictable. One of the other four could win, but it’s definitely Streep’s to lose.

Best performance by an actor in a motion picture – Comedy or Musical

The nominees:

Christian Bale, American Hustle

Bruce Dern, Nebraska

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis

Joaquin Phoenix, Her

Their chances: Like with Robert Redford, Bruce Dern, 77, would make for a great story if he won. I believe he has a legitimate chance (he already won best actor at Cannes), though Bale and Phoenix will be hard to beat. I’m still trying to decide how much I liked Inside Llewyn Davis and, while Isaac was good, I don’t think this is his year. Then, just when you’re ready to make a pick, you have DiCaprio starring in a Martin Scorsese film. All bets are off, but we’re pulling for Dern. This is one tough category.

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Best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a motion picture

The nominees:

Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine

Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Julia Roberts, August: Osage County

June Squibb, Nebraska

Their chances: If the movie award gods are smiling on boomers in January, 84-year-old June Squibb will become the oldest Golden Globe winner in history. It may be a long shot as Roberts, 46, Nyong’o and Lawrence have to be considered the front runners here, but wouldn’t it be great? Hawkins has to be the underdog here, but just to be nominated in this company is no small feat.

RELATED POST: Film Review — August: Osage County 

Best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture

Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips

Daniel Brühl, Rush

Bradley Cooper, American Hustle

Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave

Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Their chances: Plucked out of Minnesota and cast in his first feature film, Abdi is the feel-good choice here. And he certainly deserves it. Cooper, like co-star Jennifer Lawrence, is hot, and you can’t count him out. Brühl’s a dark horse and Leto has a chance, but my pick would be Fassbender. His brutal portrayal of a plantation owner in 12 Years a Slave stays with you long after the film is over.

Best director – motion picture

The nominees:

Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity

Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips

Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

Alexander Payne, Nebraska

David O. Russell, American Hustle

Their chances: Any one of these men could conceivably take this award. I think you can take Greengrass out and probably Payne. Not that they don’t deserve it, but this is probably a three-way between Gravity, 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle. The first is arguably the biggest release of the three, the second probably the best film and the third has a cast and director riding a wave of award show success from a year ago. It’s anyone’s guess. To me, McQueen deserves this above all others.

RELATED POST: Film review — Captain Phillips

Best motion picture – Drama

12 Years a Slave

Captain Phillips




Their chances: I think we can safely say it probably won’t be Rush, Captain Phillips or, sadly, Philomena. So take your pick: Gravity or 12 Years a Slave. I choose the latter.

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Best motion picture – Comedy or Musical

The nominees:

 American Hustle


Inside Llewyn Davis


The Wolf of Wall Street

Their chances: I don’t believe Inside Llewyn Davis is going to win. That said, it’s anyone’s guess with the other four. I think American Hustle has to be the frontrunner, but look for a possible upset here.

Side note: The Best Foreign Language film category includes two of my favourite films from this year’s Toronto International Film Festival: Blue Is the Warmest Color (France) and The Great Beauty (Italy). If you can get out and see either of these movies, I highly recommend them.

The 2014 Golden Globes take place on Sunday, Jan. 12.