The nominations for the Golden Globes were announced today. You can find the full list of nominated actors, films (et cetera) here.

Honestly, I’m not particularly interested in the Golden Globes as they tend to focus on mainstream productions and American (or English language) cinema, although their choice of nominees can be more diverse than those for the Academy Awards.

I haven’t seen most of the nominated films, so to some extent I should reserve my judgment. Sadly, I’m not even keen on seeing most of the films – with the exceptions of We Need to Talk about Kevin, Carnage, Hugo, 50/50 and maybe one or two more productions, plus all the nominees for the Foreign Language category.

A few observations:

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama 

Very happy (but not surprised) to see Tilda Swinton nominated. She is one of those rare actresses that are fantastic in everything they do, always choose fascinating roles and come with a unique kind of aura that you either have or don’t.

Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical)

Oh yes, L’artiste (The Artist) is among the nominees! Does it stand a chance? It is a one-of-a-kind sort of film and perhaps too unusual, but the Golden Globes can be more daring in their choices than the Academy Awards. My Week with Marilyn and Midnight in Paris are probably strong competitors.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical 

Both Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster have been nominated for their roles in Carnage, which, as I noted previously in the Trailer Weekly #5 post, stars an absolutely fabulous combination of actors. Interestingly neither of Winslet and Foster’s male counterparts has been nominated in the “Best Actor” category.

Best Animated Feature Film

Talk about let down. The nominees are: The Adventures Of Tintin, Arthur Christmas, Cars 2, Puss In Boots and Rango. Some these have had terrible reviews (Tintin, I’m looking at you!). Is there anything interesting here? Perhaps some deserve to be nominated for technical achievements and I’m sure that most of these animated films were reasonably entertaining, but, honestly, this is such an uninspiring list. The 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), who select nominees and winners for the Golden Globes, need to widen their horizon and watch 借りぐらしのアリエッティ (Karigurashi no Arrietty/Arrietty), カラフル (Colorful) and Tatsumi (review coming this week by the way).

Best Foreign Language Film

This is the award category I always inspect most closely. The nominees for 2012 are: Jing Ling Shi San Chai/The Flowers of War (China), In the Land of Blood and Honey (United States), Le Gamin au Velo/The Kid with a Bike (Belgium), Jodaeiye Nader az Simin/A Separation (Iran) and La piel que habito/The Skin I Live in (Spain).

My vote goes for A Separation because I truly think it is one of the best films I have watched this year and an absolute must-see for everyone, but will it win? The Flowers of War, a cooperative effort between China and the US (Christian Bale stars in it) seems to have the sort of story that appeals to the West – which is not entirely a compliment, although the Rape of Nanjing is a worthy subject matter. The Kid With a Bike is on my list of films-I-want-to-see but I suspect isn’t big or splashy enough to have a real chance. The Dardenne brothers do have a respectable film-making record and are not unknown internationally, but there are bigger-name directors on this list of nominees – such as Angelina Jolie, who was at the helm of In the Land of Blood and Honey. This production, I’m sure, is not a bad film (and cinematic conversations about the war in Bosnia are much needed) but I’m wary that voters will favour it for the celebrity director more than anything else. A Separation‘s strongest competition, I think, however comes from The Skin I Live In – it’s a ‘foreign film’ through and through and was directed by Pedro Almodóvar, who is well known enough internationally, including in Hollywood, indeed, liking him seems to be in vogue. He makes good films, but I’m not a fan: the stories he tells on the screen don’t grab me all that much and his films aren’t different enough to make me want to see them all (even more so because he has a habit of working with the same actors).

Kudos to the Golden Globes for including the original language title – although not in non-Roman script – by the way.

Finally, what makes me happy: L’artiste/The Artist leads the field with six nominations (Best Comedy or Musical, Best Actor for a Comedy or Musical, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Original Score). If it wins – particularly in categories like Best Comedy and Musical – it might become a strong Oscar contender as well.