Mrs. Henderson Presents
How it got here: “They unanimously seemed to love ‘Mrs. Henderson.’ It was an era many of them lived through, and the older members in particular really warmed to this film,” says one HFPA insider. The true story of an elderly widow who buys a run-down theater and puts naked girls in the stage shows is part of the first-year awards slate for the newly minted Weinstein Co. Adding to the “old Miramax” Globes pedigree are stars Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins.
Pride & Prejudice
How it got here: This is the first theatrical version of the classic Jane Austen novel since 1940. Filmed with a light touch by first-time feature helmer Joe Wright and starring Keira Knightley alongside such vets as Judi Dench, Brenda Blethyn and Donald Sutherland, the movie gained surprising box office traction, generating more than $75 million worldwide. “They saw it in London, and I know quite a few who went to see it more than once or twice. They loved it. This is a real contender to win,” says an HFPA source.
How it got here: Susan Stroman’s adaptation of Mel Brooks’ Tony-winning musical was about as faithful as you could get without setting up a camera in the back of the theater and simply shooting the show. With stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick reprising their stage roles, it would seem an obvious nominee in this category, but many — including crix, who didn’t do cartwheels over original Broadway helmer’s motion-picture debut — were shocked by this Globe nom. “I know some of the older (HFPA) voters really liked it, but most of the members I talked to were stunned and kept asking each other who voted for it,” says a veteran awards consultant.
The Squid and the Whale
How it got here: The category’s one true independent production, this was another surprise comedy/musical inclusion, since many people didn’t necessarily consider this wrenching look at a divorce in New York’s intellectual community — and its effects on the family’s two young sons — exactly a laugh riot. Nevertheless writer-director Noah Baumbach’s somewhat autobiographical tale prevailed. “A few within the (HFPA) group loved it so much they rallied behind it, and it got in,” according to an HFPA insider.
Walk the Line
How it got here: Some HFPA members complained that it was simply too dark or too “Americana” for their tastes, but the quality filmmaking and the courageous decision to let the stars do their own singing carried the day. Indeed, although it’s foreign in subject matter to many HFPA members, the performances in this biopic focusing on the relationship between crooners Johnny Cash and June Carter — played by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, who both received thesp noms — seems to have struck the right notes with the org.