“500 DAYS OF SUMMER”
Fresh face and clever plot to find favor
How It Got Here: The HFPA loves identifying, interviewing and celebrating youth. Countless newcomers have gotten career bumps from a Golden Globe nod, and let’s not forget the annual selection of some celeb progeny as Miss Golden Globe. That this trippy romance appealed to the organization is no surprise, relying as it does on fresh-face nominee Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the unnominated but delightful Zooey Deschanel. And while these voters aren’t crazy about overly tricky plots (for example, three noms but no wins for Charlie Kaufman, and no love for “Memento” whatsoever), the shuffled events of a 500-day love affair proved just clever enough to win their hearts.
Outrageous guilty-pleasure story as redeeming as ‘Mary’ and ‘Airplane’
How It Got Here: When a category predisposed toward “smile comedies” admits a real wet-your-pantser, it’s got to be “Borat” big, “There’s Something About Mary” big, “Airplane!” big. “The Hangover” shares with those nominated titles of yesteryear an essential sweetness, its bad boys bonding with amazing grace once those lost in Vegas are found and their worst behavior redeemed. By showcasing a quartet of little-known but skillful comic talents — Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha and the thinking man’s Belushi, Zach Galifianakis — pic allowed HFPA voters to strike another blow for newcomers.
But not really when you’ve got three beloved stars
How It Got Here: Maybe the foreign press has finally become interested in Nancy Meyers’ themes of male-female negotiation, female empowerment and midlife sexuality, after ignoring them through years of unnominated hits such as “What Women Want,” “The Holiday” and “Something’s Gotta Give.” Or, more likely, they couldn’t resist the pull of three names dear to the heart of the Golden Globes, namely Meryl (Streep, an astounding six wins and 25 noms), Alec (Baldwin, two wins and eight noms) and Steve (Martin, five noms). With this trio effortlessly doing what they do best, kudos for Streep, screenplay and pic were likely to follow. Perhaps, it’s just that uncomplicated.
“JULIE AND JULIA”
Stir in Streep, Adams, Ephron; bake till golden
How It Got Here: Quiz: Which of the following does the foreign press like best — Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Nora Ephron or food? All four have played major roles at HFPA functions, and they’re the principal ingredients of this crowdpleasing souffle. Toss in tons of Parisian atmosphere and a pairing of interrelated storylines that (similar to the structure of “500 Days”) is clever but not overly intricate, and you’ve got a dish fit for Golden Globe consumption. Speaking of recipes: It’s beginning to seem as if any time you feature “Streep Plus Chic” — the fashion world in “The Devil Wears Prada,” the Greek isles in “Mamma Mia” — you’ll be fast-tracked into this category.
Globes bait from the get-go: Talk about global!
How It Got Here: How could it not? An array of Globe winners and nominees from France (Marion Cotillard), Italy (Sophia Loren), the U.K. (Daniel Day-Lewis, Judi Dench), Spain (Penelope Cruz), Australia (Nicole Kidman) and the U.S. (Kate Hudson) is assembled by helmer Rob Marshall (of the Globe-copping “Chicago”) to sing and dance their way through a sensuous fable drenched in cinema and passion. That’s a tough-to-beat combo for the foreign press. And for a decade or more, virtually every filmed Broadway tuner has found its way into this category, and often won. How’d “Nine” get here? Seriously, the HFPA could’ve started engraving the nomination certificate the day principal photography began.