Many may assume the Dec. 10 announcement that Angelina Jolie’s WWII pic “Unbroken” had been shut out of the Golden Globes was the nail in the coffin for the film’s Oscar prospects. Actually, it might be a blessing in disguise.
Based on a bestseller, the film has an all-star pedigree with Jolie directing, a script by the Coen brothers, and cinematography by Roger Deakins. The true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete who survived 47 days at sea and more than two years in a Japanese prison camp, the picture was considered an awards frontrunner, sight unseen. When it was finally unveiled, reception was mixed. Critics were mostly admiring but lukewarm, with auds at screenings more embracing.
“Unbroken” was expected to do well with the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. because the org’s members are seen as being celebrity-centric. They still haven’t lived down 2010, when they nominated Jolie and Johnny Depp for the roundly panned “The Tourist” — in the comedy/musical category, no less. In fact, it might have been a rebound effect that caused “Unbroken” to be snubbed.
Going into Globe noms, the buzz was that “Unbroken” would get recognized, deserving or not. Now, people are talking about how a quality film has been left out.
Just last year, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” went on to score four Academy Award nominations, including one for best picture, after being completely shut out of the Globes. In 2011, “True Grit” scored a whopping 10 Oscar nominations after coming up empty with the HFPA. In 2012, a film with a mixed critical reaction still hit a chord with voters when “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” was also shut out of Globe nominations, yet went on to score Oscar noms not only for best picture but for supporting actor Max von Sydow.
In addition, “Unbroken” bounced back this week when it landed four Critics’ Choice Award noms from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, including ones for picture and director Jolie. The BFCA tends to have a great track record of predicting best picture nominees; in the last two years, they nominated eight out of the nine films that ended up landing best picture nods.
Opening wide Christmas Day, “Unbroken” is expected to do solid box office. But Jolie will now have to make a quick recovery from chicken pox if she’s going to get back in the campaign game in time.