Debating the Golden Globes

The Golden Globe nominations were announced this morning by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and NEWSWEEK's Ramin Setoodeh (who covers movies) and Joshua Alston (who covers TV) debated who did--and didn't--make the cut. This is the latest in Listening In, a series in which NEWSWEEK reporters debate the latest topics in the news.

Setoodeh: Joshua, are you there, has the dust settled yet from your keyboard?

Alston: Just barely ... what a nightmare finding the nominees.

Setoodeh: This is the first time I've actually woken up early to watch the nominees live--and let me tell you, there's no reason to. First, the broadcast on E! News was barely coherent. The first batch of nominees were announced off air. Then the E! correspondents started predicting who would be nominated--even though many of the nominees had already been announced. Not that you would know, because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's site loaded so slowly it was like it's headquartered in Kazakhstan.

Alston: I know, I was refreshing every three seconds like I was back during Steve Jobs's iPhone announcement. But enough griping, let's talk nominations. Good news first: who are you glad to see in the running?

Setoodeh: Oh, definitely Julia Roberts. You know, in "Charlie Wilson's War," Julia delivers one of the most nuanced performances ever. NOT!!!!! Actually, her nomination shows how star hungry the foreign press is. Now they'll get Julia to come to their dinner. But enough with the griping. The most pleasant surprise for me was the inclusion of "Eastern Promises," one of the best films of the year that I was sure would be overlooked, as best drama, and its star Viggo Mortensen as best actor. I don't know if either will make it to the Oscars, but at least now they've got a fighting chance. I'm also thrilled that Julian Schnabel was nominated as best director for "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," my favorite movie of the year. The fact that he made the cut over Sean Penn for "Into the Wild" might suggest that maybe the Hollywood Foreign Press Association doesn't care about celebrities all the time.

Alston: I was surprised by that, as well. I haven't seen "Diving Bell" yet, but based on what I've read, I thought it might be a little esoteric for Golden Globe consideration. How about a less than pleasant surprise?

Setoodeh: In "Hairspray," Nikki Blonsky delivers a perfectly passable performance. But nominating her over Laura Linney for "The Savages"?

Alston: Nikki Blonsky is the only thing I liked about "Hairspray." Let me ask you this: the Golden Globes, unlike the Oscars, split movies into drama and musical/comedy categories. Of the best-picture nominees, which do you think only slipped in because of the extra category? In other words, which of these are least likely to make the Oscar list?

Setoodeh: I don't think "The Great Debaters" is on anyone's radar as a best-picture nominee, and I think it will probably fall off. I don't think "Michael Clayton" will make the cut either, or "American Gangster," though I'm the only one that felt a little lukewarm on the movie. In the musical category, "Across the Universe" isn't going to be singing its way to the Oscars and neither is "Hairspray."

Alston: The "Across the Universe" nod is absolutely shocking. Did anyone like that movie?

Setoodeh: The Hollywood Foreign Press loves musicals, but I'm surprised they didn't just go with "I'm Not There."

Alston: Very weird ... but I have to say, I think the TV nominations are much, much weirder.

Setoodeh: "Desperate Housewives" is looking pretty desperate.

Alston: Not a single nomination. Granted, they've been slowly getting back up to speed after some missteps, but you can almost always count on a Felicity Huffman nomination if nothing else. This year, nothing. It's especially disappointing for Eva Longoria, who has largely carried the show and continues to be overlooked.

Setoodeh: Why are there seven nominees for best actress in a drama? Don't they cap these things? It doesn't matter, because Sally Field is going to win. And no love for "The Sopranos" in its final season?!?

Alston: That's one thing I'll never understand about the Globes, why some categories are overstuffed and others bare-bones. But 20 bucks says Glenn Close wipes the floor with Sally Field. But very little "Sopranos" love. No nomination for the show. Edie Falco got a nod, but nothing for Tony. It's especially weird given the abundance of cable shows nominated this year. The major networks got creamed.

Setoodeh: I can't believe "Californication" got nominated over "Ugly Betty." Is that show still even on?

Alston: Yes, it was renewed. I'm more surprised by a nomination for "The Tudors." Really? Why that and no love for "Dexter"? At least Michael C. Hall was nominated though, so that puts me at ease.

Setoodeh: I know this has nothing to do with the Globes, but did you watch "Project Runway" last night?

Alston: No, don't tell me anything! But back to the Globes: I'm thrilled that Ted Danson was nominated for "Damages." It's the best work of his career, including "Becker." (I kid! Ted knows I love him.) I'm also glad "Pushing Daisies" got a few nods. It's such a delightful show.

Setoodeh: OK, but all this might be much ado about nothing because if the writer's strike isn't resolved there might not be a Golden Globes at all. And in that case, America won't be able to tune in to watch Sally Field beat Glenn Close.

Alston: What? Oh, I'm sorry, I was distracted, I'm looking on Amazon for something to buy with your 20 bucks.