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The Unusual Usual Suspects: The 2011 Golden Globes Winners

For the most part, the Hollywood Foreign Press broke open the magnums and bowed to the better judgment of the rest of the motion picture populace.

It's rare when the Golden Globes, the Hollywood Foreign Press's excuse to party with the PR savvy stars, gets its right. Now, by "right", we mean that they come remotely close to mimicking The Academy Awards in staying true to critical consensus. In the past, the glorified champagne exchange has been nothing more than an anomaly, a less than accurate indicator of where Oscar will wind up. But for some reason, this year was so predictable, so ingrained in the communal consciousness of Tinseltown, that the otherwise unsteady members of the Globes avoided embarrassment and stayed true to the temperament of 2011.

It is indeed odd. No selection of an otherwise laughable film or performance. No left field recognition (outside of the nominations) of something that causes snickers instead of serious consideration. For the most part - all avoidance of True Grit aside - the Hollywood Foreign Press broke open the magnums and bowed to the better judgment of the rest of the motion picture populace. Over the next few weeks, we will see how accurate the Golden Globes actually were, as the Director's Actor's, and Producer's Guilds give out their respective appreciation. Of course, nothing matters but Oscar. Maybe for once, instead of trying to circumvent the truth with tackiness, they fell into the fold...at least, until next year.

Best Picture

Drama: The Social Network

Musical/Comedy: The Kids are All Right

Sorry Burlesque and The Tourist. See you later Red and Alice in Wonderland. While the Drama list looked like the first five titles in Oscar's race for 2011's best, the rest of the Musical/Comedy offerings were put in their place by the warm and fuzzy lesbian laughter (?), quite a shock when you consider this is usually the Globes place to do something unexpected and silly. While many thought it was already a nominated given, the win provides The Kids are All Right with the push it needs. As for The Social Network, it continues its preplanned precedence toward the inevitable, even without direct competition from the Coens' incredible (and now financially successful) True Grit remake.

Best Actor

Drama: Colin Firth - The King's Speech

Musical/Comedy: Paul Giamatti - Barney's Version

With the heavy competition this year, the five slots for Oscar seem already locked up and spoken for. Looking over the 10 nominees the Globes picked, the drama side sweeps away many of the otherwise laughable comedy choices. Giamatti's win, however, could spark some interest in seeing his name included in the already determined bunch. In fact, one could easily see him taking Wahlberg's spot, or more surprisingly, moving out someone like Franco. In either case, this is still Firth's time, and he looks like a shoe-in to walk away with Academy gold in the next month.

Best Actress

Drama: Natalie Portman - Black Swan

Comedy: Annette Bening - The Kids are All Right

And thus is begins - the possible battle for what was originally viewed as a Swan slam dunk. An overview of the critics' awards shows Portman with a massive lead in recognition, but Bening is the closest thing to Hollywood "royalty" this category has seen in a long time. Many may feel she is due and give her the kind of career overview acknowledgment that frequently flummoxes the true Best of a specific year. This makes the SAG situation even more crucial. Whoever wins with that bronze reward then should probably be preparing their Academy acceptance speech.

Best Supporting Actor/Actress

Actor: Christian Bale - The Fighter

Actress: Melissa Leo - The Fighter

In some ways, this is like last year's battle between Christoph Waltz/Mo'Nique and the field. Bale could eventually lose to Geoffrey Rush's cheeky speech therapist, and there is some who suggest Leo is being chased by True Grit's breakout starlet Hailee Steinfeld. Yet consensus continues to build, and once Oscar announces its nominations, it's just a matter of making sure all the junket and press appearance pieces fall into place. Bale has the harder road, considering his YouTube rant rep. Still, both are front runners at this point.

Best Director

David Fincher - The Social Network

No real surprises here. Only a win by The King's Speech's Tom Hooper would have upset Messageboard Nation, and with the inevitable win for Best Picture, Social Network's status as the one to beat is now solidified. It will be interesting, though, to see if all the pundits predicting an Oscar upset are right. Considering the number of pre-Academy awards the Facebook film has won, anything else walking away with a little gold statue will truly be the surprise of the season.

Best Screenplay

Aaron Sorkin - The Social Network

The famed Few Good Men/West Wing scribe better start making room on his mantle now. It's hard to imagine a scenario where he loses the Oscar. On the other hand, a few of his fellow nominees will be vying for the Best Original Screenplay award come Academy time, meaning Inception still has a chance. ..for now.

Best Animated Feature

Toy Story 3

A no brainer, even with the love shown for Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon. Pixar's domination of the format continues unabated. Even the French favorite The Illusionist couldn't break their aesthetic stranglehold.

Best Foreign Language Film

In a Better World

In perhaps the only real "upset" of the night, several better known films (I Am Love, Biutiful) were beaten out by this offbeat family drama from Denmark. Considering the high profile of the titles it trounced, look for this otherwise unknown quantity to make a big splash come Academy nomination time. Apparently, we were wrong in our predictions from last month. The Hollywood Foreign Press didn't set up Alejandro González Iñárritu for a win, but bitter disappointment.

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