When the Golden Globe nominations were announced last week, I was skeptical. After last year’s Golden Globes debacle, I didn’t know if they could be trusted. So this past weekend, I decided on a whim to see Black Swan and discern for myself whether or not Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis deserved their respective nominations.
Within minutes of the film’s opening sequence it is clear that Black Swan is Natalie Portman’s best performance to date. Playing the young ballerina Nina Sayers, Portman embodies a people-pleasing perfectionist with the utmost truthfulness and vulnerability. A painfully meek but dedicated dancer, Nina still lives at home with her mother, an overprotective and controlling failed ballerina.
Nina’s torment begins when auditions for her ballet company’s production of Black Swan coincide with the arrival of the carefree Californian Lily, played with ease and honesty by Mila Kunis. Nina is both fascinated by Lily and sees her as a potential threat. Having only previously seen Kunis’s comedic work, I was more than pleasantly surprised by her turn in this darkly psychological film. The effortless likability and sincerity Kunis infused into her character serve as the perfect foil to Portman’s tortured portrayal of Nina.
It is clear that both actresses worked intensely to perfect these roles. From their manifestations of their characters’ past and psyches to their mastery of the physicality of ballerinas, Portman’s and Kunis’s performances, combined with the direction of Darren Aronofsky, make this film.
But just when I began to let my guard down and considered letting the Golden Globes back into my good graces, I learned that they nominated The Tourist in the Best Comedy or Musical category. The Tourist. My fellow Urchins and myself were perplexed by this move, wondering if perhaps we would need to see the film to understand. Maybe it was the victim of grossly misguided marketing. Then I heard it suggested that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who runs the Golden Globes, may have nominated the film simply as a stunt to secure the attendance of Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp at the awards ceremony.
I think the Golden Globes have just become a completely dismissible awards show. They are just that: a show without true regard for artistic integrity. At least the Academy Awards have yet to maim their reputation. With true talents Anne Hathaway and James Franco set to host, it seems as though the Oscars are looking to maintain their respectability while ensuring their sustainability by drawing a younger audience.
While the Academy Awards might remain a classy and fun show, we all know who the real star of awards season is. Why, the Urchies, of course! What other awards show covers cinema, literature, and fine arts? Stayed tuned in the new year for our nominations, some new categories, the red carpet special, and, of course, the winners!