The Golden Globes are often considered a reliable forecaster of the Academy Awards — more so than the New York and Los Angeles critics’ awards or the National Society of Film Critics’ prizes.
This January’s sweep for “Brokeback Mountain” appears to point in that direction again. After taking the Globes for best picture (drama), director (Ang Lee), song (“A Love That Will Never Grow Old”) and script (by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana), this acclaimed gay Western seems unbeatable at the Oscars.
Globes are a good predictor
The Globes’ score card can certainly look impressive. Two years ago, when Charlize Theron, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Renee Zellweger, Peter Jackson and “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” were in the running, the Globes accurately anticipated their Oscar wins in every category.
The major difference between the Globes and the Oscars is the number (and nature) of the voters. The Globes are awarded by fewer than 90 voters, all of them members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Several thousand Oscar voters, most of them involved in various aspects of filmmaking, cast ballots on the work of their peers.
Following a near-sweep of year-end critics’ awards for best picture, “Brokeback” has exceeded box-office expectations for a gay film. Still in relatively limited release, it crossed over the $30 million mark in the United States this weekend, while pushing “King Kong” out of the No. 1 spot in the United Kingdom.
According to Variety, it’s also doing surprisingly well in such cities as Nashville, San Antonio and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Despite being pulled from one Utah megaplex, it’s selling out at a nearby Salt Lake City theater. It’s been in release for more than a month, yet on a per-theater basis, it’s doing better than the weekend’s new releases, “Hoodwinked,” “Glory Road” and “Last Holiday.”
The film’s unexpected appeal to heartland moviegoers has generated plenty of commentary, most recently from The New York Times’ Caryn James, who suggests that the two-decades-long secret affair between Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis (Heath Ledger) is essentially a backstreet soap opera with great appeal to women.
“They are as truly in love as two people can be,” writes The New Republic’s longtime movie critic, Stanley Kauffmann. He sees the picture as a witness to “the delicacy and pain and almost unbearable joy of the pair.”
The Nation’s pop-culture writer, Richard Goldstein, even argues that it has fans in unlikely places. He claims the Christian right has been muted in its objections to “Brokeback” because the movie “echoes the fashionable fundamentalist idea that disapproving dads make deviant sons. . . both Jack and Ennis had brutal, distant fathers.”
Some critics and Oscar predictors can’t see “Brokeback” sweeping the Oscars, because even such past gay winners as “Philadelphia” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman” collected awards only for their actors.
Yet 36 years ago, in a nation deeply divided by war and politics and the beginnings of the gay-rights movement, “Midnight Cowboy” — an X-rated story of two men who rely entirely on each other for emotional support — won the Oscar for best picture. And it even had a Western reference in the title.
注释 Key words
momentum n. 要素
forecaster n. 预报因子；预报员
National Society of Film Critics美国国家影评人协会
unbeatable adj. 无敌的，无与伦比的
ballot n. 选票，票数
hoodwink vt. 蒙蔽，欺骗
moviegoer n. 电影观众；常看电影的人