Daily Archives: December 16, 2011

Golden Globe Nominations Announced

Cover of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"

Cover of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy


Golden Globe voters did little to clear up a blurry awards picture on Thursday, snubbing some perceived Oscar front-runners.


The movie awards season is typically defined by now, with favorites firmly established and potential dark horses looming, but consensus has yet to form fully around any film this year.


Leading the Globes nominations with six was “The Artist,” a black-and-white silent film from the French director Michel Hazanavicius. That film, backed by the awards maven Harvey Weinstein, got its nods in major categories, including best comedy.


Two films were behind with five nominations each: “The Descendants,”Alexander Payne’s drama about a Hawaiian land baron and his family, and “The Help,” about black maids in the 1960s and the white families they serve. Both were nominated for best drama, a group that also included “Moneyball,” “War Horse,” “The Ides of March” and “Hugo.”

Notable was the shutout of expected Oscar darling “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” a post-9/11 drama from director Stephen Daldry and producer Scott Rudin. This film may have suffered from its direct look at the emotional impact of the terror attacks.


Steven Spielberg also got slapped, with his “War Horse,” a look at World War I through equine eyes, picking up only a pair of nominations.


Focus Features failed to get nominations for“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” while Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar” got only an acknowledgment for Leonardo DiCaprio as best actor.


Voters gave a puzzling boost to “The Ides of March,” George Clooney’s political drama; it had meager ticket sales, but it walked away with four Globe nominations. The support of “Ides of March” by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the ninety-member group that gives out the Globes, presents a twist: a group of foreign journalists buying into a picture about American politics that hasn’t fared so well with the home crowd.


Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were invited back. Mr. Pitt was singled out as a best actor nominee for his baseball executive in “Moneyball,” which received four nods. The organization nominated “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” Ms. Jolie’s debut as a director, for best foreign film.


The Globes are not taken seriously as artistic milestones and have a history of voting idiosyncrasies; “True Grit” got no Globe nominations last year, for instance, but went on to receive ten nominations at the Academy Awards.


Studios complain that the group tends to nominate based on star wattage instead of performance to orchestrate a red-carpet spectacle. Still, Hollywood picks over the Globes for clues about the Oscar race. The best picture Oscar has mirrored the Golden Globes’ choice for best drama or best comedy-musical about two-thirds of the time over the last two decades. The Globes as Oscar forecaster did not work last year, with “The Social Network” beating out “The King’s Speech,” which won the Academy Award for best picture.


Studios rely on Globe nominations to fuel ticket sales and lift movies out of the year-end pile-up; “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” “War Horse” and “The Iron Lady” (starring Meryl Streep, who landed her twenty-fifth Globe nomination for the part) are arriving around Christmas.


The nominations were announced shortly after 5 a.m. Pacific Time. A full list of nominees can be found here.

Via The New York Times.




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On This Day…

In 1950, President Truman proclaimed a national state of emergency in order to fight “Communist imperialism.”

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Berkeley Offers Bigger Grants to Middle-Class Students

Free Speech Mural, Berkeley

Image by George via Flickr


The University of California, Berkeley, announced that it will offer more financial aid starting next fall, with families earning up to $140,000 a year expected to give no more than 15% of their annual income.


At Berkeley, the number of low-income and wealthy students has grown, while the number of middle-class students has remained flat. That raised concerns that some of the state’s brightest are choosing private schools whose generous financial aid can erase differentials in sticker price.


Several private universities, including Harvard, Princeton and Yale, offer programs for families with incomes up to $200,000. Berkeley was the first public university to do so. Public colleges have focused on scholarships to lure top students and aid for the poorest to ensure access, but many worry that approach has left out a group of families.


Berkeley’s definition of middle-class in its new financial aid program is a family with income between $80,000 and $140,000 a year. On top of the parental contribution of 15% of income, students also have to pay about $8,000 per year, a combination of loans, work-study, and scholarships. At the bottom end of the spectrum, that would make for a total of $20,000, a 37.5% discount off the $32,000 total of tuition, room and board for California residents. On the upper end, it would be about $29,000, or a 10% discount.


(Out-of-state students, who make up 30% of Berkeley’s freshman class this year, will get discounts on the first $32,000 but have to pay an extra $23,000.)


The announcement came a day after Gov. Jerry Brown of California announced another round of cuts to state colleges and universities. California’s public universities had the nation’s largest jump for in-state tuition in 2011-12.


Although there are only a few anecdotal reports of middle-class students actually dropping out because of rising college costs, the issue has become a rallying cry of Occupy protesters. Berkeley officials are worried that some of the state’s brightest students, who in earlier generations would have chosen their campus because it was a bargain, are now being lured by private universities with big endowments.


The program is expected to cost $12 million a year and will be paid for from out-of-state and international student tuition, as well as private donations. Officials said they had recently received an $8 million donation for financial aid and expect to raise more.


Fewer than 2,000 students from families with incomes over $80,000 received financial aid this year, officials said. They estimated that under the new policy, an extra 4,000 middle-class students would receive grants ranging from $3,600 to $16,000 next year.

Via The New York Times.




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Congress Agrees to Prevent a Government Shutdown

Congressional negotiators reached an agreement that could prevent a government shutdown.

A resolution passed earlier this year to keep the government funded expires at midnight Friday. Lawmakers have approved seven stop-gap spending measures this calendar year.

Negotiators were signing off on a massive spending bill that funds the government through 2012.

Both the House and Senate must vote on it.

The deal comes after talks between congressional leaders and the White House on Thursday. They were discussing ways to resolve their differences over measures to keep the government funded and extend the payroll tax cut set to expire at the end of the year.

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