Okay, it’s Friday. The 2015 Golden Globes air on Sunday night at 8 PM on NBC.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will open the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards show with their best monologue material (spoiler alert: first thing Monday morning, the Internet will be awestruck with praise). After that, key trophies are likely to be handed out to movies you very well may not have seen. Let’s fix that.
Among this year’s Golden Globe best picture and acting nominees are a number of offbeat, engaging, surprising, and even inspiring dude-friendly indie productions that tended to get lost the multiplex blockbuster onslaught. Each is worth making the effort to catch. Now is the moment. We have the time. We have the technology. Here are the movies.
Nominated for: Best Motion Picture; Best Actor (Michael Keaton); Best Supporting Actor (Edward Norton); Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone)
Michael Keaton brings real-life experience to the role of an aging actor who lives in the shadow of a superhero he once portrayed in a series of blockbusters. That’s just the jumping-off point, though, as Birdman is a wild phantasmagoria of inventive visuals and bleakly hilarious imagination. It chronicles the ex-Birdman’s attempted comeback in a Broadway drama, where his personal demons are more than matched by hilarious Edward Norton as an unbearable co-star and heartbreaking Emma Stone as Keaton’s troubled daughter.
Nominated for: Best Motion Picture; Best Actor (Steve Carrell); Best Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo)
Foxcatcher is named after the athletic training compound run by billionaire oil scion John du Pont in a harrowing fact-based saga of one rich nutball’s Olympic wrestling obsession gone homicidally off the mat. Mark Ruffalo plays veteran grappler Dave Schultz whose younger brother, Channing Tatum as 1988 Olympic hopeful Mark Schultz, falls in with the deranged du Pont. Nobody walks away with gold by the end—except the audience that’s pummeled by the power of this tragic tale expertly told.
Nominated for: Best Motion Picture; BVest Supporting Actor (Ethan Hawke); Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette)
Many films claim to be “years in the making,” but no movie has ever adhered to that notion like writer-director Richard Linklatter’s Boyhood. Shot over the course of a dozen actual years with the same actors, Boyhood chronicles the literal coming-of-age of actor Ellar Coltrane in the role of Mason Evans, a Texas kid who goes through all the normal ups-and-downs we experience between ages six and eighteen—only he does it on camera.
Nominated for: Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
Jake Gyllenhaal coats the screen in electrifying sleaze as a two-bit thief turned guerilla journalist in the modern film noir Nightcrawler. He plays Lou Bloom, a denizen of L.A.’s scary, scummy underbelly who believes he finds a way out when he starts filming violent accident and crimes scenes, and then peddling the footage to news outlets. Nightcrawler starts at the bottom and then, mesmerizingly, only spirals downward.
The Imitation Game
Nominated for: Best Motion Picture—Drama; Best Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch)
Everybody’s favorite Sherlock Holmes and Smaug the dragon (and, okay, second favorite Khan from Star Trek), Benedict Cumberbatch comes on like an anti-Panzer tank bomb blast in The Imitation Game. It’s a heady, true-life World War II thriller with Cumberbatch as British math and science genius Alan Turing, the visionary who cracked the Nazi’s otherwise impenetrable Enigma code and profoundly launched the Allies on the warpath to victory. That part of the story is happy. What happened to Turing after that is not.