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Golden Globes: Hollywood’s test of the Weinstein effect

LOS ANGELES — The nominations will be unveiled Monday for the Golden Globes, kicking off an awards season expected to be overshadowed by the sexual misconduct scandal engulfing the movie industry.

The announcements, which come two days before the influential Screen Actors Guild nominations, are the first major bellwether of momentum going into the Oscars race.

Awards analysis website Gold Derby is predicting that coming-of-age romance "Call Me By Your Name" will be the top contender with six nominations.

"In addition to best film drama, we're betting on nominations for lead actor Timothee Chalamet, supporting actors Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg, director Luca Guadagnino, and the screenplay by James Ivory," said senior editor Daniel Montgomery.

He added that Guillermo del Toro's fairy tale "The Shape of Water" should get five nods while four movies—"Get Out," "Lady Bird," "The Post" and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"—are expected to pick up four each.

Christopher Nolan's "Dunkirk," much-loved for its masterful cinematography if not its sparkling dialogue, is expected to pick up just two nominations, for best film drama and best director.

Gold Derby said however that it is likely to win both awards at the ceremony itself.

The Globes is seen as a chance for Hollywood to demonstrate its intolerance of sexual misconduct following a wave of allegations that emerged after movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused of a career of misbehavior that would make him the most egregious sexual predator in the history of filmmaking.

Seismic effect

The Weinstein Company, which sacked its co-founder, was a long shot to land a sixth consecutive nomination in the prestigious best film drama category, even before the scandal broke.

The wider fallout, however, is likely to have a seismic effect on the awards season, as numerous other powerful figures have been accused of sexual misconduct.

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" director James Gunn told AFP at the recent Academy Governors Awards that the scandal was the hot topic of conversation whenever filmmakers and actors got together.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is said to be sensitive to the message it would send out by rewarding the work of Kevin Spacey, James Toback, Jeffrey Tambor, Louis C.K., Brett Ratner, Bryan Singer, Amazon Studios boss Roy Price or numerous other scandal-hit big players.

Spacey, who won best actor in 2015 for "House of Cards," has no chance of a repeat following a litany of allegations against him.

But his alleged misdeeds against young men could also harm the chances of colleagues such as Robin Wright, another previous winner, or of any further nominations to add to the show's overall haul of eight.

Comedy series "Transparent," which has also had numerous nominations and a win for Tambor, will find itself in the same boat if HFPA members feel squeamish enough to give the entire show a hard pass.

Spacey was also expected to front an awards campaign for "All the Money in the World" before Ridley Scott decided to expunge the actor from his latest movie, replacing him via last-minute reshoots with Christopher Plummer.

Scandal-free nominees

Meanwhile the HFPA has a wide choice of scandal-free nominees from diverse backgrounds like filmmakers Jordan Peele ("Get Out"), Greta Gerwig ("Lady Bird") and Dee Rees ("Mudbound").

"Get Out"—a satire on racism and middle class white guilt—made perhaps the biggest and most unexpected impact of any movie this year and will be a strong contender in the comedy category.

Martin McDonagh's "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," starring Frances McDormand as a mother seeking to avenge the rape and murder of her daughter, took the influential audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Steven Spielberg's "The Post," a defense of the free press widely seen as a rebuke to President Donald Trump, is the favorite for many experts to take best film drama.

"Coco" should be the comfortable frontrunner for best animated film—unless its chances are harmed by Pixar co-founder John Lasseter's recent admission of inappropriate behavior towards employees.

"The Weinstein scandal, and everything that followed, created a climate in which it is increasingly important for Hollywood to send the right message and do the right thing," wrote entertainment website The Wrap in an editorial.

"And there's no question that the voters in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are aware of that."

The Golden Globes, televised by NBC, takes place at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, on January 7. — AFP