Call my musical-obsessed self biased, but I loved Chicago. It was pure pleasure to sit back in a movie theater and see Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones belt out “All That Jazz.” I’ve seen the Broadway musical, and every now and then I find myself singing along to my Chicago soundtrack CD as I drive down the interstate and try to avoid suspicious stares from passers-by.
But that’s me. That’s not every other person who frequents the local multiplex looking for a few hours of entertainment. I get that.
Which is why I’m suspicious about Sunday’s Golden Globes Awards show where Chicago cleaned up in the Comedy/Musical categories of Best Picture, Actor and Actress, with Richard Gere and Zellweger being the latter two beneficiaries.
I’m worried the buzz won’t last. I’m worried it will be compared to Moulin Rouge — not a musical, by the way, but an overblown music-video montage — and not stack up in viewers and/or voters’ minds.
Bottom line: I want Chicago to win Best Picture at the Oscars come March.
Now, 2002 has been one of the best movie years in a while, with Gangs of New York, Road to Perdition, Signs and The Two Towers all released in the same calendar year, not to mention Catch Me if You Can, About Schmidt, One Hour Photo and Adaptation.
In previous awards seasons, research is required to come up with five possibilities for best picture, as opposed to shooting from the hip and coming up with almost 10 without thinking.
But the Globes didn’t give Perdition or Signs much love. One Hour Photo was left off every short list there was, and with the exception of perhaps My Big Fat Greek Wedding, all the films with decent nods were released last month.
And even Chicago only opens nationwide tomorrow. Fortunately, Tampa had a couple of the measly 300 screens upon which it was released up till now. Now that it won three Golden Globes, it is poised to sweep the Academy Awards nominations in two weeks.
That is, unless people don’t go. If people say they don’t like musicals; if they won’t buy Zeta-Jones as a hard-nosed murderous vixen; or if they think it will be boring.
I admit there are a few reservations. I didn’t buy Zeta-Jones’ Velma Kelly — from the previews, at least. But she blew me away. She’s wasting her time hawking Voicestream, or T-Mobile, or whatever it’s being called these days — that’s what I say.
However, boring it is not. Is Gere the best choice for Billy Flynn? No. Not in my opinion, anyway. He’s serviceable, but John Travolta would have razzle-dazzled his way right through the film. Instead, John C. Reilly stole the show with his second portrayal this year as a schlep of a husband (after his pot-smoking spouse of Jennifer Aniston in The Good Girl). It was inspired casting up until he sang “Mr. Cellophane,” when his performance went from great to nothing short of brilliant. His Amos Hart gets stepped on by every other character in the film, but his performance will not be ignored.
And that’s really the only hope people like me have when time comes to hand out Oscar nominations. When a supporting actor rocks in his role, he usually has a shot at representing his film on the golden podium.
Or, the film’s hype could be too big ’round awards time and he gets looked over. When a film takes the cake and eats it, too, a supporting actor who fits in too well will sometimes get passed by.
But when the rest of his party is sitting at the table surrounded by golden statuettes, he may not mind the stares.
Well, I can only hope.
Contact Will Albritton at email@example.com