On Sunday night, January 8, the Mel Gibson biopic Hacksaw Ridge saw its chances for winning an Academy Award shot down after coming up empty handed at the 74th Golden Globes.
Hacksaw Ridge, the story of Seventh-day Adventist noncombatant and WWII hero Desmond Doss, received three Golden Globe nominations—best picture (drama), best director (Mel Gibson) and best actor in a drama (Andrew Garfield). The film came up short in each category, and is unlikely to win an Academy Award next month.
The Golden Globe awards, presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, often provide early indicators of how films will fare at the Oscars, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. However, as LA Times film and television reporter Glenn Whipp notes, “academy voters have shown a willingness in three of the last four years to look around the globe” in the choices they make.
Seventh-day Adventists placed high hopes—and significant resources—in Mel Gibson’s directorial return, looking for a publicity boost from Hacksaw Ridge’s cinematic veneration of longtime Adventist icon Doss. It was the second time a prominent Adventist attracted widespread media attention in 2016 after Ben Carson’s foray into national politics. Adventists in North America and Europe seized the opportunity to proselytize on the back of the film’s popularity. A win at the Golden Globes or the Academy Awards would have raised the movie’s prestige and provided further opportunities to ride the wave of publicity. Instead, it looks as though the film’s run of successes may be primarily relegated to its $137M box office haul and its place in film history.
At the Golden Globes, hit musical La La Land took top honors with a sweep of the seven categories for which it was nominated. The film features Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as artists trying to make their careers—and their growing love for each other—work in star-saturated Los Angeles. Also among the Golden Globe winners, Moonlight won best picture, Casey Affleck won best actor for Manchester by the Sea, and Isabelle Huppert won best actress for Elle.
Oscar nominations come on January 24, 2017 with the awards show held on Sunday, February 26, 2017.
Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.
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