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Oscar nominations arrive on Monday

Dena D’Angelo aims a hairdryer at the head of a freshly painted Oscar statue.
Dena D’Angelo dries freshly painted Oscar statues before last year’s Oscars ceremony.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Thanks to the fresh-air enthusiasts at The Times, I now have 50 hikes I can embark on once the Oscars are over and, perhaps more important, 22 sandwiches (OK, 21, because I’m not on board with beef tongue) I can devour when I’m done. And if by chance I end the day in Sherman Oaks, I now know a place where I can get some yogurt.

Also: Oscar nominations arrive Monday morning. Will your favorites make the cut? Do you have favorites? Do you like beef tongue sandwiches? I’m Glenn Whipp, awards columnist for the Los Angeles Times, host of The Envelope’s Friday newsletter. Drop me a line and let me know if I’m being too close-minded about the whole cow tongue thing.

My Oscar nomination predictions in all 23 categories

Oscar nominations arrive bright and early — so very, very early — on Monday morning. It’s the only day of the year when I wish I lived on the East Coast. But then I remember I don’t own a snow shovel and I like a good bagel, so that thought passes soon enough.

What will be nominated? I’m glad you asked. I took a look at all 23 categories (no, not 24 ... the two sound categories were combined this year), offering predictions, analysis, random thoughts and genuine concern for the people who worked on “Tenet.” (Seriously. How can it not be on the academy’s streaming platform?)

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Follow along on Monday. See where I’m right (almost everywhere!) and note where I’m wrong, so you can then move on to my “snubs” and surprises story, which I’ll be writing Monday morning, fueled by an ocean of coffee and one of those great L.A. bagels.

How ‘Sound of Metal’ teaches us to live during lockdown

“Sound of Metal” tells a story quite specific in its details. Punk-metal drummer Ruben, a recovering addict, suffers a sudden, severe hearing loss. He checks into a remote community for recovering deaf addicts and grapples, yes, with the idea of silence but more than that — stillness. “That’s the kingdom of God,” the commune’s leader tells Ruben. “And that place will never abandon you.”

That act of surrendering control and dealing with the angels and demons inside of us has been the world’s collective journey for this last, pandemic year. Riz Ahmed, who plays Ruben, says making “Sound of Metal” provided a road map to navigate lockdown. Darius Marder, director and co-writer of the movie with his brother Abraham, believes the similarities between the movie’s themes and the COVID-19 world come across like an “inside joke.”

Riz Ahmed blows into the shirt of "Sound of Metal" filmmaker Darius Marder.
“Sound of Metal” filmmaker Darius Marder, left, with the film’s star, Riz Ahmed.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

“We’re acting out the film in real time,” Ahmed says.

What does that look like? And what can we learn from watching “Sound of Metal” (available on Amazon Prime) and understanding the creative process behind it? I spoke with Ahmed and Marder not too long ago, and we came up with five lessons to take away. I’m working on lesson No. 2.

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The Golden Globes need to go

Maybe it won’t be the revelation that Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. members paid themselves nearly $2 million last fiscal year or that the self-dealing continues to mushroom ($311,020 in January alone, according to the monthly treasurer’s report) or that, according to people within the group, many members aren’t “serious journalists” and, in fact, a prime criterion to join the HFPA is to not be a “real journalist” and as such not a threat to current membership.

Or that a former HFPA president thought the best way to address the group’s lack of diversity (it has no Black voters) would be to make Oprah Winfrey an honorary member.

It probably won’t be any single one of these indefensible discoveries but the cumulative weight of all of them — plus, the inevitable revelations to come (considering this bumbling bunch, there undoubtedly will be more) — that could lead NBC to do the right thing, put us all out of our misery and pull the plug on the Golden Globes. Because at some point, it’s going to be embarrassing to be associated with this brand. Not that it hasn’t always been ridiculous. It’s just going to be more difficult — even for the best of actors — to pretend it means anything. (Or at least anything more than “maybe one day I’ll win an Oscar or an Emmy.”)

HFPA executives onstage during the 2021 Golden Globes ceremony.
HFPA Vice President Helen Hoehne, left, HFPA Board Chair Meher Tatna and HFPA President Ali Sar at this year’s Golden Globes.
(NBC)

If the network excised this tumor from the awards season, what then? I offered a few thoughts on how NBC could move forward with a worthier alternative in a recent column. Is it feasible? I don’t know. But awards are only meaningful if the group bestowing them has integrity. The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. fails that standard and, given its history, it’s hard to believe it will change or police its members in any meaningful way.

Feedback?

I’d love to hear from you. Email me at glenn.whipp@latimes.com.

Can’t get enough about awards season? Follow me at @glennwhipp on Twitter.


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