The big white elephant in the room is actually a lively kicking donkey.
Clint Eastwood’s “The Mule” hit $81 million over the weekend without any Golden Globe nominations or any other accolades. “The Mule” was so late arriving in a pre-determined awards season that it was ineligible for just about everything.
In the case of the Globes, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association saw “The Mule” at literally the last minute. But like all the other groups, they were already victims of momentum. Movies that were hyped for awards consideration started screening last summer. Pretty much the last entry to get in was “Vice,” which was shown in November.
But now we come to the Globes with no mention of a movie that will likely cross the $100 million mark, has excellent reviews, and sports two Oscar worthy actor performances from Eastwood and Dianne Wiest. Plus, Eastwood should be considered as a director.
There’s no real campaigning for ‘The Mule,” which doesn’t help. This mirrors some other recent Eastwood movies like “Gran Torino” and “American Sniper,” which arrived late, made more than $100 million and bypassed awards season almost completely.
Part of it could be that Eastwood, who’s 88 years old, has four Oscars including Best Picture awards for “Unforgiven” and “Million Dollar Baby,” and just doesn’t want to be bothered. There’s also the problem that Warner Bros., Eastwood’s home for many decades, has all its attention focused on “A Star is Born” with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. (Ironically, Eastwood almost directed a different version of “A Star is Born” with Beyonce.)
But once tomorrow night’s Globes are over, and the dust has settled a bit– plus next Sunday’s Critics Choice Awards on the CW Network– it may be that the Academy takes a new look at “The Mule.” It should. Oscar voting runs from January 7th to the 14th with announcement on the 22nd. Wouldn’t it be swell if “The Mule” kicked up, unexpectedly?