The campaign trail for 2019’s awards season has been going on for months now, but every year the Golden Globes marks the first major film awards ceremony of the season, and Sunday night’s show kicked off the next seven weeks of intense awards-ing, culminating with the Academy Awards on 25 February.
Being the first ceremony, the Globes stand as an early foundation in suggesting who may end up victorious on Oscar night. It helps give an idea of what Hollywood like and what they love, while a powerful speech can help propel an Oscar campaign (I’m looking at you, Glenn Close).
However, it must be pointed out that of all the Oscar precursors, the Globes are probably the least reliable. The awards are voted for by the Hollywood Foreign Press, made up of about 90 members, all of whom are journalists from countries outside the US reporting on America’s entertainment industry.
This means that not a single Golden Globes voter is a voting member of The Academy, which often leads to some baffling nominations and wins (*cough* Bohemian Rhapsody). Think of the Globes as the Oscars’ less classy, slightly sillier little brother which tries to copy its big bro before Oscar has even made his decisions.
With that in mind, here’s what we learnt from Sunday’s show.
Was the star born prematurely?
Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born made shockwaves when it was released in October. Lapped up by critics and fans alike, it set itself out as a big Oscar frontrunner. It is possible to peak early though (see La La Land in 2016), and the film heavily underperformed at the Globes. Only winning for Best Song, neither Cooper nor Lady Gaga managed to take an acting gong home, while they lost out on Best Drama to Bohemian Rhapsody. Those acting categories are extremely competitive this year, but A Star is Born is the kind of film the Globes tend to like. A lack of support, therefore, is a worrying sign for Cooper and co. Make no mistake, the film will bag a lot of Oscar nominations and is still a big player in the race, but it’ll need to win some precursor awards soon.
Best Actress could be very Close
Comfortably the most exciting race this year is Best Actress. The Globes split their acting categories into Drama and Comedy/Musical, which means at least 10 of those nominated yesterday will not make the Oscar shortlist. Glenn Close won for drama and has the ‘Di-Caprio’ overdue narrative, having been nominated for six Oscars and lost every time. She’s a beloved actress and is now probably the favourite. Even ahead of The Favourite’s brilliant Olivia Colman, who won on the comedy front. It is a film where the performances really take centre stage and The Academy loves to reward a beloved but under-utilised character actor. And finally, let’s not forget Gaga, who missed out on an acting award but is definitely not to be counted out. She’s a very popular figure who gives a beautiful performance in A Star is Born. This race is very much still on.
Green light for Green Book
Easily the best performer at the Globes, Green Book set its stall out very firmly last night, taking home Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay and Best Comedy/Musical. Mahershala Ali looks set to win his second Oscar in three years for playing pianist Dr. Don Shirley, but it’s the latter two which make the statement of intent. Critically it has been very divisive (the UK doesn’t get to see it until 30 January), and it remains to be seen if Green Book can win Best Picture, but it certainly needs to be taken seriously now.
Don’t forget the sleeping giants
As previously mentioned, the Globes are not the most reliable, and there are a few films which could make big moves in the coming weeks. Roma, for example, is still a huge Best Picture contender. It is already a lock in for Best Director (Alfonso Cuaron) and Best Foreign Film, and while it wasn’t eligible for Best Drama at the Globes (English language only), the lack of an obvious Best Picture Oscar favourite means that Roma could very well become the first foreign language film to win the award.
And while Vice, BlacKkKlansman and Black Panther only won one award between them last night, this could be due to non-American voters. Vice follows Dick Cheney’s Vice Presidency and BlacKkKlansman tackles racism in the US. Both are much more powerful, relevant and striking to an American audience, while Black Panther was significantly more popular in America than the rest of the world. The superhero behemoth became the third most successful box office hit ever in the US, while it only lies ninth on the worldwide table. So, the change of votership could bring significantly more joy to these three contenders.
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
It’s fair to say a few eyebrows were raised when Bohemian Rhapsody took home the most coveted award of the night, Best Drama Film, at the Globes. Most of the film world would agree that it is well below the standards of awards season. However, this may not just be the Golden Globes being a bit frivolous. Bo-Rap seems to be hitting all the right notes at the moment. Just yesterday it received a nomination from the American Cinema Editors guild awards. The guild awards are made up largely of Academy voters, so those who nominated the film for an editing award here are likely to do the same for the Oscars, and a Best Editing nomination at the Oscars is a key marker for any Best Pic hopeful.
Meanwhile it has also received a nomination for Best Ensemble at the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Awards. Only two Best Picture winners since 1995 have managed to do it without this nomination (Braveheart and The Shape of Water), and to cap it all off, the film has made the cut for the PGA (Producers Guild) Awards, another huge Best Picture predictor.
So, Bohemian Rhapsody is in fact showing all of the major signs of a serious Oscar Best Picture player. Surely though, it can’t actually… can it?
It all remains to be seen at this point. There are many twists and turns to come in this awards season, and lots of other precursor ceremonies which will help us further predict the big one on 25 February. Below are a list of the dates to keep an eye for in the coming weeks:
Monday, Jan 7 – Oscar nominations voting opens
Wednesday, Jan 9 – BAFTA nominations announced
Saturday, Jan 19 – Producers Guild of America (PGA) Awards ceremony
Tuesday, Jan 22 – Oscar nominations announced
Sunday, Jan 27 – Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards ceremony
Saturday, Feb 2 – Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards ceremony
Sunday, Feb 10 – BAFTA awards ceremony
Tuesday, Feb 12 – Oscar winners voting opens
Sunday, Feb 24 – 91st Oscars ceremony
Image credit: Movie DB