Last night, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association gave out its statues at the 77th Golden Globe Awards and it didn’t come without some pretty big shocks and surprises; some good and some bad. But do the winners matter in the overall race?
Starting right at the top, 1917 and its director Sam Mendes were the biggest upsets of the night, taking Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director. Although there were inklings that this was a possibility (shout out to IndieWire’s Anne Thompson for jumping on that move), most expected The Irishman, Joker or Marriage Story to prevail. In his speech, Mendes remarked his shock at the win since the film still has yet to go in wide release (it will next week, now with awards bonafides to add to marketing material) and this definitely felt like a case where the Globes wanted to be ahead of the curve and set the pace for the very short awards race. No doubt pundits will be moving 1917 up on their predictions lists, and Mendes as well. But how far can the film go with very unlikely nominations in acting or writing? It didn’t matter to the Globes – the film got neither here – but the Oscars see things a little differently. The HFPA is approximately 90 international journalists versus the Academy which is 9000 industry professionals with actors being the overwhelming majority. As Variety’s Jenelle Riley always says, “Golden Globe voters aren’t Oscar voters.”
Truth be told, Netflix stood both the most to win and the most to lose from last night and it did the latter. Despite a whopping 18 nominations on the film side, the streaming giant only snagged a single win, for Laura Dern as Supporting Actress for Marriage Story. For The Irishman, it’s beginning a run that I’ve been predicting for a while (much to others’ eye-rolling and derision) and that’s that it’s a film that will (and has) easily grab tons of nominations but find itself unable to win anything. It lost all five of its nominations last night but really only had a good shot at the two of them, albeit the top two.
Parasite was nominated for three Globes; Director, Screenplay and Foreign Language Film, but curiously was only able to win the latter. A lot of chatter in Hollywood was that the HFPA loved Parasite so much that they would have voted it for Motion Picture – Drama if their rules allowed it. It turns out that wasn’t really the case since Bong Joon Ho couldn’t snag either of the other two when he was heavily predicted to win Best Director, just as Alfonso Cuarón did last year with Roma.
The top winners of the Golden Globes have a mixed history with Oscar correlation. Most recently, in 2017, for instance, the Globes went with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri for Best Motion Picture – Drama over eventual Academy Award winner The Shape of Water. In 2015, The Revenant bested Spotlight at the Globes at the Oscars. But just last year saw something quite different; Bohemian Rhapsody won Best Motion Picture – Drama and then went on to win four Academy Awards. Green Book won Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and went to win Oscar’s Best Picture and every acting winner at the Globes – Rami Malek, Olivia Colman, Mahershala Ali and Regina King – replicated those wins at the Academy Awards.
Now, the Academy Awards don’t separate comedy and drama like the Globes do, which gives the HFPA and extra chance to be in line with Oscars but last year showed we could very likely see that happen again this year. But, these things don’t come without a caveat: a Globes Best Picture winner from Comedy or Musical hasn’t gone on to win Best Picture at the Oscars in back-to-back years since 1963-1965 when Tom Jones, My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music won both in three consecutive years. Shout out to Mike, Mike and Oscar for that stat. Now, that was back in the day when this category’s namesake leaned in on actual musicals but what does it mean for this year’s winner Once Upon a Time in Hollywood? Probably not much of an obstacle. Quentin Tarantino also won Best Screenplay and Brad Pitt won for Best Supporting Actor…just like Green Book last year; it then won those exact three at the Oscars. If Once pulls off wins at PGA and DGA then we clearly have our winner.
Women and diversity were forefront topics of discussion at and around the Golden Globes, with another year of no female writers or directors nominated in the top categories. Two of the five nominees in Foreign Language Film, Lulu Wang for The Farewell and Céline Sciamma for Portrait of a Lady on Fire, were women. However, neither are eligible for Oscar’s International Feature Film based on eligibility and submission differences and requirements between the two awards bodies. Speaking of The Farewell, its star Awkwafina won Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical and in doing so became the first woman of Asian descent to win that category in the group’s 77-year history. Her closest competition, Knives Out‘s Ana de Armas, would have been only the fourth Latina to win any Globe. Jumping off that, many thought Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers) was the odds-on favorite for Best Supporting Actress (and indeed, the GoldDerby “experts” thought so) but she was bested by Marriage Story‘s Laura Dern. Hildur Guðnadóttir became the first solo female winner for Original Score in Globe history with her win for Joker.
After weeding through the significant snubs for Netflix (although you’d never know it by their after party, which was the biggest banger of the night, going on long after all other parties had shut down into the early hours of the morning with Tiffany Haddish on the mic) the other big surprises came in Best Animated Feature where the little film that could, Missing Link from Annapurna/LAIKA/UA took out three billion dollar Disney hits to win. That propels the stunning stop-motion feature into the high end of the Animated Feature Oscar race.
While most picked Leonardo DiCaprio or Eddie Murphy to prevail in Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical (except me), it was Taron Egerton portraying Elton John in Rocketman that took the prize. Elton John and Bernie Taupin had won Original Song earlier that night (the first time in their 52-year working career they had won an award together – insane) and Egerton was visibly emotional about what this win meant to him. Egerton has a SAG nom, a Golden Globe win and will most likely earn a BAFTA nomination when those are announced late tonight (PST time) and that makes him a formidable contender in the Best Actor Oscar race.