Golden Globes: 5 Things to Know Ahead of the Awards
THR's awards analyst offers hints about how to predict -- and not to predict -- the Globes and a briefing about recent changes in the way the HFPA does business.
In addition to checking out THR's Golden Globes forecast -- featuring Scott's predictions about what/who will win and the picks of THR critics Todd McCarthy (film) and Tim Goodman (TV) for what/who should win at Sunday's ceremony -- be sure to acquaint yourself with the following five factoids before tuning in to the show.
1) The memberships of the HFPA and the Academy have zero overlap, which is why any overlap in nominees and winners is purely coincidental.
You can run all the numbers you want comparing the Golden Globe nominees and winners to the Oscar nominees and winners over the years. But, like the historical stats that last year told us a best picture Oscar nominee can't win without a corresponding best director Oscar nomination, any that suggest that the Globes predict the Oscars are hogwash and purely coincidental. The fact of the matter is that the HFPA is composed of 85 Hollywood-based journalists for foreign news outlets, whereas the Academy is composed of 6,028 people who actually make movies. There is zero overlap between the two groups' memberships. So while a Golden Globe nomination or win can help a movie generate additional publicity, which might turn into additional momentum, it does not, in itself, suggest strength of any sort within the Academy. Just ask a few Golden Globe winners from the past decade, such as Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road, 2008), Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky, 2008) and Paul Giamatti (Barney's Version, 2010), who didn't even end up with Oscar nominations, much less any wins. Same goes for Dreamgirls in 2006.
2) The HFPA rewards non-American productions and people far more than the Academy.
Because the HFPA is composed entirely of people who work for -- and mainly hail from -- countries outside of the United States (mainly from Europe), their tastes and preferences tend to lean in favor of international, and specifically European, films over those about the American experience -- certainly more so than the Academy. This is, perhaps, in large part why the HFPA nominated Philomena and Rush for best picture instead of the U.S. civil rights drama Lee Daniels' The Butler (which was, in fact, completely shut out, with not even supporting actress Oprah Winfrey receiving an invitation to the party) and/or the U.S. midwest-set family drama August: Osage County and/or the Disney drama Saving Mr. Banks (the only nom for which went to its British lead actress Emma Thompson). My understanding is that there are some big champions of both Philomena and Rush's supporting actor nominee, Daniel Bruhl, within the HFPA. So if either pulls off an "upset" on Sunday night, you shouldn't be totally shocked.
3) The HFPA likes to be the first to crown someone or something with an award.
The HFPA has a long history of trying to be the first to celebrate productions and performers with awards. Sometimes, particularly on the TV side of things, they have made cutting-edge choices that should be applauded -- they were the first on-board with Homeland and Girls, for instance. Other times, they have made choices that don't look particularly perceptive, in hindsight, such as Ugly Betty, Grey's Anatomy and Glee. For better or worse, they were also the first to recognize the performances of Felicity's Keri Russell, Desperate Housewives' Teri Hatcher, Alias' Jennifer Garner and Girls' Lena Dunham, among many others -- and they began their long love affair with Claire Danes 19 years ago when they honored her for My So-Called Life. That track record would seem to offer promise this year to the Emmy-snubbed House of Cards and brand-new Masters of Sex on the drama side, as well as new arrivals Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Taylor Schilling for Orange Is the New Black on the musical or comedy side. On the film side, it might lead to good things for people like 12 Years a Slave's Chiwetel Ejiofor, Philomena's Judi Dench or American Hustle's Jennifer Lawrence, whose 2013 performances have not yet won a major noncritics award.
4) The HFPA's total nominations and director and screenplay categories offer clues about best picture.
The HFPA presents two Globes awards for the picture, lead actor and lead actress categories -- each has one for drama work and one for musical or comedy work -- but there is only one Globe category for director and screenplay. When trying to predict the best picture winners, it is important to realize that these two categories in particular offer valuable clues. In the 21st century, a best picture nominee that is also nominated for best director and/or best screenplay has only twice lost to a best picture nominee that was not, when It's Complicated, a screenplay nominee, lost best picture (musical or comedy) to The Hangover and when Silver Linings Playbook, a screenplay nominee, lost best picture (musical or comedy) to Les Miserables.
5) This ain't your old HFPA.
For much of the last few decades, the legitimacy of the 85-member HFPA and its Golden Globes has been widely called into question. From the infamous Pia Zadora bribery incident to a variety of controversies over accepting gifts from contenders to lists of nominees that reeked of coordinated efforts to get as many big names as possible to show up at the ceremony regardless of the merits of their work (i.e. Burlesque and The Tourist in one year), things actually got so bad that the Globes were not aired on television for a number of years. But, more recently, the HFPA appears to be cleaning house a little. Sure, members still only have to write a small number of articles each year to remain active, are flown all over the world for lavish junkets at which they are wined and dined and shamelessly line up for photos with stars who attend their press conferences. But, back in June, the group elected its youngest president in years, 46-year-old Theo Kingma, who reportedly ran on a platform of change and won by a large margin. In December, it announced its least-suspect list of nominations in years (it even snubbed Oprah Winfrey, who, in years past, could have been nominated for coughing); and, on New Year's Eve, it signaled to studios that it will no longer go along with monkey business, sending a polite but firm missive warning against the continued advertising of Golden Globe nominees as, say, "[in large letters] WINNER OF 3 GOLDEN GLOBES [in small letters] nominations."