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It’s hard to know what to make of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s picks for the 73rd Golden Globe Awards. The Revenant for best picture and Alejandro G. Inarritu for best director? Joy‘s Jennifer Lawrence for best actress (musical/comedy)? Steve Jobs‘ Kate Winslet for best supporting actress? Steve Jobs for best screenplay? And nothing — not a single award — for Carol (which landed more Golden Globes noms than any other film), Spotlight (which was the Oscar frontrunner coming into the night), Mad Max: Fury Road (which could win more Oscar noms than any film) or The Big Short (which some thought was posed to become the new Oscar frontrunner), among other top Oscar hopefuls?
The reality is that those of us who have our eyes on the big prize, the Oscar, shouldn’t dwell on them much at all. Why? Because the HFPA is composed of just 82 people, all LA-based journalists for foreign outlets, whereas the Academy is composed of some 6,200 people, all of whom are associated with the production of movies; only one person, actress-turned-journalist Lisa Lu, belongs to both groups.
In other words, the results of the Globes tell us nothing about the Oscar race, the nominations for which will be announced on Thursday, and voting for which ended last Friday. If they have any impact at all, it’s in boosting the post-Oscar-nom prospects of winning films and people — such as best actor (drama) winner Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), whose tears only solidified his frontrunner status, and best supporting actor winner Sylvester Stallone (Creed), whose victory was met with a standing ovation — not in harming the prospects of those who lost.
It’s probably foolhardy to try to “make sense” of the HFPA’s behavior — this is a group that is obsessed with movie stars and with being the first to crown new TV shows, as this year’s results starkly reminded us.
Nevertheless, it must be noted that Fox ran the tables this year: The Revenant won best picture (drama), best director for Inarritu and best actor (drama) for DiCaprio; The Martian won best picture (musical/comedy) and best actor (musical/comedy) for Matt Damon; and Joy won best actress (musical/comedy) for Lawrence. That’s a hell of a showing.
The scraps went to Universal, with its two Steve Jobs wins; A24, with Room‘s Brie Larson for best actress (drama); Warner Bros., with Creed‘s Stallone for best supporting actor; The Weinstein Co., with The Hateful Eight‘s Ennio Morricone for best original score; Sony, with Spectre‘s “Writing’s on the Wall” for best original song; Disney-Pixar, with Inside Out for best animated feature; and Sony Classics, with Son of Saul for best foreign-language film.
But even if the results have little to no bearing on the Oscar race, that didn’t keep those who lost from stressing. I spoke with people associated with Spotlight and Carol who are seriously worried. All I could tell them was that, on this same night last year, Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel were celebrating as best picture winners, while Birdman had only a best screenplay prize to console it; and in recent years Avatar beat The Hurt Locker at the Globes and The Social Network beat The King’s Speech, and we all know how those sure-bets panned out at the Oscars.
The real telltale indicators will come not only on Thursday with the Oscar noms, but also in the coming days when more of the guilds weigh in. The Revenant might well prove to be the auteur-ish film they all rally behind; or Spotlight could rebound (though the low number of Oscar noms it’s likely to receive may prove problematic); or perhaps we’ll see a resurgence for The Martian, with a DGA win (many think Ridley Scott is overdue), a PGA win (it’s a big hit) and a WGA win (people love Drew Goddard’s adaptation) — I actually think that is very possible.
The point, though, is that nobody should be popping too much champagne — or hitting the panic button — because of Sunday night’s results. The Oscar race has only just begun.
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