'Once Upon a Time' Goes Comedy, 'Two Popes' Goes Drama as Globes Contenders Submit Preferences (Exclusive)

Other close calls included 'Hustlers' and 'Jojo Rabbit,' as The Hollywood Reporter reveals which side of the ledger those films, and others, landed on.
Fox Searchlight Pictures; Columbia Pictures; Peter Mountain/Netflix
From left: 'Jojo Rabbit,' 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,' 'The Two Popes'

Most movies can be indisputably classified as either (a) a drama or (b) a musical or comedy — but some are close calls, which is why it is always interesting to see how films are submitted to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for Golden Globes consideration.

This year's entry deadline is at 11:59 p.m. Friday evening, but The Hollywood Reporter has spoken with a wide cross-section of sources and can now report that the teams behind all major contenders have now submitted their preferences. (By mid-November, an HFPA committee will either approve or overturn these requests.)

There were a number of close calls this year.

The list of drama options will include Jay Roach's Bombshell (Lionsgate), Robert Eggers' The Lighthouse (A24) and Fernando Meirelles' The Two Popes (Netflix) — about Fox News, men losing their minds and an odd-couple relationship, respectively — even though each possesses considerable quantities of humor.

Meanwhile, the musical/comedy roster will include Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony), Lorene Scafaria's Hustlers (STX) and Taiki Waititi's Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight), even though each deals with fairly heavy subject matter — the Manson family, a crime ring and the Holocaust, respectively.

(1998's Life Is Beautiful, the last high-profile Holocaust comedy, was not eligible for either of the two top prizes, as it was not in English — the same reason why The Farewell cannot be considered for either of the top two prizes this year, though it is eligible in other categories as a musical/comedy.)

Music-heavy films have posed something of a conundrum for HFPA voters in recent years. Many dramas featuring music — especially biopics of singers — were submitted for a musical/comedy designation, and not infrequently okayed as such (see: 2005's Walk the Line). But backlash has, in more recent years, prompted the HFPA to categorize those sorts of pics as dramas (see: 2018's Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born) and only to wave through movies which are truly told through song.

Accordingly, Roadside Attractions has submitted Judy — in which Renee Zellweger, as Judy Garland, sings quite a few of the late singer's standards — as a drama. And, conversely, Paramount has submitted Rocketman — in which all of the principal castmembers sing and songs propel the story forward — as a musical/comedy.

Here — for now — is the full lay of the land (of major contenders, in alphabetical order)...

Drama: 1917 (Universal), Ad Astra (Fox), The Aeronauts (Amazon), The Banker (Apple), A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony), Bombshell (Lionsgate), Clemency (Neon), Dark Waters (Focus Features), Downton Abbey (Focus), Ford v Ferrari (Fox), The Good Liar (Warner Bros.), Harriet (Focus), A Hidden Life (Fox Searchlight), Honey Boy (Amazon), The Irishman (Netflix), Joker (Warner Bros.), Judy (Roadside), Just Mercy (Warner Bros.), The King (Netflix), The Lighthouse (A24), Little Women (Sony), Marriage Story (Netflix), Queen & Slim (Universal), The Report (Amazon), Richard Jewell (Warner Bros.), The Two Popes (Netflix), Us (Universal), Waves (A24)

Musical/comedy: Blinded by the Light (Warner Bros.), Booksmart (Annapurna), Cats (Universal), Dolemite Is My Name (Netflix), Good Boys (Universal), Hustlers (STX), Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight), Knives Out (Lionsgate), Late Night (Amazon), The Laundromat (Netflix), Long Shot (Lionsgate), Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony), The Peanut Butter Falcon (Roadside), Rocketman (Paramount), Uncut Gems (A24), What Men Want (Paramount), Where'd You Go Bernadette? (Annapurna), Yesterday (Universal)

Foreign: The Farewell (A24), Pain and Glory (Sony Classics), Parasite (Neon)