Golden Globes: How the Results Could Affect Oscar Nomination Voting

The Hollywood Reporter's awards columnist discusses the potential significance of the wins for 'Green Book' and Glenn Close, among others.
Paul Drinkwater/NBC
Glenn Close

The 76th Golden Globe Awards took place Sunday night. On Monday morning, the one-week period of Oscar nomination voting began. There is only one person who is a member of both the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which determines the Globes, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which determines the Oscars — actress/journalist Lisa Lu. But the fact that, this year, the Globes leads right into the Oscar nominations voting suggests to me that the Oscar noms could also be more shaped by the Globes than is usually the case.

That doesn't necessarily mean that the Academy will copy what the HFPA did. This year, the HFPA made some choices that caught most by surprise and is being vocally derided by many — such as awarding its best picture prizes to Bohemian Rhapsody (drama) and Green Book (musical/comedy), while giving A Star Is Born nothing except best original song honors for "Shallow" — and it's quite possible there will be a backlash. 

At the same time, Academy members may find themselves more inclined to support some of the Globes' unexpected choices because of the way in which those winners handled their moment in the spotlight. For example, one of the biggest surprises of the night was when The Wife's Glenn Close beat A Star Is Born's Lady Gaga to win best actress (drama), and I think Close — the most Oscar-nominated living performer without a win, with six nominations so far — knocked her moment out of the park, so much that she may have not only solidified an Oscar nom that was starting to look a little shaky, but moved into the pole position for the win.

Close, who wasn't even seated on the main level of the ballroom, as if no one gave her much of a chance, enjoyed a long walk to the podium, during which many other notables greeted her and she graciously stopped to acknowledge Gaga (who, to her credit, was the first person out of her seat when Close's name was called). Close then gave an acceptance speech that was worthy of an Oscar, hitting on all of the key things that she needed to convey — that she's been acting for 45 years; that she still loves it; that it still means a lot to her to be honored; and that the role for which she is being feted this year is as symbolically important as anyone else's, in that it focuses a spotlight on but one of the many women who are too often in the shadows of the men in their lives (heck, it's called The Wife). Her invocation of her own mother's late-life regrets, in particular, seemed to move a lot of people, and she received a rare mid-speech standing ovation — just amazing.

Another key speech came from Peter Farrelly, co-writer and director of Green Book, in accepting his nod for best picture (musical/comedy). The film, which also won best supporting actor honors for Mahershala Ali (who the HFPA, unlike the Academy, did not honor for Moonlight) and best screenplay, was clearly very popular with the HFPA. But it has also been hit with constant shellfire from pundits who feel it's a bit lightweight and/or politically incorrect, and also from some members of the family of Dr. Don Shirley (the real person, who died in 2013, who is played in the film by Ali). Farrelly, reading from prepared notes, tried to crystallize the social significance of his pic for the naysayers: "We're living in divided times, maybe more so than ever. And that's who this movie's for — it's for everybody! If Don Shirley and Tony Vallelonga can find common ground, we all can. All we have to do is to talk and not judge people by their differences, but look for what we have in common — and we have a lot in common. We all want the same things — we want love, we want happiness, we want to be treated equally. And that's not such a bad thing!"

Green Book, winning for best musical/comedy, didn't beat A Star Is Born, which was competing in the best picture (drama) category. Rather, the best drama winner was Bohemian Rhapsody, another music-filled movie, but one that has been widely derided by critics. (Its star Rami Malek also beat out A Star Is Born's Bradley Cooper to win best dramatic actor honors.). HFPA members have been griping to me about A Star Is Born since the Emmys-weekend parties in September, which surprised me because they usually love films about and featuring music, movie stars and actor-directed films. I thought they had come around to it when they accorded it five noms (only Vice, with six, had more), but apparently that was as far as they were willing to go. A related oddity is that Bohemian Rhapsody won the top drama prize without its credited director, the scandal-plagued Bryan Singer, garnering a nomination — or a mention from the podium at all.

As was universally expected, Vice's Christian Bale was named best actor (musical/comedy), The Favourite's Olivia Colman was tapped as best actress (musical/comedy) and First Man's Justin Hurwitz won for best original score (just two years after taking home that award for La La Land, which makes him, Cuaron, Malek, Bale, Close, Colman and Gaga the only people who possess both the Golden Globe statuette that was discontinued last year and the one introduced at this year's ceremony). But far less assured, and evoking big responses in the room, were best supporting actress honors going to If Beale Street Could Talk's Regina King — a class act if ever there was one, who is coming off her third Emmy win in three years, but also a SAG Awards nomination snub — and best animated film honors going to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Roma, meanwhile, had a pretty great night for a film that wasn't even eligible for either of the best picture awards because it's not in English. Alfonso Cuaron was named best director — just like Julian Schnabel, the last helmer nominated for a non-English-language pic at the Globes, who won for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly in 2008 — and he also accepted the award for best foreign-language film, using both opportunities to talk up his pic and its Mexican stars, who were having the time of their lives when I caught up with them later in the night at the Netflix party.

They, like many of the others at the Golden Globes, now head to New York for Monday night's New York Film Critics Circle Awards and the National Board of Review Awards on Tuesday night before heading back west for the Los Angeles Film Critics Association's Awards on Saturday night and the Critics' Choice Awards on Sunday night. No rest for the weary!