I am not a fan of the Golden Globes, apart from Ricky Gervais’ biting jokes and monologues. Thankfully, he’s hosting again next year, so at least I’ll have a reason to fast forward through my roommate’s DVR record.
But apart from that, the Globes, and the organization that runs it – The Hollywood Foreign Press Association – has always left a sour taste in my mouth. That’s because a group of approximately 90 people (more than 80 of which are publicly known, thanks to a Vulture article from 2015) basically gets the first major say in what constitutes the best films (and TV) of the year. The process is notoriously corrupt, as members practically brag about giving out nominations in exchange for favors, money, or celebrity access. It should be enough to cancel the entire ceremony and revoke the press credentials of all involved, but sadly, we’re just not there yet.
The Globes are basically treated like a party for foreign-born (yet Los Angeles-based) entertainment writers, much like the White House Correspondents’ Dinner is for political journalists. It’s their chance to rub elbows with the stars and insert themselves into the creative process. The ceremony itself is less a prestigious awards show and more a fancy cocktail and dinner party, where all involved are three sheets to the wind by the end.
I’ve experienced a small bit of this firsthand. Earlier this year I went to the Egyptian Theatre here in L.A., where the HFPA was holding a public screening of Germany’s submission, Never Look Away, for its voters. They did this with all the Foreign Language nominees. There was a section in the back roped off for members, but only about 30 seats, so literally only a third of their membership was expected to see the content for which they were voting on any given night. The film was introduced by a member of the HFPA who was good friends with the director, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, and there was a Q&A afterwards. I didn’t stay for that (the movie was over three hours long and I really needed to pee), but I did literally rub elbows with him on my way out, as we bumped into one another in the aisle. I congratulated him on the film in passing, and he thanked me, but he clearly had an exhausted look on his face when he did so. I’m guessing he was tired of press junkets and kissing HFPA ass for the nomination itself and in futility for votes, as nothing was going to beat Roma in the category.
The whole thing is just so shady to me. Nominations come out often before the films do, which only helps the studios’ marketing departments. We get duped into thinking something is quality when it could very well be shit, just because at least 45 people got a fancy gift bag. And somehow, this still carries an immense amount of weight and influence on the eventual Oscar nominees, as the Globes ceremony happens a week before the Academy announces their field. Academy voters who are unable (or unwilling) to scour through all their screeners basically take the Globes as a cue for how to vote, and the process self-perpetuates.
But still, since that sway still exists, I am obliged to give it some attention, namely the nominees and the eventual winners. The nominations were announced this morning by Tim Allen, Dakota Fanning, and Susan Kelechi Watson. The ceremony will be held in four weeks, on January 5. For our purposes here, I will only concern myself with the film categories.
You can see the complete list of nominees at the official Globes/HFPA website here. As always, I’ll offer my immediate reactions at the bottom of the list, as well as any links or availability information I can offer.
Your nominees for the 77th Golden Globe Awards are:
Best Actress – Drama
Cynthia Erivo – Harriet – In Theatres
Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan – Little Women – In Theatres 12/25
Charlize Theron – Bombshell – In Theatres 12/13
Renée Zellweger – Judy – In Limited Release Now, On DVD 12/24
Best Actor – Drama
Christian Bale – Ford v Ferrari – In Theatres
Antonio Banderas – Pain and Glory – In Limited Release, On DVD 1/13
Adam Driver – Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix – Joker
Jonathan Pryce – The Two Popes
Best Actress – Musical/Comedy
Ana de Armas – Knives Out
Awkwafina – The Farewell – On DVD
Cate Blanchett – Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – On DVD
Beanie Feldstein – Booksmart – On DVD
Emma Thompson – Late Night – On DVD
Best Actor – Musical/Comedy
Daniel Craig – Knives Out
Roman Griffin Davis – Jojo Rabbit
Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
Taron Egerton – Rocketman
Eddie Murphy – Dolemite is My Name
Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
The Farewell (USA)
Les Misérables (France) – In Limited Release 1/10
Pain and Glory (Spain)
Parasite (South Korea) – In Theatres
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France) – In Limited Release
Best Supporting Actress
Kathy Bates – Richard Jewell – In Theatres 12/13
Annette Bening – The Report – On Amazon Prime
Laura Dern – Marriage Story
Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers – On DVD Tomorrow
Margot Robbie – Bombshell
Best Supporting Actor
Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – In Theatres
Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes
Al Pacino – The Irishman
Joe Pesci – The Irishman
Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
Bong Joon-ho – Parasite
Sam Mendes – 1917
Todd Phillips – Joker
Martin Scorsese – The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story
Bong Joon-ho & Han Jin-won – Parasite
Anthony McCarten – The Two Popes
Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
Steven Zaillian – The Irishman
Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat – Little Women
Hildur Guönadóttir – Joker
Randy Newman – Marriage Story
Thomas Newman – 1917
Daniel Pemberton – Motherless Brooklyn – In Theatres
Best Original Song
“Beautiful Ghosts” – Cats – In Theatres 12/20
“I’m Gonna Love Me Again” – Rocketman
“Into the Unknown” – Frozen II
“Spirit” – The Lion King
“Stand Up” – Harriet
* * *
Here are my initial thoughts in general. First off, damn, Netlfix, how aggressive did you campaign? Of the “Netflix Six” that I began analyzing last night, only two were left out of the proceedings – The King and The Laundromat. I’m guessing The King will still be up for design categories, but I’m not surprised The Laundromat was left out. Still, though, between the other four films, a total of 13 nominations across 10 of the 14 categories (including Animated Feature and Foreign Language, for which these films aren’t eligible, so really Netflix was only shut out of two categories). This, sadly, is why the nomination process for the HFPA is so derided. You don’t even have to have a press event for these movies, just send the members a link and the customary bribe and you’re in.
The vast majority of the nominated films came out in the last six weeks or are yet to debut. The only movies with multiple nominations from earlier than the fall are Rocketman, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, and The Lion King. You might as well put up a giant billboard outside the studios saying, “Don’t release anything before November. We won’t pay attention.”
I’m very surprised Uncut Gems was completely shut out, given its overwhelming endorsement in the Independent Spirit nominations. Same goes for The Lighthouse.
I sincerely hope Natalie Portman doesn’t present any categories, because if having “all-male” nominees for Best Director pissed her off last time, she is definitely not going to like this set, as apart from the actress categories, Original Song and Original Score are the only ones with any female nominees. Along those same lines, it strikes me how seemingly difficult it was to get good roles for women in prestige films (especially if you have to settle for Jennifer Lopez and Misspelled Bottled Water), as only two films up for either Best Picture (Marriage Story and Knives Out) have nominated actresses, as opposed to three of the Dramas and all the Comedy nominees on the men’s side. We can also start the #GlobesSoWhite campaign now, as there are no domestic minorities nominated anywhere outside the acting categories and Original Song.
Now for some category-specific notes:
Animated Feature – HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! The stupid Lion King remake got nominated. I may not like the Globes, but I’ll give credit to any outfit that calls bullshit on their “live action” lie. Disney didn’t even submit this film for the Animated Feature Oscar because they were trying to keep up the pretense. On the flip side, given that this is the Hollywood FOREIGN Press Association, I’m deeply disappointed that all the nominees are major studio releases from the US.
Foreign Language – The Farewell is not eligible for International Feature Film at the Oscars, as it was produced domestically. Similarly, for the Academy Awards, only one film per country can be submitted, while the Globes can have multiple (when I saw Never Look Away last year, the HFPA tried to posture that they were better and more inclusive than the Academy for this rule), which is why Portrait of a Lady On Fire will be very low priority for me to see. Les Misérables is France’s official submission, and if it makes the Oscar shortlist, I’ll make every effort to see it when HFPA does their screenings in a couple weeks.
Supporting Actress – You assholes are really gonna make me watch Hustlers, aren’t you? God dammit. Thankfully, I now have one positive review from a friend, who saw it on a plane last week. He called it “an entertaining movie,” but he made a clear qualitative distinction between movie and film. This is not art. He made that very clear. He also assured me I’d enjoy it, and I trust him, so if she gets an Oscar nod, I’ll bite the bullet and give it a fair shake. For now though, I’ll still hold out hope and ignore it.
Original Song – This category is largely a throwaway for the Globes, mostly so they can book performers. That’s why we have “Beautiful Ghosts,” (which was likely submitted separately from the film, because Tom Hooper made it clear he wouldn’t make the December 4 deadline to screen the film for the HFPA) so we can get Taylor Swift. Similarly, the song from The Lion King is just to get Beyoncé on the stage. The other three I think are legitimate contenders (though as I mentioned in my review, “Into the Unknown” is no “Let it Go”), but even then, it’s about getting Elton John, Idina Menzel, and Cynthia Erivo to sing for a room full of drunks. I’ll be shocked if this is the final list from the Academy, or even if they all make the shortlist.
* * *
That’s all I’ve got for now. Keep it locked for the latest Awards Season news, including guild nominations and the Oscar shortlists. We’re just a week away from the latter!
Join the conversation in the comments below! Who are your Globe favorites? Should 90 people in a city of 9 million dictate film quality? Seriously, how much did Netflix spend on this marketing rush? Let me know!