I’m on record as very much NOT being a fan of the Golden Globes. The nomination process is a sham that borders on bribery, the entire ceremony is a glorified cocktail party so less than 100 journalists can rub elbows with celebrities and pretend they’re part of the creative process, and the whole affair is so focused on star power that artistic, technical, and documentary achievements are completely ignored. And yet, somehow, inexplicably, this has an effect on the Oscars, as Academy voters either too busy or lazy to watch the movies take this as an early cue when deciding their nominations and votes. As such, I have to acknowledge it and pay cursory attention.
The big takeaway from this year’s awards are that the HFPA really seemed pleased with the gift baskets they got, as on the film side, four of the “Netflix 6” were nominated a total of 17 times across 10 of the 14 categories. It seemed that the marketing team had pulled out all the stops. And yet, amazingly, when it’s all said and done, the Big Red N only has one win to show for it.
Here are the results on the film side of this year’s Golden Globe Awards, along with some brief commentary.
Best Motion Picture – Drama: 1917
This is a surprising one. I’ve seen 1917, and it’s visually a brilliant film (review coming soon), but from a plot and character standpoint, it’s a bit dry, and very low on the, well, drama. I don’t expect it’ll repeat the feat with the Academy, but this all but seals a Best Picture nod to go along with the absolute slew of technical nominations it’s sure to get.
Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Hollywood loves Tarantino, and this movie shows once again how much he loves Hollywood. It’s a natural meeting of the minds. I hope this does elevate the film’s profile with the Academy, as it was released early in Awards Season, and voters tend to have short memories, which is why most of the prestige fare gets stuffed into December for Los Angeles, and everyone else has to wait until at least next weekend. These kind of early wins can boost the box office take for a film, which is potentially why Netflix got all but shut out in the final results. They have no box office to report.
Best Actor – Drama: Joaquin Phoenix – Joker
This may turn out to be a controversial choice. I absolutely loved Phoenix’s performance, but in my ideal Best Actor field, he would just barely make the cut. I have four locks in my mind, and the last spot is between him and Robert de Niro. Given the backlash this film’s gotten from the more “woke” among us, the Academy may want to avoid courting controversy, so it could go either way. Phoenix, and Joker by extension, could pick up a bunch of nominations, or it could be snubbed entirely.
Best Actress – Drama: Renée Zellweger – Judy
She’s playing Judy Garland. Of course she was going to win in a ceremony decided by celebrity obsessives. Zellweger is by far the best thing about Judy, which is lackluster otherwise, and she’s almost certain to be nominated for an Oscar. Not sure if she’ll take home the gold again, though. It depends on the competition.
Best Actor – Musical or Comedy: Taron Egerton – Rocketman
I mean, if we gave Rami Malek all these awards for playing Freddie Mercury, we’re almost duty-bound to award Egerton for one-upping him as Elton John. I don’t think he’ll win the Oscar, but he damn sure better be nominated.
Best Actress – Musical or Comedy: Awkwafina – The Farewell
Congratulations, HFPA. You gave an award to a YouTube rapper who named herself after bottled water and misspelled it. You sure have your finger on the pulse of society!
Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
If there’s an acting category that I’m pretty certain is already locked up, it’s this one. Pitt has an Oscar as a producer on 12 Years a Slave, but he’s never gotten one for his acting. He hasn’t even been nominated on the acting side since Moneyball. The Academy does lean more into prestige with its nominations, so there will be some stiff competition from Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, but I’d bet just about anything at this point that they’re going to decide that Pitt is “due” for a win, and honestly I wouldn’t be upset with that. He was tremendous in this film.
Best Supporting Actress: Laura Dern – Marriage Story
The only win for the “Netflix 6” is here, with Laura Dern playing as far against type as she’s ever done. Also, since the HFPA gave a special award to Ellen DeGeneres tonight, it only makes sense for a bit of symmetry to give some love to the woman who was temporarily blacklisted from major productions after appearing in Ellen’s historic “coming out” episode some 20+ years ago. More importantly, Jennifer Lopez didn’t win.
Best Director: Sam Mendes – 1917
Another curious choice, given the field (“ALL MALE” shouts Natalie Portman from the back, no one listening or caring), but a bit more understandable, as the one-shot format of 1917 is a rare and bold artistic directorial choice. When it works, it’s magic.
Best Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
This seems like QT’s a lock for Original Screenplay come Oscar time. We’ll know for certain when the Writer’s Guild has their say. Still, though, will this man ever get his due as a director? He’s gotten a plethora of nominations over the course of his career, but all of his wins before tonight – with the Best Picture win – have been as a writer. Be it Oscar, Globe, BAFTA, whatever, the only Director win he’s ever gotten was an Independent Spirit Award for Pulp Fiction. Everything else is writing. He’s a brilliant writer, but give him his due as a visual artist, already!
Original Score: Hildur Guðnadóttir – Joker
This is what you’d call an upset. A classic cellist, Guðnadóttir is still an up and comer. This is only her second credit as the solo composer on a film score, with her previous work being on Sicario: Day of the Soldado, which she got after playing in the orchestra on the first Sicario film. Going against a field of heavyweights including Alexandre Desplat, Randy Newman, and Thomas Newman, this is a big win indeed!
Original Song: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” – Rocketman
The Original Song category at the Golden Globes is basically an excuse to book as many pop singers as possible to entertain the increasingly drunk audience. Case in point, “Beautiful Ghosts” from Cats, which is co-written by Taylor Swift, who only sings it over the credits (the film’s lead, Francesca Hayward, sings it in the movie proper), didn’t even make the Academy shortlist in this category. But HEY TAYLOR SWIFT, WOO! The only bit of noteworthiness here is that the winning duet between Elton John and Taron Egerton song is the only serious challenger to “Stand Up” from Harriet, which would make Cynthia Erivo the youngest ever EGOT winner if she were to take it home (or if she got Best Actress).
Animated Feature: Missing Link
This isn’t Laika’s strongest outing, but all of their films have been nominated for the Oscar, though none have won. So this may bode well for the studio finally getting over the hump. Frozen II and Toy Story 4 may split votes among the Disney loyalists, so it’s got a chance.
Foreign Language: Parasite
This film is so much better than just a win in the Foreign category. That said, for the love of God, Academy, nominate and award this film! The fact that no South Korean film has ever even been nominated is a sin against cinema, but this film should be competing for Best Picture, so you better at least give Bong Joon-ho his propers here.
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That’s all I’ve got. The Golden Globes are a sham, but people who have voting rights in the Academy pay attention, so I must as well. The big takeaway is Netflix getting all but shut out after dominating the nomination process. One can only assume a check bounced or that the gift baskets only contained wines and chocolates made this century.
What’s important is what happens next. The opening salvo has been fired, and now the real authorities will take the stage. Independent Spirit nominations are already out, and we’ll have the BAFTAs and all the labor guilds release their nominations later this week. Keep it locked here for ongoing coverage, as well as the final reviews and analyses of 2019!
Join the conversation in the comments below! Did you watch the Globes? Was Ricky Gervais funny? That’s really all that matters here, because the rest of it is an even bigger joke! Let me know!