Projection: Oscar – Golden Globes “Preview,” or: How We All Need to Stop Worrying and Enjoy the Party

Spotlight (dir. Tom McCarthy, 2015)

Spotlight (dir. Tom McCarthy, 2015)

Let’s be honest: the Golden Globes are a farce.

Make no mistake – it’s the party of the year for the film and television industries. But as an awards body, it is a complete and utter farce.

By virtue of said “party of the year” – which is an annual highlight on NBC’s winter schedule, for years shepherded by Dick Clark into the institution it has become – and due to its comfy proximity to the Academy Awards, the Globes have been elevated to a kind of legitimacy and esteem that leads even some well-informed parties to espouse the enterprise as an indicator of industry logic in the midst of the Oscar season. But, in fact, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association – the organization in charge of the Globes – has a tangential relationship to the industry at best.

Whereas guilds like SAG, PGA, DGA, and the many other discipline-centric organizations (Cinematographers, Editors, Art Directors, etc.) have legitimate crossover with the Academy, the HFPA has none…zip, nada. But lots of groups have no Academy affiliation – critics don’t have AMPAS crossover and yet their opinions and accolades can still exert a certain degree of influence over the Oscar race simply by promoting choices that could nudge Academy voters into taking a first or second look at a particular film and performance. The HFPA, however, is a different beast; the organization’s only primary function is throwing the Golden Globes party every year. And not only does its membership not have any tangible affiliation with industry personnel, it’s actually difficult to nail down precisely what that membership is. We know the group is very insular, made up of somewhere between 85 and 90 members at any given point, and that they are ostensibly Southern California-based journalists reporting on the entertainment industry for foreign-based media outlets. Except the qualifications to maintain voting membership status is publishing a *minimum* of four (4) pieces per year. If the member fails to meet that lofty criterion, they are apparently downgraded to “affiliate” membership status and not given a Golden Globes vote. So just how small and ridiculously non-representative the actual voting body for the Globes is…that’s a fascinating conundrum. Whatever the case, this emperor has no clothes.

But my, what a party the empire throws. And everyone knows it…including, to its credit, the HFPA. Lest we get sucked down a rabbit hole of negativity, it must be noted that the HFPA is quite aware of its status as a veritable Hollywood schmoozing organization. They do it well and they do it proudly. Otherwise they wouldn’t move heaven and earth to maintain hosts like Ricky Gervais or Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who are in on the joke and are permitted to get down and dirty with a crowd that (primarily) laps it up.

The result is a can’t-miss event on the awards calendar. Globes night is exciting. Does it mean precisely anything in terms of gauging the ebb and flow of the Oscar race? Not a chance…don’t kid yourself. But it’s great fun. So pour a drink and enjoy the show.

In terms of predictions, it’s a little bit specious going down that path, since there is very little logic to apply with a voting body so insular, with a nominee slate padded by the Globes’ infamous Comedy and Drama film categories so as to honor as many films as possible…or, ya know, to avoid making actual choices, if you want to get cynical about it. Plus, the HFPA’s voting predilections tend to follow whatever the current running trend is, so I’d imagine Spotlight will win Best Picture – Drama, while The Big Short will take Comedy. The fact that The Martian was nominated as a comedy would seemingly be an easy way to boost its Oscar campaign by awarding it Best Picture prize in the Comedy category…except there was apparently a fissure within the HFPA when it came to categorizing that one. Not everyone was on board with labeling Ridley Scott’s film a “comedy” (since, well, it’s not a comedy), so that may well derail its chance of winning. I’d imagine Brie Larson and Leonardo DiCaprio will win the lead acting prizes in the Drama field, though Saoirse Ronan is legit competition for Larson. Matt Damon is a cinch to win Best Actor in a Comedy, regardless of any internal controversy over The Martian’s status. I’d say Jennifer Lawrence would be a shoo-in for Joy, too, though I could also see the HFPA riding the Amy Schumer train(wreck). Best Director? Eh, maybe George Miller, maybe Tom McCarthy. Supporting categories…Vikander and Stallone? Feels about right.

Hard to be an expert at Golden Globes prognosticating. The oddity of the Globes makes that impossible. So I’m not gonna sweat it.

I will just drink it up with the rest of ‘em.


About Author

I married into the cult of cinema at a very young age - I wasn't of legal marriage age, but I didn't care. It has taken advantage of me and abused me many times. Yet I stay in this marriage because I'm obsessed and consumed. Don't try to save me -- I'm too far gone.