- The Golden Globes were full of surprise wins on Sunday night.
- They included “Bohemian Rhapsody” beating out “A Star Is Born” for best picture and Glenn Close beating Lady Gaga for best actress.
- In a year when the Oscar race is relatively wide open, Golden Globe wins are more important than ever.
You may have been scratching your head while watching the Golden Globes on Sunday night, perhaps wondering why a hyped movie like “A Star Is Born” didn’t win any of the evening’s major awards but Glenn Close took home one for a movie you probably had to visit IMDb to confirm actually existed.
But the surprise wins are just the latest sign that there will be few certainties on Oscar night on February 24. And that’s great news for ABC, which airs the biggest night in Hollywood, and for those of us who watch the marathon ceremony. It will be a welcome change.
Recent Oscar nights have played out (for the most part) as the Oscar pundits said they would, and we’ve needed a colossal fail, like the best picture envelope mix-up, to bring any juice to the telecast.
But why is this year so different from others?
Simply put, this Oscar season has no runaway hit movie, so it looks as if it will be a pack of titles sprinting to the finish (especially in the best picture category) – and spending a lot of money campaigning along the way.
Since September, when the Venice, Telluride, and Toronto film festivals set the foundation for the movies that would be in the conversation this awards season – such as Netflix’s “Roma,” Warner Bros.’ “A Star Is Born,” Universal’s “Green Book,” Fox Searchlight’s “The Favourite,” and Annapurna’s “If Beale Street Could Talk” – the contenders have only increased in number with Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Annapurna’s “Vice.”
And unlike most years, there was also a crop of pre-September movies that have had legitimate Oscar campaigns. That is rare. These include Disney’s “Black Panther” (opened in February), Paramount’s “A Quite Place” (April), and Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” (August). All of these could be nominated in multiple major categories, including best picture.
With this mix of titles, it has been a bloated race to handicap this year (and shows why 2018 was such a successful year for movies). But until the Golden Globes, most of the “experts” had been confident that “A Star Is Born” was still the frontrunner when it came to best picture.
But then the Golden Globes happened Sunday night.
Historically, the industry has thought of the Globes as a fun night – but not the best indicator of what will happen at the Oscars. There are about 90 members who make up the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which votes on the Golden Globe winners, and none of them are Oscar voters. But in a year when it seems all conventional wisdom on Oscar season has gone out the window (I mean, Netflix has a legitimate chance for the first time to win multiple Oscars in major categories with “Roma”), what happened at the Globes on Sunday night could have big ramifications.
Surprise wins for “Green Book” in the categories of best musical or comedy as well as best screenplay (Mahershala Ali winning for best supporting actor was pretty likely) gave the movie an extra push as we enter the home stretch for Oscar season. And “Bohemian Rhapsody” getting the win for best drama over favorites like “A Star Is Born” and “Black Panther” took it from a title on the bubble to a real contender for a best picture nomination.
And what made Sunday’s wins all the more important was that Oscar voting for nominations opened Monday (voting closes on January 14, with nominations announced on January 22). It’s hard to imagine that what happened at the Globes won’t affect the way some Academy members vote.
But if you still believe that this year is like any other, and that the Globes don’t mean squat, let’s look at the Producers Guild Awards. The PGA, like many of the guild nominations (Screen Actors Guild, Directors Guild, and Writers Guild), holds a lot more weight in the eyes of award-season pundits because those members are also mostly Academy voters.
If you look at the 10 movies nominated for its top prize, “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Green Book” are among them. With Golden Globe wins and PGA nominations, these two titles look certain to receive best picture Oscar nominations.
With the best picture category most likely going with the full 10 nominees this year, we are looking at the first year in a while when you can make a case that more than two films have a real shot.
- Sony Pictures Classics
And that goes for the lead actor and actress categories as well.
After Glenn Close’s surprise win for her performance in “The Wife” at the Globes on Sunday, there’s now a three-way race for best actress. The other favorites are Lady Gaga for “A Star Is Born” and Olivia Colman for “The Favourite” (who won a Globe for best actress in a musical or comedy). And over on the best actor side, Bradley Cooper for “A Star Is Born” and Christian Bale for “Vice” (who won best actor in a musical or comedy at the Globes) now have competition from Rami Malek thanks to his win Sunday in the category of best actor in a drama for playing Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Perhaps it will be a good thing if there isn’t an Oscar host this year, because it will bring more focus to the exciting races that some of the big categories of the evening will have. For once!