Monday, January 6, 2020

What the Golden Globes mean for the Oscars

I don't watch the Golden Globes because the organization that hosts it is a complete joke and their picks are rarely adventurous and often ludicrous. However, it's become a staple of the movie awards season and all the big stars turn out for it.

It is, officially, an "event."

Receiving a GG is now considered second only to the Oscars in terms of a career boost, with probably a Screen Actors Guild award coming in third. So although the awards themselves are imho just this side of a joke, they undoubtedly have an influence on the Oscar race.

The Globes can solidify a film or performance that is already seen as a frontrunner. More notably, it can also shore up someone who's on the bubble and put them over the line of getting an Academy Award nomination.

Here's how I see the impact of this year's Globes:
  • A lot of people were surprised by "1917" winning best drama and Sam Mendes taking director, but I said right after I saw it that it would be a leading Best Picture contender. It has all the ingredients of a classic Oscar pedigree: period picture, wonderful production values, antiwar, previous winners on the creative team or cast, etc.
  • Renee Zellweger is now the frontrunner for Best Actress. It's a very competitive category with lots of terrific performances. But nostalgia for a Hollywood icon wins the day.
  • Ditto for Brad Pitt for best supporting actor. I disagree strongly with this win because I don't see his performance as much of a stretch for him. He's just playing himself: coolest mother-effer in the room.
  • I feel the same for Jennifer Lopez, who has been lobbying hard for awards. Laura Dern's wins looks like a career capper for her. A real pro who's been around a long time doing good work.
  • Joaquin Phoenix seems to have a solid lead in the Best Actor race. I don't see Taron Egerton, who won the award in the comedy/musical category, as a serious threat. (I would've rather seen that award go to Eddie Murphy.) Adam Driver is the main competition, though I think Christian Bale is the best of the lot.
  • Speaking of "Marriage Story," its failure to win a single award doesn't bode well. It even lost the original screenplay award to "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood," which must be cringe-worthy to every screenwriter who can actually string scenes together. Its win in the best musical or comedy (a real stretch of the definition) means "Hollywood" is also among the frontrunners now for best pic.
  • REALLY surprised by the best animated film win for "Missing Link." I've been a big Laika fan but this was the weakest film they've produced. If this finally wins the Oscar for them after "Kubo and the Two Strings" failed to, it'll be like Martin Scorsese getting the Oscar for "The Color of Money."
  • I liked "The Farewell" even though it's not terribly ambitious. Awkwafina winning best actress in the comedy/musical race probably ensures her a spot on the Oscar nominees list. My girl Emma Thompson, who I think gave the best performance in any category this year, male or female, will probably be shut out.
  • There's been a lot of talk about "Parasite" becoming the first foreign language film to win the Best Picture Oscar, so I find it richly ironic that it couldn't even accomplish that in an awards given out by foreign journalists. (It wasn't even nominated, so maybe their rules are different.) Personally I think it's a fine film but nowhere near the best of the year, even among the foreign movies. Its win in the foreign language race would seem to seal its chances at the Oscars, though.
  • "The Irishman" is not going to be the awards juggernaut people thought a few months ago. Ditto for "Marriage Story." Netflix had a really good year this year -- "Dolemite Is My Name" is also quite swell-- but as the industry disruptor they're experiencing pushback from traditional Hollywood powers. Giving "Irishman" a BS theatrical run -- handful of big cities for a month, medium cities for a week -- ruffled feathers. Also, more people are recognizing it as an overlong rehash of Marty's 50 years of gangster flicks.
  • I did happen to flip on the TV just in time to see Tom Hank's speech, which was touching and nice. He's officially Hollywood's elder statesman now, protector of its mythology.
  • I read negative stuff about Ricky Gervais' scorched-earth monologue. Personally I'm all in favor of forcing showbiz types to be confronted with a mirror of their own arrogance. Now do D.C. 

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