Well, those were choices.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) officially kicked off the awards season with the Golden Globes, its annual excuse to get A-list celebrities wasted and hand them shiny statues. It’s also the first real indicator for who will emerge victorious at the Oscars. Even though there is virtually no crossover between the HFPA and Academy voting bodies, the optics of a televised win or loss matter a lot. A high-profile shut out could shutter a film’s momentum, and key wins could reshuffle prognostications and campaign strategies. After this year’s Globes ceremony, where Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody reigned supreme while A Star is Born effectively flopped, the Oscar race, already a wide-open slugfest the likes of which haven’t been seen in ages, is even more chaotic than ever.
Here are some key takeaways from arguably the most bizarre Golden Globes ever:
A Star is Born is in serious trouble
Heading into the season, it seemed like A Star is Born had many of its eligible categories sewn up. Not according to the HFPA: Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut was shut out of every major category, with a stunning loss to Bohemian Rhapsody for Best Drama. Gaga’s frontrunner status for Best Actress is null and void after Glenn Close and Olivia Colman pulled off Globe wins; the same goes for Cooper and Best Actor, with Rami Malek practically strutting his way to an Oscar after claiming the Globe.
So what happened? There were rumors that the HFPA did not care for A Star is Born, and they were proven right. It’s possible that the HFPA’s European constituency didn’t connect with the film’s American sensibilities (that would align with its muted reception at the Venice Film Festival), even with Gaga and Cooper’s star power. Whatever the reason, the Globes snubs throw A Star is Born‘s frontrunner status into disarray. While Bohemian Rhapsody still feels like an Oscar nonstarter (more on that below), there is now room for Green Book, Roma or The Favourite to take Born’s place. Cooper and Gaga are a likeable team, so if Warner Brothers wants to recover from this quadruple whammy, they will need their stars to go on a massive charm offensive to make up ground before the end of February.
HFPA stanning aside, Bohemian Rhapsody is not a Best Picture frontrunner
It’s has been widely reported that the HFPA went gaga (sorry) for Bohemian Rhapsody, and they proved it by awarding it the biggest prize in the night’s most shocking upset. While Rami Malek has been universally praised, the film itself has not been by critics (I myself found the film lacking in substance). Even if the Academy were to be swayed by Rhapsody‘s impressive box office haul and Malek’s transformative performance, the film’s lukewarm reception won’t help it across the finish line. There are other films objectively better than this one in the running, and they will benefit most from Rhapsody’s over-performance at the Globes. If anything, the Freddie Mercury biopic’s place on the Best Picture shortlist is much likelier than it was yesterday.
Green Book, Roma will lead the pack now
Now that A Star is Born’s campaign is in crisis, that leaves room open for a Best Picture frontrunner. Putting aside Rhapsody, Green Book was the night’s biggest success, scoring wins in Best Comedy, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali. The film’s Oscar prospects haven’t been great after poor box office, criticism of its racial politics, Viggo Mortensen’s use of the N-word, and challenges to its validity from its subject’s family. The HFPA’s support of the film has put the wind back in its sails, assuming it can avoid any more scandal. Roma wasn’t eligible for Best Drama due to HFPA rules, but it scored a huge Best Director win for Alfonso Cuaron, and an easy one for Best Foreign Language Film. The only thing holding Cuaron’s film back is the Academy’s intense bias against Netflix. Either way, these two films are the ones to watch at the moment.
The Best Supporting Actress race is still a mess
This category was a foregone conclusion for Regina King and her performance in If Beale Street Could Talk until the Screen Actors Guild snubbed her in favor of Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place (which is category fraud) and Margot Robbie in Mary, Queen of Scots. This put Amy Adams’ turn as Lynn Cheney in Vice up top, with an expected Golden Globe win minting her status. That was not to be, with Amy being shut out completely in every category she was nominated (she scored two nods for Sharp Objects). Amy ended up losing the Supporting Actress Globe to Regina, which puts the race in a very odd spot. Without a SAG nomination, how far can Regina go, and without the visibility of a Globe win, how can Amy? With The Favourite contenders Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz still very much in play, this contest is still anyone’s game, and it will likely be down to Oscar night.
Lady Gaga will take home an Oscar, just not the big one
It was always a long shot, but for a moment it seemed like Lady Gaga might actually take home the Best Actress Oscar for A Star is Born. Sadly, the HFPA saw an end to that, by way of Close and Colman. However, Little Monsters shouldn’t fret; A Star is Born’s only Globe was for Best Original Song to the indisputable frontrunner “Shallow”. No other song has the momentum, recognition or popularity of the film’s centerpiece track, and the Globes assured that Gaga will be accepting an Oscar in February. It just won’t be for Best Actress.