2020 Golden Globes Post-Mortem: Go See ‘1917’?

Is the Hollywood Foreign Press Association getting soft on us?

The 90-member group of foreign journalists behind the Golden Globes are reliably the chaos agents of the awards season, picking nominees and winners that can throw pundits’ lists into disarray. Last year, their support of Bohemian Rhapsody famously torpedoed A Star is Born‘s Oscar chances, while Green Book sailed to a disappointing Best Picture win on the back of its two Globe wins (Best Picture – Musical/Comedy and Best Screenplay). This year, however, the HFPA were quite mild in their choices, confirming many of Gold Derby’s predictions and setting one of the most solidified awards seasons in recent memory. Here are some of the key takeaways from this year’s ceremony:

1917 is officially a Best Picture contender

Sam Mendes was surprised, and so was the rest of the world, when his World War I drama 1917 took home Globes for Best Director and Best Picture – Drama, upsetting favorite The Irishman and its legendary director Martin Scorsese. While the film has been raved about by critics, its late release has prevented it from building up serious momentum against top contenders such as Once Upon a Time…. In Hollywood (which took home Best Screenplay and Best Picture – Musical/Comedy honors) and Marriage Story. Sensing that issue, Mendes smartly pointed out during his acceptance speech that 1917 entered wide release this past weekend, which could push even more wind into its sails as Oscar nomination voting continues.

The Irishman and Marriage Story might be in trouble

The HFPA loves Martin Scorsese, but not enough to pick him over Sam Mendes. In fact, The Irishman went home empty-handed, a complete snubbing that raises some doubts about the film’s shot at a Best Picture Oscar. Is it possible that the film’s infamous three-hour runtime was a deterrent, or was it too contemplative for a voting body that tends to lean towards flashier fare (again, see Bohemian Rhapsody). Whatever the reason, the Globes should’ve been a lay-up for Scorsese but wasn’t. Also on the bubble is Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, which would’ve been fully shut out were it not for Laura Dern’s win for Best Supporting Actress. The film’s biggest loss was for Best Screenplay, which was one of the film’s biggest selling points. It’s worth noting that both of these are Netflix films, and the Academy has a very testy history with the streaming service. If the HFPA couldn’t get on board with them, the Oscars will be an even tougher sell.

This year’s acting races are pretty much sewn up: Joaquin, Reneé, Laura and Brad

Much has been made about this year’s acting races, especially Best Actor, being bloodbaths compared to previous years. However, this year’s frontrunners have been set in stone for months: Joaquin Phoenix’s transformative performance in Joker, Reneé Zellweger’s soulful take on Judy Garland in Judy, Laura Dern’s ferocious portrayal of a divorce lawyer in Marriage Story, and Brad Pitt’s cooler-than-cool stunt double in Once Upon on A Time… In Hollywood. The Globes rubber-stamped those instead of providing some color to the race. Had Jennifer Lopez taken Best Supporting Actress as she was widely expected to, there might’ve been at least one real race, but the visibility afforded to those four winners pretty much guarantees their triumph at the Oscars.

Taron Egerton has a real shot at a Best Actor nomination

Speaking of visibility, no one probably had a better night than Taron Egerton, who broke out big with a huge win for Best Actor – Musical/Comedy for his excellent portrayal of Elton John in Rocketman. There were doubts that Egerton would be a serious Oscar contender so closely after Rami Malek took home the same award for Bohemian Rhapsody, but Egerton has been pressing the flesh like no other performer this year, and the effort is clearly paying off. With a SAG nomination and a Globe win (paired with a humble, vote-securing acceptance speech) under his belt, Egerton could carve a spot for himself in this notoriously difficult category (apologies in advance to Eddie Murphy). You can also expect a boost for Awkwafina’s Best Actress chances after she won Best Actress – Musical/Comedy for her performance in The Farewell.

What to make of Parasite?

Parasite has been one of the biggest stories of this awards season, winning rave reviews and industry adoration at every turn: a Palme d’Or at Cannes, a slew of critics awards, and a surprise SAG nomination for Best Ensemble. Several pundits have suggested that Parasite could go as far as winning a Best Picture Oscar, making it the first foreign language film to do so. While the HFPA awarded it Best Foreign Language Film, they passed it over for Best Director and Best Screenplay (it was ineligible for the Best Picture categories). Wins in those categories would’ve gone a long way in solidifying it as a top Best Picture contender, and while it certainly isn’t game over for director Bong Joon-ho, the snubs do steepen the incline.

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