After two years of (purported) reflection and reformation, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) returned with the Golden Globes, the first televised ceremony of the awards season. (It’s also infamous for being a boozy, raucous, messy affair.) While the HFPA has no crossover with the Academy, the Globes’ star-studded reputation and plum primetime spot have significant value on the Oscar campaign trail. Hollywood (begrudgingly) watches the Globes, and winners giving impassioned speeches could raise their profiles and encourage voters to see their films if they haven’t. Most importantly, winning publicly looks great, and the Oscars are about perception and industry trends alongside film quality.
And so, the Globes hope to provide clarity to a season upended by spring releases eclipsing fall contenders and continued hand-wringing over the Oscars’ relevance with mainstream tastes. What are some key takeaways from this year’s ceremony?
‘Banshees’ and ‘EEAAO’ are the Best Picture Frontrunners…
The Banshees of Inishiren and Everything Everywhere All at Once went into the Globes with the most film nominations of the night, and each left the ceremony with hardware. Banshees picked up wins for Best Screenplay, Best Actor – Comedy/Musical, and Best Picture – Comedy/Musical, while EEAAO swept claimed Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor. By math, this would indicate that those films are the frontrunners. There’s a case for Banshees being the odds-on favorite, but EEAAO has loads of industry support and, importantly, box office performance and public knowledge. (These things matter less to the HFPA.) The upcoming SAG and Critics Choice Awards will indicate where the wind is blowing, but right now, it’s a race between the Irish countryside and the multiverse.
…But Don’t Count ‘The Fabelmans’ Out
There has been a trend in the last few years of buzzy fall festival frontrunners collapsing by the time televised awards season arrives. Last year, it was Belfast. This year, Steven Spielberg’s touching semi-autobiographical film The Fabelmans seemed to be headed down the same path. Even though it wowed at TIFF, critics groups have boosted other contenders like EEAAO, Banshees, and Aftersun. The BAFTAs longlist also passed it over in key categories. Audiences haven’t gravitated to it, becoming Spielberg’s worst-performing film at the box office.
The Globes came in at the right time to right The Fabelmans‘ ship. When it could’ve handed its Best Motion Picture Drama and Best Director awards to a buzzier title like Elvis or even Top Gun: Maverick, the HFPA chose Spielberg. Even he seemed shocked by the wins, practically tripping over himself in his speech about the courage it took to tell his story. Despite his recent struggles (West Side Story flopped in the thick of last year’s awards season), there is a lot of love for one of the best directors of all time. It isn’t too late for him to convert that into his first Best Picture win since 1994 (for Schindler’s List) and his first Director win since 1999 (for Saving Private Ryan).
Oscars Glory for Ke Huy Quan and Angela Bassett?
The Supporting Acting categories have been the easiest and hardest to predict this awards season. EEAO’s Ke Huy Quan went from being a pipe dream in the spring to the Supporting Actor frontrunner this fall after sweeping through the critics’ awards. Meanwhile, Supporting Actress has been a mess of epic proportions, with several powerful performances and no one able to lock down a shortlist, let alone a consensus frontrunner. (The Fabelmans’ Michelle Williams officially campaigning for Best Actress sent Film Twitter into a tailspin.) From the Women Talking ladies to the EEAAO ladies to Triangle of Sadness’ Dolly de Leon, the category was a massive toss-up.
The Globes perhaps settled the commotion. Quan won the night’s first award and delivered one of the best speeches, emotionally describing his struggles in Hollywood and his gratitude for the opportunity that EEAAO gave him. It was nearly impossible not to tear up alongside this long-overlooked actor, and I imagine Oscars voters watching felt the same way. Speaking of long-overlooked, Angela Bassett stepped into the Supporting Actress frontrunner position with her win for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, beating odds-on favorite Jamie Lee Curtis.
Bassett’s win is especially notable. It is her first Golden Globe win in nearly thirty years. (She won Best Actress for What’s Love Got to Do With It in 1994; she lost the Oscar to The Piano’s Holly Hunter.) She is also the first actress to be nominated and win any major award for a Marvel film. Bassett touched on all this in her speech after Quan’s, confirming that she has the strongest narrative amongst her competition. The Academy loves an “overdue” Oscar, and Quan and Bassett, in their own ways, would be the easiest to hand out, with their transformative performances and immense industry goodwill.
Is Austin Butler Swiveling His Hips to an Oscar?
The Best Actor Globes were split between two of the three expected leaders in the race: Colin Farrell for Banshees and Austin Butler for Elvis. (The Whale’s Brendan Fraser boycotted the ceremony after accusing former HFPA president Phillip Berk of sexual assault.) Farrell is the critics’ favorite, sweeping through the association wins. Butler, on the other hand, seems to be corralling industry and public support. Academy voter screenings for Elvis have been packed for months, and the film is a box-office hit. Butler has been pressing the campaign flesh, hosting Saturday Night Live and showcasing how hard it’s been for him to shake the Elvis accent.
Reviews have been split on Elvis (mine included). However, everyone agrees Butler delivers an extraordinary, star-making performance. The public loves and supports Fraser just as much, considering The Whale’s excellent box-office performance and his own successful awards campaign. However, Butler’s televised win puts him in a stronger position to edge out of the three-man race and become the clear frontrunner.