Rosamund Pike, Jodie Foster, and Andra Day pulled off some sweet upsets among the three actress categories tonight at the Golden Globes, but in terms of predictable winners the rest of it went as you might have expected based on pundits’ forecasts. But what it means for Oscars is anybody’s guess at this point. This is not a normal year, so we can expect anything to unfold in the next couple of months.
If the controversy-laced virtual 2021 edition of the Globes did anything to clarify the awards-season race, it was to give a real boost to the continuing momentum for Nomadland after early wins on the critics circuit. But in this very weird year I am not comfortable calling it the only frontrunner quite yet. With two Globes including one widely expected for Chloé Zhao as only the second woman after Barbra Streisand 36 years ago to win Best Director, Searchlight is able to keep up the heat and herald that Globe win for Best Picture in its ads. That said, this may not exactly be the year you want much association with this award, given the widespread shellacking the HFPA has taken all week — and on the show itself — with startling revelations about its practices and absence of even one Black member.
I had actually thought Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 might be the more likely Best Picture Drama winner, a movie with a strong relevance and message for the dangerous times in which this country is currently embroiled. Sorkin did win early in the evening over Zhao for Screenplay, and his speech was one of the best of the night, impassioned and important. That could go a long way if you believe a main thing the Globes is good for is being a swell audition for the Oscars.
These awards were spread out, but in strange form for the Hollywood Foreign Press, not particularly spread out among its top nominees. This is a group that generally likes to give a little something to everyone if they can, but not this time. Mank, which led the nominations going in with six, as well as Focus Features’ Promising Young Woman and Sony Pictures Classics’ The Father each with four, were completely shut out. However, I don’t think any of them have to worry about a poor showing come Oscar nominations (balloting starts Friday). But Borat had a very good night, winning not only a second Globe as Best Actor Musical/Comedy for Sacha Baron Cohen in the same role he won for in 200 , but also the Globe’s other Best Picture designation for Comedy/Musical, tying it with Soul, winner of Best Animated Film and Music Score, and Nomadland as the only other multiple winners on the film side.
Chadwick Boseman took a posthumous Globe as expected for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Daniel Kaluuya took Best Supporting Actor for Judas and the Black Messiah, two awards, after revelations of their lack of a single Black member the HFPA, are clearly hoping will win them back some goodwill along with Day’s lead actress Drama and John Boyega’s win on the TV side for Small Axe.
And then there were those surprises among the ladies. Pike could not be more deserving to win for Best Actress – Comedy/Musical for Netflix’s I Care a Lot. It was a category thought to belong to Borat’s Maria Bakalova, but she should have been in Supporting and that may have hurt her. Jodie Foster seemed shocked by her Supporting Actress win for The Mauritanian, yet it was her best role in years and the first time she has ever played a living person in her 55-year career. Day, winning Best Actress – Drama in her first acting role ever in The United States Vs. Billie Holiday, triumphed playing the same iconic singer that also won Diana Ross a Golden Globe in the same category for Lady Sings the Blues 48 years ago.
So with voting coming late in the upcoming week for Oscars, can these three upset wins suddenly thrust these newly minted Globe winners into the Oscar race? Actually it can certainly get Oscar voters to take a look at them as they get ready to cast their ballots, and could shake up some races. Pike is also helped by another film she is in this season, Radioactive, in which she plays Marie Curie so brilliantly, so who knows?
Last year, four Globe winners for acting also took Oscars, so the correlation can be good, but like we said this is a very strange year, one in which voters are watching all the contenders on their TV sets or laptops. The way you see a film can make a difference. I am not sure the winners tonight will necessarily be the same ones you see on April 25 when the Academy Awards take place. Interestingly in terms of release dates, the victories for Day, Pike, Kaluuya and Nomadland all came for movies that just opened within the past two weeks. Will Oscar voters catch up with them?
And by the time Oscars roll around will we then be sick and tired of Covid-forced virtual awards shows? I already am. This Globes affair was a huge step down in quality from the really fun Emmy show. The Globes, if they are anything, are known as the really fun show of any awards season. It exists so we can watch as many stars from TV and movies crammed into the Beverly Hilton ballroom hopefully getting drunk together.
Now there were some good moments, primarily in the speeches — especially those from honorary award winners Norman Lear and Jane Fonda. Sacha Baron Cohen added just the right touch of satire and wry truth in both of his speeches, and Boseman’s widow was quietly moving in hers. Other than that, hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did what they could considering the circumstances, and it was a good idea to have all the presenters in person, but the attempted patter between nominees in various categories did not work at all. The pre-recorded acceptance speeches from the music winners was a terrible idea, too. They looked canned — and they were. Hopefully the Oscar producers were not taking too many notes from this Globes show.