By Ryan C. Showers
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association will unveil the 76th Golden Globe nominations tomorrow morning bright and early at 5am PT/8am EST. The state of the awards race is about to be adjusted with clarity.
I encourage everyone to enter NextBestPicture’s Golden Globe prediction contest here.
The biggest mistakes I see people make when predicting the Golden Globes is mischaracterizing the HFPA’s taste and predicting the nominations as though they are the Oscars. You need to understand how they have habitually voted for years, different from the Oscars, to be accurate. For instance, the HPFA is dazzled by big-name Hollywood movie stars. They love central, emotional, and loud performances and clear awards bait, such as actors portraying non-fictional characters. Their choices often reflect the cultural moment; they have their fingers on the pulse of what’s new and fresh. The HFPA also loves flashy execution of stories. The more glitter and intensity, the better. They tend to like dramedies with strong tones that are focused on the actors. Satirical plots critical of America and films with high production values typically go over well, too. Beware of smaller films, subtle performances, and projects seen as dated with no modern relevance.
“A Star Is Born” and “The Favourite” are exactly the types of films the HFPA will eat up. These are the two films that will lead the nomination count tomorrow, I’m sure of it. In fact, I’d go as far as to say “A Star Is Born” is unstoppable with this group of voters. The film is a love story starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, features original songs, and was directed by Cooper himself. It’s a tailor-made Golden Globes movie, and they will embrace it. I’m willing to wager it will win Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Song, with the possibility of winning Screenplay and Supporting Actor. Yes, it’s that viable. Since “A Star Is Born” will be competing on the drama side of the film categories, the film likely to light up the comedy/musical categories is “The Favourite.” Recently, the HFPA has been embracing biting dramedies with an irreverent sense of humor that are overflowing with big stars. “The Favourite” is the natural next step after “American Hustle,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” It fits. Expect Picture, Director, Actress, two slots in Supporting Actress, and Screenplay nominations for Fox Searchlight’s golden child this year.
The Comedy/Musical categories are jammed packed with aggressively competitive projects, all of which the HFPA will sink their teeth into. They will gravitate toward films such as “Vice,” which is probably one of the last films screened for them, “Green Book,” which is low hanging fruit that has an overt execution, and “Mary Poppins Returns,” which perfectly fits their love for period musicals. Each of these films will likely garner two acting nominations. If they get more than two acting nominations, then we should consider them a force when it comes to the predicting winners in January. “Vice” and “Green Book” are going to be in a fierce battle for a Best Screenplay nomination. I don’t believe both films can get in given the competition. “Vice” also has a shot in Best Director for Adam McKay, so the safe way to go is, predict “Green Book” for screenplay and “Vice” for director, but sometimes it’s not that simple. “Mary Poppins Returns” will likely be rewarded for its acting, music, and songs, making its nomination count about five. “Vice” will get anywhere from four to six, and “Green Book” should be happy with four nominations, and on its worst day, three.
Filling that final spot in the Best Picture Comedy/Musical is a gamble, no matter which way you decide to go. “Eighth Grade” enchanted critics in Sundance and in its theatrical run, and regional critics groups are stirring up the heat for recently. Early-released experimental indies with unknown artists have never been their scene, though I’m tempted to reconsider my position based on its new accumulation of buzz. Currently, I have “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” predicted to take the fifth slot in Best Picture and receive a Best Actress nomination for Lily James. The HFPA gave the original film two nominations, so the sequel, which got much stronger reviews, will likely feed into their adoration for musicals. Not many people are going out on the ABBA limb with me, though. Instead, most are betting on “Crazy Rich Asians.” On the surface, it checks out as something we think the Golden Globes may go for. But I say, think again. It strikes me as something like “The Big Sick” and “Beauty And The Beast” from last year, where it appears like a Globes player for obvious reasons, but then it gets unequivocally shunned with no easy explanation. Since the Golden Globes don’t necessarily harp on diversity in their choices to begin with, and along with how the film was since branded as so commercial (a film has to strike a precise brand of commercial popularity to succeed with the Globes), I just don’t get good vibes about its performance with these voters. The Screen Actors Guild is the place that will highlight “Crazy Rich Asians” if the Globes fail to do so.
Compared to the Comedy/Musical side, the Drama categories for Picture and Actor are staggeringly weak. After “A Star Is Born,” the HFPA will probably treat “If Beale Street Could Talk” similarly to “Moonlight” with a slew of nominations. Expect Barry Jenkins in Director, Regina King in Supporting Actress, and Original Score. I don’t have it predicted for Screenplay, because something has to give in that category, and “If Beale Street Could Talk” may not have the passion some of the comedy/musical films do. Beyond those two films, it’s really anyone’s guess as to what gets in next. I have “BlacKkKlansman” predicted for Picture and Screenplay, but given its track record, the HFPA may not understand the weight of the modern, racially and culturally important film to the extent of other voting blocs. They proved this with “Get Out” last year.
“Widows” and “Boy Erased” are similar films in terms of checking off the HFPA’s boxes. They are about important social issues, have an A-list cast ensemble, and both take full advantage of their genre’s melodrama. I’m predicting the HFPA to especially like “Widows,” similar to “Gone Girl.” I expect Gillian Flynn’s name recognition (“Gone Girl” and “Sharp Objects” fame goes a long way in 2018) to carry the film to a Screenplay nomination. There’s an outside chance Steve McQueen’s direction is extravagant enough for him to make a star appearance on the director shortlist, even if this is his only mention all season. Meanwhile, “Boy Erased” reminds me of their embrace of “The Imitation Game,” “Lion,” or even “Carol” – the type and size of the film, not the quality or subject matter. Nominating it will make them look and feel important and culturally open-minded. (The Globes are all about image). Lucas Hedges, who has several irons in the fire this year, could score a spot in a weak Best Actor field with his established name and filmography, too. Nothing is for certain, though. I’m one of the few people predicting “Boy Erased” for a Drama Picture nomination, but it’s a gamble worth betting on.
“First Man” is a film I haven’t quite figured out how the HFPA will deal with. Many may assume the Hollywood-funded production and the big names surrounding it (Damien Chazelle, Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Justin Hurwitz) would make it a shoo-in, but after disappointing at the box office and losing practically most of its steam from the festivals due to several controversies, I’m skeptical. The film takes pride in being very standard, but I fear the HFPA may forget about it or lack vigor for it. They will find ways to represent the film, for instance with a Drama Actor nomination and an Original Score mention, but the film may not collect the wider support it needs. But then again, maybe it’s just an obvious nominee and I’m reading too much into “First Man” severely disappointing with NBR and AFI snubs.
An alternate which pundits have suggested is “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The word floating around the Internet is the HFPA is high on the film and we should view it as a competitor in Best Picture-Drama. I see where they are coming from in predicting it. The story is quintessential Golden Globes material. The HFPA will undoubtedly nominate Rami Malek for Best Actor. But the film got some borderline bad reviews despite the money it made, and even the Golden Globes have standards. No film with close to a 49 on Metacritic like “Bohemian Rhapsody” has, has been nominated for Best Picture-Drama in the last ten years. The closest was “The Reader” with 58, but there was more to the story there, with the Oscar buzz, subject matter, and Weinstein/Winslet campaign. Had this been categorized as a Comedy/Musical, I would have an easier time buying this as a Best Picture nominee, because films nominated in those categories regularly have worse reviews than the Drama contenders.
The HFPA has time and time again showed us they hate superhero films. And yet, here we are talking about “Black Panther.” It will receive nominations for original score and song, and the HFPA will feel like they’ve done enough and ignore it in Drama Picture. These voters don’t subscribe to outside pressure like the AMPAS does; they vote for films and actors they like. I may be wrong here, but this is what my gut is telling me. Also, “Mary Queen Of Scots” making a late-breaking appearance as a Best Picture-Drama nominee, along with Original Score and maybe Best Supporting Actress for Margot Robbie is on the table.
While Best Picture-Drama and Actor may be a scrambled mess of frail contenders, Drama Actress, however, is the most competitive race of the year. It’s going to be a bloodbath, and to predict this category well, you have to be thinking dynamically. Lady Gaga is a shoo-in, given her film, the requirements of her character, and the fact that she has already won a Golden Globe for acting in “American Horror Story.” With the exception of Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman is perhaps the most beloved actress working today by the HFPA. They are going to feast on her unconcealed, tour-de-force portrayal in “Destroyer.” And there’s no way the HFPA will pass up an opportunity to give Kidman double nominations, one for “Destroyer” and one for “Boy Erased” in Supporting Actress. However, if the HFPA doesn’t nominate her for “Destroyer,” I fear her chances of continuing in the Best Actress race this season will be over.
Beyond that, Glenn Close and Melissa McCarthy should be here, given their celebrity status and acclaimed work, and if either miss, it will be immensely damaging to their future awards prospects. McCarthy is especially on thin ice. Viola Davis, Julia Roberts, and Felicity Jones all have performances that are very much in the wheelhouse of Golden Globes, yet there just aren’t enough slots in the category for all of them to be included. Heck, even long shots Rosamund Pike and Toni Collette have a case to be made for predicting them, too. The real surprise will be Natalie Portman in “Vox Lux.” The HFPA moved her up into this category after rejecting the Supporting Actress campaign, and they will nominate her. (An announcement such as the one made last week wouldn’t have been made so public if they were merely lukewarm about the performance). Portman is putting forth some of her most over-the-top, soap opera acting abilities as a pop star, where she has scenes performing concert songs. On another note, I would advise against predicting Yalitiza Aparicio for “Roma.” When the HFPA nominates foreign language performances, it’s usually for well-known foreign actors in showy roles. Aparicio is an unprofessional actor giving a “natural” performance, which is literally the antithesis of what we know about the tastes of Golden Globe voters.
Otherwise, here are a few other tips I have from my perspective:
- In the comedy/musical acting races, look out for individual highlights from Charlize Theron in “Tully” (big movie star in a well-expressed character, written and directed by well-known filmmakers), Kathryn Hahn in “Private Life” (random indie nominee rewarded for campaigning and nostalgia), and John C. Reilly for “Stan and Ollie” or “The Sisters Brothers” (longtime, well-known working actor who is having a prolific year).
- Keep an eye out for acting nominations from blockbuster stars portraying characters with obvious bait in films with mixed reviews. Time after time, the Globes pluck these performances into the lineups. For instance, Hugh Jackman in “The Front Runner” is a prime example of this pattern of behavior and could be a nominee this year. Jackman will likely replace a critics favorite like Ethan Hawke in “First Reformed.” Another example is last year’s “it” boy, Timothy Chalamet, being invited back to the party for “Beautiful Boy.”
- With prominent actors bouncing between film and television, watch out for Amy Adams, Regina King, and Emma Stone to all three be nominated in Film Best Supporting Actress and TV Movie/Limited Series Best Actress. Adams likely has a win for “Sharp Objects” in the bag, and honestly, a second win for “Vice” isn’t out of the realm of possibility, ala Kate Winslet in 2009. (This would also kickstart her overdue Oscar campaign if that’s the trajectory of this season.) Kidman will also probably be a double nominee, as mentioned, thus 4/5 Best Supporting Actress nominees could have double nominations. Another possibility for a double nominee is Julia Roberts, who may or may not be nominated for “Ben is Back” but has an excellent chance of winning TV Drama Actress for “Homecoming.”
So what do you think? What are you predicting for tomorrow’s Golden Globe nominations? Let us know in the comments section below and be sure to enter into our contest to predict the nominations here.
You can follow Ryan and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @RyanCShowers