As the Hollywood Foreign Press made a comeback for its 80th year of awards, respect for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association may be diminished. However, the Golden Globe award winners can still significantly impact the awards race. Being the first televised awards show of the year, for many contenders, it’s their first opportunity to be heard on a stage. Though there’s no overlap in membership between the HFPA and the Academy, winning on TV is an excellent image before Oscar voting. You can be seen as a winner and, thus, garner a surge of votes. There were no genuine surprises on the film side for this year’s Golden Globes (save for Best International Feature), but there are still plenty of ways for the winners to impact the Oscar race. Let’s dive into the significant moments of this year’s Globes…
THE FABELMANS SHOWED STRENGTH
Because “The Fabelmans” missed some essential precursors, like Steven Spielberg missing the BAFTA longlist for Best Director and the cinematography missing at ASC, a narrative has developed online that it was fading away quickly. Many started to wonder if Spielberg himself would miss a Best Director Oscar nomination (crazy, but that’s how reactionary some people get this time of year). People felt the frontrunner status was wearing off quickly. The Golden Globes served as a potent reminder of Spielberg’s power in the industry and that the film is far from finished in this year’s awards race. Winning Best Director and Best Motion Picture, Drama, “The Fabelmans” scored significant support on a big stage. In addition to the film’s wins, Spielberg was heavily thanked in Ke Huy Quan’s speech and even shouted out in Michelle Yeoh’s speech. He’s a formidable presence in the industry and the culture at large and shouldn’t be counted out just yet.
Even though there’s plenty of room for another film to win Best Picture at the Oscars, it feels tough to picture someone winning over Spielberg in Best Director. This may be his last best shot at a win and would put him up there with some of the all-time greats in terms of Best Director wins (three). That, along with no other strong narratives in the category, may make him hard to beat, even if “The Fabelmans” loses Best Picture.
BANSHEES OVER EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE
It feels strange to describe a dark comedy about a man chopping off his fingers to prevent another man from coming near him as the “safe” choice for Best Feature, but it weirdly feels like “The Banshees of Inisherin” was that this year. Winning Best Screenplay and Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy, along with Best Actor, Musical or Comedy for Colin Farrell, Martin McDonagh’s latest film had a strong showing last night. Between “The Fabelmans” and “The Banshees of Inisherin,” the Picture wins felt somewhat expected, or more traditional awards winners. When films like “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” or even “Elvis” had a legitimate shot at winning one of the top categories, it makes the films that won feel a bit safe in comparison.
Nevertheless, it seems difficult to imagine “The Banshees of Inisherin” winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It’s a dark film, even challenging at times, despite its humor. Not that “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is a shoo-in for the Academy’s support either, as it skews heavily younger, though general audiences seem to eat it up. Strangely, the perceived “safe” winners tonight make me feel there’s more room for a less safe pick at the Oscars. Is the Academy getting more adventurous than the oft-mocked Globes? With wins like “Parasite” and “CODA,” it’s entirely possible that “Everything Everywhere All At Once” or even “Top Gun: Maverick” could take the top prize, despite losing at the Globes.
QUAN AND YEOH WIN BIG
Though their film may have lost in Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical, Ke Huy Quan and Michelle Yeoh took home Best Supporting Actor and Best Actress, Musical, or Comedy, respectively. Quan absolutely crushed the first speech of the night, immediately referencing his success as a child actor and subsequent lack of opportunity as he grew older. It’s precisely the type of speech he needed to make. He’s already dominating the critics’ awards, winning nearly every possible prize. It’s foolish to call anything a lock at this point, but maybe this is an exception. It’s almost impossible to picture anyone else taking home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor this year.
Yeoh also presented a fantastic speech, even getting the piano player to stop playing her off by jokingly threatening to fight her. It was more low-key than Quan’s speech but highly effective at highlighting her age, her fight for the same opportunities as white actors, and her impressive career. Even more beneficial to Yeoh was that the winner for Best Actress, Drama, Cate Blanchett for “TÁR,” was not in attendance, giving Yeoh the appearance as the sole Best Actress winner of the night. What a gift this was to Yeoh and the A24 team. This race is much closer than Best Supporting Actor, but Yeoh gained significant ground tonight.
BUTLER VS. FARRELL
The two Best Actor categories both presented strong cases for their winners. Shortly after learning how to button up his shirt, Austin Butler won Best Actor, Drama and gave a heartfelt speech. It was poised and charming, honoring his collaborators and the legacy of Elvis Presley. It’s the cool and collected speech you want to see from an Academy Award winner. On the other side was the Best Actor, Musical or Comedy winner, Colin Farrell, who was no slouch either. His second win in the category, previously winning for his first McDonagh collaboration, “In Bruges,” Farrell gave the sort of speech that someone who’s been in the business a long time gives. He was looser than Butler, even shouting out Jenny, his donkey co-star, after praising his presenter Ana de Armas for her work in “Blonde.”
Not in attendance tonight was the third potential winner of Best Actor, Brendan Fraser. After going public with his story that a former HFPA president inappropriately groped him, he justifiably skipped the Globes tonight. Earlier in this awards season, Fraser seemed unstoppable on his way to an Oscar win, but the film’s profile has decreased as more people see it. Critics are giving it less and less praise, though it does have a passionate fanbase. It’s easy to imagine Best Actor as a three-way race through the rest of the season, with Farrell, Butler, and Fraser all having legitimate paths to the win.
MARVEL’S FIRST ACTING WIN
The legendary Angela Bassett scored a win for Best Supporting Actress in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” marking Marvel’s first-ever major individual acting award. Of course, the first “Black Panther” did win the SAG Award for Best Ensemble, but there have been no individual wins or even nominations for other Marvel performances. Bassett threaded the needle well in an excellent speech, acknowledging her long history in the industry, her previous awards success for “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” and even thanking Marvel fans. With arguably no clear frontrunner up to this point, Bassett scored major points with this win and will be looking to repeat this weekend at the Critics Choice Awards.
Even so, I expect it to be a more complex path to victory for Bassett. Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin“) has been the critics’ favorite so far and will likely pick up several wins in future awards shows. The other question remains: how many overdue or comeback narratives will succeed at this year’s Academy Awards? Ke Huy Quan, Michelle Yeoh, Brendan Fraser, Angela Bassett, and Jamie Lee Curtis are all playing that card. Typically only one such narrative ends up working in a given season. For now, tonight was hugely helpful for Bassett, but winning an Oscar for a Marvel performance will be a tough battle, though if anyone can do it, it’s Bassett.
SHOCKER IN NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM
On a night without many surprises, the absolute shocker came with Best Non-English Language Film. It’s quite a competitive year for the category, with the predicted Oscar winner still up in the air. “All Quiet on the Western Front” has dominated the industry guilds thus far and landed on every possible Academy and BAFTA shortlist. “Decision to Leave” has the critical love and the clout of Park Chan-wook behind it. And “RRR” is a phenomenon in and of itself, with a rabid fanbase and tons of industry love, even though the Academy’s absurd nomination system makes the film ineligible for Best International Feature Film at the Oscars. As for the Globes, “RRR” had already won Best Original Song for “Naatu Naatu,” when they surprisingly announced “Argentina, 1985” as the winner for Non-English Language Film. The Amazon Studios film, though critically acclaimed, was not seen as having a chance against the other formidable contenders. No one at Next Best Picture, and possibly no other pundit, period, predicted this outcome.
Ultimately, though, this probably solidifies “Argentina, 1985” as an Oscar nominee, even if it’s unlikely to repeat this win. It still seems plausible that “All Quiet on the Western Front” will score a Best Picture nomination and possibly even a Best Director nomination. If it does, you can consider that your frontrunner.
CLARITY IN BEST ORIGINAL SCORE?
Justin Hurwitz won this third Golden Globe for Best Original Score in a row, all for Damien Chazelle collaborations. Will this be like “La La Land,” in which Hurwitz went on to win the Oscar? Or will it be like “First Man,” where he went on to be snubbed in the final lineup? It seems unlikely that such a strange snub would happen twice, but anything’s possible.
Best Original Score is a peculiar category this year, with no clear frontrunner. Hurwitz could win, though the film has received poor reviews from critics and audiences alike. John Williams could win, since he is John Williams after all, though his score for “The Fabelmans” is much more slight than his typical work. It could also be Hildur Guðnadóttir for “Women Talking,” though that film doesn’t seem to be gaining much traction in awards circles as of late. This will be an exciting race to track in the coming months, though Hurwitz’s bombastic, in-your-face score is the showiest of them all, giving him a potential leg up on top of this Globe win.
GUILLERMO DEL TORO WINS ANIMATED FEATURE
Was there ever any doubt? No, not even as a rhetorical question. “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” was always going to and will continue to win Best Animated Feature prizes. This is the first time a streamer has won Best Animated Feature, a record he’ll set with other awards bodies too. He is without competition in the category, even with other wonderful films in the mix. His speeches are charming and inspiring for cinema lovers, and the film itself is terrific. Sometimes it’s just as simple as that.
The Golden Globes certainly seem to be toning down their awards with fewer shocks and more diversity in their winners. It’s a pleasant change of pace for the typically chaotic HFPA. Awards season is truly off and running, with the Critics Choice to come this weekend and SAG nominations being announced in (as of this typing) a few minutes. With more guild nominations imminent and Academy Award nominations just a few short days away, these races are really starting to take shape, but who will ultimately walk away with the Oscar?
What were your biggest shocks of this year’s Golden Globes? Does this change any of your predictions? What do you think is winning Best Picture? Please let us know your thoughts on our Twitter account. Click here for more important upcoming dates this awards season and here for the most recent tally of awards season winners for the current year.