Like it or not, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) announced two new categories for the 81st Golden Globes Awards yesterday. One of the categories is the much-discussed and highly controversial “Cinematic and Box Office Achievement” award. This new category is set to recognize films that have the largest income at the box office in the current film year, as well as streaming viewership for movies that deliver high cinematic quality. Regardless of our personal feelings about this recent development, as we always do at Next Best Picture, we’re going to dive into what’s required and what the awards race looks like for this particular category.
The category will feature eight slots for any full-length motion picture that meets the criteria of grossing at least $150 million in the period of its theatrical release, $100 million of which must be acquired domestically. So far, 18 releases from this year are already eligible, which doesn’t include the number of streaming films that would be eligible due to the quantity of viewership.
We won’t be able to tell on our own which streaming films are eligible at this time. Still, when it comes to the high viewership numbers reported by some of the streamers (when it suits them), it can give us an idea of which films the HFPA would aim for: those that have or will break barriers and become successes on platforms such as Netflix, Prime Video, or Hulu. All eligible films will still compete and submit for categories such as Best Motion Picture Drama and Comedy or Musical. It’s all very silly and renders the HFPA as the equivalent to something like the Blockbuster or MTV Movie awards now (if you didn’t already see them on that level beforehand). But now that there is an idea of what this category will look like (and we’ve begrudgingly accepted that it will actually happen unlike when AMPAS announced Best Popular Film and that idea was scrapped before it could become a reality), the next question is, “What films would most likely be the ones to show up in this category?”
Looking at the year’s releases so far, the films that would be eligible for the new category are:
“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”
“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”
“John Wick: Chapter 4”
“The Little Mermaid”
“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One”
“Sound of Freedom”
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”
“The Super Mario Bros. Movie”
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem”
“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts”
This list doesn’t include the potential success of soon-to-be-released films like “The Color Purple,” “Killers of the Flower Moon,” or “The Marvels.” While the HFPA does have the criteria set out for eligibility, the rules can be a bit peculiar about films that are considered box office disappointments, such as “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” and “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.” Those financially disappointing films for their studios would still be eligible for this achievement while a box office success such as “M3GAN” just slightly misses the cut for domestic eligibility based on the requirements.
That being said, “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” will most likely be up for nominations, and it’s easy to predict one of them will come out on top as the first winner of this category. “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” or “Barbenheimer,” are looked upon as the definitive cinematic narratives for 2023, both in their excellence in filmmaking and breaking box office records domestically and worldwide. The two are also on the radar for heavy awards prospects, including Best Picture at the Academy Awards. If both films are your current frontrunners for Motion Picture Drama and Comedy or Musical, it would be wise to consider both as the number one and two spots for the “Cinematic and Box Office Achievement” category.
More strong contenders for the category and in the awards season conversation are animated films like “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem,” “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” or “Elemental” (which already had a strong debut on Disney Plus with 26.4 million views and could kill two birds with one stone on the streaming viewership eligibility). Other films whose cases are strong are “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” and “John Wick: Chapter 4.” These two critically acclaimed and commercially successful films closed out the narratives of their franchises with the emotional payoff and visually stunning work that pushed the boundaries of excellence in filmmaking in a way that satisfied their respective fanbases. “The Little Mermaid” is also a contender as one of the more respected Disney live-action remakes and could have strong appeal at the Golden Globes with its Comedy-Musical categories. The sensational performance of Halle Bailey (who’s also a contender for a potential nomination in the Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical category) and the admiration of this remake can live up to what the HFPA is looking for to be a part of the eight nominees.
With viewership in streaming films, that’s something that can be hard to calculate. The merit of streaming services can be subjective on how successful they are with viewership, but if we were to broaden our look, Netflix’s “Extraction 2” could be considered, depending on the hard data received. With 42.3 million views in its weekly debut, “Extraction 2” has the makings of a potential contender in this category, as the film highlights stunning action spectacle and stunt work similar to “John Wick: Chapter 4,” excelling in what is possible in modern stunt work. But just because streaming and viewership films are eligible for the new award doesn’t mean the HFPA will necessarily prioritize them over the number of theatrical releases they can choose from.
What do you think about this new category? Is it “Barbie’s” award to lose? Or can “Oppenheimer” give it a run for its money? Can any other films benefit from this publicity? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Twitter account.