By Christian DiMartino
Despite having little interest in the awards season this year, once I made the realization that the Golden Globes were coming on, I couldn’t resist. The Golden Globes are basically the Oscars’ drunken cousin, and despite how unorthodox the show can be at times, it is usually a decent forecast for how the Oscar season will play out. Seeing as I’d seen most of the movies nominated (still need to see The Father, The United States vs. Billie Holliday, One Night in Miami, and so on), I thought what the hell.
After seeing the show for myself, again, I thought, what the hell?
Of course this was to be an unusual show, seeing as the hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler weren’t even in the same room together, and basically all of the award winners accepted their awards via Zoom. Fey and Poehler are always a good call with this show, so they helped elevate it. Yet things got off to a weird start whenever Daniel Kaluuya won Best Supporting Actor for Judas and the Black Messiah. Not that the win was weird- it was well deserved- but there was a huge technical malfunction that made things… awkward.
To my knowledge, that was the only weird glitch in the show itself. What was weird about the rest of it was the HFPA’s choices. Usually a decent indicator of what will make it to the Academy Awards, a lot of the decisions made last night took me by surprise. For example, of the five films nominated for Best Picture- Drama (Nomadland, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Mank, The Father, and Promising Young Woman), only two- Nomadland and The Trial of the Chicago 7– went home with awards. Otherwise the love was spread elsewhere.
In terms of Mank, I kind of figured it wouldn’t sweep, because it will certainly sweep all of the technical Oscars. Yet they could’ve awarded Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for their brilliant score… but they instead chose to recognize their score for Soul instead. An understandable, difficult choice to make. The Trial of the Chicago 7 won for Best Screenplay, and don’t be surprised if Aaron Sorkin wins his second Oscar. If you look at his track record with the Academy Awards, it’s weirdly cold. Like yes, he’s a nominee, and a winner, but how on earth do you not even nominate his screenplays for A Few Good Men and Steve Jobs?
Supporting Actor was one that I kind of felt was up for grabs. Kaluuya does have such a presence in that film, and it’s a really fine piece of acting. My guess was they’d give it to Sacha Baron Cohen for The Trial of the Chicago 7, since they were feeling all kinds of love for him. Well, turns out they were, because he won Best Actor- Musical or Comedy for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, along with Best Picture- Musical or Comedy. A part of me still feels like he could win for The Trial of the Chicago 7 come Oscar Sunday, because it is more of a contender, but we’ll see. What was surprising though was Best Actress- Musical or Comedy. Maria Bakalova probably should’ve been a shoo-in, considering what she was put through, AND the fact that she wasn’t even an actress and she holds her own beautifully. Yet the award went to Rosamund Pike for I Care a Lot, which is an undeniably good piece of acting. Don’t know if Rosamund will get that 5th Oscar slot, but at least they gave her something (probably to make up for the lack of Gone Girl love). Bakalova, on the other hand, I do believe has a chance for an Oscar nomination, but for Supporting Actress.
Speaking of Supporting Actress, this was another one that kind of threw me off guard. I have yet to see The Mauritanian, in fact I hardly know what it is despite the fact that Jodie Foster is in it, which is reason enough for me. The SAG nominations were announced the day after the Globes were announced, and Foster was missing so I kind of figured she was out of the race. Whelp, she won. Now, the SAG, like the Globes, isn’t always to be trusted, but usually if someone is gunning for an Oscar, they’re nominated at every show (there are exceptions though, such as Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk and Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained). Who was nominated for both? Glenn Close for Hillbilly Elegy, which is much loathed, but she’s brilliant in it. Look, guys, I’m going to say this nicely: if Glenn Close isn’t going to win, please don’t even bother to nominate her. The same goes for Amy Adams, who is also excellent in Hillbilly Elegy. These are two of our greatest actresses, and for years you’ve nominated them, given them a glimmer of hope, and then taken it away. Don’t do it again, I don’t think my heart can take anymore.
Who is a lock though? The late Chadwick Boseman for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and no it’s not just because his unexpected passing broke our hearts; it’s actually, truly deserved, and so was his Golden Globe for Best Actor-Drama. His wife delivered a truly moving, heartbreaking speech as well. Expect this to carry over to the Oscars. Best Actress-Drama, on the other hand, might be the biggest stunner of the night. A part of me figured Frances McDormand’s subtle, brilliant work in Nomadland wasn’t going to nab it, simply because she just won (plus if the movie wins Best Picture, then she’ll get her third Oscar anyways). So it seemed like a given that the award belonged to my personal vote, Carey Mulligan for Promising Young Woman. But the HFPA said, “Um, nah fam,” and they gave the award to Andra Day for The United States vs. Billie Holliday, which just recently released on Hulu and just barely reached the deadline to be eligible. Is the film so fresh on their minds that it led her to victory, or does she really have a chance at winning this thing? Eh, I don’t know. Again, no SAG nomination, but nonetheless, seeing as I thought her, like Foster, were kind of throwaway nominations (not to be rude, but they didn’t at all seem like frontrunners), this came as a bit of a shock.
To ease the blow of that one though was the win for Best Foreign Language film for Minari. My personal favorite of the year, unfortunately this will not carry over to the Oscars because the film isn’t eligible. But hey, at least we got something. Best Animated Feature went to Soul, which was a given. Best Original Song went to Diane Warren for The Life Ahead, and guys, again I’ll say it: unless she’s going to win, don’t nominate her. That’s not to discredit any of these people, but my God, she’s been nominated 11 times.
Wrapping a nice bow on the evening though were Chloe Zhao’s wins for Best Director and Best Picture-Drama, for Nomadland. The best of these nominees, it’s probably safe to say that Zhao is a lock for Best Director, and will be the second female to do so (after Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker). Best Picture is probably still up for grabs, but I guess this was such a weird show because it still seems like everything is pretty much up for grabs. A few things have a good chance, the rest I am not so sure of. Or, at least, I’m unconvinced of. Sometimes the Globes get it right, and the Academy gets it wrong, and vice versa. I guess we’ll just have to see.