Yeah, so this is the big news out in muggle land that the date has been changed so that Oscar nominations will now be announced before the Golden Globes hold their ceremony. People might be wondering how this affects the Oscar race, whether it will makes a difference, whether the Academy was trying to cock-block the Globes, or what.
Well, here are a few things to consider. Obviously the Academy wanted a longer period between nominations and final balloting. Why? Perhaps they don’t like how the awards machinery has defaulted to automatic. Perhaps voters complained that there wasn’t enough time to see everything.
The gist of the talk has been this:
Oscar nominations typically come out after the Globes. The earlier date for Oscar nominations could steal a bit of the thunder from the Globes, which are presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
But I think that’s because that’s the way outside audiences see it. They think of the awards race in terms of these two TV shows — or, at most, maybe they work in the SAG Awards, too. MAYBE the Critics Choice awards.
But the truth is that the Oscar nominations, for most people, will be one full day of news. And that’s pretty much it. Unless there is some kind of a crazy upset no one will be talking about the Oscar nominations the next day and that’s because, generally speaking, many of those nominations will be for films the majority of people haven’t yet seen. But if there is some sort of crazy catastrophe or really juicy surprise (The Dark Knight Rises getting nominated, Christopher Nolan getting nominated — in Oscar/muggle terms that’s about as big as you can get) and if that surprise has ZERO to do with what’s happening at the Globes (for instance, Dark Knight Rises being shut out of the Globes) it should have very little negative impact on the Globes. If anything, it helps to hype people up for awards season, which means better ratings for the Globes.
But how does the earlier announcement affect Oscar balloting? That’s really the key question. The Globes function best as PR for Oscar contenders. When a contender wins a Golden Globe it might make people feel good about the win or perhaps make them feel bad about the win. It’s kind of a dress rehearsal for Oscar and it can shape the opinions of pundits and Oscar voters. But the choices by the HFPA themselves don’t seem to have much impact — except in the way that all early awards do, as headlines for FYC ads.
Therefore, the Globes will have an impact for contenders already nominated for Oscars. Since the Globes will announce their nominations before Oscar ballots will have been turned in, those nominations could also effect Oscar nominations. Ergo, nothing really changes in any way, particularly. I see it as a good thing for the Globes. Audiences don’t look at them as opposite teams, the Oscars and the Globes. They look at it all as “celebrity awards season.” It’s all kind of one big long show. So it is never going to be EITHER the Globes or the Oscars. It’s going to be “are Brad and Angie coming to either show? Okay, then, I’ll watch.”
The date change has a HUGE impact in the wonky world of Oscar predicting, however, not that anyone else will care. But for the first time EVER since I’ve been doing this, Oscar nominations will not have the benefit of reflecting any nudge from the DGA, PGA or WGA nominations. That means, we’ll be looking — for the first time ever — at pure Oscar nominations. Not “this is what the DGA did.” In the past, it was easy for Oscar voters not to have to watch the movies because the DGA, PGA and WGA mostly has the good stuff in place before Oscar voters had to lay it down. Time is always the problem for most Oscar voters — cramming all of the screenings in. Now, nominations will have nothing whatsoever to do with the major guilds. That is huge in the Oscarwatching world. As for the Globes, not so much.
The Oscar race dramatically changed back in 2003 when the Oscars were moved to February. Pushing everything back a month impacted how the game was played. The biggest change was that there wasn’t a lot of time for movies to open to the public at the end of the year so that box office success could serve as an indicator of mainstream seal of approval. Mostly it meant that the whole game was played before movies found their audience. The Oscars motivated people to see movies that won — they didn’t reward movies that did well. The date change to February meant, essentially, everyone saw and voted for films at roughly the same time — which is why, for the most part, you had kind of a uniform awards season.
I’ve been writing about the date change for years and don’t feel like rehashing the whole thing now except to say that this new event will change the way the Oscar game is played significantly. It will put more heat on the critics awards because they will all happen before Oscar nomination ballots get turned in, thus they will be the only precursors/influencers. An Oscar ad won’t be able to broadcast DGA, PGA or WGA nominations on it to get that film nominated. But it can put LAFCA, NYFCC, Critics Choice, etc. It’s shifting everything back even further — what remains to be seen is whether the guilds will also shift things back in order to regain their power in the race. I bet they do. This year will be a one-off. It will be a wild and crazy unpredictable year. Or else it will be just as predictable as it’s always been.
In case you didn’t know–DGA stands for Directors Guild, PGA for Producers Guild, and WGA for Writers Guild.