The Golden Globes will find themselves smack in the middle of the most influential moment in the nominations phase. A lot will be happening at the same time, and how that buzz moves, how perception changes will imprint, forever in time, what voters will think when they receive their ballots and submit their nominees.
First, let’s take a look at how hot it’s going to get:
December 17, 2018
Golden Globe ballots mailed today
December 18, 2018
SAG final voting begins tomorrow,
[Christmas and New Year’s]
January 2, 2019
Golden Globes final ballot deadline
January 3, 2019
Producers Guild nominations close
WGA Ballot deadline
January 4, 2019
Producers Guild nominations announced
January 6, 2019
Golden Globes Awards Ceremony
January 7, 2019
DGA ballots due
Oscar ballots sent out
ASC Nominations announced
ACE Eddie nominations announced
DGA voting deadline
WGA nominations announced
January 8, 2019
DGA announces nominees
WGA final voting begins
January 10, 2019
ASC ballots go out
January 11, 2019
Ace Eddie ballots go out
January 14, 2019
Oscar ballots due
January 18, 2019
Producers Guild final polls close
January 19, 2019
Producers Guild awards
January 21, 2019
Ace Eddie final ballot deadline
January 22, 2019
Oscar nominations announced
January 25, 2019
SAG final ballots due
January 27, 2019
January 31, 2019
WGA final ballots due
February 1, 2019
DGA final ballots due
ACE Eddie Awards
February 2, 2019
February 9, 2019
ASC Cinematographers Awards
February 12, 2019
Oscar final ballots sent out
February 17, 2019
February 19, 2019
Final Oscar ballots due
February 24, 2019
The Golden Globes happen just after the Producers Guild announces their nominees and the Oscar ballots are sent to voters. As we learned from two years ago, what happens at the Globes can have an enormous impact on what happens with Oscar voters when it comes to nominations. All bets are off once the nominations are announced: it becomes a whole different race for wins. In the Oscar biz we call this Phase One and Phase Two.
Once the wins at the Globes are decided, it sets into motion the defacto frontrunner. Sometimes that means a winner can’t be stopped (Argo) and sometimes it means the whole thing is but an illusion (La La Land).
Let’s look at the key guilds and their current membership numbers.
The Producers Guild
7,000 members. Wikipedia says they are 57% male, 43% female. The PGA gets a TEN nomination slot ballot for Best Picture, as opposed to the five slots the Academy uses on their ballot. They have a decent track record with the Academy, usually missing just one title, if that. The HFPA is only roughly 100 members. The SAG nominating committee is 2,000. 7,000 is very similar to the Academy’s numbers, but the key difference between the PGA and AMPAS is that there are no actors in the PGA and actors dominate the Academy. All the same, for a Best Picture winner, you’re mostly looking at crossover votes. The PGA and the AMPAS both employ a PREFERENTIAL BALLOT, and they are the only two groups that do since they are the only two groups that have more than five nominees for Best Picture.
How reliable has the PGA, or any of the major guilds, been in predicting Best Picture since the expanded ballot?
2017–Three Billboards-SAG, The Shape of Water – PGA/DGA/Oscar (not nominated for SAG)
2016–La La Land – PGA/DGA (not nominated for SAG), Hidden Figures-SAG, Moonlight – Oscar
2015–The Big Short-PGA, The Revenant-DGA, Spotlight-SAG/Oscar
2013–American Hustle-SAG, Gravity-PGA/DGA, 12 Years a Slave-PGA/Oscar
2011–The Help-SAG, The Artist–PGA/DGA/Oscar
2010–The King’s Speech–PGA/DGA/SAG/Oscar
2009–Inglourious Basters-SAG, The Hurt Locker--PGA/DGA/Oscar
The PGA, as it happens, is more reliable than either the DGA or SAG when calling Best Picture. Three times since 2009 has there been a straight flush with PGA/DGA/SAG and Oscar. Usually, and especially lately, it’s been split up – with the DGA carrying one kind of winner (dazzling, visual effects) and the PGA and Oscar (the preferential ballot) carrying a different kind of winner (least divisive).
The Directors Guild
16,000 members. The DGA does not use the preferential balloting system because they have only five nominees for Best Director of the year. They also five more nominees for Best First Time Director. Everyone expects Bradley Cooper will easily take the First Time prize this year for A Star Is Born, but will have some competition in Bo Burnham for Eighth Grade and Ari Aster for Hereditary, to name two I can think of.
The DGA is a pretty good indicator of what movies will be the strongest FIVE films heading into the Oscar nominations. What to watch for here will be whether or not Ryan Coogler can land a DGA nod. It is looking more and more likely that it COULD be Coogler AND Spike Lee, along with sure things like Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born, Peter Farrelly for Green Book, and, of course, Alfonso Cuaron for Roma. It will be an interesting night if Cooper wins AND Cuaron wins, eh? Torn, voters might go that very way. On the other hand, who knows. I’m holding out hope that Damien Chazelle gets in for First Man, deservedly so, but what once seemed like a sure thing now seems like a long shot. Other possibilities here include Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite and Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk. The DGA’s five will likely NOT match the Oscar’s five, where I would expect Paul Schrader to emerge. Lanthimos will have a better shot there, too.
160,000 members. SAG/AFTRA have five slots for Ensemble, or Cast, and no preferential ballot. Since the merger, the winner of their awards is not necessarily going to be the winner of the Oscars. After all, the union describes itself thusly:
“SAG-AFTRA has a diverse membership consisting of actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, disc jockeys, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals.”
News editors even? Disc jockeys?
But the nominating committee of 2,000 voters is a WEE BIT MORE SELECTIVE. In so far as:
To be entered in any of the random samplings for the 25th Annual SAG Awards Nominating Committees, members must have paid their dues in full for the semi-annual dues period ending April 30, 2018 (the Nov. 2017 billing) by Friday, February 23, 2018; reside in the United States; be over 16 years of age; be categorized as actor/performer, dancer,singer or stunt person in the SAG-AFTRA member database.Theatrical Motion Picture Nominating Committee members must not have served on the theatrical nominating committee in the past eight (8) years; and must be members of one (1)of the following two (2) groups: a) rank and file members;b) past recipients of nominations in corresponding acting categories from the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Golden Globe Awards, as well as recipients of nominations and members of the Actors Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
At least you have to be a performer, as such, to vote for the acting nominees. I suppose that is a fair compromise. Picking the winner, however, means everyone eligible votes. I don’t know about you but I’m picking up a Black Panther vibe for the Ensemble win. I suppose it could be A Star Is Born or BlacKkKlansman but I doubt it will be Crazy Rich Asians or Bohemian Rhapsody, although I guess you never know with SAG/AFTRA how it’s going to go. I remember being somewhat shocked when Spotlight took that award (although thinking back, a movie about journalists directed by a former actor? Yeah seems like no-brainer for SAG/AFTRA. You can’t overthink these things, which I always do, year in and year out.
The Writers Guild of America
20,000 members, I think? That’s the WGA West’s numbers. I’ve never been sure if that is the whole membership or just WGA West. Either way, they choose Original Screenplay and Adapted Screenplay winners, which have, give or take a year or two here or there, a pretty decent chance of indicating a potential screenplay win at the Oscars. When Moonlight won the screenplay award it did sort of signal a Moonlight upswing. What to watch for with WGA noms is whether or not Black Panther can make the cut, just as with the DGA. To be a formidable Best Picture contender and to be accepted into the industry as a Marvel superhero movie crossover, it will need wiring and directing nominations. Ryan Coogler is up for both. We’ll see how that goes. Both categories are wide wide open, with Paul Schrader’s First Reformed leading the pack. I would also not be surprised to see Bo Burnham turn up in Original. The Favourite is NOT WGA eligible but it will show up at the Oscars, no doubt.
BlacKkKlansman, Green Book, A Star Is Born, If Beale Street Could Talk, Roma, First Man, Can You Ever Forgive Me, maybe even The Front Runner, considering the clout of the authors, could turn up here. But the WGA isn’t exactly a strong precursor for Best Picture. You have to show up at the PGA and DGA. Still, it does helps greatly to show up at the WGA.
So there you go, dear readers. All you need to know about what’s coming next. January is hellabusy.