What a difference a date change makes. Pushing up the Oscar ballot deadline, and the Oscars themselves, has thrust the Oscar race into chaos. Before ballots are turned in, the only awards happening in time to have any influence will be the Golden Globes. This has always been kind of true with the Globes functioning as kind of a dress rehearsal for the Oscars, but it is especially true this year with many of the major guild influencers taken out of the equation, at least for nominations.
Here’s a reminder of how the compressed calendar looks:
Globes voting window — November 26-December 6 (10 days)
Nominations announced December 9
DGA voting window – December 2 – January 6 (roughly a month)
Nominees Announced January 7
WGA voting window – December 9 – January 2 (roughly a month)
Nominees announced January 6
PGA voting window – December 12 – January 6 (roughly a month)
Nominees announced January 7
SAG voting window – now through December 6 (two weeks)
Nominees announced December 11
Oscar voting window – Jan 2 – Jan 7 (less than a week)
Nominations announced January 13
What else will happen between now and the ballot deadline for the Globes? The National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics announce their choices. The Los Angeles Film Critics will announce shortly thereafter.
But the biggest influence by far will be the Golden Globe and SAG nominations. Both are coming early in December and both will be big public events with lots of stars attending. And red carpet, red carpet, red carpet.
This is a year of very big stars in big Oscar movies, like Bombshell with Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie and Nicole Kidman – can you imagine just those three alone on the red carpet? Doesn’t it seem likely that they might show up at the Globes? Then there is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio showing up on the red carpet. And of course Dolemite Is My Name with Eddie Murphy. Ford v Ferrari with Christian Bale and Matt Damon. The Irishman with literal living legends, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci walking the red carpet. How do you top that? Think about the excitement that will bring, just seeing them show up?
And then to have Joaquin Phoenix saunter in with a billion dollar international box office take? Then Scarlett Johansson for Jojo Rabbit along with Sam Rockwell, and Marriage Story with Adam Driver and Laura Dern, the Little Women ensemble, Saoirse Ronan, Laura Dern, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh. The Two Popes’ Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce.
Not to mention 1917’s Big Fish – Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Andrew Scott, and Richard Madden? Sherlock and Mr. Darcy with the Fleabag and Bodyguard heartthrobs? Not to mention the film’s actual stars George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman. You have to hand it to Sam Mendes and Universal for turning out a massive war epic with two stars who aren’t yet household names. That’s faith, devotion, and commitment.
Of course, the Golden Globes divide the films and lead acting categories into two groups – Drama and Musical/Comedy, but we don’t yet know the film that will emerge to redefine the race as we know it.
Last year the Globes put Bohemian Rhapsody in the race in a really big way, in a way that most people who were reading the race weren’t. What movie will they push into the top categories that people are underestimating?
My best guess is that they will likely pick the following films:
Top Tier – Drama:
1917 – There are going to be groups that really get this movie and groups that don’t. The more you know and appreciate about the Great War, the more you will appreciate this film. The deeper you dive into what that war meant, the more the Mendes masterpiece will resonate. I suspect that the Globe voters, as well as the BAFTA voters, will get it a lot more than Americans who aren’t all that knowledgable about it. We know a lot more about WWII than WWI. This is the kind of film Globe voters tend to cherish – sweeping epics with strong emotional impact.
The Irishman – Of course they love Martin Scorsese, and they will appreciate this very deep and sober look at the life of a mobster. They like Scorsese anyway — even rapid-fire vulgar Scorsese — but they will respond to this film because it is such a graceful downshift for The Professor.
The Two Popes or Marriage Story – Is there any chance they don’t go for The Two Popes? Sure. They might go for Marriage Story instead, but with only five slots for drama for Netflix, are they going to fill up three of them with Netflix and ignore the other studios? I don’t think so. Maybe. Maybe they’ll like Marriage Story better than this, but The Two Popes just led the AARP nominations and it seems right up Globes’ alley. This film, with these stars, and this subject matter seems almost like it was tailor made for this voting group. In fact, it might LEAD the Globe nominations with Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Screenplay.
Little Women or Bombshell – I do not think both will get in. Both are all female casts with big stars but Bombshell’s stars are bigger and something about it makes me think the Globes are going to go for it. But they just as easily could go for Little Women, which is probably going to slide into a Best Picture nomination. But I do think these two films will be an either/or situation. I could be wrong, of course, maybe both get in.
Ford v Ferrari – I’m betting on this right now as a long shot even though it isn’t a Gold Derby favorite. But it’s such a warm-hearted crowd-pleaser with an international cast. This could be the movie the Globes elevate in the race that the pundits really aren’t. There is always one. Maybe it’s this, maybe it isn’t. Who knows.
Joker – This is such a monster of a blockbuster and so many people love it, even if it is divisive. But remember, the studio also matters and this could be the Warner Bros. get, though that could also be Richard Jewell or Just Mercy.
A Hidden Life could get a MAJOR boost here which would kickstart it into the race in a big way.
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
In the Musical / Comedy Category, I suspect they might go:
Jojo Rabbit – The sweet, funny comedy could do a lot better at the Globes, especially in the acting categories but also with director and screenplay. There aren’t a lot of feel good movies in the race, but this one makes you feel good. It makes you feel FREE. And is an uplifting delight as much as it is wicked in its humor.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – They love Tarantino anyway but this film is – I really do believe – his best. It, too, is a crowd-pleaser. If you’ve ever seen it with a big crowd you’ll know that. Big stars, big director. It seems like it could land in most of the categories.
Dolemite Is My Name – With three of the four Netflix movies in drama, there is no such conflict here in Comedy/Musical. It could do very well considering it’s yet another massive crowd-pleaser. And like the two above films it has a happy, satisfying ending. Eddie Murphy could do well in the lead acting category, though he does have to go up against Leo, whom they adore.
Rocketman – It’s an actual musical, not just a film with music in it. This is another film that could land hard here and earn nominations across the board, like Bohemian Rhapsody did. And it too could be elevated and pushed into the Best Picture/Best Actor race if the Globes start that train.
Knives Out or Uncut Gems – Both of these movies are, I think, fighting for that fifth slot. Conventional wisdom says Knives Out will have the edge there and that could be right. It’s a movie that is pro-immigrant, anti-Trump in a very overt fashion. It could be one of the films the Globes elevate. Although let it be known that Uncut Gems hit the AARP too, surprisingly, and the Spirits as well. It might be one that continues its streak as it barrels towards the Oscars.
Peanut Butter Falcon
Blinded by the Light
What do you think, oh wise Oscarwatchers?