The 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards Waved the Middle Finger at Critical Consensus
We all known someone with that cornball uncle who shows up on Thanksgiving, drinks too many shots of Jimmy Beam, and then spouts nonsense like, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a better TV show than The Wire.” Nobody takes that dude seriously, but it’s fun watching him rant. The Golden Globes are the award show version of a crazy drunk uncle.
If you’ve ever watched the Golden Globes, then none of last night’s whacky-tacky awards recipients will phase you. The Golden Globes have a long history of unconventional nominations, placing selections in the wrong categories, and awarding underdogs. In 2016, The Martian won the award for Best Musical or Comedy in a field that included legit contenders like Spy and Trainwreck.
Part of the issue here is that the Golden Globes split the year’s most highly regarded films into two categories: Best Drama and Best Musical or Comedy. This tactic allows them to spotlight more movies and most importantly, give screen time to more Hollywood stars. In 2016, Matt Damon walked on stage to accept Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for The Martian, while Jennifer Lawrence won in the same category for her work in Joy. While each film had moments of levity, they are by no stretch of the imagination, comedies. At most shows that year, Damon and Lawrence wouldn’t stand a chance of winning.
It’s a poorly kept secret that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the Golden Globes’ voting body, is often seduced by star power. The HFPA consists of less than 100 members and thirsty nominees get out on the campaign trail to win over votes. This happens for other award shows too, but the HFPA’s small voting body translates to more winners springing out of left field. Compared to the Academy Awards, which has roughly 8000 voters, the Golden Globes voters have a much higher amount of influence per vote. It’s also easier for actors to campaign for their films in person when there are less than 100 people to schmooze with. This may account for why a Joe Blow performance from Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Nocturnal Animals beat out Mahershala Ali’s turn in Moonlight, and Jeff Bridges work in Hell or High Water.
Ok, enough ranting. Let’s talk about last night’s winners and losers.
2019 Golden Globes Motion Picture Categories
Best Motion Picture – Drama
Bohemian Rhapsody (WINNER)
If Beale Street Could Talk
A Star Is Born
A Star is Born versus Roma is shaping to be this year’s Moonlight versus La La Land. Roma is the critically adored “masterpiece,” that is both a beautiful and a wrenching watch. Whereas A Star is Born is a critically adored drama that is a commercial success and pop culture sensation. These two films haven’t always gone head to head because they sit in two different categories (Roma is listed here as Best Foreign Language Film) so A Star is Born was a lock to take home the night’s top prize. Well, the HFPA gives no F#<ks about critical praise and box office success. Instead, they went with a film rocking score of 62% on Rotten Tomatoes – with a whopping 128 rotten reviews.
SIDE NOTE: To its credit, Bohemian Rhapsody has a 90% audience score, showing that audiences aren’t as unforgiving. But since the HFPA is made up of actual critics, one expects their views would fall in line with the media.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate)
Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased)
Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) (WINNER)
John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)
This award is less of a surprise. The people I spoke with who are most critical of the film still praised Rami Malek’s performance as everyone’s favourite power balladeer, Freddie Mercury. It’s likely that Malek will also score a nomination for this year’s Academy Awards but don’t bet on him taking home the Oscar.
SIDE NOTE: The film’s tepid critical reception all but eliminates him from serious Oscar consideration.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Glenn Close (The Wife) (WINNER)
Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
Nicole Kidman (Destroyer)
Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Rosamund Pike (A Private War)
Look, no one will complain about handing out an award to one of America’s greatest working actresses. The only things more certain than Glenn Close delivering a rock-solid performance are death, taxes, and Trump administration blunders. The issue here is that her picture, The Wife, only earned $108,284 in its opening weekend. Choosing the best performance from the least popular film imaginable is the opposite of the Golden Globes’ process for selecting Bohemian Rhapsody’s Rami Malek.
SIDE NOTE: Close is the type of veteran who Academy members vote for based on her lifetime body of work. Despite nobody going to see The Wife, don’t be surprised if Close remains a strong contender in this year’s Best Actress category.
Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Crazy Rich Asians
Green Book (WINNER)
Mary Poppins Return
Green Book is a great film that has been marred by controversy. For the past several years, people have pushed back against award shows recognizing films that marginalize people of colour. People have lumped Green Book into the category of “white saviour,” movie and any discussion surrounding the film is prickly, to say the least. The safe bet is to avoid Green Book as though it’s a turd floating around in a public pool, but the Golden Globes doesn’t care about “the safe bet.” Not only did Green Book win the Best Picture award, but it also took home more awards (three) than any other movie or TV show.
SIDE NOTE: This is, after all, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and their perspective on Green Book is through the lens of being outsiders to America’s social strife. This may explain why they’re more forgiving of Green Book’s “perceived flaws.”
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns)
Olivia Colman (The Favourite) (WINNER)
Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade)
Charlize Theron (Tully)
Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians)
Olivia Coleman’s selection here is no surprise. She’s been the odds-on favourite ever since The Favourite dropped in theatres. She wasn’t facing the stiffest competition in this category either. Fisher is too young and raw; Theron’s performance is too far removed from the pop culture conversation (Tully premiered at Sundance back in January); Wu’s nomination is for a popcorn flick.
SIDE NOTE: Don’t expect Close’s Golden Globes momentum to derail Coleman’s journey to centre stage on Oscar night.
Best Director – Motion Picture
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Alfonso Cuarón (Roma) (WINNER)
Peter Farrelly (Green Book)
Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
Adam McKay (Vice)
Alfonso Cuarón is a seasoned director who has already won major awards, but the Golden Globes have a history of being early adopters of the newest, shiniest, talent leaving their mark on Hollywood. Bradley Cooper certainly fits that bill. Critics are toting Roma as a modern masterpiece, but when considering its odds of beating A Star is Born, you might as well flip a coin. A win here is not a surprise.
SIDE NOTE: What’s notable here is that Bohemian Rhapsody’s director Bryan Singer didn’t earn a nomination despite his film winning Best Picture. You can make the case Singer’s exclusion is because the Time’s Up movement derailed his career, or that he wasn’t showing up to work on this picture. What’s most likely, though, is that he just did a poor job and released a middle-of-the-road movie.
Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
Never Look Away
No surprise here. Shoplifters remains a strong contender and look for it to snag some award season hardware in any category where it isn’t up against Roma.
SIDE NOTE: It’s possible that Roma may receive some anti-Netflix backlash that will help Shoplifters take home the top prize.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale (Vice) (WINNER)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns)
Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)
Robert Redford (The Old Man & the Gun)
John C. Reilly (Stan & Ollie)
Didn’t we just go through this last year with Gary Oldman playing Winston Churchill? I find it troubling that throwing on a fat suit and imitating craggy old white men is all it takes to impress award voters. Did anyone love Darkest Hour? Was anyone moved by Bale’s performance in Vice?
SIDE NOTE: Think about this: is it more impressive to throw on prosthetics and impersonate someone or train for a year to fly helicopters, brawl with martial artists, and Halo jump out of a plane from 25,000 feet up? You make the call.
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)
Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara (The Favourite)
Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Adam McKay (Vice)
Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie (“Green Book”) (WINNER)
Green Book is at once funny and poignant and approaches its difficult subject matter in a way that’s easy for audiences to swallow. Do I have a problem with Green Book? No. I do find it odd that this film beat out superior choices like The Favourite and If Beale Street Could Talk. Is Green Book an accurate depiction of the relationship between the two men depicted in the movie? Not at all. But since when have films had to be accurate recreations of what happened in order to entertain us. We expect films to take artistic liberties because real life isn’t as exciting as cinema, and complex relationships can’t be condensed into simple two-hour stories.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Mahershala Ali (Green Book) (WINNER)
Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy)
Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman)
Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Sam Rockwell (Vice)
Mahershala Ali is a great actor who turns in a memorable performance in a fiercely debated role. Removed from Green Book’s controversies, this is a solid choice.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Amy Adams (Vice)
Claire Foy (First Man)
Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) (WINNER)
Emma Stone (The Favourite)
Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)
Regina King delivers a masterful performance in If Beale Street Could Talk. She’s the emotional lynchpin in a film bursting with feeling.
SIDE NOTE: Each lady in this category is deserving of recognition except Claire Foy, who has little to do in First Man.
Best Oiginal Song – Motion Picture
All the Stars (Black Panther)
Girl in the Movies (Dumplin’)
Requiem For a Private War (A Private War)
Revelation’ (Boy Erased)
Shallow (A Star Is Born) (WINNER)
Not even the Golden Globes could blunder this category. Shallow is destined to sweep the award show circuit.
Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Marco Beltrami (A Quiet Place)
Alexandre Desplat (Isle of Dogs)
Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther)
Justin Hurwitz (First Man) (WINNER)
Marc Shaiman (Mary Poppins Returns)
This award felt like Mary Poppins Returns’ to lose. That is until I realized that Lin-Manuel Miranda had little to do with writing and producing the film’s score.
Best Motion Picture – Animated
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet”
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (WINNER)
Each year, Pixar dominates the award circuit’s animation categories, so it’s a surprise here to see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse take home the hardware. Working against the film; it’s not a box office juggernaut, and it made its debut late in the year when voters are frantically catching up on titles they missed. Factor in the audience fatigue surrounding Spider-Man movies and Spider-Verse’s success is even more spectacular.
2019 Golden Globes Television Categories
Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
The Alienist (TNT)
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story (FX) (WINNER)
Escape at Dannemora (Showtime)
Sharp Objects (HBO)
A Very English Scandal (Amazon)
Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
The Good Place (NBC)
The Kominsky Method (Netflix) (WINNER)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Kristen Bell (The Good Place)
Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown)
Alison Brie (Glow)
Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) (WINNER)
Debra Messing (Will & Grace)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Antonio Banderas (Genius: Picasso)
Daniel Bruhl (The Alienist)
Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story) (WINNER)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Patrick Melrose)
Hugh Grant (A Very English Scandal)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Patricia Clarkson (Sharp Objects) (WINNER)
Penelope Cruz (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story)
Thandie Newton (Westworld)
Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama
Caitriona Balfe (Outlander)
Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Sandra Oh (Killing Eve) (WINNER)
Julia Roberts (Homecoming)
Keri Russell (The Americans)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Amy Adams (Sharp Objects)
Patricia Arquette (Escape at Dannemora) (WINNER)
Connie Britton (Dirty John)
Laura Dern (The Tale)
Regina King (Seven Seconds)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Alan Arkin (The Kominsky Method)
Kieran Culkin (Succession)
Edgar Ramirez (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story)
Ben Whishaw (A Very English Scandal) (WINNER)
Henry Winkler (Barry)
Best Television Series – Drama
The Americans (WINNER)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama
Jason Bateman (Ozark)
Stephan James (Homecoming)
Richard Madden (Bodyguard) (WINNER)
Billy Porter (Pose)
Matthew Rhys (The Americans)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Sacha Baron Cohen (Who Is America?)
Jim Carrey (Kidding)
Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method) (WINNER)
Donald Glover (Atlanta)
Bill Hader (Barry)
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