In terms of movies, it was a very good night Sunday at the Golden Globes for the traditional major studios. Universal, Warner Bros, Sony and Paramount grabbing nine of the 14 Globes won last night in the film categories, as opposed to the streamers with just one. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association seems to be telling us to put the revolution on hold for one more year, at least as far as that group is concerned.
That one lone streaming win went to Netflix for Supporting Actress Laura Dern’s victory for Marriage Story. The streamer came in with a leading 17 nominations (after a leading 17 nominations in TV too, with a similarly disheartening single win – for The Crown’s Olivia Colman – there). Three Netflix films — The Irishman, The Two Popes, and Dolemite Is My Name — were shut out last night. There is no way to put a good light on that showing, but the great thing for Netflix is that tomorrow is another day, and that is when nominations will be announced for BAFTAs, the DGAs and PGAs, and the streamer is expected to be a major factor.
Nevertheless, the knives will be out in some quarters who view the Best Picture victories of Universal’s 1917 in Drama, and Sony’s Once Upon a Time In Hollywood in Musical/Comedy, as a triumph of the movie-going experience over streaming, and certainly gives them, at least temporarily, that all important momentum going forward to the Oscar race: Nominations are announced next Monday, with voting still going on until Tuesday at 5 PM PT.
Considering the short window AMPAS voters have had to deal with since getting their ballots on Thursday, a much higher number of voters than normal are thought to still be waiting to turn them in. What impact the Globe wins will have is not known, but I would venture to say probably more influence than usual.
Netflix, which has been increasing its Oscar victories year by year, is looking to take Best Picture, just as it is still looking win a major program category at the Emmys. What anti-Netflix sentiment still resides in the Academy in terms of giving them a Best Picture victory will be interesting to contemplate as the race continues, but I got one email last night from a very plugged-in and well-known Oscar voter, a past member of leadership of the organization, who was thrilled with the Globes results: “How exciting – Theatrical Motion Pictures won the Globes. Even though Netflix is spending $100 M dollars to try to win awards, the Globes recognized theatrical films, made for the big screen !! Streaming can have their own awards and awards show. But not the OSCARS !!” Ouch.
Although the Globes weren’t kind to Netflix this year in terms of wins, I don’t think it was intentional. The HFPA increasingly marches to its own drummer and votes simply for what they like. They didn’t dislike the Netflix films, they just simply liked some others a little more. In several conversations with HFPA members this weekend, it was abundantly clear there was no slam dunk, with voters mentioning 1917, Joker, Taron Egerton and Once Upon a Time In Hollywood far more frequently than presumed frontrunners like critics favorite The Irishman, where director Martin Scorsese was thought at least to be heading for a Directing win (and if not him, Parasite’s Bong Joon Ho). Instead, Parasite got an expected Foreign Language win and that was it, while 1917’s Sam Mendes pulled off one of the bigger surprises of the night winning for Directing in addition to Motion Picture – Drama.
The champagne corks were popping at the NBCUniversal party at the Waldorf Astoria which went well into the night; when I arrived after 10 PM it was still going strong. It was like déjà vu — this was the same venue where just one year ago the same groups, Universal and DreamWorks, were celebrating big Globe wins for Green Book, and now history was seemingly repeating itself. Of course, Green Book went on to win at the Oscars in the same categories it won at the Globes, so this is considered a very good sign, especially in a shortened season where 1917 is a late bloomer and doesn’t open wide until this Friday.
When I caught up with Mendes, who was getting lots of congrats in a booth near the back of the restaurant, he said he was still surprised but emphasized how huge this was for his movie in advance of its nationwide break later this week. “It is different that when I went through all this before 20 years ago with American Beauty. That had been out for months already, but with this film most people haven’t had the chance to see it so this is going to mean a lot for us,” he told me. Stars George McKay and Dean-Charles Chapman were also taking it all in and didn’t know quite what to think as this was all very new to them, but I can tell you they were having a great time at the party and their first Golden Globes.
You might recall it was just a couple of days after Green Book’s big showing at the Globes last year that negative press started mysteriously appearing. Once you become a frontrunner in this Oscar campaign day and age, rivals start to find ways to bring you down a notch, no different than it is in a political primary. That is exactly the spot the Oscar race is in right now as every week will bring several new opportunities to tip the scales. Hopefully this year things stay above board and we don’t see any film “Greenbooked.” Right now what the Globes has done is blown this race wide open and changed it up, so I see the chance for several different twists ahead.
Sony was the big winner of the night, film-wise, and the studio didn’t even thrown a party like Warner Bros, Universal and Netflix did. But it didn’t matter as Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, with three victories, set itself up nicely to continue the momentum it has had all season long, despite opening back in July. PR reps for the film aren’t looking to give that up and sent around an email this morning reminding us that the movie isn’t eligible for one of today’s WGA nominations as none of Tarantino’s films — he doesn’t make them under the guild’s MBA, and the guild disqualifies anyone that doesn’t. It is expected to figure heavily in both PGA and DGA contests as well as BAFTA when those are announced tomorrow. No time to rest on your Globe victories when there is so much more to come. In an email sent studiowide last night , Sony Pictures chief Tom Rothman shared his ebullient mood with his colleagues that read in part:
Tonight, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood won the most Golden Globes of any film and Sony Pictures won the most theatrical awards of any studio. The film’s three major awards include Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy – a testament to the vitality of original content, and the product of brilliance in front of and behind the camera. Quentin Tarantino also won for Best Screenplay, and Brad Pitt for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. Please join me in congratulating the many inspired filmmakers who worked so long and hard on this incredible film…”
Sony is looking for its first Best Picture Oscar win since last taking it with The Last Emperor 32 long years ago. The studio also has Little Women and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood in the mix.
And while there is no time to rest on Globe victories, the opposite of that might be true in that there is also no time for Netflix to mourn its losses; in this kind of season, you just move straight ahead and put it in the rear-view mirror. That seemed to be what they were doing at Netflix’s packed and very lively and fun after party at the Hilton last night. This was the starriest after-party I saw going on, because win or lose Netflix is a place to be, and a place to be employed, for many in Hollywood these days. The entire Irishman gang was gathered around each other in the middle of the cavernous tented party where Once Upon a Time In Hollywood’s Leonardo DiCaprio (who lost Best Actor – Comedy or Musical to Rocketman’s Taron Egerton) was huddled with longtime collaborator Scorsese. His Globe-winning co-star Pitt was among many others who celebrated by going to the Netflix bash.
The Marriage Story group was also in high spirits celebrating Dern’s win, again the lone one for Netflix in movies. Marriage Story had come into the night with the most nominations, but at least walked away with something, unlike Irishman. PR reps were trying to justify the results by asking partygoers if they even remember who won at the Globes two years ago. “What the hell happened?” one producer asked me before being pulled back into the crush of people that was so thick it was impossible to navigate.
In answer to the question of who won before at the Globes two years ago, I can say I do remember (OK, well I looked it up). Neither Best Picture Globe winner that year, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri or Lady Bird, went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars which went to The Shape of Water. However, the Globes gave that film Best Director, which it also won at the Oscars, and all four Oscar-winning actors first won at the Globes. Last year it was even better as the Globes matched just about every eventual Oscar winner in the categories they share in common. That is an enviable track record in recent years as the Golden Globes have tried for real legitimacy in trying to erase past memories of winners that don’t exactly stand the test of time. This year they have anointed a group of acting winners that look very likely to repeat their speeches at SAG and then at the Oscars including now front-runners Joaquin Phoenix, Renee Zellweger, Brad Pitt and Dern.
Comedy/Musical winners Egerton and The Farewell’s Awkwafina received a tremendous boost in their quest for Oscar nominations, not an easy layup for either, but with two days left of Oscar voting their stock has gone up thanks to the Globes. And how great was it to see Awkwafina make history as the first person of Asian descent to win in her category?
Overall I thought it was a fun show, host Ricky Gervais was blissfully politically incorrect and distasteful (but funny if you ask me). I loved the surprises, including a well-deserved shocker for Laika with its Missing Link win in Animated Feature. Two highlights were the special awards given to Tom Hanks and Ellen DeGeneres, which makes you wish the Oscars would once again include an honorary career award or two on its broadcast rather than relegating them to a separate non-televised ceremony every year.
So now that its over we can move on in a busy week that includes the National Board of Review, New York Film Critics Circle and Los Angeles Film Critics ceremonies, the aforementioned WGA (just announced), PGA, DGA and BAFTA nominations, and culminating Sunday with the big televised Critics’ Choice Awards where leading nominee The Irishman with 14 nominations and Little Women with nine will try to make a comeback in the race, and Globe winners like Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, 1917, and Joker will try to turn up the heat on the eve of Oscar nominations.
“Fasten your seatbelts” as Bette Davis so memorably said in the Oscar-winning All About Eve.