As I've said before, we don't go nuts reporting on the Golden Globes. They're decided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), a group of only 81 members who are but ambiguously qualified to decide which films and filmmakers are most deserving of praise. (That being said, one of their members is, according to their website, named 'Alexander Nevsky,' which is pretty cool.) But they sometimes put on a pretty good show – not this year, but sometimes – so we live tweeted it. And while they don't offer any insight into the minds of actual Academy Awards voters, or anyone else directly involved in the entertainment industry, they do raise the visibility of certain films, filmmakers and actors, which can have an effect on the upcoming Oscar race. We'll get to the complete list of movie winners at this year's Golden Globes in a minute, but let's take a moment to figure out what the heck all of this means, if anything.
Again, as an Oscar predictor, the Golden Globes can serve to solidify momentum. That's about all they're good for, besides getting Ricky Gervais drunk and promoting the awful-looking romantic comedy The Vow, a commerical for which aired conspicuously after its star, Channing Tatum, presented an award. The Artist also ran a commercial after one of its big wins. What a coincidence. But I digress. The point is, this year they built momentum for multiple films at once, giving off mixed signals, if you will.
The Golden Globes split their movie awards into two genres for the Best Picture and Lead Actor/Actress categories, a practice which some people – like Judd Apatow – think the Oscars should adopt as well. Colin Firth won Best Actor in a Drama at the Golden Globes last year, and followed that up with a proper Academy Award win. Last year's Best Actor in a Comedy winner, Paul Giamatti, didn't even get an Oscar nomination, so the Golden Globes were at least part of the zeitgeist, helping to cement Firth as the most likely Academy Award winner. That can backfire however. This year, all of the Best Actor and Best Actress Golden Globe winners are considered heavy frontrunners for the Academy Awards. Jean Dujardin and George Clooney and Michelle Williams and Meryl Streep are probably going to be neck-and-neck come Oscar time. Thanks for nothing, Golden Globes. Oh, and My Week with Marilyn isn't a comedy or a musical, as anyone who's actually seen the film can atest. What the hell was up with that?
At best, these Golden Globe winners – with the exception of Supporting Actress winner Octavia Spencer, who seems like a sure thing at this point – show us that the Oscars this year are going to be one close f*cking race. Best Supporting Actor winner Christopher Plummer may have the edge over Drive's Albert Brooks, but Brooks is holding strong thanks to heavy critical support for his film, which seems unlikely to earn many other nominations. The Best Picture Awards were split between The Descendants (which, though acclaimed, seems like a long-shot for the top Oscar) and The Artist, which remains popular but is now seems to be enduring a slight critical shift from those who, like us, consider it a strong film but not a terribly significant one. The fact that Martin Scorsese took home Best Director for Hugo implies that his film won't be leaving the contenders list anytime soon either. And there's still War Horse, which seems to appeal strongly to older audiences, which includes a large chunk of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science's voting body, even though Spielberg was snubbed for Best Director at the Director's Guild of America awards.
The question right now isn't whether The Artist is the frontrunner, which it may now be, but who has the best chance of competing. There are two legitimate contenders for that second slot. If The Artist, Hugo and War Horse all get a strong collection of nominations, this could be the first legitimate three-film Oscar race since at least 2001, when A Beautiful Mind, Moulin Rouge and The Fellowship of the Ring were all in competition (In the Bedroom and Gosford Park were longshots), and possibly even since 1976, when Rocky, Network and All the President's Men and even Dog Day Afternoon were all up for the top honors, not to mention Bound for Glory. It's also equally likely that one of those films, possibly War Horse, will fail to get the nominations necessary to be a real contender. I'm just speculating right now. This is my Super Bowl.
So basically, we're back at square one. The Oscars are still anyone's game, at least until the Guild awards start pouring in, showing us where the actual Academy voters are leaning. We should probably just pretend this whole evening didn't happen, but here are the winners anyway.
BEST PICTURE (DRAMA) – The Descendants
BEST PICTURE (COMEDY) – The Artist
BEST ACTOR (DRAMA) – George Clooney, The Desendants
BEST ACTOR (COMEDY) – Jean Dujardin, The Artist
BEST ACTRESS (DRAMA) – Mery Streep, The Iron Lady
BEST ACTRESS (COMEDY) – Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Christopher Plummer, The Beginners
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Octavia Spencer, The Help
BEST DIRECTOR – Martin Scorsese, Hugo
BEST SCREENPLAY – Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
BEST ORIGINAL SONG – "Masterpiece," by Madonna, Julie Frost and Jimmy Harry, from W.E.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – Ludovic Bource, The Artist
BEST ANIMATED FILM – The Adventures of Tintin
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM – A Separation (Iran)