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The Golden Globe Winners, and What They Mean for Oscar (or Don't)

by Rob Gonsalves

Did you watch the fabulous, star-studded Golden Globes ceremony? Yeah, neither did I. Normally I don't bother with it anyway, but this year, due to the writers' strike, the proceedings were whittled down to a press conference that lasted all of sixty minutes. (Hey, maybe the strike will go on long enough to inflict comparable brevity on the Oscars.) So the glitzy, cheesy point of watching the thing had vanished, leaving only the data, which we all picked up on the wire within minutes.

For inveterate Oscar-watchers like me, the Globes are kinda-sorta a dry run for the Oscars the last major award given for the year in cinema before the Oscar nomination-and-speculation machine cranks into full gear. Being interested in such useless topics, I hereby present my thoughts on this year's Globe winners (leaving out the more minor categories, as well as the TV awards, obviously) and their possible impact, or lack thereof, on who and what will win Oscars.

The winners, briefly:

Best Picture, Drama: Atonement
Best Picture, Musical or Comedy: Sweeney Todd
Best Director: Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Best Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Best Actor, Drama: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Best Actor, Musical/Comedy: Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd
Best Actress, Drama: Julie Christie, Away from Her
Best Actress, Musical/Comedy: Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There
Best Foreign-Language Film: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Best Animated Feature: Ratatouille

- So Atonement won Best Picture, Drama. That's nice. Tell that to Babel, Brokeback Mountain, The Aviator, The Hours, Saving Private Ryan, Sense and Sensibility, and all the other winners in this category that did not go on to win the Best Picture Oscar. This gives Atonement a push, but not much of one; whatever heat it may have enjoyed has cooled by now, and the fact that it won Best Picture from the same organization that gave an award to Pia Zadora doesn't make it a stronger challenger to No Country for Old Men or There Will Be Blood, the titans that will clash on Oscar night.

- Sweeney Todd fans hoping that their favorite Sondheim splatter flick will win a Best Picture Oscar just got denied. The film has now won a Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy, and only ten such winners have gone on to nab a Best Picture Oscar since 1951.

- Johnny Depp is similarly out of luck: only five winners of the Best Actor, Musical or Comedy have gone on to win a Best Actor Oscar. Depp won't be number six, especially since he'll be up against the behemoth known as Daniel Day-Lewis. The track record for Best Actress, Musical or Comedy is similar, though not as bleak; still, goodbye Marion Cotillard, hello Julie Christie.

- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is probably still the front-runner: twenty-three winners of the Globe for Best Foreign-Language Film have gone on to win the Best Foreign-Language Oscar. [EDIT: Well, not really. Turns out Diving Bell won't be submitted for Oscar consideration in the Foreign category (neither will The Kite Runner). So what this does is to give Diving Bell a stronger shot at a Best Picture nomination.]

- Cate Blanchett might seem to have an Oscar shot for I'm Not There, since the last two winners in that Globe category have also won an Oscar. But she also just won an Oscar in the same category a few years ago for The Aviator. Then again, that didn't stop the Academy from giving Best Actor to Tom Hanks two years in a row. Then again again, Cate's up for an artsy flick few people have seen. I wouldn't be surprised if Laura Linney snuck in here and won for The Savages; granted, that's also an artsy film few people have seen, but Linney is well-liked and well-respected, and it just might be her time.

- You knew this already, but Javier Bardem might as well start picking out a place on his mantle for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Of the winners in this category at the Globes, a large percentage have also won the Oscar, so I expect Bardem to follow suit for his indelible walking-death character in No Country for Old Men. Bardem will also be the first Spaniard to win the Oscar in this category.

- Daniel Day-Lewis? There is no surer thing this year. Even before There Will Be Blood came out, the Oscar buzz around his performance was deafening. And even if the historical ratio of Globe Best Actors to Oscar Best Actors weren't so close to exact, Day-Lewis has too much momentum behind him and will be drinking everyone's milkshake in February.

- Ratatouille will most likely repeat its Best Animated Feature triumph at the Oscars. This is a new category for the Oscars (inaugurated in 2001), and even moreso for the Globes, which only birthed the category last year. The only thing I can say is that Cars won the Globe last year while Happy Feet won the Oscar, though that environmentally conscious 'puter-toon might've been caught up in the "This Is Oscar's Green Year" sweep that also took in An Inconvenient Truth. Generally, Oscar likes Pixar, and as much as I'd love to see Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters win, I'd say this one is Ratatouille's to lose. Which it won't.

- Weird: The Globes split up Best Picture into Drama and Musical/Comedy, but they only have one Screenplay award. Therefore, two entirely different skill sets banging out an original script, and adapting someone else's work (or, sometimes, one's own work) are thrown into competition with each other. So you get a note-perfect adaptation like the Coens' No Country for Old Men up against a charming quirkfest like Diablo Cody's Juno. (Indeed, Juno was the only original screenplay in competition at the Globes this year.) Still, a win at the Globes for Best Screenplay which this year went to the Coens usually results in a win at the Oscars in whichever category applies. So, chalk up a victory for the Coen brothers in the Adapted category (unless Paul Thomas Anderson wins in an upset for There Will Be Blood). As for Best Original, my money's on that shy, retiring, publicity-averse Brook Busey, better known to the kids as Diablo Cody.

- Will the Coens also win Best Director(s), though? Thirty-six helmers who won Globes ended up winning the Oscar as well. This trend isn't always consistent earlier this decade, such Globe winners as Ang Lee (for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Robert Altman (Gosford Park) and Martin Scorsese (Gangs of New York) didn't repeat their successes at the Oscars. Since 2003, though, it's been a pretty reliable barometer. This would seem to be good news for Julian Schnabel, who now has a Best Director Globe ... until you remember that his film, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, will almost certainly not win a Best Picture Oscar. And it's very rare for a movie to win a Best Director Oscar if it doesn't also win Best Picture. My guess? The Academy will give it to the Coens here as well, making them the first brother team to take it, and ensuring they'll never have to write a wrestling picture for Wallace Beery.

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originally posted: 01/14/08 16:37:45
last updated: 01/15/08 02:11:21
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