With the Golden Globe nominations out Tuesday morning (December 14), the awards-season horse race is fully upon us. The announcements delivered on expectations ("The King's Speech" and "The Social Network" continued to perform well) and offered more than a few surprises (all that "Tourist" love and none for "True Grit"?).
So what do we know now that we didn't know before the Globe announcements? Which films are on solid footing and which ones saw hopes dashed? And how much does this show really matter to the overall awards-season picture? We talked to some industry experts to get their takes on the big takeaways from the Globe nominations:
Awards Season Might Be a Two-Horse Race
No one who's been paying attention to awards season should be surprised that "King's Speech" nabbed the most Globe nominations, including nods for Best Motion Picture - Drama and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama. As David Poland of Movie City News pointed out, "It has been the Oscar front-runner since Toronto. No change here, except in media perception."
Nor should anyone have expected anything less than a strong showing for "The Social Network," which has been dominating critics awards and garnered six Globe nominations (one behind "King's Speech"). Where it gets interesting is how this leaves the rest of the field — possibly out of luck.
"I think we do have a two-horse race as far as the overall awards season goes," Dave Karger of Entertainment Weekly said.
That could leave other hopefuls like "Black Swan" invited to the party, but without a shot to bring home the top prize.
"The Fighter" Has Tons of Momentum
Though the Best Picture Oscar might be a fight between "King's Speech" and "Social Network," we can't discount how strongly "The Fighter" performed with the Globes: Its six nominations tie it for second place with "Social Network."
"Fighter" had remained an awards-season hopeful in best picture and supporting actor categories, but few prognosticators expected the film to nab not only a picture nod at the Globes, but nominations in all four acting categories and Best Director. That puts the film in a very strong position going forward.
"Of all the movies coming out at the end of the year, that's the one that has the most momentum," Karger said. "For all four castmembers to get nominations, plus the director and the movie, that just showed that this is a movie that is really on the rise."
"True Grit" Is Hurt But Not Dead
The Globes' biggest surprise (besides perhaps the strange love shown for "The Tourist") is that "True Grit" was completely shut out. The Coen brothers-directed Western had been an Oscar darling, expected to rope in a slew of high-profile nominations. But the Hollywood Foreign Press Association thoroughly rejected the film. Are its Oscar chances dead as well? Don't count on it.
" 'True Grit' is far from dead — remember 'Crash,' " Poland said, citing the 2004 film that didn't get a Best Picture nod at the Globes but ended up winning the Best Picture Oscar. "Its fate will be determined by public reaction, not critics groups and Globe hacks."
Similarly, the Coen brothers' "'No Country for Old Men" didn't win the Globes' top drama prize but did triumph at the Oscars. The takeaway, according to Karger, is that the HFPA members simply "don't worship the Coen brothers like movie critics and the Academy."
"The fact that it didn't get anything is surprising," he added. "But international journalists probably don't feel the same reverence for the Western genre that the Academy probably will. I still think 'True Grit' is a decent bet for a Best Picture nominee."
The Globes Don't Make a Very Good Oscar Predictor
The important thing to remember in all of this is the Globes are historically a fairly poor indicator of what's going to happen at the Oscars. At the last Globes, "Avatar" won Best Motion Picture - Drama but lost out to "The Hurt Locker" at the Oscars. At the 2008 show, "Atonement" won big, only to lose to "No Country for Old Men" at the Oscars. The list goes on and on.
"The Golden Globes is a perfect predictor of who semi-retired foreign journalists think will be Oscar nominated and who they want on their red carpet," Poland said. "Only to the extent that they are reading tea leaves does it mean much in the Oscar race."
Did the Golden Globe nominations surprise you? Share your biggest shockers in the comments!
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