What Do the Golden Globes Mean for the Academy Awards?

The biggest surprise about this year's Golden Globe winners? How unsurprising they were. In a year in which the critical and awards acclaim isn't being spread around very much, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association didn't challenge what has been shaping up as a party line among those who watch a lot of movies and think about what's best among the year's offerings.

I personally think it's a shame when almost everyone agrees like this, and particularly about a movie that I'm not as rapturous about as my peers are: The Social Network is a darn good film, just not one of the very best of the year, as far as I'm concerned. But with the Globes crowning of it as Best Picture, as well as deeming it the best directed film -- by David Fincher -- and the one with the best screenplay -- by Aaron Sorkin -- it seems inevitable that the film will also win the Oscars in those slots, too. Not that the Academy always follows the Globes' lead, because it doesn't, but just because the kudos have been almost unanimous this year, and the Globes just solidify it even more. So while it's true that the members of the Academy had to have their nominations ballots in before the Globes were handed out on Sunday night, it'll still be stunning if those nominations -- which will be announced on Tuesday, January 25 -- don't sound like the best-of lists we've been hearing for months.

Is there honestly any doubt, at this point, that Globe winners for Best Actor and Best Actress -- Colin Firth for The King's Speech and Natalie Portman for Black Swan -- will be not only Oscar nominees but Oscar winners? Yeah, they're great, and I really think they do represent the best performances of the year, but we could do with a bit of controversy, a bit of upset. About the only snippets of suspense we can manufacture for our award-loving selves at the moment is a smidgen of hope that, say, Geoffrey Rush might take the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The King's Speech, instead of the Globe's Christian Bale for The Fighter...

If that's all we get, I'll take it. The awards barely feel like contests this year, just foregone conclusions.

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MaryAnn Johanson accepts awards on behalf of FlickFilosopher.com. (email me)