The Golden Globes awards are on Sunday evening, officially kicking off the chaos that is awards season. The Shape of Water leads the way with seven nominations, while hit horror movie Get Out has the curious distinction of being among with nominees for Best Musical or Comedy.
Traditionally, the Globes are often seen as a precursor to The Oscars, with the awards giving us an idea of who is winning in the race to win Hollywood’s most prestigious prize however, for a great number of reasons, the Golden Globes are actually superior to the bloated, problematic Academy Awards.
First things first – the Oscars are a mess, and have been for some time. After two years of backlash for the lack of diversity in the acting and directing categories, this year’s ceremony looked to be celebrating a wider range of cinematic achievement by awarding Moonlight the Best Picture award.
Except the organisers handed over the wrong envelope, and the whole thing became a farce; Barry Jenkins’ beautiful, heart-wrenching film is now forever tied to that chaotic moment and images of Warren Beatty looking a bit confused.
Luckily, the Globes don’t deal in this kind of disorganisation.
While industry analysts are warning that the Oscars may have another diversity scandal on their hands, the Golden Globes have included a variety of actors and performances in their nominations for the past few years. The exclusion of any women in the Best Director category has raised a few eyebrows (particularly as many saw Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig as a real contender this year), but compared to its more controversial counterpart it is a far more inclusive ceremony.
Part of that advantage is the wider range of categories that make much more sense.
In general, the idea of a ‘Best’ film is absolutely ridiculous, given the subjective nature of cinema. We end up in situations like this year’s Oscars, where Moonlight and La La Land went head to head despite being completely different films. It’s not something that happens in other industries – Taylor Swift doesn’t fight it out with classical artists for Grammys, Newsnight and The Only Way Is Essex aren’t vying for the same TV awards.
The way the Globes deals with this is by having two categories for Best Film – Drama, and Musical or Comedy, meaning Moonlight and La La Land were both celebrated this year.
It’s not a perfect system, and does lead to some odd nominations, but allows for films that don’t fit the awards movie mould to get the spotlight.
Sure, Get Out is not strictly a musical or a comedy, but its nomination in that category gives it a better chance than if it were nominated alongside heavyweights like Steven Spielberg’s The Post.
Equally, Emma Stone winning Best Actress (Musical Or Comedy) last year meant Isabelle Huppert’s magnificent performance in Elle could get recognised in the drama category.
In short, the Globes tend to be more about the movies, and the same goes for the ceremony in general.
Where the Oscars has long musical interludes, sketches, celebrity selfies and all kinds of other filler, the Globes are often to-the-point and a little more informal, with the audiences seated at dinner tables rather than in a theatre.
It’s also less prone to catastrophe, with the only headlines coming from a politically motivated speech by a winner or a clumsy joke from a host. It may not be as much fun for gossip lovers, but for movie purists the Golden Globes are a much purer celebration.