The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a very different voting body than the Academy, with no overlap—so trying to glean any Oscar information from the Golden Globe Awards is often an exercise in futility. But we’re going to attempt to anyway, because it’s awards season, and this is just what we do during awards season. So let’s take a look at what, if anything, Sunday night’s Globe winners indicate about Oscar futures.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is the front-runner again. Unless it’s been the front-runner since it won the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, and was only discounted by the doubting Thomases and snobs who propel awards-season punditry. Or, unless its win with the Hollywood Foreign Press says more about that group’s makeup—foreign, friendly to non-American auteurs—than the film’s overall awards-season chances. Or, unless The Shape of Water, which won the director prize, is the actual big winner of the night. Or maybe it was the comedy winner, Lady Bird.
The only thing that has been certain in this up-and-down season is how uncertain everything is—and despite the undeniably big night had by Three Billboards (four wins!), that remains true. As noted by our friend Joe Reid at Decider, Barbra Streisand’s elation may be indicative of strong support for the film among Hollywood insiders, who see it as a dark and complex tale of female anger, and are unbothered by the accusations of racism that continue to follow it. And the sea of black dresses at the Globes proved that the narrative of the awards season will be driven by female voices and quests for justice, both of which Three Billboards offers by the boatload. But the Golden Globes and the Oscars don’t match up as often as you think; this decade, three of their best-drama winners have gone on to win best picture, and four have not. There’s still a lot of time to go before Oscar night, and Three Billboards will have to work hard to keep pole position in the female-driven narrative of the season—particularly with Lady Bird and its female writer-director right there next to it.
Guillermo del Toro’s win at the Globes doesn’t much change the tone or temperature of the best director Oscar race. Though the Globes and the Academy Awards do sync up on this category with some frequency, there are also plenty of instances to point to—Ben Affleck winning a Globe for best director and then failing to even get an Oscar nomination, Richard Linklater winning at the Globes for Boyhood instead of eventual Oscar winner Alejandro González Iñárritu, and James Cameron winning a Globe for freakin’ Avatar—that suggest del Toro is far from ordained.
Which could provide some hope for Christopher Nolan, who, one faraway summer ago, seemed a shoo-in for his precise, elaborate work on Dunkirk. Nolan still has a bit of the “he’s due” narrative drumbeat behind him, but it’s faded as other contenders, like del Toro, Get Out’s Jordan Peele, and Lady Bird’s Greta Gerwig have emerged from the mists. Neither Peele nor Gerwig were nominated at the Globes, but that will likely change at the Oscars. One of them will take the slot occupied by Ridley Scott at the Globes—if the Academy has any sense, anyway.
Gerwig’s glowing onstage presence while accepting Lady Bird’s best comedy trophy on Sunday night has us thinking that the Academy, charmed, will wise up and put Gerwig on the shortlist when it’s time to nominate. But where does that leave Peele? It seems unlikely at this point that Martin McDonagh won’t get a nomination for Three Billboards. Maybe that means Steven Spielberg is really the vulnerable one here. His The Post was well received, but it’s been largely ignored by awards-giving bodies thus far.
Two years ago, Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies got several Academy Award nominations, including best picture, but Spielberg himself was left out in the East Berlin cold. Maybe that’s what will happen here, giving Peele a place on the lineup. Or maybe he takes the spot we’re giving to Gerwig, and she’s got to fight it out with Spielberg. Or maybe Cameron finally wins it all for Avatar! As has long been true of this wacky awards season, we still, well, don’t really know anything.
Full ScreenPhotos:An Intimate Look Inside the 2018 Golden Globes
It finally happened. The thing everyone’s been saying since early September—that Gary Oldman was the best-actor front-runner this year for playing Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour—manifested itself, after a month or so of Oldman failing to pick up any critics prizes. Now that he’s Golden Globes-anointed, Oldman should be well on his way to an Oscar win—like we always said he would be.
There’s a hitch, though, and it could be a big one. Or, it could sadly mean nothing. Immediately after Oldman’s win on Sunday night, Twitter users began sharing links to articles written about Oldman in the past, some detailing an alleged domestic abuse incident in the early 2000s, others highlighting statements Oldman made in a Playboy magazine interview in 2014, in which he railed against political correctness, defended Mel Gibson, and called Nancy Pelosi the c-word.
In this time of #TimesUp, all that could present a significant challenge to the Oldman Oscar narrative. It just depends on how strong and sustained the pushback against him is, and who listens. The Academy, while trying to do better in recent years, isn’t really known to be a quick-reacting, with-it voting body. It’s entirely possible that all the clamor about Oldman won’t reach them before it’s time to vote, an outcome that would cast a somewhat withering light on Hollywood’s supposed new bent toward justice.
If Oldman’s tarnish is enough to lose him the award, we’d then presumably look to Timothée Chalamet to move to the front. Though his film Call Me by Your Name was shut out at the Globes on Sunday night, it’s still a 2017 favorite, and will likely fare better at the Oscars, where screenwriter James Ivory could easily win. At 22, Chalamet is awfully young for a best-actor candidate—but familiar patterns have to change eventually. Right, Academy voters?
Here’s an example of where the Globes really don’t offer any help at all. What we knew beforehand—that Lady Bird’s Saoirse Ronan and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’s Frances McDormand are the best-actress front-runners—is exactly what we know post-Globes. Ronan won in the comedy/musical category, while McDormand won in drama. So they’re even—mostly.
One way the Globes can actually influence the Oscars is by giving hopefuls a chance to test out acceptance speeches, which are no doubt assessed and processed by some voters. (Some of us credit Meryl Streep’sFlorence Foster Jenkins Oscar nomination to her big anti-Trump speech at the Globes.) On that front, McDormand probably beat Ronan last night, just because McDormand is such a character, both beloved and a little bit feared. Academy voters might want to see more of that come March.
On the other hand, what hinders Chalamet helps Ronan. Because this is the way the world works at the moment, only five of the best-actress winners since 2000 have been over 40. The Academy tends to vote for younger actresses, which could mean Ronan—already a two-time nominee at only 23 years old—is the one to beat. Plus, McDormand already has an Oscar. But that was so long ago! Everyone loves Ronan, though . . . Etc., etc. We could go on like this, back and forth, forever. Like we said, we really don’t know anything now that we didn’t previous to Sunday night. We’ll just have to wait for the SAGs for some clarification.
Best Supporting Actor
The proof that the Golden Globes like to throw curveballs in this category was there in the flesh last night, with last year's winner Aaron Taylor-Johnson on hand to present the supporting actress trophy, and maybe still looking surprised that he prevailed over eventual Oscar winner Mahershala Ali for his role in Nocturnal Animals. Taylor-Johnson didn't even get a subsequent Oscar nomination—but the same is unlikely to be true for last night's winner, Sam Rockwell, who was earning a lot of buzz as a well-liked character actor overdue for his big moment . . . at least, until all of the momentum seemed to swing in favor of another well-liked character actor overdue for a big moment, Willem Dafoe.
As the winner of virtually every critic's prize, Dafoe remains a formidable front-runner, particularly since he represents the scrappy darling The Florida Project; a win for Dafoe could sub as a win for the film overall, a neat bit of substitution that has made Oscar winners of indie upstarts like Boyhood, Beginners, and Precious, among many others. Rockwell's win at the Globes is indicative of some serious support for Three Billboards, and he is easily now Dafoe's biggest competition. But we wouldn't give up hope for the two-time Oscar nominee to finally take home the prize.
Best Supporting Actress
Moments before she took the stage to accept her supporting actress Golden Globe, Allison Janney earned laughs as a presenter by showing up with a stuffed parrot on her shoulder, a replica of the bird that accompanies her tough-talking character in I, Tonya. It was a good sign, not that Janney really needed it; a five-time Globe nominee before this year, Janney is a familiar face to the crowd that mixes film and TV veterans, and was a narrow favorite to win.
How will that help her at the Oscars, though? It’s a tough call, made tougher by the fact that Janney’s main competition is another TV veteran, Laurie Metcalf, playing another tough mother in another critically acclaimed, female-led film. (Metcalf’s is Lady Bird.) The SAG Awards in a few weeks may offer some clarity—if Janney wins there too, she may have the whole thing sewn up. But we’re expecting a surge of affection for Lady Bird as the Time’s Up conversation continues, which could boost Metcalf’s chances, and keep this a tight two-way race until the very end.
Get Vanity Fair’s HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Katey RichKatey Rich is the deputy editor of VanityFair.com.Richard LawsonRichard Lawson is a columnist for Vanity Fair's Hollywood, reviewing film and television and covering entertainment news and gossip. He lives in New York City.