They say good things come in trios, so it’s a fitting achievement that the aptly titled Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri — director Martin McDonagh’s third feature as director — has won the Golden Globe for best drama.
Sunday night’s ceremony saw the Frances McDormand-starring black comedy — about a whip-smart woman who publicly shames her small town’s police department (Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell) for failing to bring her daughter’s killer to justice — claiming the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s top competitive honor over mighty foes like Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, The Post, and Call Me by Your Name.
Since 2008, only four films have won the Golden Globe for best drama as well as the Academy Award for best picture. The remaining winners each received best picture nominations, however, as the Golden Globes telecast typically airs smack in the center of Oscar nominations balloting, which opened Friday and lasts through Jan. 12.
Nominated for a remarkable six Golden Globes, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri began its awards trajectory on the fall festival circuit, where it premiered to overwhelmingly positive reviews ahead of winning the coveted TIFF People’s Choice Award–an honor that has gone to eight best picture winners or nominees across the past decade. Earlier Sunday, the film won Golden Globes for Best Screenplay, Best Actress (McDormand), and Best Supporting Actor (Rockwell), further cementing its status as a frontrunner amid what has thus far been one of the most wide-open, unpredictable Oscar seasons in history.
In the run-up to Academy Award nominations on Jan. 24, the film also picked up major precursor recognition from the American Film Institute, the Screen Actors Guild and the Producers Guild of America — the last of which has proven itself to be one of the most reliable best picture forecasters in the industry.
“He’s an anarchist and I think he believes in anarchy. But I don’t think that’s what he’s promoting. I don’t think he’s that irresponsible,” McDormand recently told EW of working with McDonagh, whose previous films In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths rallied a respectable following around the U.K. helmer. “He’s a true a true blue playwright in the old fashioned, delicious sense of just full-blown complex characters and themes. What’s interesting is that his plays are all informed by cinema and now the cinema he’s doing is informed by his theatrical writing. Not unlike Joel and Ethan, in that their scripts are fully formed. They don’t need actors’ improvisation. Or blueprints for some visual idea. You can read their scripts like a play and you can publish them as a screenplay. That’s so delicious for actors, especially ones like myself and Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell, who all do theater.”