How Andra Day and the Golden Globes shockingly derailed the Oscar race
Daniel Kaluuya, Rosamund Pike, and more threw a wrench into the status quo ahead of the Oscars. EW's awards experts debate who's up and who's down after the Golden Globes.
How could a group of 87 international journalists (without a single Black member) possibly predict the Oscars? Or even influence them? Amid the mounting controversy that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is currently weathering, questions about its outsize role in awards season are looming large. Especially because the Golden Globes do, in fact, have an impact. In a night full of glitchy surprises, what's the biggest thing last night's virtual ceremony tells us about this Oscar race? EW's awards experts David Canfield and Joey Nolfi debate who's up (Andra Day!) and who's down (Mamaw perches and swivels) after the chaos of the history-making 2021 Golden Globes.
JOEY: From a statistical standpoint, I think the biggest takeaway is Nomadland securing its place at the front of the race. While only three Best Picture — Drama winners have gone on to win Best Picture at the Oscars across the last decade, Nomadland seems extremely well positioned to hold at the front of the race for both Picture and Best Director. That momentum has yet to take a hit from the fall festival circuit last year, and it seems pretty impossible to stop it after it has endured this long.
In terms of throwing a wrench into the race, the biggest WTF moments from last night remain Rosamund Pike's late-breaking domination for I Care a Lot, Jodie Foster's shocking upset in Best Supporting Actress, and Andra Day coming out of nowhere to snatch the Best Actress - Drama trophy. While I think Andra's victory definitely cements her as an Oscar nominee, I don't think Carey Mulligan's position changes heading into the Oscar nominations, nor do I think Foster is coming to snatch Maria Bakalova's or Youn Yuh-jung's spot among supporting Oscar nominees.
DAVID: Andra Day is the big story out of the night, in that her Best Actress - Drama win was a huge upset — she beat out Oscar winners Frances McDormand and Viola Davis, along with Mulligan, for her first-ever acting job — and it's one that will truly propel her forward in a fluid race. Reviews for The United States vs. Billie Holiday that broke last week were uniformly rapturous for Day, even if the movie was met with a chillier response overall, and the late-breaking nature of her candidacy looks like an asset. The visibility boost makes an Oscar nomination — which felt very possible a few days ago, if hardly assured — feel much more likely. And she shouldn't be counted out for the big win just yet, either, though I agree Mulligan still appears out front.
JOEY: I do wonder if, given I Care a Lot's recent surge in popularity both critically and on social media, if Pike is actually a threat to Vanessa Kirby's slot in Best Actress? That's the kind of momentum that can only be built by visibility at the Globes. Her victory is an abrupt reminder to voters that a great performance exists outside of the status quo of the season, and this might give them the validation they need to venture outside expectation. Is that where we'll see the effects of just how fluid this unprecedented, digitally focused awards season most?
DAVID: I'm a bit more skeptical. This felt like a case of serendipitous timing: I Care a Lot hit Netflix on the last Friday of Globes voting, and was No. 1 on the service every day until voting wrapped on Tuesday. Its word-of-mouth force made the difference here — and Pike is fantastic in the movie, so it's not like the support wouldn't be there — but an Academy nod is still implausible in my eye. That she's even in the conversation now, though, speaks to that upset's significance. I would argue Pike's and Foster's wins hurt Bakalova more than they help either of them, actually. We were predicting the latter to go all the way at the Oscars, in part based on the assumption she'd get a really grand Globes introduction. That did not happen. The HFPA loves Foster as much as any actor — she was the 2013 Cecil B. DeMille Award recipient, the fourth-youngest ever — and she was able to sneak in as this year's Best Supporting Actress winner for The Mauritanian, given the chaotic nature of the field. I completely agree with you: Oscar is still a long way away for her, and even a nomination remains far from assured, but it does signal to how unclear the category remains. The eventual Academy Award winner is probably, at this stage, anyone's guess.
JOEY: Though we expected Bakalova to get a nice pre-Oscars stage with a Globes speech, I'm less inclined to think last night hurt her. She received praise from both Pike during her acceptance speech and Sacha Baron Cohen during his Best Picture acceptance speech, so she's on the industry's mind. She approached the Globes in the wrong category, but I think she's still top-of-mind with voters who are actually in the industry versus the HFPA's star-loving journalists. If she loses the SAG Award, then I'll be worried. And that very realistically could go to Youn.
DAVID: We predicted both Daniel Kaluuya and the late Chadwick Boseman to win their races, and in the former overcoming severe tech issues and the latter's widow, Simone Ledward Boseman, giving the most heartbreaking speech of the night, both victories felt significant. What do you make of those going as we expected? It feels like in a year as turbulent as this, there's no such thing as smooth-sailing to the Oscars, right?
JOEY: I think the only smooth-sailing, at this point, is in those two performances. Kaluuya's victory seems like the visibility push he needed to take the lead in the Supporting Actor race, which remained relatively wide open (outside of something like Supporting Actress which, statistically proven on the precursor circuit, is still Bakalova's game). That film will only surge in the minds of viewers and industry voters going forward, so momentum is on his side. As for Boseman, his wife's acceptance speech was the bittersweet draw Oscar voters needed to assure his victory. No one can touch that performance now. The way she spoke, it was clear the industry was rapt (the look on Davis' face alone spoke volumes), and they'll send off a late great with an Oscar victory fueled not only by the strength of his performance, but guided by their emotional desire to honor him as well.
Speaking of Youn, there was still huge chatter online surrounding Minari — especially when it won Best Foreign Language Film as an American production. Can backlash against the Globes cement Minari as an Oscar frontrunner?
DAVID: Minari, to me, feels like the one to watch out of the Globes other than Nomadland. I can't help but look at Aaron Sorkin's Trial of the Chicago 7 screenplay win as a consolation prize (heck, he'd already won that award twice before), and if this really is the co-frontrunner to Nomadland that Netflix and pundits (guilty!) keep pushing it as, it's going to need to start backing that up with big wins and evident momentum. Jury's still out on that one.
Conversely, Minari continues to overperform: that SAG ensemble nod (and Steven Yeun in Best Actor there), the sheer joy of its Globe win last night, significant buzz out of its VOD release last weekend. It's a film everyone seems to love, a huge benefit in Oscars' preferential terms. So going into SAG it's the big question mark. If Youn wins there, say, or if the film manages to snag Ensemble, look out.
Further below the line, the HFPA also gave us our first look at categories like Best Original Score and Song. In the former, Soul has a commanding hold on that category, I'd argue; in the latter, dare we ask this again, but is it finally Diane Warren's year? There doesn't appear to be an obvious challenger this go-round.
JOEY: I do dare say it: This is Queen Warren's year. With Day's Billie Holiday tune shockingly counted out of the Oscar race (it didn't appear on the Original Song short list), I'm not sure there's another name contender vying for the prize that can derail the pent-up respect Warren has amassed enough that her foreign-language song in an otherwise unheralded movie (sung by someone largely unfamiliar to American audiences) is winning major awards. Yes, it's the Globes, and yes, Warren has won here for movies with zero Oscar traction in the past (Burlesque!), but I think momentum is finally on her side.
Is there anything else — outside of the fact that Penguin Bloom didn't receive a write-in victory for Best Picture — we need to pay attention to out of the Globes before the SAG Awards and Oscar nods? Yeun feels like a good point: Though he's in the wrong category, he is now in our fifth slot in Best Actor predictions...
DAVID: We're waiting for a Nomadland challenger, right? Maybe it still will be Trial. Maybe Mank (our first supposed co-frontrunner) improbably becomes the industry-beloved heavyweight we initially thought it would. Maybe it really is Minari, based on its trajectory. Or maybe it's something else entirely! Not one film has really stepped up yet. I'm watching the Oscar noms closely to see what overperforms, because that may be a better tell even than it typically is (i.e., as you say, a Yeun Best Actor nod).
I'll end though with perhaps a bold take: Even if/when Nomadland's rival emerges, nobody is stopping Chloé Zhao. Her Best Director win feels inevitable, deserved, and historic. And for whatever disappointments come our way the next few months — and there will be many! — I can feel happily confident about that.
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