A look at the statistics behind past Golden Globes nominations

Every awards watcher knows it’s coming: With each major voting body that unveils its annual list of year-end nominees, someone’s bound to be left out.

This year, as the Oscar race charges forward without a clear-cut frontrunner in multiple above-the-line categories, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association barred several of the season’s mainstay contenders from the 2018 Golden Globe nominations, including many that have reaped significant precursor accolades in recent weeks.

While the Golden Globes are typically regarded as a reliable Oscar foreteller (despite the fact that there is no crossover between the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Hollywood Foreign Press, which has barely 100 non-industry members), is the game really over for fan-favorite hopefuls who sat Monday morning’s announcement out? Read on for a statistical analysis of how the sprint toward the Academy Awards might play out in the month ahead.

Two Things to remember

No. 1: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association votes early. Like, really early. Early enough to leave room for a few late-breaking players to sneak into the Oscar conversation. This year, Globes balloting opened on Nov. 24 and closed on Dec. 7, just under a month before Oscar nominations voting is set to commence on Jan. 5. Two of the most important Oscar forecasters — the Screen Actors Guild and the Producers Guild — also announce their nominees within that period on Dec. 13 and Jan. 5, respectively. That means Oscar voters have time to weigh what the precursors have presented (which is a bit easier to predict, as SAG and the PGA share crossover membership with the Academy) and accept or slightly reshuffle the deck. Essentially, Golden Globe nominations are a key stepping stone on the path to the Oscars, but by no means a final word.

No. 2: The critics’ groups often vote in a vacuum, seeking to throw the weight of publicity and visibility behind a contender they’re passionate about shepherding to Oscar voters’ doorsteps. Sometimes, the Academy listens (Mad Max: Fury Road and Elle‘s Isabelle Huppert) and sometimes they don’t (Kristen Stewart in Clouds of Sils Maria, anyone?). Regardless, just because a film is picking up steam with the critics doesn’t mean Academy members will follow suit. Journalists and groups of academics/film fans/industry “professionals” (like those that comprise the National Board of Review) operate outside the confines of insider Hollywood, so tastes vary.

Now, let’s break down the major categories most heavily impacted by snubs and surprises. The Globes’ lead actor and actress categories included most of this year’s usual suspects, so we’re leaving them off for now, with 89.09 percent of eventual best actress nominees since 2006 also picking up a Golden Globe in either genre as opposed to 78.18 percent of men under the same criteria. It should also be noted that in the 2006-2016 window, 65.45 percent of the HFPA’s drama actresses have crossed over into Oscar territory — a figure that drops to 21.82 percent for the comedy/musical class. For men, those numbers are 65.45 percent and 18.18 percent, respectively.

Best Picture

The most glaring omissions from both of the Globes’ best picture divisions include the Kumail Nanjiani-written The Big Sick and Sean Baker’s The Florida Project. The Sundance breakout didn’t register in a single category, while Baker’s directorial follow-up to Tangerine appeared in one, cementing Willem Dafoe’s place at the head of the best supporting actor pack after a strong showing with the critics’ groups. Despite being likely to receive a nod than the aforementioned, the omission of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman stings as well — especially coupled with the fact that pundits had pegged 2017 as a strong entry for female directors to make their mark on the awards trail, though Jenkins (again, a less likely contender) and Lady Bird‘s Greta Gerwig sat on the sidelines as five of their male peers took the HFPA’s five best director slots.

Best picture is a tough one to gauge, as both the Academy and the HFPA have regularly changed the number of nominees allowed. The Academy’s sliding scale of anywhere between five and 10 potential nominees began in 2009 (it was set at a hard 10 for two years before switching to the current model), and the Globes have, at times, allowed up to seven contenders to vie for best picture. Of the 58 films that have contended for the drama Globe since 2006, 82.76 percent of them have followed up at the Oscars, as opposed to 29.09 percent of 55 comedy/musical contenders. Of all 87 best picture Oscar players over that period, 73.56 percent have had a corresponding Globe nod in either drama or comedy/musical.

THE VERDICT: Chances are our best picture winner is among the Globes’ drama nominees, but some of the most powerful entries of years’ past — Dallas Buyers Club, Amour, Beasts of No Nation, The Tree of Life, Hidden Figures, Arrival, Whiplash — didn’t appear on the Globes’ best picture roster. We still have a race on our hands, so don’t dismiss The Big Sick or The Florida Project yet.

Best Director

Again, Gerwig’s absence is felt, here, especially as Lady Bird surges at the domestic box office and with critics in the run-up to the Golden Globe nods. Judging by precursor stats, Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name) and Jordan Peele (Get Out) were seemingly sitting prettier than eventual nominees like Ridley Scott (All the Money in the World) and Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), though the cookie crumbled in favor of the tested staples than the (relative) newcomers.

Since 2006, the HFPA’s best director set has never aligned with the Academy’s, typically off by only a single name (this has happened seven times over the timeframe), though as many as three Globe nominees have failed to catch on with Oscar voters across the same stretch, once in 2007 and again in 2012.

THE VERDICT: Still out. Expect one or two slots to switch by Oscar nominations morning. All in all, the best director categories share a 69 percent match rate, with an average of 3.45 contenders making the jump. That means 17 directors have received an Oscar nod without a Golden Globe nomination and vice versa.

Best Supporting Actress:

Critics’ singular voting patterns are most apparent in the supporting actress race. Tiffany Haddish, Melissa Leo, and Holly Hunter accumulated notable honors before Monday’s Golden Globes announcement, and, per history, their chances of following up with an Oscar nomination are slim.

In the last 10 years, the Globes’ supporting actress collective has, on average, facilitated Oscar nominations for 80 percent of its nominees. Only 11 actresses since 2006 have received an Oscar nod without a Globe nod. Consecutively from 2006 to 2012, one actress per year didn’t make the jump. 2013 saw all supporting actress nominees match with Oscar’s crop of honorees, as did 2016.

THE VERDICT: If you had to bet on one Golden Globe category matching with Oscar, this is the one. Statistics show that most of our Oscar nominees are probably among the Globes’ five-strong supporting actress set. History shows that one might give way to either Leo, Haddish, or Hunter.

Best Supporting Actor:

Not as dependable an Oscar predictor as the Globes’ supporting actress category, supporting actor still, on average, includes most of a given year’s eventual Academy Award nominees, with 67.27 percent crossing over since 2006.

Most often, around three men anointed by the Globes march on to the Oscars, though that statistic has dropped to as little as two over a 10-year period, namely in 2006 and 2015. Supporting actor nominees matched 100 percent in 2009 and 2014.

THE VERDICT: Dafoe, who has taken nearly every precursor nomination slot possible thus far, officially made his mark with the Golden Globes as well, indicating his staying power exists outside the critical realm. He’s the one to beat in a race that’s still wide open in nearly every category, but just who will take the remaining four openings remains to be seen. Eighteen Globes-verified men haven’t made waves with Oscar voters since 2006, so there’s still room for outlying contenders like Mark Rylance (Dunkirk) and perennial Oscar favorite, Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water), to wiggle their way into a nod.

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