MCN Commentary & Analysis

The Golden Globes Are Nothing.

I was at an event for a distributor, celebrating its Golden Globes nominees and a friend in the industry asked me, “So who is going to win?”

Without much thinking, I said, “It doesn’t matter. At all. The Globes aren’t actually a thing.”

He was taken aback and frankly, I was taken aback by how easily this slid from my brain to my mouth. No hesitation. Before or after.

I continued: The Globes are a construct, a scam, used exclusively for marketing for the real prize, The Oscar. There is no other reason for them to exist. This is not inherently evil. But it does suck $75 million out of the industry every year for absolutely no reason. Maybe that money could be better used.

What I didn’t say right there and what I thought a few minutes later was that I really have no disregard for the nominees being honored. None at all. There is nothing wrong with enjoying being honored. And it doesn’t matter if the group is legitimate or of significant size or a giant suction on the pursuit of quality. People know the difference between winning a Globe and an Oscar. But I don’t expect the talent to be a rational about being loved by anyone as I might be. If I were being so honored, I might not be rational about it either.

That said, do you know the odds of your movie winning the Best Picture Oscar if you win The Golden Globe (in either category)? Looking at the eleven years since Oscar expanded to as many as ten nominees, winning The Globe gives you worse odds of winning Oscar than a coin flip. Five of eleven years… and don’t forget that The Globes have two winners in this category. So five of 22, really. One could even say that winning The Globe works against you, but that might be mean. Then again, if you were Avatar, The Social Network, The Revenant, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Bohemian Rhapsody, La La Land or American Hustle, you may not think it is mean at all.

Is it any better for The Actors? Yes. But not that much better. In the case of Actors, The Globes have 10 bites of the apple while the Oscars only select five in the Lead categories. They hit nine of the last 11 Best Actress Oscar winners… but again they had 22 Lead Actress winners (Drama and Comedy/Musical) to find that winner.

The Globes did even better with Best Actor, hitting 10 of the last 11… but again, from a field of 22 Globes winners over these years. In Supporting, they are usually a pretty good reflection of what will happen, missing only once in the last 11 years in Supporting Actress and twice in Supporting Actor. But that category is usually sewn up long before the January ceremonies.

Still… no one really cares.

We can all rationalize why The Globes matter or why it is okay that these people suck all this money out of the industry, returning nothing — not even significant press — but they give away enough money to cover their tax bill, so let’s all celebrate.

But the truth is, in a segment of the film business that is all about FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), The Globes are the ultimate FOMO. Your movie is not defined by being nominated or wining a Globe… but distributors are scared to death of being defined by NOT getting at least a nomination.

But the ongoing question about The Globes is whether they have any effect or if they are a reflection of what everyone already knows by the time the group votes. I don’t think there is a metric that suggests it matters a whit. But it doesn’t matter. The Globes are a budget line in every distributor’s Oscar effort and they spend all year long to get to the night that Dick Clark and NBC turned into the biggest awards scam in TV history.

Oscar nominations voting is happening now. It closes Tuesday. Do you think a single Academy voter is waiting to see who wins Sunday night before filling out their ballot. Maybe one. Maybe 10. Maybe 100. Out of 9,000.

I guess if Jonathan Pryce or Antonio Banderas won Best Actor in a Drama, it might have helped a little (100 votes?) if there was a week before Oscar voting started. But there isn’t.

But it doesn’t matter at all who wins Best Actress/Comedy-Musical because not a single one of the Globes nominees is likely to get an Oscar nomination at all.

Could The Globes push along Jojo Rabbit or Little Women or Knives Out with a sweep-ish run of awards? Maybe… in some other circumstance. But the fates of all three have likely been settled already. And when it comes to The Final Oscar Vote, no one cares who isn’t in the business of repeating things like this over and over again.

Do you want to see Eddie Murphy or Leonardo DiCaprio give a speech Sunday night? You will likely get your wish with one of them. But there is also the very real chance that neither will end up getting an Oscar nod. That wouldn’t be much fun for them. (There is also the possibility that both get in for Oscar. Or that The Globes will go Taron Egerton because they pull that shit sometimes.)

So who is going to win The Globes on Sunday night? It doesn’t matter. It’s money under the bridge and no one will be looking back, only forward, come Monday morning.

And why won’t you read these obvious and undeniable truths elsewhere? Because media is on the gravy train. The Globes probably represent 20% or so of the spend that the trades get in a season. Take it away and that not-specific-to-Oscar segment thins.

As for me, I am tired of mocking the members of HFPA. The conversation that spawned this entry made me realize, I don’t dislike the HFPA/Golden Globes… but they are just another thing that is taken very, very seriously by very, very smart people that adds nothing to the culture, nothing to the film industry, and really, nothing to the pursuit that causes all the attention given, the pursuit of Oscar.

But if you don’t go down that road with The Globes, you might lose and someone who worked with them might win and then you, as an executive or a consultant, looks the fool and might lose a client. So why not? It’s not your money! Everyone expects it. So do it. And if you are going to do it, you better seem to take it seriously or someone is going to call you out for wasting all that money or coverage or energy. And so, we, as a group, get sucked into the con, sucked into the spending, sucked into the soul-sucking effort by talent and their reps, sucked into… the suck.

Sucks.

9 Responses to “The Golden Globes Are Nothing.”

  1. Bob Burns says:

    the Globes are where feature writers get their say. not all of them, or even very many of them. Nonetheless, they are a place where feature writers have a say; they are a large part of the movie machine.

  2. Daniella Isaacs says:

    It can be a fun show, with memorable speeches, but that’s it. That’s really all it is.

  3. Steven Benedict says:

    So there are about 90 HFPA members. Which (by my questionable calculation) means that you need a minimum of 20 votes to win.
    And let’s not kid ourselves, the HFPA are hardly the most profound film critics.

  4. Glamourboy says:

    Don’t you write a variation of this same column almost every year? There are a few ways not to buy into the GGs, don’t write a column about it every year and don’t accept ads for your website that display their GG nominations–otherwise you’re part of the game.

  5. palmtree says:

    The thing I like about the Globes is that you see everyone with their hair down so to speak. People are drunk and there is a lot of humor that can’t exist in other televised awards settings. The fact that the awards mean nothing drive me crazy (mostly because people on social media continue to claim it has great significance), but the actual awards dinner itself is quite lovely to behold.

  6. Djiggs says:

    Steven Bochco had a CBS medical drama in late 90’s called “City of Angels”. It was set in a public hospital in Los Angeles with Blair Underwood as the lead. I remember an episode where someone came through the ER with a Gokden Globe shoved up their ass.

  7. Jon says:

    I don’t trust HFPA. I don’t think they even know what they are voting. It’s a waste of time. A waste of everyone’s time.

  8. Sam E. says:

    I’m actually going to defend the Golden Globes. Yes it does have a largely out sized influence due to it’s late season status and tv slot but so what; the ire against the Globes is more than a bit overblown by people who seem jealous of the Globes status. Any awards only have significance to the extent they help promote the art that they’re honoring; ultimately the Globes are not objectively more or less important than Oscars. The Globes also do have a long history and while there are some silly debacles it’s been involved with (such as the Tourist nominations) there’s a fair argument to be made that two best picture awards give them a shot at more accurately reflecting the actual culture and experience of movies in the years awarded. Does anyone seriously feel the world would be better off if It’s Good as it Gets, Almost Famous, The Lion King , Sideways, Babe or Walk the Line weren’t awarded best picture due to only one best picture category? Beyond that accurately predicting the Oscars is not a value in of itself. In a number of the years the Globes were ‘wrong’ they arguably made more interesting picks than the Oscars such as the Social Network, Revenant, and Three Billboards if they pick more deserving films than the Oscars that should go to their credit.

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