First of all, giving any kind of meaning whatsoever to the Golden Globes is to ascribe to a belief in the higher power of awards season, that somehow it all adds up. Yet often it feels as if it does, as subtle shifts in overall momentum for this film or that contender do seem to portend larger happenings. So please, people of the nations of awards watchers, gather around as we think upon a few things that did or did not happen Sunday night.
Everything here is a supposition toward what it might mean looking forward to Thursday’s Oscar noms. But even there, nomination voting closed at the end of last week, so any genuine impact from Sunday night will be felt in the post-nominations period.
All that suffering paying off for ‘The Revenant’
The overriding narrative for the promotion of “The Revenant” has been how difficult it was to make. It was cold, Leo ate animal guts, the bear attack was a torturous bit of movie magic. The movie took home three major awards on Sunday night – for best picture, drama, best director for Alejandro G. Inarritu and best actor, drama for Leonardo DiCaprio – and also surpassed expectations at the box office, bringing in some $38 million.
So that story of how hard the movie was to make seems to be landing with awards groups and moviegoers alike.
‘Steve Jobs’ may not be over after all
Though “Steve Jobs” seemed to have flamed out after its release – “Unfortunate about the box office figures,” star Michael Fassbender quipped during a recent awards speech – it took home two of the major film prizes on Sunday, with Kate Winslet winning best supporting actress and Aaron Sorkin winning best screenplay.
So while Fassbender, Winslet and Sorkin have all seemed solid for nominations, could there be enough affection to push the movie toward a best picture nomination?
The gambit to run “The Martian” in the category of comedy or musical paid off. The film won best picture in the category and best actor for lead Matt Damon. In accepting the award, Damon humbly noted the 18-year gap since the last time he won a Globe and how he now had a better appreciation for the moment.
As he did in a speech last weekend, Damon also took the opportunity to campaign for “Martian” director Ridley Scott, noting how many other actors in the room had worked with him and the deep body of work the filmmaker has accumulated over the years.
In accepting the best film prize, Scott himself jokingly questioned whether the film is really a comedy and then spoke eloquently of how the success of a movie like “The Martian” and in turn “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is good for the industry overall. Finishing on a remembrance of his late brother, director Tony Scott, gave the moment an unexpected emotional resonance that could also go far with other potential awards voters.
‘Spotlight,’ ‘Carol,’ ‘The Big Short’ and ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ all go home empty-handed
The HFPA were not interested in spreading it around. A raft of nominations going into the night did not guarantee any wins during the show. “Carol” had five nominations, more than any other film, and went home empty-handed. As did “The Big Short” with four nominations, “Spotlight” with three and “Mad Max: Fury Road” with two.
All those films have proven popular with critics, which may be part of the reason they have seemed to have so much heat around them, but of a kind which may not correspond to enthusiasm from Oscar voters. All are still very much in the race, but perhaps slightly less rock-solid than they looked going into Sunday night.
‘Room’ closes around Brie Larson
Brie Larson’s win for best actress, drama was a much-needed bit of uplift for the movie "Room," as it had recently been coming up short, without nominations from the Producers Guild or Writers Guild. (It wasn’t eligible for the WGA, but being left out of any conversation can still hurt overall perception.) Even so, Larson’s win Sunday night solidifies her as the frontrunner for best actress.
Screenwriter Emma Donoghue, who adapted her own novel, still seems likely competitive moving forward even without the WGA, but the movie’s chances in other categories may be slipping away. And Larson’s young co-star Jacob Tremblay is beginning to look more like a long, long shot for a nomination in the supporting actor category.