They Shoot Oscar Prognosticators, Don't They?

Golden Globe Predictions

By J. Don Birnam

January 7, 2016

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The Golden Globe awards will be handed out Sunday - the question is, will they matter for the Oscars? Let’s look at the movie categories and what they may mean for the Oscars and follow us live on Twitter account and Instagram as we live tweet the ceremony itself.

Hollywood Foreign Press: Predictive Value Diminished

The Golden Globes have always been of small Oscar predictive value. The members of the Hollywood Foreign Press are, well, foreign reporters that number around 100. Their overlap with the Academy is probably exactly zero. Worse still, they have two categories for movies - musical and comedy - which allows them ten nominees in acting racings that only allow five at the Oscars. Many years you see the two front-runners win - last year both Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton took home Globes, or Viola Davis and Meryl Streep - which does nothing to clarify the situation in a two-horse Oscar race.

And their obvious desire to be an Oscar harbinger has proven fatal to them. In the last 11 years, only three Golden Globe Drama winners went on to win Best Picture (awards juggernauts Slumdog Millionaire, Argo, and 12 Years a Slave). That’s it. Other years, the Globe voting closed too early, when the race was elsewhere, before it had shifted. I’m repeating myself, but The Social Network, Avatar, Boyhood, Atonement and Babel all won Globes, only to lose on Oscar night.

This year, the Globes’ influence is even more diminished, as their awards are being handed out after nominations voting closes.

On the Musical/Comedy side of the ledger, their predictive value is even worse. In the past 12 or so years, only The Artist has won the Golden Globe Musical Comedy Award and gone on to win Best Picture, and there was a streak where films such as Sweeney Todd, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and The Hangover won at the Globes and did not even receive an Oscar Best Picture nomination.


Everything about the Golden Globes this year is off kilter, and their predictive value truly is diminished.

So why do they matter for the Oscars and why should we care?

Well, for one, a good Globes speech can boost an Oscar race significantly. After all, many of the audience members are AMPAS members, and the nominations will come out when Golden Globe speeches are fresh in their minds. It is said that Kate Winslet finally won her Oscar when she gave two strong speeches for her Globes wins for The Reader and Revolutionary Road.

Conversely, a Globes win can “feel” wrong and lead to another outcome come Oscars night. When James Cameron ousted his ex-wife, whom he had cheated on, by winning the Globe for Avatar, a narrative emerged that she was more deserving, which ended, arguably, with the six Oscars for The Hurt Locker.

And the results of the awards matter to a degree in any case, because they remind us what people respond to.

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