We’ve got a lot to talk about.
There were some real surprises this year.
And by that, I mean that I was proven wrong.
And I’d like to understand why.
Best Picture – Drama: The Revenant
I Predicted: Spotlight
“Won’t and shouldn’t win here. It has one category it will almost certainly win and one which it could sneak in and take at the last second. But not this one. It’s just not quite there as a drama.”
Well, fuck me.
I’m not totally sure how this won. And I don’t know how much I should read into it. But at the very least, it’s an interesting hiccup. Certainly as a cinematic experience it makes an immediate impression.
So did Avatar, which also won this category but lost the Oscar. So there’s precedent for this not winning the big one. But its chances are definitely better now than they were a day ago.
I will say that, while I’m bummed they didn’t pick my favorite film…it’s still a better choice than Spotlight.
Best Picture – Musical/Comedy: The Martian
I Predicted: The Big Short
“At the time of the nominations, we all would’ve said this was taking this award without breaking a sweat. Now, I’m not so sure. Because The Big Short is so much more a true comedy, whereas this…having seen it three times, I think it’s closer to a drama. It has a lot of comedy in it, but it doesn’t fit comfortably into this category. And, arguably, it has already peaked, whereasThe Big Short is hitting its stride. For that, I think it’s the second most likely winner, and possibly not as close a second place as you would think.”
This one wasn’t so much of a surprise. It had been the frontrunner for quite a while, it was embraced by critics and viewers alike, and it’s an upbeat, feel-good film whereas The Big Short is really quite tragic. So I can understand it.
I don’t know if this boosts its Oscar chances significantly, especially since it had much weaker competition here than it will there (at least, I hope), but it can’t hurt.
Remember, though, that Grand Budapest Hotel won this last year, beating Birdman…which went on to beat it at the Oscars.
Best Director – Motion Picture: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant
I Predicted: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
“The direction is incredible. It’s so good it outshines the film itself. They passed him over last year for Birdman (in favor of Richard Linklater), and that might just put him over the top to win. I’m not absolutely convinced of that, but consider it a possibility.”
So this wasn’t a total surprise. Nor a decision I really disagree with. And I have to imagine his losing this award last year helped.
Also…so much better a choice than Tom McCarthy.
Could it make him the first director to win Oscars in two consecutive years? I’m not sure. The DGA has yet to weigh in and the Academy doesn’t always match up with the Globes in this category (in fact, they’ve only done so six times since the turn of the millennium). But again, it can’t hurt him.
Best Actor – Drama: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
I Predicted: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Finally, I get one right.
Actually, given how a couple of subsequent categories turned out, I kind of expected this go to Michael Fassbender. And frankly, that would have been a better choice.
But Leo has too much momentum this season, and I think it really will finally put him over the top for the Oscar. Which, given the year, is not a problem.
Best Actress – Drama: Brie Larson, Room
I Predicted: Brie Larson, Room
Two for two with the actors!
I won’t say this definitively seals her lead over Saoirse Ronan, but it’s looking more and more likely she’ll be taking the big one as well. Once SAG weighs in, we should have a pretty good idea (and the Oscar nominations should provide some clues as well).
Best Actor – Musical/Comedy: Matt Damon, The Martian
I Predicted: Matt Damon, The Martian
Well, shit. I’m on a roll. It’ll be nice while it lasts.
Granted, this one was pretty obviously Damon’s to lose. Bale was a supporting role, Carell wasn’t quite there as a winner, Pacino and Ruffalo were non-factors…plus, he’s great in the film itself. It works.
I’m guessing he gets the Oscar nomination. Winning is a bit iffy, since Leo has a more active “overdue” narrative, but don’t rule him out.
Best Actress – Musical/Comedy: Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
I Predicted: Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
I took a stab in the dark, and was right on.
Good for me.
No idea if she’ll get on at the Oscars. If she does, she won’t win, but this might boost her a bit in the final voting. The Oscar is Larson’s to lose, however.
Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone, Creed
I Predicted: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
“It’s a really nice, sentimental return to the role which made his name. In a slightly stronger year for this category, I’m not sure he’d actually be in the running, but I don’t mind at all that he is. He might actually win, between the strength of the performance and the sentimental factor, but Rylance has been giving him a run for his money this season. I think he’s a very, very close second, and if he wins I won’t be at all surprised.”
I’m not at all surprised.
I don’t think his chances at winning the Oscar are quite as strong, but consider him in the mix. (Unless he doesn’t get nominated, which would be weird.)
Also, he apparently did thank Ryan Coogler. Just so you know.
Best Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
I Predicted: Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
“I swear she had a different accent in the first third than in the other two thirds, but she still does a good job here. I wouldn’t give her the award, and I don’t think they will either, but it’s a very, very solid performance. A reasonable nominee.”
This one caught me off guard. This, really, is the single biggest surprise of the night. (There’s a close second, but this is the biggest.)
I can sort of get why Vikander didn’t win. Genre bias, split votes with herself, etc….it makes sense. But how Jennifer Jason Leigh didn’t win is a bit of a mystery. It’s not like Winslet is overdue; she’d won three Globes already, all in the past decade…and two in the same year. So maybe they just like her?
It’s not like the performance isn’t good. I just don’t quite see it as an award-winning performance. Maybe if I saw the film again I’d change my tune. But it feels really weird that they gave her this award and didn’t give Fassbender Actor.
As for her Oscar chances…I’m going to wait and see just how much the Academy embraces this film. If they go hard for it, consider her a potential winner. But if they stick to expectations and leave it out of Picture, I think the race remains wide open.
Best Screenplay: Steve Jobs
I Predicted: Spotlight
“Not a perfect script, and I’m not sure the three-act structure is a complete success, but for sheer ambition it gets on my list (in my new writing category). And the dialogue isn’t too bad either. Sorkin’s cachet makes this the third likeliest winner by my estimation, but it’s a distant third.”
This is the close second biggest surprise, of course. But Sorkin’s cachet counted for more than I expected. And Spotlight just wasn’t embraced by the HFPA. And, just maybe, they found Jobs to be the better script.
This won’t affect the Oscar race much because Spotlight will be in Original and this will be in Adapted. I still fully expect Spotlight to win its category. I’m not totally sure if Jobs will win Adapted, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
What this shows, though, is that Spotlight isn’t invulnerable. And even if it proves to be but a hiccup on the way to its ultimate success, it’s a very visible one.
Best Score: The Hateful Eight
I Predicted: The Hateful Eight
Really glad I got this one right. I didn’t think they’d be able to resist it. But so glad they didn’t give this to The Revenant.
This category doesn’t sync up so much with the Oscars, however, so we’ll just appreciate it on its own.
Best Song: “Writing’s On the Wall”, Spectre
I Predicted: “See You Again”, Furious 7
“The tune itself is actually quite good. I just don’t like Smith’s rendition. I don’t know if this will win or not, but I’d probably vote for it. A good cover of this could be awesome.”
So glad I got this one wrong. It’s a much, much better song. Still a terrible year for songs, but at least they picked a decent one.
Another category that doesn’t match up that much with the Academy. So we’ll just take it on its own merits until further notice.
Best Animated Film: Inside Out
I Predicted: Inside Out
Best Foreign Film: Son of Saul
I Predicted: Son of Saul
I can just imagine the Academy somehow leaving this off their list. Somehow.
If they put it on, though, I can’t see it not winning.
Out of 14 categories, I predicted 7 correctly. That’s not too great.
That said, of the 7 I got wrong, I had the eventual winner ranked as second-likeliest for 3 of them. I had Winslet and Sorkin as third-likeliest, and The Revenant and Iñárritu as fourth-likeliest.
Live and learn.
So…let’s talk take-aways.
We can’t read a ton into these because the HFPA and AMPAS are so different. One has about 60 members; the other has about 5,800. And again, the ballots from which the Oscar nominations will be derived have already been submitted. So the actual nominations won’t be affected by them. But the outcomes…that’s another matter.
Here, however, is what we can take away from tonight:
- Spotlight is not the absolute front-runner we suspected. Not winning Picture didn’t completely shock me. Not winning Director I expected. But not winning Screenplay? That was strange. And it’s not that common for the Oscar winner for Best Picture to be shut out by the Globes; it happened with Crash and The Hurt Locker, but Crash was something of a surprise winner and The Hurt Locker was perhaps not quite the HFPA’s cup of tea. I’m not sure just why Spotlight wasn’t, and I still think the Academy will be more favorable towards it, but I do wonder what impact its being shut out might have.
- The Revenant has done pretty handsomely for itself, winning three major awards just as it goes into full release. Given the comparatively mixed reviews, this was just what it needed. It remains to be seen to what degree the Academy embraces it, but you should keep an eye out for this to become the front-runner or a serious threat over the next month and a half. (Also, I’m saying it now and I’ll say it again…if Tom Hardy gets nominated for this, it’s probably winning.)
- Mad Max: Fury Road isn’t looking too hot. Between missing Picture and Director at the BAFTAs and losing both here, it seems to have taken a hit at the worst possible time. I would still be astounded if it missed out on Best Picture, but I could see it somehow getting left off the Director list. I don’t know. It was going so well for a while there. It’s worth noting, though, that since the expansion of Best Picture, only once has a Globe nominee for Picture and Director missed out on the Oscar for Best Picture–and that was The Ides of March, which didn’t exactly deserve to be in the race to begin with.
- The Martian, on the other hand, got a much needed boost when it was starting to fade. Assuming it secures Picture, Director, Actor, and Adapted Screenplay nominations on Thursday, you can’t rule this out as a contender. We could have at least three real contenders for the top prize, and if Mad Max and The Big Short go big, it could be the most open race in years. Also, look out for Damon to be a potential Best Actor upset if the universe again decides that Leo shouldn’t have an Oscar.
- The Big Short, after getting some prime BAFTA nominations, gets shut out here. I really thought Picture – Musical/Comedy was in its grasp, but The Martian, again, is a film which sends you out feeling good about life. The Big Short reminds you how fucked you are. So until further notice, let’s tap the brakes on predicting it to win anything. But if the Academy likes it–especially if Adam McKay actually gets in for Best Director–then we might start getting optimistic again.
- Steve Jobs got a major, major boost to its profile today. It’s rare for a film, especially a Drama, to win multiple Globes and not get into Best Picture. This will probably be the rare unlucky film that doesn’t…but be prepared for it to happen.
- Brie Larson is almost certainly winning the Oscar. If SAG confirms, consider it a done deal.
- Supporting Actor and Actress remain wide open. Last year they were pretty much set all season long. This year, we might not really have any idea who’s winning until, well, they win.
- Animated Film and Foreign Film remain sewn up.
Okay, that’s about all I’ve got for now. At the latest, I’ll be back Wednesday with a breakdown of the Director’s and Costume Designer’s Guild nominees, and a prediction of the nominees for the 88th Academy Awards.