There’s been a persistent belief over the past few years – probably even longer than that – that the Golden Globes predict the Oscars with a high degree of accuracy. It’s not quite clear how this belief got started or how it grabbed hold of people, but it could be because it seems as though the same few movies get talked about over and over during awards season. Perhaps it’s that the films that tend to win both are particular stand-outs, both in quality and in being memorable.
So, is it true that the Golden Globes winners are accurate predictors of winners at that year’s Oscars? In a word, no. But also…yes. Sort of. It depends on what categories you’re looking at. Overall, the nominees for the Golden Globes are great predictors of which titles get tapped as nominees for the Oscars each year, but that’s no surprise – for better or worse, there is a kind of “prestige” movie voting bodies, whether the Hollywood Foreign Press Association or the Academy, generally tend to view as award-worthy. It’s also somewhat inevitable given the categories for the Globes, at least Best Picture, are larger than the Oscars, meaning all the titles chosen for the Oscars have an even greater probability of being chosen for the best movie categories at the Globes. And, of course, there are many years where one or two films stand well above the rest and it’s inevitable they sweep awards season.
That said, it doesn’t mean the Golden Globes are entirely useless when it comes to predicting the Oscars. In one specific realm, they’re actually quite accurate – shockingly so, one might say. That category? Acting. Jason Bailey of Flavorwire crunched the numbers in 2016 and found that in the last decade, the Golden Globes predicted the Oscars’ acting category winners a whopping almost 90% of the time. That’s an impressive track record. So looking at the winners from this year’s Golden Globes, who might be taking home a golden Oscar statue? Let’s see.
Before we jump in, it should be noted that both this year’s Golden Globes and Oscars will be a little weird thanks to Covid. Because of eligibility rules changing for this year’s Oscars, for example, there are a whopping 366 films eligible for Best Picture this year, the most in half a century. Still, we can have some fun predicting.
Best Actor – Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
As I wrote a month ago in my piece highlighting some incredible, Oscar-worthy Black performances from the past year, of Chadwick Boseman’s performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, I wrote, “It’s impossible to watch Chadwick Boseman’s performance as the fiery, difficult trombone player Levee without feeling the specter of Boseman’s untimely death hanging around the edges. As Levee, he’s arrogant and charming, full of external swagger and internal pain, a complex character who is mesmerizing on screen. In one key scene, Boseman delivers a monologue for the ages, pouring out all of Levee’s aggrieved pain, trauma, and anger that gives us a glimpse at the wounded boy hiding in Levee. Knowing what we now know about what he was enduring at the time, one can’t help but think it might have been Boseman injecting a bit of himself into Levee’s rage at the unfairness of life.” I still stand by that and I think he’ll win a posthumous Oscar this year.
Best Actress – Rosamund Pike (I Care A Lot)
Rosamund Pike has always excelled when she’s played the unf’withable Cool Girl, the one just a little bit detached from what’s going on around her, as her Oscar win for Gone Girl would attest. With I Care a Lot, she is once again in her sweet spot, and it may just win her her second Oscar. J Blakeson’s movie has been divisive at best, with some appreciating the pitch-black humor and others feeling it slips past the realm of satire and into mean-spiritedness. Regardless of one’s feelings on the movie itself, however, Rosamund Pike’s performance is perfection. It’s as much a psychological thriller as it is a midnight dark satire, and Pike’s Marla Grayson is at the center of it all. As Marla, Pike is biting, witty, duplicitous, and utterly captivating because she embraces playing a character women are so rarely allowed to play on screen, one who is absolutely ruthless and without compassion or remorse – some might say a true sociopath. Marla isn’t someone you root for or even like, not exactly, but Pike’s ability to command every single scene with her brazen confidence and smarts is undeniable.
Best Supporting Actor – Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah)
In his breakout role in Jordan Peele’s Get Out, Daniel Kaluuya played a put-upon Black man trapped in white suburban hell. Then he played gangster Jatemme Manning in Steve McQueen’s Widows and he was so cold-blooded and ruthless that it actually gave audiences chills – no one expected that level of intensity from him. In Judas and the Black Messiah, he gives an equally goosebump-raising performance, but it’s goosebumps of an entirely different kind. As Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party who was murdered by the FBI when he was just 21 years old, Kaluuya’s performance is absolutely mesmerizing, channeling all that intensity we saw in Widows into a man who absolutely grips both the fictional crowds he’s speaking to and audiences alike with his conviction and his charisma. The script itself has some issues so it’s all the more a testament to Kaluuya’s absolutely electrifying, transformative performance that the movie is propelled simply by the sheer force of his magnetic energy on screen.
Best Supporting Actress – Jodie Foster (The Mauritanian)
Jodie Foster is, admittedly, one of those veteran actors who never seems to turn in a bad performance. With other actors in that realm, sometimes goodwill lends a bit more of a positive perception to their performance than what was actually on screen. For her work in Kevin Macdonald’s The Mauritanian as lawyer Nancy Hollander, Foster deserves every accolade she’s gotten so far. One could easily make the argument that her performance lends an overabundance of weight to a role that, in lesser hands, would come across as being underwritten. But Foster has a powerful presence on screen and she always draws you in. The movie itself may not be winning many Oscar nominations this year for writing, directing, or movie, but Foster does so much with her scenes and so subtly that it’s impossible to overlook her come the Oscars. She’s just that good.
Of course, all these could change and none of these are certain. But one thing is certain and it’s that these four gave absolutely electric, captivating performances this year and if they do win, it would not all be a surprise – in fact, it would be deserved.