Reexamining The Influence Of The Golden Globes On The Oscars

Five years ago in this space, I asked, Are The Golden Globes Really A Barometer For The Oscars?  The answer in 2009:  hardly.

But what about in the past half-decade?  Is the Hollywood Foreign Press Association more in tune now with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences than they ever were before?  Let’s go through the last five Golden Globe and Academy Award ceremonies (2009 – 2013) and find out:


There was no stopping Slumdog Millionaire.  The highly acclaimed adaptation of the Vikas Swarup novel, Q&A, was nominated for ten Oscars and ended up snagging eight.  At the Golden Globes, which doesn’t honour documentarians, editors, costumers, set designers, or any other technical wizards, it won all four awards it was up for:  Best Picture Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay (there’s no separation for original works and adaptations) and Best Original Score.  Millionaire won half of its Oscars in those same categories.  (Writer Simon Beaufoy took home Best Adapted Screenplay.)

The Best Supporting Actor Globe was given to the late Heath Ledger for his brilliantly sadistic Joker in The Dark Knight and Best Animated Feature went to the Pixar blockbuster, WALL-E.  Both would go on to repeat those victories at the Academy Awards.

And that’s where the supposed “influence” of the Globes ended in 2009.  Bruce Springsteen’s The Wrestler, the moving Best Original Song winner at the GG’s, didn’t even get a Oscar nomination.  Slumdog Millionaire’s Jai Ho won the naked man statue instead.  (Curiously, it wasn’t up for a Globe.  In fact, none of the songs from that movie were nominated.)  Mickey Rourke, who snatched the Best Actor Drama Globe for his work in that same film, lost the Best Actor Oscar to Sean Penn (Milk).

Kate Winslet pulled a rare Golden Globe deuce when she won Best Actress Drama and Best Supporting Actress bowling trophies for her performances in Revolutionary Road and The Reader, respectively.  Although she also won the Best Actress Oscar, curiously it was for The Reader.  (She wasn’t even nominated for Revolutionary Road.)  And the Best Foreign Film Oscar went to the Japanese film, Departures, not the Israeli Golden Globe winner, Waltz With Bashir.  (Departures wasn’t nominated for the Globe.)

Add it all up and the Golden Globes were a non-factor in five Oscar categories.


Two former spouses battled it out at both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards in 2010.  At the former, James Cameron skunked his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow in the top two categories.  Avatar won Best Picture Drama and the Canadian-born filmmaker won Best Director.

It was a different story at the Academy Awards.  The Hurt Locker was named Best Picture and Bigelow became the first woman to win Best Director.

As far as the acting categories were concerned, the Globes and the Oscars were more in sync.  Best Actor Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), Best Actress Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side), Best Supporting Actor Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds), and Best Supporting Actress Mo’Nique (Precious) scored two trophies a piece for each of their acclaimed performances.

That being said, Up In The Air won the Best Screenplay Globe but lost the Oscar to Precious for Best Adapted Screenplay.  And the Globe’s Best Foreign Film, The White Ribbon from Germany, was dethroned by the Argentinian picture, The Secret In Their Eyes, at the Academy Awards.  Once again, the Best Foreign Film Oscar winner wasn’t nominated in the same category at the Golden Globes.

A slight improvement over 2009, the Globes failed to match the winners in four Oscar categories.


It was the story of Facebook vs. a royal stutter in 2011.  At the Globes, The Social Network won Best Picture Drama and David Fincher won Best Director.  But the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director went to The King’s Speech and Tom Hooper, respectively.

While the Hollywood Foreign Press Association named Burlesque’s You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me its Best Original Song, the Motion Picture Academy went with Randy Newman’s We Belong Together from Toy Story 3.  The Burlesque track wasn’t even in the running for the Oscar.

These three categories aside, there were no other notable differences between the two ceremonies.


The Artist took home Best Picture Musical or Comedy at the 2012 Globes while becoming only the second silent film to win the Best Picture Oscar that same year.  Jean Dujardin won the Best Actor Musical or Comedy Globe and the Best Actor Oscar.

However, Martin Scorsese won the Best Director Globe for Hugo while The Artist’s Michel Hazanavicius snatched the Best Director Oscar.

Meanwhile, the Best Original Song Globe went to Masterpiece from Madonna’s film, W.E., which didn’t even get an Oscar nomination.  Man Or Muppet?, the very cute song from The Muppets, won the Best Original Song Academy Award.  Oddly, it wasn’t nominated for a Globe.  Nor was Rio from the animated film of the same name.  In turn, none of the Globe Best Original Song nominees were able to get on Oscar’s shortlist.

Once again, these were the only Globe categories that led to different Oscar winners.


In what must have been a fluke, the only Golden Globe winner to not be rewarded with an Oscar last year was Best Director Ben Affleck.  Although he directed Argo to Best Picture wins at both the Globes and the Academy Awards he was surprisingly snubbed in the Best Director Oscar category.  He seemed like a sure bet considering the fact that he ultimately went on to win the Director’s Guild award, a more reliable indicator of future Oscar success than the Globes.  (Interestingly, Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), both Globe nominees, were also rejected for Oscar consideration.)

Ang Lee ultimately benefited from all of this winning his second Best Director Oscar for overseeing Life Of Pi.  This marks the fourth straight year the Best Director Golden Globe winner has failed to win the Oscar for the same movie.

In the last five years, this has been the only time one could credibly argue that the Globes correctly foreshadowed the vast majority of major Oscar victors.

Now that the 2014 ceremony is in the books, can the Globes actually live up to its mostly undeserved reputation as an Oscar warm-up act?  We’ll find out for sure at next month’s Academy Awards.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
7:19 p.m.

CORRECTION:  Actually, the Academy Awards are happening in March this year, not February.  My apologies for this needless blunder.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, January 16, 2014
3:52 p.m.

CORRECTION 2:  Well, this is embarrassing.  I’ve just noticed that I wrongly stated that Simon Beaufoy won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for penning Slumdog Millionaire.  In actuality, he won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for using the Vikas Swarup novel Q & A as inspiration.  Even more embarrassing?  I bought that book for my mother a few years ago for her birthday.  Anyway, I’ve corrected my dumb boo-boo in the original text.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, January 10, 2015
11:51 p.m.

Published in: on January 15, 2014 at 7:20 pm  Comments (2)  

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  1. […] about the Oscars, praising host Ellen DeGeneres’ surprisingly funny performance, and re-examining the influence of the meaningless Golden Globes, I was honouring MuchMusic’s 30th Anniversary and lamenting its forgotten, lost influence […]

  2. […] about the Oscars, praising host Ellen DeGeneres’ surprisingly funny performance, and re-examining the influence of the meaningless Golden Globes, I was honouring MuchMusic’s 30th Anniversary and lamenting its forgotten, lost influence […]

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