How it got here: Golden Globe voters love epic stories and Hollywood craft. This late entry was the only film in the category that fulfills that definition this year. Sprawling films such as “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King,” “Gladiator” and “Titanic” have triumphed here in the last few years. “It’s a grand story told in a Hollywood way, the way they used to make them,” says one HFPA member.
How it got here: “This film is about personal stories,” says one veteran awards consultant. “Everyone out there is struggling with relationships, and I think it touched a lot of chords. Afterwards, it stays with you, and despite its coolness, that’s what resonated with voters.” A good omen: The HFPA showered love on another of exec producer Scott Rudin’s intimate dramas, “The Hours” — which was also scripted by an English playwright — by naming it the winner in this category in 2002.
How it got here: This J.M Barrie tale about the inspiration for Peter Pan is one of those literate, highly emotional stories Globe voters gravitate towards. The Miramax awards machine screened it early for the HFPA, and it took hold, never losing traction as some bigger holiday releases tried to crowd it out. There was no split vote here — everyone loved it. Key nominations in the writing and directing categories clearly indicate the depth of that affection.
How it got here: A true story of the Rwandan genocide and one man’s courage in the face of it was simply too powerful to ignore — despite the fact that its writing and direction was skipped over. The film’s strong international credentials don’t hurt when courting votes from the Hollywood foreign press — although some speculate it also owes its nom to the lack of strong competition.
How it got here: Many HFPA members lived through Alfred Kinsey’s era and vividly remember it. Add to that the challenge of putting a tale about sex researchers on the screen and making it compelling for two hours and you get a nom. Conventional wisdom has this small drama from well-liked director Bill Condon tied with “Hotel Rwanda” for fifth place. Both are the only pics in the category without screenplay or director recognition.
MILLION DOLLAR BABY
How it got here: A very last-minute entry that caught voters by surprise. This tale of the father/daughter-type relationship between a feisty female boxer from the wrong side of the tracks and her reluctant trainer provided the key emotional moments to throw it squarely into the ring. Helmer-star Clint Eastwood has always played well with the HFPA, so when he has a vehicle they can embrace, they usually do.