Will Golden Globes pave way for Oscar?

Some overlap between Sunday's kudos and Oscar nominees is inevitable

When there’s little consensus during awards season, every minor announcement seems major. And with Oscar nomination ballots due at PricewaterhouseCoopers on Friday, all eyes will be on the results of Sunday’s Golden Globes.

But despite the proximity of the two dates, the gap between the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.’s honors and the Academy Awards is wide, and has gotten even wider in the last few years.

Since the Oscarcast moved from March to February in 2004, the Globes have become less of a precursor to Oscar and more of a complementary event.

For best picture, the Globes — even with two categories — have lined up with the Oscars just twice in the last decade, when “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” swept nearly every award Hollywood was willing to bestow for 2003 and “Slumdog Millionaire” took home multiple Oscars in 2008.

The disparity is good news for “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “The Tree of Life” and other films shut out in the Globe nominations. The gap is true in other categories as well. The Globes were more of an accurate bellwether when the Oscar ceremony took place in March and the balloting period was longer, giving Oscar voters more impetus to check out many of the Globes winners that they may not have seen.

Some overlap between Globes and Oscar nominees is inevitable, particularly when the HFPA can tap 10-14 films between the drama and musical/comedy categories, but there remains a distinct disconnect that makes the Globes a tenuous indicator.

The perceived snubs for some pics don’t mean awards campaigners rein in their efforts after Globe announcements. If anything, they target Oscar voters more intensely up until polls close.

For example, when “The King’s Speech” and “The Social Network” were dominating the conversation last year, the Coen brothers’ “True Grit” didn’t get a single Globe nomination. But it went on to collect 10 Oscar noms, including the prestigious picture and director. “Biutiful” star Javier Bardem didn’t get a nom from SAG or the Globes, and he earned a lead actor Oscar nom. “Another Day” was an Oscar original screenplay nominee but didn’t get any Globes attention.

Two best picture nominees, “Winter’s Bone” and “127 Hours,” earned Globe noms for their leads but nothing for the pictures or directors. “Winter’s Bone” received a single Globe nom for star Jennifer Lawrence but ultimately racked up four Oscar noms, including best picture. And Oscar nominee “127 Hours” didn’t get Globe recognition in the picture category, though it did get nommed for score, screenplay and actor.

Going back another year, the contrast is more stark because the Academy had five slots for best picture. Not a single film that earned a Globe nom in the musical/comedy picture category — “(500) Days of Summer,” winner “The Hangover,” “It’s Complicated,” “Julie & Julia” and “Nine” — went on to get a best picture nom from the Academy.

Of those films, only “Julie & Julia” and “Nine” got any Oscar noms. In fact, the Academy rounded out its 10 best picture nominees with “The Blind Side,” “District 9,” “An Education” and “A Serious Man,” none of which earned picture Globe noms, though a few received acting noms.

In 2008, among the five musical/comedy Globe nominees, there were only three Oscar nominations — not one for picture.

However, in the animation race, the Globes and Oscar choices line up nicely. Both groups have chosen the same film for the past four years, diverging only in the first year the HFPA added an animated category, 2006. The HFPA chose “Cars,” and the Academy feted “Happy Feet.”