The Golden Globes were announced on Feb. 3 where Netflix’s “Mank’ from David Fincher led the nominations with six. The categories have been analyzed and what they mean for the awards season. Down below are the five big takeaways to the overall narrative and how it relates to the Oscars.
“Nomadland” is the one to beat, and we should get used to it.
Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland” landed an impressive four nominations — including best picture, director, actress in a drama and screenplay. It has dominated the critics awards, winning more than a dozen best picture prizes, with Zhao nearly sweeping every director award. Frances McDormand has also been leading in actress trophies. The Searchlight Pictures feature should continue its steamroll. When it comes to the major guilds, it’s expected to perform well with the American Society of Cinematographers, Cinema Audio Society and the like.
The race for best actress is the most competitive of any category.
I’m reminded of the 2004 best actor year, where there was a deep bench of contenders in the mix, with Jamie Foxx eventually winning an Oscar for “Ray” but Paul Giamatti’s revered work in “Sideways” not getting nominated. The Globes drama side for the women — Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”), Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”), Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”) and Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) — could very well be the Oscar-nominated five. In addition to those, there are still Nicole Beharie (“Miss Juneteenth”), Sidney Flanigan (“Never Rarely Sometimes Always”), Sophia Loren (“The Life Ahead”), Michelle Pfeiffer (“French Exit”), Kate Winslet (“Ammonite”) and Zendaya (“Malcolm & Marie”) to factor into the mix. Anything can happen.
The official narrative is written: This is the “Year of the Women.”
Three female filmmakers were nominated at the Golden Globes: Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”), Regina King (“One Night in Miami”) and Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”). They are the sixth, seventh and eighth women to be nominated by the HFPA in the category. It’s also the first time women outnumbered men in the lineup, which also happened at the Independent Spirit Award nominations in January.
In a year when the pandemic ravaged the industry, a celebration of new filmmakers is palpable. The Oscars of the 2010 film year hold the record for most films directed by women to be nominated for best picture — two (“The Kids Are All Right” and “Winter’s Bone”) — despite the filmmakers not being recognized. This year we are tracking to have three films nominated. Others could also make the cut in the best picture race: Kelly Reichardt’s “First Cow,” Sofia Coppola’s “On the Rocks” and Eliza Hittman’s “Never Rarely Sometimes Always.”
There are many rich female characters in the acting categories, although not many women of color are represented. The Globes snubbed previous leader Youn Yuh-jung (“Minari”), as well as Rashida Jones (“On the Rocks”) and Dominique Fishback (“Judas and the Black Messiah”). The HFPA recognized Argentine Anya Taylor-Joy for her work in “Emma,” which doesn’t seem like a strong Oscar play at the moment. The cup is half full, but we can surely do better.
“Da 5 Bloods” lost some momentum.
Spike Lee’s drama about four Vietnam veterans returning for their fallen comrade’s remains was named best movie by the National Board of Review but stopped in its tracks at the HFPA. The film was completely shut out, not even receiving a nod for the performance of Delroy Lindo, who seemed a lock for recognition. Moving forward, it’ll need some of the votes from passionate AMPAS members; since Lee just won adapted screenplay in 2018 for “BlacKkKlansman,” Netflix is hoping he can stay in the mix.
Netflix will have the most nods on Oscar nomination morning, but will it have the most wins on Oscar night?
The streaming giant dominated the Golden Globes — garnering 22 nominations across the film categories — which is now expected given its arsenal of content. The next closest studio was Amazon Studios, which took home a respectable seven nods. David Fincher’s “Mank” leads with six nominations and “The Trial of the Chicago 7” is not far behind with five, and it’s no secret that Ted Sarandos wants that coveted best picture prize from the Academy. After coming up short with 2018’s “Roma” and 2019’s “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story,” the focus shifts on the season’s big question: Does Netflix have a best-picture-winning movie? Sorkin’s drama about the seven people on trial following the 1968 Democratic National Convention seems to have the best shot based on buzz and its performance thus far.
But the race is still “Nomadland’s” to lose right now.
Oscar prediction weekly analysis:
Conversations with AMPAS members has brought forth respect but not a lot of passion for Fincher’s look at the writing of “Citizen Kane.” Despite that, “Mank” looks earmarked for multiple nominations in the artisan categories. Production design, cinematography, costumes, sound and visual effects, all seem viable while editing, makeup and score may easily fall in line. A general rule I’ve followed with prognosticating, especially in this expanded era where any number between five and ten films can be nominated for best picture, is if you are tracking for five or more tech noms, best picture and directing can’t be too far off. Pencil in acting mentions for possibly Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, it would be foolish to discount it from the top category. We’re in different times right now.
In 1969, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” from Sydney Pollack was nominated for nine Oscars, and not for best picture. It has the distinction of having the most nominations for a film in Oscar history that did not garner a nomination in the top category. “Mank” could tie or break that record. To go a step further, 2006’s “Dreamgirls” from Bill Condon is the only film in the 92 years of the Oscars to receive the most nominations in a single year and not receive a best picture nom. Recalling the Awards Circuit column from last week, no film looks to be tracking to receive double-digit nominations on March 15 when AMPAS announces their selections.
Following stats are useful but when it comes to the Oscars, expect the unexpected. On the other hand, this could all be smoke and no fire. The awards season shifts and changes like the weather. Be ready for anything.
2021 Academy Awards Predictions