Why Don't Franchises Like 'The Hunger Games' & 'Star Wars' Earn Golden Globes?
This is it, people; awards season is upon us. And we all know what that means — perilous frustration, pining for your favourites to get the acclaim you think they deserve and often, desperate disappointment. The snubs come fast and thick, and fans of film franchises know this better than anyone. With the Golden Globe Award nominations for 2016 being so close to being announced, it's easy to all start rolling our eyes now in anticipation for exactly how our favourite films and shows are going to fail to be nominated, and the recent release of the final instalment of The Hunger Games franchise makes it all too easy to be getting cynical ahead of time about how Mockingjay Part 2 will be totally ignored.
Well, perhaps not totally ignored. After all, The Hunger Games has actually been nominated for Golden Globes for every single movie so far, but not in any of the categories that you'd like it to be. For the past three years, The Hunger Games has been nominated in the Best Original Song category (err, great for Coldplay and Taylor Swift, I guess?), and it also lost every time. So what's the deal?
It'd be easy to shrug the whole sorry situation off by merely dismissing it with accusations of snobbery. After all, franchises — such as Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Star Wars — are all insanely, ridiculously popular and they also make a ton of money at the box office, which for some reason seems to indicate that they in turn lack the sort of artistry that The Golden Globes look for in serving up their accolades.
Back in 2011, though, The Golden Globe awards courted a lot of controversy when both The Tourist and Burlesque were nominated in the Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy category. If you can barely remember either of these films, then you're all the better for it, because for lack of a better critical vocabulary, they weren't exactly award winners. And that's not even by Golden Globe standards, but by standards in general. The Tourist was a notorious flop during its release, despite starring two of the World's biggest stars (Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp) while the Cher and Christina Aguilera starring Burlesque was so critically panned that it still holds a place on Worst Films Of All Time lists to this day (even Cher called it a "horrible movie").
So it seems a little crazy that a film like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, which has done tremendously well at the box office and received critical acclaim would fail to receive some sort of recognition in a major category, especially when remembering the Golden Globe Awards nomination controversy of 2011. The whole blaming it on snobbery angle just doesn't seem to fit. So what is it?
The Golden Globe Awards Might Consider Franchises To Be "Immature"
One theory which does seem to fit is that franchises are family friendly fare, and not just that but they're more often than not seen as being made specifically to appeal to as large an audience as possible. With the Harry Potter and Hunger Games franchises, this theory certainly seems to hold some strength, after all they were both adapted from book franchises which you can find in the Young Adult section of any book store.
It could well be that by creating films which can appeal to a younger audience as well as an older one, that the Golden Globe Awards consider such films as being immature and as such lacking in the sort of deep, meaningful content that makes a film worthy of being celebrated. But I mean, how patronising is that?
Franchises Might Be Seen As Being Money-Making Ventures Rather Than Creative Ones
By appealing to such a large audience, that of both children and adults, the films fall squarely within the blockbuster genre, meaning that for many it's seen as an exercise in money-making rather than an exercise in truly original artistic vision. With a merchandise heavy franchise like Star Wars, it's easy to see how they might come to such a conclusion and maybe even dismiss the films for nomination before they even have a chance to consider it. But is that entirely fair? Just because a film sets out to make a lot of money (and, let's be honest, there's a lot of people happy to give Star Wars their money), doesn't mean that it's lacking in any of the credentials necessary to make it worthy of receiving accolades.
By Making The Story Episodic, Franchises Lose The Definitive Resolution Of A Stand-Alone Film
The way that we tell stories on screen is changing, that's evident from the way in which TV shows are becoming of a similar high quality to that of cinema but also in the way that stories are being spread from one film into many. Franchises like to take their time with storytelling; there's often so much happening in the story which needs to be told alongside more characters which deserve a fuller development, that it would make for a frustrating watch to see all of that squeezed into just the one film.
As such, the Golden Globe Awards do not seem to be a fan of this type of storytelling. Don't let the fact that they threw awards at The Godfather back in the '70s sway you against this theory because in the past decade, they've solely favoured stand alone films. And why? By splitting the overall narrative up, the films become episodic meaning that the standard resolution of a story (i.e. a coherent closure with no cliffhanger) doesn't happen, and for many this is a defining feature of a great film.
Still, by that theory it at least gives The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 a fighting chance at receiving a decent nomination in a major category at the 2016 Golden Globe Awards, because at least the film will finally give them the closure they perhaps want before they can start applauding the series. We'll soon see on Dec. 10, when this year's nominations are announced.