The Golden Globes Are An Unreliable Emmy Predictor

During the run-up to the Academy Awards each year, there is inevitably much discussion on how much — or how little — effect the Golden Globes will have on that year's crop of Oscar nominees. None, one side argues; the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the Academy have no overlap in their memberships. Quite a bit, the other side disputes; a bevy of nominations and wins can signal a tide of general industry support for a film that can spill over to the Oscars. But there's one question that rarely gets asked: how much effect do the Golden Globes have on the Emmys? As the only major awards show that honors both film and television, the they have the potential to forecast the biggest honors for the small screen. So... will this year's Golden Globe nominees predict next year's Emmys?

Once again, the answer is both yes and no. Like with the Oscars, there is no overlap between the HFPA and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. One is a group of international journalists; the other is a conglomerate of American industry professionals, including actors, writers, directors, etc. On the other hand, shows with widespread acclaim — like, say, Mad Men or Breaking Bad — are bound to wind up on the rosters of both voting bodies.


But there's one simple fact that throws a huge wrench in the potential for the two awards shows to line up too closely: the eligibility period. The Golden Globes, like the Oscars, honor the best in film and television for the past calendar year. The 73rd annual Golden Globes airing this Sunday are for any movies that came out or TV shows that aired from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 of 2015. While this is easy to remember and makes sense on the film side of things, it actually makes things very confusing over on the TV side. In the course of any given calendar year, most TV shows (at least those airing a network-standard 22 episodes) will have aired parts of two separate seasons, so it can often be hard to tell what season of a show is actually being honored by a nomination.

The Emmys, on the other hand, operate on the traditional school year schedule that most networks also follow: the eligibility period for last September's Emmy Awards was from June 1, 2014 to May 31, 2015. This may be more difficult to remember, but it makes much more sense when breaking down specific seasons of television. Because of this disparity in timelines, any correlation between the Golden Globes and the Emmys is tenuous at best. For example, the 2016 Golden Globes are just now getting around to honoring the final season of Mad Men, since it aired in 2015; but Jon Hamm already won the trophy at the 2015 Emmys, because the season had aired in April and May of that year, within the eligibility period of the ceremony.

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To illustrate how diametrically opposed the two awards groups are, let's compare the top nine categories — Drama, Comedy, and Limited Series and their respective Best Actor and Actresses — at 2015's Golden Globe and Emmy ceremonies. Out of those nine categories, only one lines up between the two: Jeffrey Tambor, who took home Best Actor in a Comedy Series for the freshman season of Transparent at both ceremonies. Everything else is drastically different. (The Globes honored Season 1 of Showtime's The Affair as Best Drama, while the Emmys finally gave it to Game Of Thrones for its fifth season.)

To make matters worse, there are the Supporting categories. While the Emmys honor supporting performances in all three of the aforementioned fields separately (Drama, Comedy, Limited), the Globes lump them all into one tiny category. So while the Emmys are able to honor six supporting performances in any given year, the Globes only have room to hand out two trophies. (That's not even including the Guest Performer categories, which the Globes don't acknowledge at all.)


So what shows are nominated at this Golden Globes ceremony that will be eligible for the Emmys later this year? Among the nominees you can expect to pop up on both lists are: the freshman season of USA's hacker drama Mr. Robot (which just missed the cutoff for last year's Emmys, debuting on June 24, 2015); the most recent season of Transparent, which just premiered in November; and the sophomore season of FX's Fargo , which missed a year at the Emmys since it premiered so much later in Season 2 (October 2015) than it did in Season 1 (April 2014).

So while you can often copy/paste a list of Golden Globe nominees into an Oscar ballot and get at least close to reliable results, the same cannot be said for the Globes and the Emmys. But for a dedicated prognosticator, a close examination of the eligibility periods can at least give you some hints on what to expect at each awards show.

The 73rd annual Golden Globes, honoring the best in film and television from 2015, will air this Sunday evening starting at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Images: USA Network