How Well Do Golden Globe Nominees Predict the Oscars' Best Picture? Let's Figure This Out
As much vim and vigor as we may all have used to fuel our cries of outrage against the egregious nomination snubbery exhibited by the Golden Globes Thursday morning, every one of us must come clean: the chief reason we care about the Globes is because they prove to be a viable predictor for the Academy Awards. (Well, that and we love to see Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host an awards show.) We can pretend to hold the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in high regard, but in all honesty, we treat the institution as little more than a practice round for our Oscar betting pools. But how good an indicator are the Globe nomination of the Oscars, really?
Looking back through the archives of the Globes' top winners and nominees, you can find out just how accurate its categories might be at foreseeing the Academy race. The tricky thing about the Globes is that it breaks its recognition of a year's best feature films into two categories — Drama and Comedy/Musical — whereas the Oscars lumps everything together in one all-purpose group. As such, it takes a little extra combing to figure out just what is to come, Oscar-wise, when you're looking at a new slate of Golden Globe nominees.
So let's give this year's round-up a go, and figure out just what we've got in store come the turn of our bona fide awards season.
The Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Drama
In the 63 years since the institution of the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Drama, how many times have the Globes and the Oscars...
-Had all five nominees in common? Twice.-Had five nominees in common in a year in which one or both organization recognized more than five nominees? Four times (this is particularly pertinent, since it applies to the Academy's current trend of honoring nine or 10 Best Picture candidates).-Had four nominees in common? 16 times.-Had three nominees in common? A whopping 22 times.-Had only two nominees in common? 13 times.-Had only one nominee in common? Three times.-Had no nominees in common? Never... so far.
It should be noted that full nominations lists are not available for the years 1953, '54, and '55.
Among the above data, we find...
-44 Best Picture Oscar winners have been nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Motion Picture - Drama.-32 of those have won both awards.
Which means that...
-12 Best Picture Oscar winners were nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Motion Picture - Drama but did not win, and...-19 Best Picture Oscar winners were not nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Motion Picture - Drama at all.
Now let's move onto the comedies before we make our grand assumptions about this year's Oscar slate.
The Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
This one is a little trickier to calculate due to those pesky years between 1958 and '62, when HFPA insisted on splitting its Musical and Comedy categories in twain. For the sake of convenience, the below data considers the Musical and Comedy categories of each these years as a large amalgamated category.
In the 63 years since the institution of the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, how many times have the Globes and the Oscars...
-Had all five nominees in common? Never.-Had five nominees in common in a year in which one or both organization recognized more than five nominees? Nope, not here either.-Had four nominees in common? Once.-Had three nominees in common? Once.-Had only two nominees in common? 13 times. (There you go, slugger!)-Had only one nominee in common? 30 times!-Had no nominees in common? 14 times.
Again, there are a few years that carry no record of nominees beyond the winner (1951, '54, and '55), and one year in which no film was given the award at all ('53).
Among the (significantly more pathetic) above data, we find...
-13 Best Picture Oscar winners have been nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy.-12 of those have won both awards.
Which means that...
-1 Best Picture Oscar winner was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy but did not win (that being Annie Hall), and...-50 Best Picture Oscar winners were not nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy at all.
Of course, those final figures can be deceiving; usually, if a Best Picture Oscar winner isn't nominated in one of the Golden Globes' Best Motion Picture categories, it is nominated in the other.
But there are four exceptions to this: the Best Picture winners of 1973 (The Sting), 1981 (Chariots of Fire), 1982 (Gandhi), and 2005 (ugh... Crash) were not nominated for a Golden Globe Award in either the Best Motion Picture - Drama or Best Motion Picture - Musical/Comedy categories.
So what does it all mean for this year?
Well, let's take a look at the Golden Globe nominees for 2014.
The movies nominated for Best Motion Picture - Drama are:BoyhoodFoxcatcherThe Imitation GameSelmaThe Theory of Everything
As we learned above, it is most often the case that three (slightly less often, four) of the films represented in the Globe's Drama category carry on to earn Best Picture nominations.
In contrast to most past years, we're faced today with predicting nine or 10 top Oscar candidates, which leaves a bit more wiggle room for the new honorees. But for the sake of argument, let's assume that at least one of these pictures has to go.
My guess: Foxcatcher, which has already lost most of the luster that preceded its release. (You can't hang a whole movie on "Steve Carell's going dark this time!"). This makes way for...
The movies nominated for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy are:
Into the WoodsBirdmanThe Grand Budapest HotelSt. VincentPride
Now, we have to be a lot stingier with this lineup, even in the wake of a larger sum of Best Picture nominees. All good sense says that Birdman will get its due come nominations time — anyone would be bonkers to bet against it considering all the fervor drummed up by smaller awards organizations.
But is there another possible contender among the lot? Pride is far too small an entry, Into the Woods is much too estranged from Oscar's sensibilities, and St. Vincent is... well, simply, not very good. How about Grand Budapest? It's a pipe dream, but it is, in fact, the only other of this year's Musical or Comedy nominees that has a chance.
That said, I'd advise betting solely on Birdman here, unless you're the sort who likes living on the edge.
Although data proves that it is exceedingly rare for a Best Picture winner to miss out on a nomination in either category, there are plenty of Best Picture nominees who didn't get their Globes due. Beyond the four given Drama nods (Boyhood, Imitation Game, Selma, and Theory of Everything) and Comedy's Birdman, it looks like the rest of the Best Picture category will be filled out by non-Globers.
Angelina Jolie's Unbroken, a surprise snub for the HPFA, is all but a given. A Most Violent Year, which earned a Best Supporting Actress - Drama Globe nomination for Jessica Chastain, is also a decent bet. And we can't forget about Gone Girl, whose star Rosamund Pike was duly recognized Thursday morning as well. As for the others? We'll just have to wait for more awards organizations to render their picks... or, you know, go with our guts.
Image: IFC Films; Paramount Pictures; The Weinstein Company; Fox Searchlight Pictures (2); Pathé; Sony Pictures Classics