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The Trophy Hunter: Golden Globe reactions, surprises and early predictions

| Friday, February 5, 2021

Elaine Park | The Observer

The Golden Globes have become, without fail, the most surprising of all the entertainment awards. The Oscars, in their adherence to tradition and an inflated self-image, are easy to predict, and the Emmys have recently embraced their status as signifiers of unchanging middlebrow taste. (The Grammys are singularly terrible, and have been for their entire existence.) The Globes, though, are infinitely harder to get a grasp on. Rather than the thousand-strong voting bodies of the other three major awards, the Globes are awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of only 100 journalists that has been historically prone to stargazing and endearingly baffling decisions. This year’s nominations — released Wednesday morning — were no different, kickstarting 2021’s awards season with the Globes’ usual flair. For the first Trophy Hunter column of 2021, I’ll react to the nominations and give some early predictions — only for the Best Motion Picture categories, though. If you have enough time to watch all of the series nominated in the television section, I congratulate you on having invented the 36-hour day.


Best Motion Picture — Drama

Of the Globes’ two Best Picture categories, Drama is usually the more predictable of the two, leaning toward films that are already shoo-ins for Oscar nominations. Netflix dominated here, landing two nominees: Aaron Sorkin’s painful, weightless “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and David Fincher’s Old Hollywood diatribe “Mank.” Those two films are joined by Chloe Zhao’s festival-and-critics darling “Nomadland,” the Anthony Hopkins-Olivia Colman acting showcase “The Father” and — in a semi-surprise — Emerald Fennell’s debut feature “Promising Young Woman.” The latter selection is the most significant, propelling the film to the forefront of the Best Picture and Director Oscar races; moreover, the Carey Mulligan-led thriller is the kind of timely, star-studded movie that the Globes love. Don’t be surprised if “Promising Young Woman” carries its momentum all the way to a win in this category. 

Prediction: “Promising Young Woman”

Spoiler: “Nomadland”

Snubs: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “One Night in Miami”


Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy

Yes. Yes. YES. This category is the chaos that the Globes live for — the bland film musicals, the single broad, studio comedy, the movie that absolutely no one had on their awards radar before the Globes decided to nominate it. This is the category that decided that “The Martian” was as good and as funny of a comedy as “The Hangover.” The anything-can-happen feel of the Globes hinges on the Musical or Comedy trophy, and 2021’s nominations delivered in spades. 

Streamers once again flexed their muscles in this category. Netflix’s garish, horrendous “The Prom” fulfilled its promise of being the rare “Globes-bait” film; Disney+’s filmed version of “Hamilton” somehow qualified here instead of the TV Movie category; and Hulu’s charming, vapid “Palm Springs” snagged a nomination despite having the earliest release date of any realistic contender. The Globes’ biggest curveball for this category, though, came in the form of Sia’s basically-unseen directing debut “Music.” I have not seen “Music” — has anyone? — but I love the nomination nonetheless. Please, Globes, give us this level of insanity every year. Oh, and the last nominee in this category? Sacha Baron Cohen’s surprise “Borat” sequel, only one of the year’s most vital, hilarious movies. 

Prediction: “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”

Spoiler: “Hamilton”

Snubs: None. Long live this perfectly imperfect award.

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