Film News

Golden Globe Nominees: How Many of These Have You Actually Seen?

The Golden Globe nominations came out today. I have some thoughts, specifically about the film side of things. The expected happened – hello, Marriage Story, Irishman, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – as well as the unexpected – Joker’s Todd Phillips for Best Director! On the TV side, good luck to any awards body trying to properly dole out nominations in an era in which over 500 original scripted TV shows airing or streaming. Whatever you nominate, there are 5 worthwhile alternate choices, and nobody can possibly watch everything.

On the film side, however, the choices are more easily whittled down and awards season storylines more clear – Can Netflix win it all? Will Parasite transcend the foreign film ghetto and seriously compete? How many nominations with Joker get? Will Natalie Portman again have to shame people for not nominating any female directors? Plus, the Golden Globes have a far more symbiotic relationship with the Oscars than they do the Emmys.

So, let’s talk about the movies which made it into this year’s Golden Globe nominations.

First, an annual disclaimer:

The Golden Globes Are Stupid

For some reason – mostly tradition, also drunk celebrities make for good TV – we give considerable cultural weight to the Golden Globe Awards. Nevermind that there is practically zero overlap between the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the two organizations use entirely different balloting systems to determine their awards. Nevermind that the HFPA started the Golden Globes nearly 80s years ago as a calculated excuse to gain access to film stars and continue to follow that principle today. Nevermind that there aren’t even 100 people in the HFPA compared to the literal thousands who vote for SAG or Oscars or rhat weird HFPA rules forbid foreign films from competing for Best Picture (sorry The Farewell, Parasite).

We know all of that. The Golden Globes are stupid. We shouldn’t care about them, and based on the dwindling ratings fewer and fewer people do. However, peak TV means there is something for everyone’s particular obsession, and to certain film lovers and celebrity watchers, the Globes telecast will always matter. It’s the true Opening Day of the awards show season that consumes all of January and most of February. The people who vote for the Globes don’t vote for virtually any of the other awards shows, but they set the tone for the season and give a prominent platform to potential Oscar winners looking to test out their best acceptance speech.

The Golden Globes Were Surprisingly Predictive Last Year

As much as we might hate on the Globes’ legitimacy, its list of winners was surprisingly predictive last year. Here’s a breakdown of last year’s Golden Globes and Oscar winners in the overlapping film categories:


Golden Globe


Best Picture


Green Book

Best Drama

Green Book


Best Comedy/Musical

Bohemian Rhapsody


Best Director

Alfonso Cuaron

Alfonso Cuaron

Best Actor


Rami Malek

Best Actor-Drama

Rami Malek


Best Actor-Comedy

Christian Bale


Best Actress


Olivia Colman

Best Actress-Drama

Glenn Close


Best Actress-Comedy

Olivia Colman


Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali

Mahershala Ali

Best Supporting Actress

Regina King

Regina King

Best Screenplay

Green Book


Best Screenplay-Original


Green Book

Best Screenplay-Adapted



Best Animated Feature

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Foreign Film



Best Original Score

First Man

Black Panther

Best Song



Last year, the HFPA gave its top film prizes to Green Book (eventual Oscar winner for Best Picture) and Bohemian Rhapsody (which eventually won 4 Oscars, more than any other film last year). Most awards analysts were stunned to see that happen at the Oscars, but the Globes had given everyone a heads-up that those were the two films with the right momentum at the right time. Plus, outside of Original Score if you won the Golden Globe you were either guaranteed the Oscar or at least had a 50/50 shot at it.

Of course, it’s hard to truly call something predictive when the Globes have separate categories for dramas and comedies/musicals whereas everything is lumped together at the Oscars. Plus, this was just one year, and the further back you go the easier it is to find several years in a row where the eventual Oscar winner for Best Picture winner didn’t actually win the Globe for Drama or Comedy/Musical. (Shape of Water, for example, lost to Three Billboards, Spotlight lost to Boyhood.)

Was last year an aberration? Was the correlation more down to 2018 being a year of clear bests in every category? Or is there something more going on here?

We won’t know for a while, but for now, it’s a reminder that what wins a Golden Globe might just matter for the Oscars. What gets nominated, however, well there’s always more room for strangeness with the Globes in that department.

Happiest Surprise That Might Not Mean Anything

Having a wider field of nominees thanks to the Drama and Comedy/Musical bifurcation means Knives Out earned three big nominations this year – Best Comedy and Supporting Actor/Actress (Daniel Craig/Ana de Armas) – but is still considered a long shot in all of those categories at the Oscars. It’s a case of an incredibly strong film, impeccably put-together, and wildly entertaining, but since it doesn’t quite walk like Oscar bait or talk like one it might struggle to seem like anything other than a good movie that doesn’t really warrant recognition. The longer it kicks ass at the box office, though, the more money its distributor might put into a serious Oscar campaign. Today’s Golden Globes nominations will certainly be fuel for that fire.

And Award for Best Picture Goes to that One from Netflix! No, Not That One – The Other One. Sorry. No, The Other Other One. Look, They Have a Lot of Nominees, OK.

The real big story from today’s Golden Globe nominations is Netflix, which led the field with 34 total nominations (when you count both film and TV). The streaming service is responsible for four of the ten total Best Picture nominees between the Drama and Musical/Comedy categories. Marriage Story has the most nominations of any film with 6. (Debbie downer: Vice did that last year and didn’t win anything.) Joining Marriage Story in Netflix’s Best Picture takeover are The Irishman, The Two Popes, and Dolemite is My Name, the latter up for Best Comedy, the others for Drama.

This is a first for Netflix. Before this morning, in its short history, the streaming giant had earned exactly zero total Golden Globe nominations for either Best Drama or Musical/Comedy. Now, it has 4. It took bottomless debt, a combined marketing/influencing budget four times as high as Harvey Weinstein’s back when he re-wrote the book on buying awards, poached awards strategists from the studios, and an uncommonly good crop of movies to get there, but Ted Sarandos – video store employee turned Netflix Chief Content Officer – will have his golden ring, dammit. Oh, yes, he will.

What you don’t see in the nominees are all of the other awards contenders Netflix pushed this year. Klaus didn’t make it into Animated Film (Lion King did though despite the fact Disney isn’t even submitting the film for that category at the Oscars.) The Laundromat, High Flying Bird, and The King were all shut-out.

That’s nothing new. Not every Oscar hopeful works out. What’s notable about it, though, is this year just about every major studio has one but no more than two legit Oscar contenders – Netflix came into this season with more than five of those! As it does with every other part of its original content strategy, Netflix fired Oscar contenders at us through a fire hydrant, and now it just might run the table.

Most Surprising Snub: De Niro

Because the Globes gonna Globe, though, Robert De Niro’s Irishman performance was snubbed. Pacino and Pesci got in there in the supporting actor category. Plus, since De Niro is a producer on The Irishman he’s included in the film’s Best Drama nomination. So, he could still win a Golden Globe, just not one for acting. The HFPA probably knew that and wanted to spread the love, float an acting nomination to Christian Bale for Ford v Ferrari.

Also, because the Globes gonna Globe Marriage Story got all those nominations, yet Noah Baumbach was shut out for Director, a spot which went to Jokers’ Todd Phillips instead. That means the HFPA’s most nominated film is somehow not considered one of the five-best directed films of the year. Go figure. Joining Phillips in the Director category: Tarantino, Scorsese, Bong Joon-ho, and Sam Mendes for 1917. All-male nominees, 2020.

How Many of the Nominees Have You Seen?

Recent awards seasons have sometimes turned into glorified circle jerks, the ever-shrinking few applauding smaller movies hardly anyone actually saw. That’s a direct reflection of the kinds of movies being made and where Simply put, the big studios don’t see the money in Oscar films or how the money can come from the prestige of an Oscar win anymore. That’s what happens when the entire industry is in the midst of a radical transformation to both out-blockbuster Disney and crank out content for corporate-mandated streaming services.

This year is different. This year, WB has Joker, a billion-dollar grosser and legit Best Picture contender. Sony has Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, the second highest-grossing film of Quentin Tarantino’s career. Paramount has Rocketman, which at least managed to hit $200m worldwide despite pushback and censorship of its gay sex scene. Universal has 1917, a big budget WWI movie hailed as a masterpiece and awaiting a wide release early next year. Plus, if you’re a part of #FilmTwitter you know Irishman and Marriage Story seemed to conquer social media on their opening weekends, and Parasite has inspired its on social media cult called #BongHive.

Plus, the 2020 Oscars are earlier than ever before, thus shrinking the awards window considerably. As a result, voters have lost several weeks of screener time. Couple that with Netflix throwing monopoly money around Hollywood to arrange screenings and Q&A’s around town and you have a year where those films we used to think of as indies are struggling to breakthrough.

So, it feels like the awards season this year is top-heavy with movies have people have at least heard of. The Golden Globes say these are the 10 best films of 2019. (The Oscars list of 10 or 9 or 8 or whatever will be similar but different in several areas.) Out of curiosity, how many of them – and as of this writing Two Popes and 1917 have only played film festivals – have you seen?

My answer: 8. Seen all but 1917 and Two Popes. Of those I’ve seen, my top 3 is Marriage Story, Knives Out, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

How about you? Let me know in the comments. Here’s a link to the full list of nominees.


  1. You are so right about the abundance of shows that don’t even get a look in at awards time. I’ve seen 6 films from the list above. Of those, my top three is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Knives Out and Joker. Jo Jo Rabbit and 1917 wont be released here in Australia. until January 2020. Bummer! Just goes to show I couldn’t even give you my two cents worth because not everything is available here.

    1. If it makes you feel better, 1917 isn’t coming here until January either. (JoJo Rabbit, meanwhile, already came and left. That part probably doesn’t make you feel better.)

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