How the Golden Globes may have changed the 2020 Oscars race

Brendan Morrow

The Golden Globes' correlation to the Academy Awards shouldn't be overstated. The honors are voted on by two completely different organizations, and the Globes isn't always the most accurate bellwether — last year, Golden Globe winner Green Book went on to score Best Picture, but the year prior, the Oscars crowned The Shape of Water after it lost at the Globes. Still, the two shows' choices in certain categories often line up, and with Oscar voters tuning in during their nominating window, an upset victory or memorable speech can shift perceptions.

At the 2020 Golden Globes Sunday night, Hollywood Foreign Press Association voters once again defied expectations with a number of surprise picks that could give key Oscar contenders a significant boost.

1. Another Oscar for Elton

Elton John looks on his way to another Best Original Song Oscar after scoring the equivalent award at the Globes for Rocketman.

In his acceptance speech, John pointed out that this is the first time he and Bernie Taupin have won together, which Vanity Fair's Katey Rich notes "just created a narrative in a best original song race that badly needs it."

2. Disney might be in trouble

The animated film category saw a major upset with Missing Link scoring a surprise win over three Disney hits: Toy Story 4, Frozen 2, and The Lion King.

This may inspire Oscar voters to check out Missing Link, a film that bombed at the box office and that they may have previously ignored in favor of automatically checking off the latest Disney blockbuster. Could this become a rare non-Disney Oscar winner for animation, despite Toy Story 4's stellar reviews?

3. Could a Parasite surge be coming?

Parasite wasn't eligible for the best picture category at the Globes, but it did take Best Foreign Language Film as pundits expected. While the film failed to snag the Best Director prize like some predicted, Bong Joon-ho, who The New York Times reports was the man "everyone wants to meet" at Golden Globes parties, was warmly received.

"In what's otherwise seemed a pretty muted and sour-tempered evening so far, everyone in the room really did sound enthused about Parasite,” Variety's Guy Lodge observed. "You have to wonder."

In his acceptance speech, Bong noted, "Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films." Could the Academy be inspired to crown Parasite the first foreign language Best Picture winner?

4. Is Egerton in this thing?

Taron Egerton's best actor in a musical or comedy upset hardly makes him a lock for the Oscar since the Academy doesn't separate its acting categories by genre. But could the win at least secure Egerton a nomination?

This is among the most packed Best Actor races ever — those in the mix include Joaquin Phoenix, Leonardo DiCaprio, Adam Driver, Antonio Banderas, Robert De Niro, and Eddie Murphy — so it's far from guaranteed. But after the Rocketman star also earned an unexpected nomination at Screen Actors Guild Awards, he could indeed be headed to the Oscars, while DiCaprio's stock is down after this loss.

5. Phoenix, Zellweger, Dern, and Pitt may be locked in

Joaquin Phoenix, Renée Zellweger, Laura Dern, and Brad Pitt cemented their status as frontrunners for the Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Supporting Actor categories. We needed a surprise winner like Adam Driver or Jennifer Lopez to swoop in with a killer speech to shake up any of these fields, but that didn't happen.

While the Globes' ability to predict Best Picture is mixed, its acting choices quite often align, and barring some upsets in the coming weeks, these four Oscar pathways look clear. Then again, might Tom Hanks' emotional Cecil B. DeMille Award speech give him a boost in the supporting category?

6. Don't bet against 1917

Going into the night, many saw the Best Picture Oscar race as a competition between The Irishman, Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, and Parasite. But after 1917's surprise win, it's clear Sam Mendes' movie is in contention.

Yes, the Golden Globes' Best Picture choice often differs from the Oscars', but a win by a dark horse like 1917 forces it onto the radar of any Academy members who might have otherwise overlooked it, and the victory comes just when the movie's buzz is set to pick up as it rolls into wide release.

Mendes, who surprised with a Best Director win, also positioned the film in contrast to Netflix, noting in his speech he hopes people will see it "on the big screen, the way it was intended." That's a narrative Academy voters, some of whom remain resistant to the streaming company due to its refusal to play by theatrical norms, might eat up. Could 1917 become the vote against Netflix?

7. The Irishman takes a hit

Netflix came into the Golden Globes with 17 film nominations but walked away with just one as The Irishman was surprisingly snubbed.

That doesn't bode well considering the Hollywood Foreign Press Association should be more receptive to Netflix than the Academy, as the latter organization consists of industry professionals more hostile to the streaming company's growing dominance.

A killer speech by Martin Scorsese could have reminded even Netflix haters in the Academy they dare not overlook his latest, but he had no such opportunity. The Irishman isn't out of the running, but it's now in a position few expected at this point: in need of a comeback.

8. Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood gains momentum

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, on the other hand, had a great showing, scoring the most wins of any film with three.

This included the top Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy prize, while Quentin Tarantino also grabbed a screenplay award some thought would go to Marriage Story and Brad Pitt won for his supporting performance. Already a heavy favorite, Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood is looking more and more like the Best Picture frontrunner, especially with an Oscars voting body that loves films about the magic of the movies.

There's plenty of time for much of this to change, though less than usual thanks to this year's tighter schedule. The Academy Awards are just weeks away and will be held on Feb. 9. Look out for the nominations on Jan. 13.

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