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Fact: Critics Choice Nominations Predict Oscars Better Than the Golden Globes

Even in their heyday the Golden Globes were disdained by Academy voters.


Judi Dench, Jude Hill, and Ciaran Hinds in “Belfast”

Focus Features

As media outlets struggled to find the best way to cover the beleaguered Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe nominations — announced Monday morning, despite NBC’s cancellation of the 2022 awards show — it may help to remember that this motley crew of Hollywood correspondents for overseas outlets never reflected the taste of Oscar voters.

At best, the Globes throw some names into the spotlight. (They have extra categories for Comedy/Musical and deemed “The Martian” a comedy.) The media has long paid more attention to the Globes mentions than Academy voters ever did. The members regard the HFPA with disdain and try to distance themselves as much as possible — unless they have a rooting interest in a given movie or talent, in which case they promote their own cause with an eye on box office or Oscars.

NBC’s live Golden Globes show has more impact on building winners’ momentum, but that won’t happen this year. The Screen Actors Guild, which gave “Parasite” a Best Ensemble win in 2020 before it went on to win the Best Picture Oscar, is far more predictive.

So is the Critics Choice Awards, which has a larger, more diverse membership (almost 500 from North America) that includes radio, television, and online professionals. Both awards will announce their winners January 9, but only the CCAs will be broadcast (on TBS and the CW). As it seeks to build viewers for the show, the CCA also endured scrutiny from The Los Angeles Times. 

There were few surprises among the nominations from the expanded (and slightly reformed) HFPA, which now totals 105 members (57.1 percent women, 17.1 percent Asian, 11.4 percent Latinx, and 5.7 percent Black), except for rapper Snoop Dog’s inventive pronunciation of everyone from Denis Villeneuve to Ben Affleck.

Fall festival breakouts from Kenneth Branagh (Focus Features’ memoir “Belfast”) and Jane Campion (Netflix’s “The Power of the Dog”) led the Globes field with seven nominations each, and will certainly do well at the Oscars. Both actor-friendly films also scored with the CCAs, with 11 and 10 nominations respectively. The CCAs, which like the Oscars include many craft categories, awarded 11 spots to Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” (Twentieth Century/Disney) and 10 to space epic “Dune” (Warner Bros.). Both films landed four nods from the HFPA.

“Nightmare Alley”

Searchlight Pictures, via Vanity Fair

Two craft-friendly films from Searchlight met different fates from the two groups. The HFPA snubbed Guillermo del Toro’s chilly film noir “Nightmare Alley,” which scored eight nods at the CCAs; the CCAs shut out Wes Anderson’s triptych “The French Dispatch.” The HFPA recognized Anderson’s film with Alexandre Desplat’s nomination for Best Score.

It’s quite possible that the CCA’s 10-best list could repeat on Oscar nominations morning February 8, including both musicals “West Side Story” and “Tick, Tick, Boom,” and Apple TV’s Sundance pickup “CODA.” (See IndieWire’s Best Picture predictions here.)

Among the director contenders, Branagh, Campion, Spielberg, and Denis Villeneuve (Warner Bros.’ “Dune”) landed slots from both groups, Guillermo del Toro (“Nightmare Alley”) and Paul Thomas Anderson (“Licorice Pizza,” (MGM/UA), got CCA nods. Comedy/Musical Globe contenders Anderson and Adam McKay (end-of-the-world Netflix comedy “Don’t Look Up”) wound up in the Globes Screenplay category. “Licorice Pizza” collected eight CCA nominations, followed by six for “Don’t Look Up” and Warner Bros.’ “King Richard” (which had four Globe nods).

Two women made the Globes Best Director list: Campion and actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, for her directing debut “The Lost Daughter” (Netflix). At the Oscars, Gyllenhaal is most likely to land a nod for Best Adapted Screenplay; her star Olivia Colman scored both HFPA and CCA nominations for Best Actress, along with Jessica Chastain (Searchlight’s “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”), Lady Gaga (MGM/UA’s “House of Gucci”), Nicole Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”) and Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”).

“West Side Story” ingenue Rachel Zegler scored a Best Young Actor /Actress CCA slot as well as a Comedy/Musical Globe nomination, but her fellow nominees Marion Cotillard (Amazon’s “Annette”), Jennifer Lawrence (“Don’t Look Up”), and Emma Stone (Disney’s “Cruella”) are Oscar long shots. Conspicuously missing from both lists was Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin in “Respect” (MGM/UA) and Penelope Cruz for Pedro Almodovar’s “Parallel Mothers” (Sony Pictures Classics).

Landing on both groups’ Best Actor lists were Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”), Peter Dinklage (MGM/UA’s “Cyrano”), Andrew Garfield (“Tick, Tick, Boom”), Will Smith (“King Richard”), and Denzel Washington (AppleTV+’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth”), but not Globe Musical/Comedy nominees Leonardo DiCaprio (“Don’t Look Up”), Cooper Hoffman (“Licorice Pizza”) and Anthony Ramos (“In the Heights”).

Surprise Best Actor Globe candidate Mahershala Ali has been slowly gaining some traction for drama “Swan Song” (Apple TV+), but the Best Actor race is so competitive that he remains a long shot, along with CCA candidate Nicolas Cage (“Pig”).

Among the supporting actors, “Belfast” stars Jamie Dornan and Ciaran Hinds scored with both groups, along with Troy Kotsur (“CODA”) and frontrunner Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Power of the Dog”) but not Globe nominee Ben Affleck (“The Tender Bar”) or CCA candidates Jared Leto (“House of Gucci”) and J.K. Simmons (“Being the Ricardos”).

Among the supporting actresses, Caitriona Balfe (“Belfast”), Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story”), Kirsten Dunst (“The Power of the Dog”), Aunjanue Ellis (“King Richard”) made both lists. Ruth Negga (“Passing”) got the Globe nod, while Ann Dowd (“Mass”) and Rita Moreno (“West Side Story”) scored with CCA voters. “Belfast” star Judi Dench did not score on either list.

The SAG Awards nominations on January 12 will bring the actor races into focus. Both the Globes and CCAs offer extra categories, and the CCAs fill six acting slots, not five. Just because both the Globes and CCAs anointed newcomer Alana Haim (“Licorice Pizza”) does not make her Oscar inclusion inevitable.

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