This year’s Golden Globes were as eventful as ever, with the second-tier awards show acting as a warm-up for the Oscars. As usual, the 80 or so voters didn’t nominate a diverse group of people. No female directed films made either Best Picture category and the acting nominees weren’t much more diverse. That said, this year did have a minor breakthrough for Asian cinema, with both Parasite and The Farewell scooping a trophy each.
The winners this year had many shocks, almost matching the double upset of Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book taking best picture last year over more acclaimed nominees. So let’s look at the biggest snubs and surprises of the 2020 Golden Globes.
The Irishman entered the Globes with 5 nominations, the second most of any film. Yet it left with no trophies. It was the favourite to win Best Picture – Drama. It was also considered a strong possibility for either Director or Screenplay. But the Globes favoured others. 1917 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood took all the awards The Irishman was nominated for. Perhaps past love for Scorsese made it seem like he didn’t need another award. Or maybe the long run-time and Netflix release didn’t sit well with voters.
Parasite was the rare foreign language film nominated for awards outside of Best Foreign Language Film. According to some betting agencies, it’s now the favourite to win Best Picture at the upcoming Academy Awards. But at the Globes it felt no love aside from the obligatory Foreign Language trophy. Bong Joon-ho was considered a contender for Director and Screenplay but it was snubbed for both. It may be the most acclaimed film of 2019 but that wasn’t enough for the Golden Globes.
Jennifer Lopez was a revelation in Hustlers and she was an awards lock early on. She isn’t considered the favourite for the Academy Awards but many felt the Golden Globes might throw her the Supporting Actress trophy. They have a history of going for big, glamorous names to give themselves something newsworthy. Laura Dern’s win for Marriage Story is a deserving choice but Lopez going home empty certainly surprised some.
Netflix were the bigger winner when the nominations were announced, scooping up almost one quarter of all film nominations. All four of their films had Best Picture nominations, and Netflix had the majority of nominees in three categories (Best Picture – Drama, Supporting Actor, Screenplay). Yet by the end they had just one paltry win, Best Supporting Actress. Considering that Marriage Story was the most nominated film of any this year, with The Irishman and The Two Popes not far behind, Netflix’s lacklustre total is a major snub.
Rocketman wasn’t the favourite in any of the major categories and yet star Taron Egerton managed to eke out a Best Actor – Comedy or Musical win. Leonardo DiCaprio was considered the frontrunner, and amongst those who didn’t see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood as a comedy, Eddie Murphy was the presumed next choice. Whilst few would deny that Egerton gave an incredibly committed and powerful performance as Elton John, Rocketman was seen as an outsider. Yet with Netflix’s bad night and the rockstar biopic precedent the Golden Globes set with Bohemian Rhapsody, maybe we should have seem this coming.
Best Director was seen as a toss up between Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, and Bong Joon-ho. Then Sam Mendes won for 1917. It’s a technical piece, so maybe his direction won the admiration of voters over the traditional favourites. But then Best Picture – Drama came up, the top prize of the night. That had to be between The Irishman and Marriage Story. Maybe Joker. But no, 1917 shocked again. What was originally a minor awards contender is now a real favourite. Who knows what this means going into the Academy Awards.
Missing Link was a very unexpected winner of Best Animated Feature Film. It was a box office bomb, it had mixed reviews, and it was up against the titans of Toy Story 4 and Frozen II. Yet somehow it prevailed. Even other forgettable nominees, like How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, seemed more likely to win. This is possibly the most unexpected win of the night.
Best Original Score
Best Original Score is a not a category often paid attention to, but with popular film composers like Alexandre Desplat and Randy Newman nominated, it looked likely to go the same old favourites. But no, Hildur Guđnadóttir won for Joker. It wasn’t necessarily a deserving win but it was a historic moment as she became the first solo female composer to win the award.
This was a year of shocks. The awards remain very open so far, but the Golden Globes has recalibrated things a little. 1917 is now a much bigger contender than many anticipated whilst favourites like The Irishman and Parasite have taken a knock. Going into the Academy Awards next month, it remains an open race.