Should We Really Care About the HFPA? Predicting the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards

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It’s time, yet again, to marvel at one of the most beautiful disasters in Hollywood as the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards are presented tonight. But, aside from placing Naomi Watts, Lena Dunham, Julianne Moore, and Jessica Chastain in the same room (causing my inevitable death via heart attack), are the Globes really worth our time anymore?

The Globes have traditionally functioned as more of a glorified, drunker, less frilly Oscar forecast. Each of the major categories usually share winners with their Oscar brethren, essentially securing a nomination at Hollywood’s most prestigious night for those already in contention with the Guilds (which contain actual Oscar voters, mind you).

The HFPA winners generally reaffirm Oscar voters’ nomination ballots; however, this year Oscar voters submitted their ballots prior to the announcement of the Golden Globe winners, leaving the HFPA’s very public forum with little influence over who the Academy chose to nominate.

It’s not like the opinions of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are of any legitimate value. After all, to be a voting member you must have, as Scott Weinberg of FEARnet pointed out on Twitter earlier today, a minimum of four published articles a year. That’s not much, considering most industry trade papers circulate on an average weekly basis.

The Globes is an exercise in good fun, whether intentional or not, because no one (even those present, well, maybe except Claire Danes) seems to take the HFPA as seriously as the HFPA does. They offer little innovation beyond shining light on a few faces which go unrecognized at the Oscars (this year: Rachel Weisz, Helen Mirren). The Guilds contain Academy members, breaking down specifics of the films they nominate as judged by peers who make films all year long, not by a few journalists who publish a single article quarterly.

Perhaps part of the problem lies within the insistence on funneling films into two different categories and treating them as polar opposites. Take, for example, Les Miserables, an undeniably grim drama whose script consists nearly entirely of sung dialogue and sweeping musical numbers. It faces off with a film like Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a comedy by definition (albeit possessing some sharp dramatic edge). The former certainly a musical, but bearing no resemblance to the comedic (or tonal) structure of the other. Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence, widely considered two frontrunners for the Best Actress Oscar, don’t compete directly tonight for their Golden Globes, as Chastain is the clear victor in the drama category, Lawrence easily trumping her fellow nominees in the comedic category. What benefit will be reaped tonight aside from reaffirming both ladies as Oscar frontrunner? The HFPA surely can’t take themselves to be the most important industry awards show, so perhaps a revamping of the categorical nomination process would widen their scope as a legitimate game changer instead of a complimentary excuse to hand out more awards to the same people.

The Globes is merely a flex of industry redundancy, its members attempting to have their cake and eat it, too (and not in the beautifully charming way Lena Dunham did in the Season 1 finale of “Girls”). But at least they’re giving us an excuse to indulge in three hours of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey this time, which is more than enough incentive for me to crack some wine with friends and enjoy the mess.

Predicted Winners:
Motion Picture, Drama: Lincoln
Motion Picture, Musical/Comedy: Les Miserables
Actor, Drama: Daniel Day-Lewis
Actress, Drama: Jessica Chastain
Actor, Musical/Comedy: Hugh Jackman
Actress, Musical/Comedy: Jennifer Lawrence
Supporting Actor: Tommy Lee Jones
Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway
Director: Steven Spielberg
Original Score: Lincoln
Screenplay: Lincoln
Original Song: “Skyfall”  by Adele
Animated Feature: Brave
Foreign Film: Amour

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