Golden Globes add to the Oscar season mix with 'Boyhood,' 'Budapest' boosts

Posted by · 12:04 am · January 12th, 2015

The one notable surprise Sunday night at the Golden Globe Awards was “The Grand Budapest Hotel” triumphing in the Best Picture – Comedy/Musical category. And the pop in the FOX party on site was a substantial one. The film joined “Boyhood,” itself capping off a serious run on the critics' awards circuit, as the year's Best Picture victors. And boy did that make the Globes look classy.

You can bet the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is soaking it up, too, as there has been a concerted effort to appear more legit than some of the organization's past shenanigans have allowed. It started with a largely respectable list of nominees and culminated with two of the most critically acclaimed and laureled films of the year taking top honors. So, of course, it helps when the films are great, and the films this year are great, despite the overwhelming narrative that they're not.

What's interesting, though, is to take note of whether the pendulum will swing. “The Social Network” is a good example of a film that dominated the critics' awards and won the Golden Globe, only to have something more populist win throughout the guilds. I'm not saying that's “Boyhood's” fate, but I do think this Best Picture race is still a race and anyone who looks to the HFPA's choices as indicative of Oscar's route isn't doing it right.

The PGA. That's the keystone to me in this new landscape. It's the only group that duplicates the preferential ballot process, and if you can win there, despite the fact that it's a different group of people than the Academy at large, then I think you can win at the Oscars. Because that says something about how you appeal broadly. If “Boyhood” takes that, I'm on board. In the meantime, I'm still curious about the twists and turns (and happy to proceed cautiously – observing the race from an absolutist's perspective is folly). “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” for instance, felt like it was mostly being celebrated for its parts to me until it dominated the BAFTA announcement, and tonight's win could feed an interesting phase two stride for the film. The season is ever-changing, never preordained.

Otherwise, the HFPA did what they tend to do: spread the wealth. They just didn't quite spread it in the manner I was expecting. A lot of these races were no doubt close, but they found a way to honor just about everything save “The Imitation Game,” surprising by its exclusion throughout no matter how you look at it. But Harvey Weinstein had some representation in Amy Adams' “Big Eyes” win, nevertheless. And “The Imitation Game” could absolutely join films like “Crash” and “The Hurt Locker” that were shut out at the Golden Globes but won Best Picture at the Oscars. Different track. Different race.

Actually, I take that back about there only being one surprise. There were two, and the other one was “How to Train Your Dragon 2” winning the animated feature prize. That put a big smile on my face (and yielded another pop from the FOX tent). Fingers crossed there's a headwind here and the film can soar into the Oscars and claim what it deserves.

I'm very, very curious to see what the DGA does to add to this equation on Tuesday. Some feel, however – and have intimated as much to me – that they are irrelevant to the Oscar race lately. It's a large group and not a specific one, and their nominations land in a lull now where there isn't much to influence. But I still think there's something to be gleaned from what a large group thinks of the year's best, so if Morten Tyldum or Wes Anderson or, hell, Dan Gilroy pop up there, it will be telling in its own way.

“Birdman” and “The Theory of Everything” each won a pair. Julianne Moore kept an even keel. J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette stepped closer to engraving their Oscars (and how cool is that?). Richard freakin' Linklater got to accept a couple awards on a grand national stage and that was pretty much the Globes. I haven't mentioned “Selma” because it's all about Thursday for that film at this point. I thought Ava DuVernay had a real chance tonight, but regardless, the timing on this one has been a lot different than for other films in the race. Maybe it caught on (and, via controversy, caught fire) at the right time. Maybe there needed to be more groundwork laid. We'll know in a couple days.

For now, I guess I have some new shows to check out. The HFPA, as always, obsessively laurels the new stuff.

What did you think of the way the Globes turned out? Sound off in the comments.

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