What a Weird, Wild Golden Globes Tells Us About This Year’s Oscars

January 6, 2020, 4:00 PM UTC

Ricky Gervais was rude and unctuous. Tom Hanks and Ellen DeGeneres both made us cry. Quentin Tarantino rambled on about screenwriters no one had ever heard of. Joaquin Phoenix “rocked the [expletive] boat.” Politics and climate-crisis news crept their way into speeches. And biopics centered on iconic musicians—this year, Elton John and Judy Garland— remained coveted staples of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual fete.

Yes, a lot about this year’s Globes broadcast did feel familiar, including the fact that two old-fashioned movies, Universal’s World War I epic 1917 and Sony’s Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood, scored the night’s four most prestigious awards, respectively: Best Motion Picture/Drama and Best Director for Sam Mendes; and Best Screenplay for Quentin Tarantino and Best Motion Picture/Musical or Comedy. (Once Upon a Time… also earned beloved supporting-actor contender Brad Pitt his second-ever Globe after seven career nominations.)

But most notably, the evening’s results bucked, and for some, disappointed, expectations that streaming giant Netflix, which has spent millions promoting its Best Picture contenders Marriage Story and The Irishman since September, would somehow supplant such old-timey Big Studio entries. Not so much. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, in its laudation of all-things classic showbiz, voted again with its nostalgia-laden heart for two movies that represent just the kind of grandiose “theatrical” films that many have proclaimed are dying in the wake of Marvel’s reign over the box office.

So what do this year’s film winners, which comprised half the evening’s victors outside a handful of worthy TV winners, including Amazon darling Fleabag and HBO breakout hit Succession, mean for this year’s Oscars? It’s complicated.

In the last 20 years, roughly half of all Globes Best Picture winners, whether for Drama or Musical/Comedy, have gone on to also win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. (One could argue that in 2017 both Globes winners, Moonlight and La La Land, each also won Best Picture at the Oscars…. if only for one painfully awkward moment.)

This means 1917 and Once Upon Time… will each enter the final stretch of awards season on equal footing, and are now all but guaranteed Oscar nominations for Best Picture when those are announced Jan. 13.

But did this year’s Globes’ acting winners help narrow the field for Oscar’s favorites?

Not really. Phoenix defied recent speculation of an Adam Driver/Marriage Story takeover by taking home Best Actor in a Drama for Warner Brothers’ Joker, which also won Best Score; Taron Egerton reclaimed 2019 winner Rami Malek’s juicy-British-rock-music-biopic juju with a win for Paramount’s Rocketman; Renée Zellweger bested flashier competition (Bombshell’s Charlize Theron, Marriage Story’s Scarlett Johansson) with a Lead Actress in a Drama win for Roadside Attraction’s Judy; and underdog Awkwafina (a.k.a. Nora Lum) continued her streak as the year’s most endearing new talent for Best Musical/Comedy Lead Actress in A24’s mostly-Chinese-language tearjerker The Farewell. (While younger contenders Egerton and Awkwafina are less likely locks for Oscar nominations as compared to Phoenix and Zellweger, their Globes wins certainly boost their standing with the older-skewing Academy.)

The final question remaining is: Can Netflix net any meaningful love for their awards-season crown jewels The Irishman and Marriage Story?

Both titles have been darlings since their early-fall debuts thanks to a slew of film-critics’ kudos for directors Martin Scorsese and Noah Baumbach, respectively. But along the way, others have shaken up this year’s (painfully truncated) Oscar race, namely director Bong Joon-ho’s satire-thriller Parasite from Neon, which last night won the first ever Best Foreign-Language Film Globe for a Korean film. Interestingly Netflix’s 2019 Best Picture contender Roma earned the same award last year and would go on to net Best Director at the Oscars for Alfonso Cuaron; this means an upset by Korean auteur Bong over establishment heroes Tarantino, Mendes, and Scorsese is now not far a flung.

That’s what makes the coming weeks so critical for Netflix, and all Oscar contenders, really, as upcoming ceremonies for Critics Choice, Directors Guild, Writers Guild, SAG, Producers Guild (and less so, Indie Spirits) all boast larger voting bodies as compared to that of the HFPA, which is comprised of only around 90 members.

So once again it seems it’s best to have enjoyed this year’s Golden Globes as they’re meant to be enjoyed: as Hollywood’s most raw, raucous celebration of the year.

More must-read stories from Fortune:

—Nicolas Pesce on his R-rated Grudge reboot
Inside 1917: designing a World War I battlefield
Little Women director Greta Gerwig and cast reveal how they reinvented a feminist classic
—Aldis Hodge on going to “that dark place” for death row drama Clemency
—What did and didn’t work at the box office in 2019
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