Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Can the Globes be Skipped?

Michael C. here with some trivia for you to mull over as you finish digesting the Globe line-up and ponder the influence of an organization that looks at The Tourist and Red and sees awards fodder. Maybe they were just eager to provide Ricky Gervais with some good material. It is all about the party, after all.

The Golden Globes are to the Oscars what the Iowa caucuses are to the presidential race. A relatively tiny number of people wielding enormous influence using a highly questionable system and voting largely based on how often they got to have their picture taken with the nominees. Why do they have so much clout when it's universally acknowledged that you could get an equally relevant verdict by going into a random Starbucks and asking for a show of hands? Because like Presidential campaigns, it may be ridiculous, but dammit it’s the system we’re stuck with. Miss out on a Globe nomination and your chances of holding an Oscar are quickly reduced to a very low order of probability.

In the last thirty years only eight performers have landed an Oscar without first grabbing a nom from the Foreign Press. They are Alan Arkin, Marcia Gay Harden, James Coburn, Roberto Benigni, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Kline, Geena Davis, and Don Ameche. The list of films that have managed a Best Picture win without a Globe nom is even shorter. Only four films have ever pulled off such a trick and two of them, Chariots of Fire (1981) and Gandhi (1982), were classified as foreign films by the globes and awarded there. That leaves only Crash (2005) and The Sting (1973) to look to for precedent.

 I Will Take Any Excuse To Post a Pic of Newman in The Sting

Are there any such upsets lurking in the HFPA's snubs? I can’t say I spot any. Maybe a surprise supporting win for Hailee Stanfield or a chorus of “overdue” calls for Ed Harris to take it once they finally start showing The Way Back. Call me na├»ve but I’m always surprised upsets like that don't happen more often. If I were an Academy member I suspect I would be sorely tempted to go out on a limb just to show that neither the Globes nor any of the other precursors could influence my ballot. 

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