When it comes to the Oscars, it usually helps to have the Golden Globes’ seal of approval. 69% of Best Picture Oscar-winners were also awarded at the Golden Globes (49 out of 71), but most of those were dramas. History shows that it’s harder to win Oscar for a musical or comedy.
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The Golden Globes currently present two awards for Best Picture – one for dramas, and one for musicals and comedies – but that wasn’t always the case. In the first eight years of the Globes (1943-1950), there was just one Best Picture category, and the Globes’ choice matched Oscar’s five times during that period.
Later, from 1958-1962, there were three Best Picture races: separate contests for dramas, musicals, and comedies. All five Oscar winners during those years won a Best Picture Globe: “Gigi” (Musical, 1958), “Ben-Hur” (Drama, 1959), “The Apartment” (Comedy, 1960), “West Side Story” (Musical, 1961), and “Lawrence of Arabia” (Drama, 1962).
But while they say “Dying is easy, comedy is hard,” hardest of all is winning awards for comedy. In the 63 years since the Golden Globes have presented separate awards for dramas and musicals/comedies, only a dozen Globe winners for Best Musical or Comedy Picture have taken the top Oscar:
1951: “An American in Paris”
1960: “The Apartment”
1961: “West Side Story”
1963: “Tom Jones”
1964: “My Fair Lady”
1965: “The Sound of Music”
1989: “Driving Miss Daisy”
1998: “Shakespeare in Love”
2011: “The Artist“
As you can see from the above list, comedies and musicals were more popular with the academy in the ’50s and ’60s; eight musical or comedy Globe champs (but mostly musicals) won Oscar during those 20 years.
But in the last 44 years, only four musical/comedy Globe winners went on to claim the top Oscar, with long droughts in-between: 21 years between “Oliver” and “Driving Miss Daisy,” another nine years until “Shakespeare in Love,” then only a four-year wait until “Chicago,” but another nine years between that and “The Artist.” At this rate, we might not see the two categories match up again this decade.
Among this year’s possible contenders is the Disney musical “Into the Woods,” and even though musicals have mostly fallen out of favor with the academy, the Golden Globes still can’t resist them. They consistently recognize them even when the Oscars don’t, like recent Globe champs “Dreamgirls” (2006) and “Sweeney Todd” (2007), and nominees “The Phantom of the Opera” (2004), “The Producers” (2005), “Across the Universe” (2007), “Mamma Mia!” (2008), “Nine” (2009), and “Burlesque” (2010), many of which picked up Globe nods despite scant critical support.
Other musicals with chances of Globe nominations this year include the contemporary romance “Begin Again,” the James Brown biopic “Get On Up,” the Broadway adaptation “Jersey Boys,” and the Jimi Hendrix biopic “Jimi: All Is By My Side.”
Among top comedic contenders is “Birdman,” directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who previously won Best Drama Picture at the Globes with “Babel.” Other industry favorites with films in the race include Wes Anderson with “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and the usually dramatic Paul Thomas Anderson with “Inherent Vice.”
“St. Vincent” could earn a bid, thanks in no small part to its showcase lead performance by Bill Murray. The ensemble comedy “Pride” has historical import, telling the story of the political alliance between gays and striking miners in 1980s Britain. “Top Five,” Chris Rock‘s third feature film as a director, could bring him into the Globes race for the first time.
Action blockbusters aren’t often Best Picture contenders, but perhaps we shouldn’t underestimate “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the year’s top grossing film, which earned strong reviews over the summer.
What film do you think will win? Will it line up with Oscar? Use our drag-and-drop menu below to predict Best Musical/Comedy Picture: