Beware: I spoke to most of these members soon after they saw “Selma,” so they were still under its emotional spell, which may have largely worn off by now. Also, there certainly was significant support for “Boyhood” and even votes for “The Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything,” but, if this general opinion holds up and if it is truly representative of the larger HFPA view, we could see a fascinating replay of those upsets at the 2012 Globes race that tripped up the Oscar derby.
When Oscar nominations came out on Jan. 10, 2013, the majority of our award pundits picked “Lincoln” to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. “Argo” didn’t seem like much of a threat. Hell, Ben Affleck wasn’t even nominated for Best Director by the academy. At the Golden Globes three days later, the winner of Best Drama Picture seemed like such an inevitable conclusion that HFPA had one recent U.S. President (Bill Clinton) bestow the award that was supposed to go to a movie about his predecessor (“Lincoln”). But “Argo” won Best Drama Picture and Affleck charmed the room when he accepted the prize — breathlessly, giddy and humbly — for Best Director.
This year the Globes take place four days before Oscar noms come out and they could prove to be just as disruptive. In early January, the pundit consensus will surely be, just as it is now, that “Boyhood” will look as much as an Oscar inevitability as “Lincoln” did two years ago, but imagine how Ava DuVernay can change all that once she takes command of the Globes stage as victorious director or even just as producer of Best Drama Picture..
DuVernay is a powerful personality packed with magnetic charm and charisma. Put her in front of a crowd and she can whip it up into an evangelical frenzy as she mentions a topic she can’t avoid – how her movie eerily reflects our time. Just look at today’s headlines and It’s obvious that Martin Luther King‘s trek from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in pursuit of racial justice continues today in the marches across America protesting the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Oscar voters like their Best Pictures to honor the ongoing human struggle toward social, racial and religious justice – like “12 Years a Slave,” “Crash,” “Schindler’s List,” “Driving Miss Daisy,” “Gandhi,” “Chariots of Fire” and “In the Heat of the Night.”
If “Selma” pulls off an upset at the Globes on Jan. 11, it will have lots of time to win over Oscar voters, who don’t have to submit their final ballots until Feb. 6 – 17.
It’s interesting to note that the Globes have not only predicted Oscar’s Best Picture for the past three years in a row, but also all acting winners except Lupita N’yongo. Yes, the Globes and Oscars were out of synch for a few years before that, but they have agreed with academy members about 60% of the time over the past 60 years.