The first award of the night at the 2017 Golden Globes was also arguably the night’s biggest surprise: Aaron Taylor-Johnson won Best Film Supporting Actor for his role in “Nocturnal Animals,” defeating the presumed frontrunner Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”). So does that mean Taylor-Johnson will now be nominated for an Oscar? He’s got 40 years of history on his side.
The Golden Globes are handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., and they don’t have any members in common with the motion picture academy, so we can’t take them as a direct reflection of what Oscar voters are thinking. However, in the Golden Globe race for Best Supporting Actor, every single winner has at least been nominated for the Oscar since Richard Benjamin, who won for “The Sunshine Boys” in 1976 but was subsequently snubbed by the academy. Following him there have been 40 straight years of success for Globe winners in this race. In 1980 there was even a tie at the Globes between Melvyn Douglas (“Being There”) and Robert Duvall (“Apocalypse Now”) — both of them made the cut at the Oscars.
But this is the first major mark Taylor-Johnson has made on the awards circuit for this role. He plays Ray Marcus, a sociopath who carjacks an innocent family in a story within the main story: Ray Marcus is actually a character in a novel written by Edward Sheffield (Jake Gyllenhaal) that is being read by his ex-wife Susan (Amy Adams). Thus far Taylor-Johnson’s only other recognition for this performance was a nomination from the San Diego Film Critics Society.
Instead, his co-star Michael Shannon has gotten the lion’s share of plaudits for playing a cop who tries to bring Ray Marcus to justice by any means necessary. Shannon has been singled out by numerous regional critics’ groups, plus a Critics’ Choice bid for Best Supporting Actor. Shannon was himself nominated for a Globe just last year for “99 Homes,” but for this film the HFPA opted for his on-screen nemesis instead.
So if Johnson does get nominated, can he win? Well, there’s a strong correlation there as well. In the last nine years, eight Globe winners have gone on to win the Oscar. There’s only one exception, but it’s a big one: last year Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”) won the Globe, but lost the Oscar. Like Taylor-Johnson, Stallone had been snubbed by the SAG Awards, and history shows that it’s rare to win Oscar without SAG’s seal of approval. So what happens next for Taylor-Johnson will depend on which tea leaves you decide to read. As of this writing he’s still a 100/1 underdog at the Oscars, but that could change in the coming days.
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