Golden Globes and Oscars: Why it pays to be a drama

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe Award for Best Picture has evolved over the past 71 years, but when it comes to the Oscars, it usually helps to have the HFPA’s seal of approval. 69% of Best Picture Oscar-winners were also awarded at the Golden Globes (49 out of 71), and most of those were dramas.

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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.

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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).

Historically, Oscars have preferred dramas to comedies, so it’s no surprise that while 32 Best Drama Picture winners have repeated at the Oscars, only 12 Best Musical/Comedy winners have done the same. That disparity can also be seen in the most recent results. In the last 11 years, four Best Drama Pictures have won Oscar (“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Argo,” and “12 Years a Slave“), compared to only one Best Musical/Comedy Picture (“The Artist“).

Because of the Golden Globes’ close correlation with Oscar, we find many of the same films among this year’s top contenders at both events, including Richard Linklater‘s critically acclaimed coming-of-age film “Boyhood,” Angelina Jolie‘s true World War II story “Unbroken,” and Bennett Miller‘s Olympic tragedy “Foxcatcher.”

A pair of British biopics are among major contenders: “The Imitation Game,” about persecuted gay code-breaker Alan Turing, and “The Theory of Everything,” about famous physicist Stephen Hawking.

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Since films based on true stories are popular at both the Globes and the Oscars, we should also watch out for Ava DuVernay‘s “Selma,” about Martin Luther King‘s civil rights marches; Clint Eastwood‘s “American Sniper,” about a real-life Navy SEAL; and Jean-Marc Vallee‘s “Wild,” based on Cheryl Strayed‘s memoir about her Pacific-coast hike.

Potential fiction films that could contend include Christopher Nolan‘s sci-fi epic “Interstellar,” David Fincher‘s mystery adaptation “Gone Girl,” and the music-school horror storyWhiplash.”

What film do you think will win? Will it line up with Oscar for a third year in a row? Use our drag-and-drop menu below to predict Best Drama Picture:

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