The Golden Globe Awards aren’t great at predicting Oscar winners


Alfonso Cuaron wins Best Director Motion Picture and Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language for “Roma,” a Netflix film, during the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019, at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

Mark Ralston | AFP | Getty Images

The 77th Golden Globes will be handed out Sunday night, just about a week before the nominations for the 92nd annual Academy Awards will be announced.

For those looking to get a head start on their Oscar ballot predictions, it’s tempting to use the Globes as a barometer for which films and actors will likely hoist the glittering gold trophy at the Academy Award ceremony in February.

However, the Golden Globes, which are handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, don’t always predict the winners at the Academy Awards.

The Golden Globes have always been a bit of an oddball ceremony. After all, it’s one of the few televised award shows in the entertainment industry that serves alcohol, often leading to some unscripted moments by its participants during the telecast.

Then there is the relatively small size of the voting body. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s membership never exceeds 100 members. For comparison, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has more than 8,000 voting members, many of which are members of prominent Hollywood guilds.

“[The Hollywood Foreign Press Association] doesn’t have a high overlap with Oscar membership,” Ben Zauzmer, author of “Oscarmetrics: The Math Behind the Biggest Night in Hollywood” and a mathematical Oscar predictor, said.

So, just because the HFPA votes one way, doesn’t mean that the pool of Oscar voters will do the same.

Zauzmer noted that the guild award ceremonies for directors, producers, writers and screen actors are often a more consistent and accurate representation of the Oscar vote, as many of those members are also Academy constituents.

And the nominees are…

One of the other issues with the Globes is the structure of their awards.

Instead of having one best picture category, the ceremony awards two — one for drama and one for comedy or musical. The awards for best actor and best actress are similarly split into those two categories.

At the Oscars, categories aren’t split based on genre. So, there is only one category for best picture, one for best actor and one for best actress.

Award winners from the 91st Oscars: Rami Malek, Olivia Colman, Regina King, Mahershala Ali (L-R)

Rick Rowell | Disney ABC Television Group | Getty Images

Zauzmer noted that the Academy tends to favor dramatic films over comedic ones. So, just because a comedy or musical film won in its best picture category at the Golden Globes doesn’t mean it is automatically in contention against the film that won for best drama. It may not even get nominated for the Oscar.

The same thing goes for the best actor and best actress categories. However, it is the reverse for the screenplay award.

At the Oscars, the screenplay category is split into best original screenplay and best adapted screenplay. At the Globes, there are only five screenplays nominated and those scripts can be original or adapted.

Disparities like this means that the Globes aren’t as accurate in predicting categories like best screenplay, best picture, or best actor/actress.

The Globes are, however, a decent predictor for awards like best score and best song, which do not have a guild award parallel, Zauzmer said.

Of course, some years the Golden Globes are incredibly accurate. Like in 2017 when “La La Land” won seven awards during the ceremony and went on to win six at the Oscars. That same year “Moonlight,” which won the best picture award in the drama category at the Globes, went on to win the best picture Oscar.

Leonardo DiCaprio accepts the Oscar for Best Actor for the movie “The Revenant” at the 88th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 28, 2016.

Mario Anzuoni | Reuters

More often than not, however, the Globes hasn’t had a great track record. In 2018, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “Lady Bird” won at the Globes, but not at the Oscars.

In 2016, “The Revenant” won the Golden Globe, beating out “Spotlight,” but it was “Spotlight” that won the best picture Oscar.

Similarly, in 2015 “The Grand Budapest Hotel” won for best comedy at the Golden Globes, winning over that year’s eventual best picture winner “Birdman.”

The Golden Globes ceremony begins at 8:00 pm ET on NBC.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC.

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