Why the Golden Globes’ Surprise Wins Aren’t So Surprising | Modern Society of USA

Why the Golden Globes’ Surprise Wins Aren’t So Surprising

Why the Golden Globes’ Surprise Wins Aren’t So Surprising

After a year filled with critically acclaimed movies from black directors like Spike Lee, Ryan Coogler and Barry Jenkins, the Golden Globes last night gave one of their two top film trophies to “Green Book,” a racial-issues film from the white “Dumb and Dumber” director Peter Farrelly.

The other top Globe went to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which pulled off a rare best-drama win without a best-director nomination, a split that happened mainly because the director of this critically dismissed film, Bryan Singer, was fired from the project midshoot.

You can always count on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a quirky group of around 90 foreign journalists who vote on the Golden Globes, to make some left-of-center picks. (Hey, the Globes are gonna Globe.) But now that the dust has settled from the best-comedy-or-musical win for “Green Book” and best-drama victory for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” your Carpetbagger is left wondering whether these choices are as unlikely as they might have seemed on Sunday night.

Instead, should we treat them as emblematic of a mainstream sensibility that most moviegoers share? And, after recently seeking to reward more popular films, will the Oscars follow suit?

Still, it’s striking that “A Star Is Born” came up short on Sunday night, winning only the best song Globe for its anthemic Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga duet “Shallow.” Given that “A Star Is Born” is a critically acclaimed story about show business that was also a huge hit with moviegoers, this film really ought to be steamrolling its way toward a best picture win. Yet year-end critics groups mainly gave it the cold shoulder, and the Globes followed suit. What gives?

“Green Book” and “Black Panther” didn’t compete in the same category at the Globes — the former won the best comedy-musical trophy, while the latter came up short in the best-drama race — yet I think the victory for “Green Book” helps explain why “Black Panther,” a cultural phenomenon, took no Globes. While this Marvel movie was a hit with critics, it’s still a superhero film, and industry voters may not be prepared to give that genre its top prize.

The fact-based “Green Book,” on the other hand, is so familiar in its contours that many have likened it to previous award contenders like “Driving Miss Daisy” and “The Help.” This period story of an Italian-American bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) befriending a talented black pianist (Mahershala Ali) also picked up Globe nominations for both of its actors — “Black Panther” managed none — as well as a win for Ali.

Both “Green Book” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” have found more favor with audiences than with critics, which is exactly the sort of skew the Oscars would prefer: Last summer, the academy infamously flirted with introducing an award for the best popular film, an attempt to pull focus from the critically acclaimed but underseen movies that often comprise much of the best-picture lineup. If “Green Book” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” are nominated for the Oscars’ top prize alongside “A Star Is Born” and “Black Panther,” the academy will be fielding its most populist slate in years.

And yet I wonder if the Globes’ real winner wasn’t any of those movies but “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón’s black-and-white art film. Though it’s not the sort of contender that usually wins best picture — it was made in a foreign language and is distributed by the streaming service Netflix — many academy members love the film, and they may be even more inclined to give it their best-picture vote in the wake of Globe victories for “Green Book” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” simply to demonstrate that the Oscars have a more highbrow sensibility.

At a time when the Oscar races often narrow, the Globes have done their part to keep this season wide open.

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