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What the Golden Globe nominations tell us about the 2024 Oscars

Louis Chilton looks at the takeaways from this year’s list of nominees

Monday 11 December 2023 17:35 GMT
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‘Oppenheimer’, ‘Barbie’ and ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ are among the films vying for awards this year
‘Oppenheimer’, ‘Barbie’ and ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ are among the films vying for awards this year (Universal/Warner Bros/Apple)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

It’s that time of year again. Not Christmas, but something far more sacred: awards season. Yes, it’s the period for Hollywood luvvies to sharpen their ballot pencils, adorn their faces with rictal smiles, and dive ego-first into the grubby celebrity love-in. Today saw the announcement of the Golden Globe nominations – and with it, the solidest snapshot yet of how next year’s Oscar race is likely to shape up.

Since last year’s event, the Globes’ organisational body, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has undergone a substantial change, expanding and diversifying its membership following the racism and integrity scandal that threatened the awards show’s very existence back in 2021. If the nominations this year prove anything, however, it’s that this hasn’t led to any major surprises; the curveballs here are few, but possibly significant. So what exactly can we glean from the nominations list?

Let’s start with what we already knew. On the TV side, it’s clear that HBO’s masterful Succession is the one to beat, with nine nominations. (The Bear and Only Murders in the Building trail it with five apiece.) When it comes to film, there’s less of a clear frontrunner. Barbie has enjoyed the strongest showing numerically, picking up a total of nine nods. Nominations of course don’t always equate to awards, however – last year’s Oscars saw The Banshees of Inishirin, Elvis, and The Fabelmans receive nine, eight and seven nominations respectively, winning precisely none of them. Nonetheless, Barbie’s strong showing at the Globes and massive box office success make it a shoe-in for a glut of Oscar nominations, both technical and creative. It’s a lock for Best Picture and Best Director for Greta Gerwig, with Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling strong possibilities in the lead acting categories. Whether any of this translates to trophies is another matter.

Succession final season trailer

The next biggest films on the nominations list were Christopher Nolan’s atom bomb biopic Oppenheimer, and Martin Scorsese’s elegaic historical drama Killers of the Flower Moon. Both would be considered traditional awards heavyweights – they’re substantial, widely liked dramatic works from long-established mainstream directors. While awards bodies, including the Oscars, have been leaning more towards non-traditional winners in recent years,  At this point, it’s looking likely that one or the other of these will take home the Oscar for Best Picture, and possibly Best Director too.

It’s a strong showing as well for Poor Things, the latest film from Yorgos Lanthimos, which some have tipped as a dark horse for Best Picture and Best Actress (for Emma Stone) at the Oscars. The actual results of the Globes won’t be much of an indicator, however – with Poor Things competing against Barbie in the separate “Musical/Comedy” categories. Stone’s main Oscar rival will be Flower Moon’s Lily Gladstone, whose nomination here was also a foregone conclusion. Todd Haynes melodrama May December and Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro are also firmly in the conversation, as their four nominations each suggests.

Oppenheimer trailer

On the other hand, the Globe may have dampened the hopes of a few films that many had tipped to be major players: namely Alexander Payne’s festive comedy The Holdovers and Black art satire American Fiction, both of which were nominated only five times between them.

Wonka, a lavish and likable musical comedy that seemed an obvious candidate for many of the technical awards, was shut out entirely bar a sole acting nod for Timothee Chalamet. It’s possible that the film’s actual cinematic release – which is still to come Stateside – could encourage a bit more momentum.

Timothée Chalamet in ‘Wonka'
Timothée Chalamet in ‘Wonka' (Jaap Buittendijk/Warner Bros)

The selection of Sandra Hüller as one of four nominations for the classy courtroom thriller Anatomy of a Fall bodes well for its prospects at the Oscars: the vehemently acclaimed European thriller is fighting against the odds, as a foreign-language film, but given the Academy’s championing of films such as Parasite and All Quiet on the Western Front in the past few years, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the fantastic Hüller’s name among the contenders.

Ultimately, there’s only so much we can take from the Globe nominations. Perhaps due to an improvement in the diversity of voting bodies, the awards race seems to have grown increasingly diffuse in recent years, with this year holding no clear single frontrunner. It’s entirely possible that Oppenheimer will sweep the major categories, and just as possible that it walks away with nothing. (The recent – and quietly ridiculous – news that the film was omitted from the Oscar Best Visual Effects longlist suggests that maybe people aren’t as Oppenpilled as you might think.) This is the unpredictable magic of awards season. And wouldn’t you know, we’ve still got another three whole months of it.

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