Golden Globe nominations boost Oscar contenders 'The Irishman,' 'Marriage Story'

December 9, 2019 0 By JohnValbyNation

This year’s fairly wide-open awards season came into sharper focus with Monday’s Golden Globe nominations, which boosted several early Oscar front-runners, including “Marriage Story,” “The Irishman” and “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” and also gave a leg up to other potential contenders like “Joker,” “The Two Popes” and “1917.”

In the run-up to the early morning announcement, there were a number of questions on the minds of awards prognosticators. To what degree would Netflix, which is fielding arguably its strongest slate of Oscar contenders to date, flex its muscle? How would the critically divisive comic-book smash “Joker” fare? Would the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. recognize any female directors? And would there be any love for the as-yet-unseen but already meme-worthy big-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical “Cats”?

Representing a significant showing for Netflix, director Noah Baumbach’s divorce drama “Marriage Story” led the field overall with six nominations, including best motion picture in the drama category and best screenplay, along with nods in the lead drama category for stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson.

Martin Scorsese’s mob epic “The Irishman” (also Netflix) and Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” followed closely behind with five nominations apiece, and earned nominations in the best picture drama and comedy categories, respectively. “Joker” also had a surprisingly strong showing, with four nominations, including best picture in the drama category.

The other best picture nominees in the drama category were the World War I drama “1917″ and Netflix’s “The Two Popes.” Rounding out the comedy or musical category were “Rocketman,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Knives Out” and Netflix’s “Dolemite Is My Name.”

Nominated for lead actor in a drama are Driver, Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”), Christian Bale (“Ford v Ferrari”), Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”) and Jonathan Pryce (“The Two Popes”). Nominees for lead actress in a drama are Johansson, Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”), Saoirse Ronan (“Little Women”), Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”) and Reneé Zellweger (“Judy”).

Among the nominees for lead actor in a comedy or musical are Daniel Craig (“Knives Out”), Roman Griffin Davis (“Jojo Rabbit”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time”), Taron Egerton (“Rocketman”) and Eddie Murphy (“Dolemite Is My Name”). In the lead actress category, the nominees are Ana de Armas (“Knives Out”), Awkwafina (“The Farewell”), Cate Blanchett (“Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”), Beanie Feldstein (“Booksmart”) and Emma Thompson (“Late Night”).

Boosted by “The Irishman,” “Marriage Story” and “The Two Popes,” Netflix racked up a total of 17 nominations in film only, leading the pack for distributors by a wide margin.

More Golden Globes coverage

In recent years, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. has worked to invest the Globes — which have long been regarded as the Oscars’ fluffier, boozier cousin — with greater credibility. (It’s been nearly a decade since the organization gave three nominations, including best picture, to the critically reviled flop “The Tourist.”) Still, Globes nominations can often be counted on to deliver some curveballs, if not outright head-scratchers, and Monday’s announcement contained a few, including a surprise snub of Robert De Niro for “The Irishman” and the unexpected nod for Blanchett, who hadn’t been on the awards radar this year.

Greta Gerwig, who failed to score a directing nomination two years ago for her acclaimed debut “Lady Bird,” was again passed over for her period adaptation, “Little Women.” Other potential contenders Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”), Lorene Scafaria (“Hustlers”) and Marielle Heller (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”) were also overlooked, marking a notable shutout for female filmmakers at a time when issues of power and gender continue to generate headlines in Hollywood and beyond.

Though it is expected to be the holiday season’s biggest juggernaut, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” was ineligible for Globes consideration because it was not screened in time for the foreign press association to consider. Meanwhile, the most sizable box office hit of the year to date, “Avengers: Endgame,” scored no nominations.

As a purported Oscar bellwether, one generally should take the Globes nominations, which are made by around 90 voting members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. rather than film industry professionals, with a heaping spoonful of salt. Last year, for example, the Dick Cheney biopic “Vice” led the Globes field with six nominations, only to end up winning just one Oscar, for makeup and hairstyling.

Still, as awards season ramps up, the Globes nominations can help set the narratives around which films may be gaining traction and which may be grinding their gears — a particularly important factor in a year such as this one with an accelerated timeline. (Oscar voting will open Jan. 2 and the ceremony will be held on Feb. 9.). And while the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. often tends to favor commercial studio fare, the spotlight that comes with a Globes nomination can sometimes provide a much-needed box office pick-me-up to smaller-scale films.

This story will be updated.