It was the moment all the Avatar fans were waiting for. At least if you believed the announcer going into the final commercial of last night's Golden Globes. Apparently anticipation was building amongst the blue faithful, right up to the moment that James Cameron's film took him the award for Best Picture (Drama) over the likes of The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds and Up In The Air,. Oh yeah, and Precious. Cameron also took home the award for Best Director despite announcing in his speech that he thought Kathryn (Bigelow) was going to win for The Hurt Locker, which went home with not a single statuette.
Avatar, Crazy Heart and Up were the only films to win multiple awards for the evening, not one of them winning more than a pair. Other multiple nominees shut out included (500) Days of Summer (which lost Best Comedy to The Hangover), Brothers, The Informant, Invictus, It's Complicated, The Last Station, A Single Man and, most notably, Nine. With 15 nominations between the Golden Globes and the Broadcast "Film Critics" Association, the Rob Marshall musical wound up with a big donut that may have officially sounded the death knell on its Oscar chances. How does everyone else measure up though?
It's a pretty simple equation. You win a Golden Globe in a major (dramatic) category, you get an Oscar nomination. Unless you win Best Actor in the Comedy/Musical category. Then it can be a bit iffy. Consider the last Globe winners to NOT be nominated in each:
Best Picture (Drama): The Cardinal (1963)
Best Director: Clint Eastwood - Bird (1988)
Best Actor (Drama): Jim Carrey - The Truman Show (1998)
Best Actress (Drama): Shirley MacLaine - Madame Sousatzka (1988) - the only time the winner wasn't Oscar-nominated
Best Supporting Actor: Richard Benjamin - The Sunshine Boys (1975)
Best Supporting Actress: Katharine Ross - Voyage of the Damned (1976)
Best Screenplay: About Schmidt (2002)
Note that Kate Winslet won the Best Actress (Drama) Globe in 2008 for Revolutionary Road AND Supporting Actress award for The Reader. She was later Oscar-nominated as the Lead for The Reader and not for Revolutionary Road at all. So, perhaps, technically those categories go back only one year. But only on a technicality. These are all pretty good odds for the winners tonight to receive Oscar nods. Winning the Oscar is an entirely other proposition though.
It's going to be hard to bet against either Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) or Mo'Nique (Precious) at this point. Whatever vitriol there has been about Mo'Nique not doing press without payment or just what an embarrassing Oscar-clip-in-mind performance it was will be moot if she continues to win and give the heartfelt speeches she has been delivering. Although if she keeps referring to Lee "Shadowboxer" Daniels as "one of the most visionary directors of our time", her state of mind may indeed be brought into question. Regardless, 7 of the last 9 Globe winners for Supporting Actor have gone on to win the Oscar. But since 1985, Supporting Actress is a 50/50 shot for the winner. More recent history, if you want to count Winslet's Reader victory as a technical win, then 6 of the last 10 years have produced an Oscar winner.
8 of the last 12 years the winner for Best Actor in a Drama have lost the Oscar. But 4 of the last 6 have won. Last year Mickey Rourke ended up losing to Sean Penn. Twice in that time the victor came from the winners of the Comedy/Musical category - Jack Nicholson (1997 - As Good As It Gets) and Jamie Foxx (2004 - Ray). Only four winners since 1997 have been nominated from the MusiCom category including Bill Murray (2003 - Lost In Translation) and Joaquin Phoenix (2005 - Walk The Line). Not great news for Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes, but he has never been seen as a contender. But his Iron Man nemesis, Jeff Bridges, is and likely now the clear front-runner for Crazy Heart. He won both the Golden Globe and the BFCA this weekend and those that have won both have not lost the Oscar to this date.
9 of the last 10 years, the winner for either Best Actress (Drama or MusiCom) has gone on to win the Oscar. 7 for Drama and 2 for Musical/Comedy. That is again taking into account that Kate Winslet did indeed win Best Actress, just for a different film. Halle Berry was the non-winner for 2001's Monster's Ball that became a winner. Does that mean the race comes down to Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia) and Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)? They also both became the 7th tie in the Broadcast Film Critics Association's history (and the second in a row for Best Actress). Those were hoping it was Carey Mulligan's year are likely to be disappointed Oscar night, as will the rest of us if Sandra Bullock wins for that atrocious film.
For Best Screenplay, 10 of the last 12 have won the Oscar. That is good news for Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner's Up In The Air, but was bad news for 2002's About Schmidt (the aforementioned non-nominee) and 2006's The Queen.
For the big prize though - Best Picture - we are back to Avatar and its chances. If we take the stats back to 1970, the Dramatic Best Picture at the Globes is 22-of-39 at the Oscars. Just 56%. Since 1980 - 17-of-29. In the 1990s they were 7-for-10. And since 2000, they have only been 4-of-9. In other words, the Avatar fans may want to cool their jets a bit. Perhaps this will be the year where all the major contenders get split around. Inglourious Basterds and Up In The Air win the Screenplay categories. The Hurt Locker wins for its director and makes history as the first female to be victorious, and then after a parade of gold in the technical categories, but not a single one in any of the top eight, Avatar wins Best Picture. And we all turn blue, with sadness.