Now that this year's Golden Globe Awards have come and gone, it's time to re-focus on the really important prizes of the season, the Academy Awards. What do last night's victories and losses tell us? Can we glean any insights about frontrunners and underdogs? Let's take a look at the major categories and see what we can decipher.
Last Night's Winners: Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty (Drama), Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook (Comedy/Musical)
What It Means: We already had an inkling that the Oscar race would be a two-hander between Chastain and Lawrence, last night just confirmed it. We're still giving the edge to Lawrence for the ultimate win, as she's affable and lovable and has the Harvey Weinstein machine doing lots of work for her. Both Chastain and Lawrence are previous nominees, so the Academy clearly likes both of them, but I think that Lawrence's likable, charming role will ultimately endear more voters than Chastain's intenseness in a controversial film. The upcoming SAG Awards have gone 6/10 in this category in the past decade, so we should pay attention to what happens during that ceremony on January 27. No matter what happens, this is a close race, which is a refreshing change from years past.
Last Night's Winners: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln (Drama), Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables (Comedy/Musical)
What It Means: Did you guys know that awards people like to give awards to Daniel Day-Lewis? It's true! They do, they really, really do. And we just don't think that the Academy will pass up the chance to do so again this year. Sure, people love Hugh Jackman — the Academy loves him so much they had him host their big show — and Bradley Cooper has the Weinstein wonder-wagon pulling him along, but this is still Daniel Day-Lewis's to lose. By a rather big margin, we would think. If the SAGs go a different way, we might actually have a good old fashioned race on our hands, but right now it seems very unlikely that anyone can keep up with Lincoln's long-legged stride.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Last Night's Winner Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
What It Means: If hunters were to find some sort of feral child deep in the woods somewhere, or if anthropologists were to stumble upon a completely isolated Amazonian tribe, or if some old man awoke in the Catskills after decades of slumber, and you asked these people, "Who is going to win this year's Oscar for Best Supporting Actress?" even they would look at you — feral child with snarling mouth, Amazonians wearing decorative bones, the old crusty codger scratching his head — and say "Um, Anne Hathaway, duhhhh." This really has not been a question since Les Misérables first screened almost two months ago. Sure there's a slight chance that Sally Field could upset and snatch the prize for Lincoln, but if there's any shoo-in for an Oscar this year, it's Hathaway. She's an industry favorite, it's a crowd-pleasing role, and a win for her would be a way to award a popular movie that might otherwise be shut-out at the Oscars. Stranger things have happened at the Academy Awards, but Hathaway not winning this would be the year's biggest surprise. Last night's Golden Globe did little but confirm that fact.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Last Night's Winner: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
What It Means: This category was stuffed with venerable past nominees and winners, so it was really a toss-up. I might gave the edge to Tommy Lee Jones over Waltz, but his victory wasn't exactly that surprising. I have a sneaking suspicion that Jones has a little more oomph behind him for the Oscars, which are slightly less likely to re-award recent winners than the Globes. Every actor in the Best Supporting Oscar category has won before, so there won't really be any upsets or injustices. It's a bunch of older dudes with trophy-bedecked mantles, meaning the stakes are pretty low. Still, Jones is our pick for a winner, despite Waltz's victory last night. But who really knows. And, frankly, who really cares?
Last Night's Winner: Ben Affleck, Argo
What It Means: Well, uh, very little! Seeing as, y'know, Ben Affleck didn't get nominated for an Oscar. So it's nice that Affleck won and all, but obviously it has zero bearing on anything Academy Award-related. So, uh, yeah, I guess the Oscar is still Spielberg's to lose? Sure, let's go with that.
Last Night's Winner: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
What It Means: It means that Tarantino might actually have an Oscar shot. He beat Tony Kushner after all, and at the Oscars he doesn't even have to compete with him. (The Lincoln script is competing in the Adapted category.) Fellow Original Screenplay nominees Amour and Flight seem like no-gos already, so that means that Tarantino really only has to beat previous winner Mark Boal's Zero Dark Thirty script, which has been called into question of late, and the Moonrise Kingdom duo. Not terribly stiff competition A Golden Globe could mean Tarantino has the momentum to clinch his second Oscar trophy.
Last Night's Winners: Argo (Drama), Les Misérables (Comedy/Musical)
What It Means: The Golden Globes are a notoriously unreliable indicator of a movie's Best Picture Oscar chances. In the last ten years or so, a Globes victor has repeated at the Oscars only four times. Chicago won for Best Comedy/Musical in 2002 and went on to win the Oscar. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King won Best Drama in 2003 and was equally victorious a couple months later. Same for Slumdog Millionaire in 2008 (Drama) and The Artist (Comedy/Musical) last year. That's it! Otherwise we've seen Golden Globe wins for Babel, for Brokeback Mountain, for Atonement and Vicky Cristina Barcelona and The Kids Are All Right and The Social Network. Oscar winners like The Hurt Locker, No Country for Old Men, and The Departed were certainly nominated at the Golden Globes, but the Hollywood Foreign Press Didn't give them top honors. So let's not assume that Argo's victory indicates anything about its chances on February 24. If anything, it would indicate that Argo likely won't win come Academy time. People were surprised last night that Lincoln only won one of the seven categories it was nominated in, but DreamWorks shouldn't fret that it suddenly has an Oscar dud on its hands. For my money Lincoln is still the one to beat, though of course Argo should not be discounted. Nor should Silver Linings Playbook, which has the benefit of a tenacious Harvey Weinstein behind it. The Oscar race is pretty wide-open. The awards show to really focus on pre-Oscars is the SAG Awards, which has awarded its Best Cast prize to the future Best Picture winner six times in the last ten years.