With Green Book’s win Sunday night at the Golden Globes, millions of people all over the world are asking themselves the same question: Can you actually just fold a pizza in half and eat it like that?
OK, and also: Is Green Book the favorite for Best Picture now?
The short answer: no. The long answer: also no! The Golden Globes have acquired a reputation for predicting the Oscars, but time and again, comprehensive data analyses have shown that they don’t. (They really don’t.)That’s not to say they’re always off, but according to a FiveThirtyEight breakdown in 2013, the winner of the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama won the Oscar for Best Picture only 48 percent of the time, while the recipient of the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy, the award Green Book took home, won Best Picture just 16 percent of the time. The most consistent predictor? The Directors Guild award, which lined up with the eventual Best Picture Oscar winner eight times out of 10.
The most obvious reason for the discrepancy is that no one in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which gives out the Globes, actually votes for the Oscars. Part of the reason the DGA and the other guilds—especially the Producers Guild, but also the Screen Actors Guild—do well as predictors is because their memberships overlap with the academy’s. The other is that the HFPA’s taste is, um, kind of bonkers. You can cut them some slack for Green Book, which has come under fire for historical inaccuracy and more from many critics in the U.S. but been warmly received in other countries, where its portrait of life in the 1960s South may seem less glaringly simplified (see also last year’s multiple wins for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which played much better for audiences less attuned to its cultural deformations). But what about Bohemian Rhapsody, a by-the-numbers biopic with a hopelessly muddled, often puritanical approach to lead singer Freddie Mercury’s sexuality? All I can say is: Globes gonna Globes.
Green Book is almost certainly getting nominated for Best Picture, and given its box office success, there’s a good chance Bohemian Rhapsody is too. (There’s even a chance Green Book’s Peter Farrelly might sneak into Best Director; his Globes speech, during which he shushed the orchestra to explain the movie’s themes, felt like an audition for the fifth spot on the ballot.) But these movies were a long shot yesterday and they’re a long shot today, and the fluky taste of the HFPA doesn’t change that one bit. Bradley Cooper, you may resume working on your acceptance speech.