On Sunday night, a lot of people lost a lot of money in their office pool.
As winner after winner was announced at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards, pundits were perplexed and fans were flummoxed. It was like the Hollywood Foreign Press Association took a bottle of Champagne off a table, violently shook it up and uncorked the thing with a sneaky grin. Only instead of champers, it was the awards season.
On the movie side, the Globes repeatedly defied expectations in delectable ways.
When Brad Pitt won Best Supporting Actor for “Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood” — beating Al Pacino and Joe Pesci for “The Irishman” — he thanked the “eclectic and ever raucous” Hollywood Foreign Press. That’s because, through the years, the group of international journalists has earned an unsavory reputation for star f - - kery and childish provocation. And having no taste.
Things those crazies have admired: “The Tourist”! “Burlesque”! Pia Zadora!
The 2020 telecast felt different. There were plenty of surprises, but they weren’t bonkers; they were bold and defiant. Big, beloved stars and boffo films fell to the little guy, relatively speaking. It was refreshing — like an ice bath.
The first polar-bear plunge was the Best Director category: a group of heavyweights including Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”), Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood”), Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”) and Todd Phillips (“Joker,” which has made more than $1 billion). And the winner is . . . Sam Mendes for “1917”! At that moment, Scorsese and the Netflix execs surely ordered a round of martinis.
And rightly so. Mendes’ “1917” went on to win Best Motion Picture Drama instead of the favorite “The Irishman.” And there were more upsets. “Missing Link” beat “Frozen 2” for best animated film. Taron Egerton (“Rocketman”) knocked out Eddie Murphy (“Dolemite Is My Name”) and Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood”) for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy. Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”) hustled past J.Lo (“Hustlers”). Schadenfreude junkies, rejoice!
SEE ALSO #GoldenGlobes
Golden Globe winners 2020: Complete list with nominees
While the Golden Globes often don’t gel with the Oscars — the winners of the best picture categories have only overlapped with the Academy Awards’ top victor 55 percent of the time during the last 20 years — they can still help and hurt eventual nominees. And consider: Voting for the Oscar nods closes on Tuesday.
In the case of “The Irishman,” we learned that there is a whole lotta fatigue for a film that’s been talked up ad nauseam since October. It didn’t win a single Golden Globe. People grow weary of juggernauts, and prefer deservedness over a coronation. That collective yawn could ding Scorsese, Pacino, Pesci and more at the Academy Awards come February.
The South Korean drama “Parasite” has also crept up oddsmakers’ lists over the past several weeks — and it did win the Best Foreign Language Film Globe on Sunday — but Bong’s losses in the director and screenplay categories have slowed its momentum.
We do now know a few likely Oscar favorites: Renée Zellweger for “Judy” and Joaquin Phoenix for “Joker.” “Once Upon a Time in . . . Hollywood” has nudged ahead for Best Picture. But “1917,” a World War I epic, is in a fighting mood. Accepting the drama trophy at the end of the ceremony, Mendes told millions of viewers at home that the movie opens wide on thousands of screens this week, and encouraged them to see it.
Being brand new is an advantage no studio’s advertising budget can buy.