Do the Golden Globes Affect the Oscars?

     January 9, 2017

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For some people, the Golden Globes are seen as something of a harbinger for the Oscars. They take place before the big ceremony, sure, but some see them as an important precursor to the Academy Awards—a solid “cheat sheet” for making your Oscar predictions, if you will. But do the Golden Globes actually affect the Oscars? Is there a correlation between Golden Globes winners and Oscar winners? Well, it’s complicated.

Let’s start with the practicalities. In terms of pure voting makeup, the Golden Globes are wholly separate from the Oscars. The Globes are voted on by a very small group of international journalists, while the Oscars are voted on by a prestigious, vetted group of about 7,000 Academy members (these are actors, directors, writers, cinematographers, etc.). So just the fact that the Oscars have a much larger voting pool full of actual film professionals sets it apart, as does that fact that there is absolutely zero voting overlap between those who choose the Golden Globes winners and those who choose the Oscar winners.

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Image via Focus Features

Tangentially speaking, however, there can be some sort of “Globes Effect,” depending on the timing of Oscar voting. This year, voting for the Oscars is currently open and was ongoing at the time that the Golden Globes winners were announced. So Aaron Taylor-Johnson‘s surprise Best Supporting Actor win for Nocturnal Animals could raise his profile and possibly spur voters to include him on their ballots. Or if Hell or High Water had won Best Picture – Drama, that smaller indie film’s profile would be raised at exactly the time that Academy members were voting on who should be nominated for Best Picture. Thus, theoretically, it could spur Academy members who haven’t yet seen the film to finally give it a watch. But in some years, the Golden Globes winners are announced after voting for Oscar nominations have already closed, meaning the Golden Globe awards ceremony would have zero impact on Oscar voting.

But if you’re a stats nut, mathematically speaking is there a direct correlation between Golden Globe winners and Oscar winners? Let’s take a closer look.

Since the Golden Globes are divided into separate Drama and Musical/Comedy categories, it becomes a little tougher to suss out a correlation—the Globes get two chances to get it right. That said, only 17 of the last 30 films that won a Best Picture Golden Globe went on to win the Best Picture Oscar. Three of the last five Best Picture Oscar winners also won the Golden Globe, but the Globes didn’t match up last year (when The Revenant and The Martian won) or the year before (when Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel won).

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Image via Summit

As for Best Director, it’s also pretty hit-or-miss as the Globes and Oscars have failed to match up eight times since 2000 (they really like Martin Scorsese). But when it comes to Acting honors, the Globes are much more prescient. Since the year 2000, the Globes and the Oscars failed to match up only four times in the Best Actor category, and only twice in Best Actress (the Globes went with Kate Winslet for Revolutionary Road instead of The Reader, and they didn’t award Halle Berry for Monsters Ball). Of course, again, the Globes have double the amount of Best Actor and Actress winners, but they’re on the Academy’s wavelength here much more than in Best Picture.

So, intuitively the Golden Globes can have some affect on the Oscar nominations in terms of raising profiles, but if you’re using the Golden Globes winners to predict the Oscar winners, you best stick with the acting categories and steer clear of deductions based on Best Picture—statistically speaking, that category is basically a coin flip.

This year, the Oscar voting was ongoing at the time of the Golden Globes ceremony, so there is a possibility that Taylor-Johnson or Isabelle Huppert might get a visibility boost, but keep in mind there is zero voter overlap between the Golden Globes and the Oscars, so this is all about optics and, in the end, more of a pit stop on the way to the Oscars rather than a major predictor of who might win an Academy Award.


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