Awards season is underway, which means it’s time for our first Golden Globes “controversy” of the year. While the annual ceremony is one of the most enjoyable nights on the awards circuit, the shady and shameless nature of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association—the organization who actually votes on the awards—takes the wind out of who actually wins or is nominated. Keep in mind The Tourist, the forgettable Johnny Depp/Angelina Jolie romp, was nominated for three Golden Globes including Best Musical or Comedy.
However, the Globes are a key stop on the way to the Oscars for two reasons: 1. Oscar voters pay attention to the speeches to see who they like/dislike, and 2. the visibility of the nominees and winners can sometimes have an effect on Academy members filling out their Oscar ballots (see: Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s nomination for Nocturnal Animals). This year the voting for Oscar nominations begins literally the day after the Golden Globe awards. There’s also the fact that the Globes are just a ton of fun to watch since those involved don’t take it too seriously and everyone gets drunk.
Which brings us to our first Golden Globes “scandal” of the season. Indiewire reports that despite being chock full of songs, both A Star Is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody are being submitted in the Drama categories instead of Comedy or Musical. The decision to submit for the more “prestigious” categories was made by Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox, respectively, and you’ll recall a couple of years ago folks were up in arms when Fox submitted (and the Globes accepted) The Martian as a “Comedy”—and it won Best Picture and Actor!
But while I haven’t yet seen Bohemian Rhapsody, I’d argue Warner Bros.’ reasoning for submitting A Star Is Born as a Drama is sound. The film is certainly full of music, but at heart it’s definitely more of a drama and the performances by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga should be competing as dramatic performances, not “comedy or musical.” I’m not sure I’d even qualify the film as a “musical” per se. Moreover, Warner Bros. is no doubt hoping some wins at the Globes will be fresh in Oscar voters’ minds when they’re filling out their Oscar ballots, as A Star Is Born is currently the frontrunner in a number of categories—including Best Picture. It’s gonna be a big night for that movie.
Fox putting Bohemian Rhapsody in the Drama category is a bit riskier. It may have been an easier win for them to go Musical with this one, as reactions out of the film’s early screenings have been somewhat mixed even though Rami Malek is drawing praise for his turn as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. The film is also muddled by the fact that Bryan Singer, its credited director, was fired in the midst of production and is fielding a number of sexual misconduct accusations. For that reason alone I think the film’s a long shot for Best Picture at the Oscars, but we’ll see.
So with A Star Is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody going Drama, I suppose it’s going to be a very big night for Mary Poppins Returns, The Favourite, and Crazy Rich Asians in the Best Musical or Comedy categories.