As Hollywood’s awards season kicks off this weekend, a bigger question looms over the industry than whether “Get Out” or “The Post” will emerge as a favorite in the coming Oscar race. How does the entertainment business throw a party after its reckoning over sexual harassment?
Over the past several months, such allegations have ousted numerous Hollywood executives and stars, including award-winning movie-maker Harvey Weinstein. Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have begun casting their votes, but uncertainties remain over how the charges will impact the competition and larger awards season. Sunday’s Golden Globes—widely viewed in the industry as a second-tier, occasionally baffling cousin of the Academy Awards—are an early barometer of what to expect in an awards season that could be unlike any other.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a small group of journalists who vote on the Globes, has shown an affinity for “The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro’s fable about a mute woman who falls in love with a sea creature. The film leads the pack with seven nominations, followed by “The Post” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” each with six. Those three movies will compete in the drama category of best picture alongside “Call Me By Your Name” and “Dunkirk.”
The best comedy/musical category is considered a race between “Get Out” and “Lady Bird,” which are nominated along with “The Disaster Artist,” “The Greatest Showman” and “I, Tonya.” The winners in each category will get a burst of momentum ahead of the announcement of Oscar nominations on Jan. 23. The Academy Awards ceremony is on March 4.
Several actresses attending the Golden Globes, including “Big Little Lies” nominee Reese Witherspoon and Eva Longoria, have pledged to wear black to show support for gender equity. Both actresses are among the more than 300 women involved in Time’s Up, a coalition announced this week to combat gender inequality and sexual harassment.
At last year’s Globes, when receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award for career achievement, actress Meryl Streep assailed a “performance” by then-President-Elect
in which he impersonated a disabled reporter. This year’s DeMille award is going to
but Ms. Streep may have another chance to take the podium: She’s nominated for best actress for playing newspaperpublisher Katharine Graham in “The Post.” In the movie, Ms. Graham and Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) stare down the Nixon administration. “The Post” is one of many films with political undercurrents vying for major awards. “The Shape of Water” and “Call Me By Your Name” feature unlikely couples finding love in a skeptical society; World War II dramas “Dunkirk” and “The Darkest Hour” highlight countries rallying in tough times; “The Post,” “Lady Bird” and “Three Billboards” tell the stories of strong women at a time when elements of the Hollywood boys’ club are falling apart.
Oscar hopefuls try to make their awards campaigns about more than just the movie—a strategy Mr. Weinstein perfected on “Philomena,” “The Imitation Game” and other works. Producers attempt to position their film as the “movie of the moment” and signal to Academy members that a vote for their work is a vote for the cause. (Frontrunner “Get Out,” about a man who finds himself living in a racist nightmare, has blanketed Los Angeles with advertisements anointing it the “movie that felt the moment coming.”)
The Globes honor films and television shows, and this year’s TV nominees seem both a throwback and a look ahead. The timing of the Globes, about four months after the Primetime Emmy Awards, often means a rehash of Emmy winners. That’s the case this year, with many nominations for shows such as “Big Little Lies” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which have already won the more prestigious Emmy. Several shows that premiered in recent months also have made a showing at the Globes, boding well for their awards prospects down the line. New-arrival nominees include “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” about a 1950s stand-up comedian, and “SMILF,” starring Frankie Shaw as a South Boston mom.
Write to Erich Schwartzel at email@example.com