The Golden Globes: can they ever eclipse the Oscars?

Jan 10, 2014

Sunday night’s 71st Golden Globe Awards may see the event step out of Oscar’s shadow

HOLLYWOOD will be out in force on Sunday evening for the 71st Golden Globe Awards, a key indicator of form in the run-up to the Oscars on 2 March. But what are the Golden Globes, who votes for them and what makes them different to the Academy Awards? Here are ten key questions:
So, what is a Golden Globe?

The first Golden Globe Awards were held in 1944 at the 20th Century Fox studios in Los Angeles. They’d been dreamed up the previous year by the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), a group of film critics working for press outlets outside of the US. 

Who decides the winners of the Golden Globes?

The Oscars are decided by about 6,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who represent a cross-section of industry professionals. The Globes are decided by 93 members of the HFPA. The Globes voting panel is “more elite and more mysterious”, says USA Today. While you’ve heard of many Academy members, you’re unlikely to know many of the HFPA panel, the paper says.
Any other differences to the Oscars?

Plenty, actually. Unlike the Oscars, the Globes hand out awards to TV shows as well as movies (it awards trophies in 25 categories, 14 in motion pictures and 11 in television). You’ll also find more of a “party atmosphere” at the Globes which offer guests food and drink – lots of drink – and takes place in a ballroom at the swanky Beverly Hilton Hotel.

The Globes also seem to have a better sense of humour than the Oscars. It has categories for comic performances as well as comic movies, which is why the likes of Jack Black and Bill Murray win Golden Globes rather than Oscars.
Who gets the bigger TV audience: Oscars or Globes?

Traditionally, the Oscars get a far bigger audience. Last year’s Academy Awards had 40.3 million people glued to their screens while the Globes could only manage 19.7 million.

  Which ceremony lasts the longest?

Neither event could be accused of brevity, but the Globes have consistently managed to bring the curtain down at the three hour mark. The same can’t be said for the Oscars which often outstays its welcome.
Who’s hosting the Globes this year?

US comedians Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are back for a second stint as MCs. They were a smash hit last year and “everyone knows they will produce absolute comedic genius,” says the Bustle website.  

Which films are this year's frontrunners?

Two films lead the pack: American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave. Both movies have seven nominations each. Alfonso Cuarón is hotly-tipped to win best director for his sci-fi thriller Gravity and there's plenty of money on Chiwetel Ejiofor winning best actor for 12 Years a Slave. The best actress category will be a close run thing with both Emma Thompson (Saving Mr Banks) and Judy Dench (Philomena) in the running. Ultimately, they may both lose out to Cate Blanchett, who was stunning in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine.

Does the Golden Globe generate many controversies?

Surprisingly few, for an event where the alcohol flows freely. The biggest ‘scandals’ of recent times came courtesy of British host Ricky Gervais. His acerbic gags about Johnny Depp’s disastrous Lone Ranger movie and Charlie Sheen’s breakfast habits, had the audience shifting nervously in its seats.  
Do the Globes predict the Oscars?

The old cliché is that success at the Globes equals success at the Oscars. That’s often true, but not always. For a start, the Globes are “drawn to different and, often, more obscure films,” says USA Today. For example, its 2013 best picture nominations embraced the French-language Austrian film Amour and the small-budget Louisiana bayou fairy tale Beasts of the Southern Wild as well as more predictable cinematic fare such as Life of Pi.  
Will the Globes ever eclipse the Oscars?

That seems unlikely, although the credibility and standing of the Golden Globes has risen consistently over the years. While an Oscar is still considered the movie industry’s highest honour, a Golden Globe delivers more of a boost to a film’s bottom line, says Reuters. A Globe adds $14.2 million per film, on average, versus $3 million for an Oscar. In an industry where box office is everything, that’s a fact that might give Oscar a few sleepless nights.
The Golden Globes start at 8pm on Sunday (1am GMT).

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