All bets off for Oscars after Globes 'curveball'

LOS ANGELES, US, Michael Thurston- Coming-of-age drama "Boyhood" may have earned top honors at the Golden Globes weekend, but industry watchers say everything is still up for grabs in the all-important Oscars race.

All eyes in Hollywood are now on the Academy Award nominations, to be announced Thursday, after a few surprise Globes wins on Sunday injected some drama into the annual awards season.
"My first caution to Globes winners: don't get over-confident," said Variety awards editor Tim Gray, warning that the Globes are a poor predictor of glory at the Oscars, set for February 22.
Gray pointed out that balloting for the Oscar nominations -- due to be unveiled at a traditional pre-dawn ceremony -- closed last week.
"So the Globes won't affect nominations. As for Oscar winners on February 22, nobody hurt their chances, and a few people boosted their goodwill," he told AFP.
Going into the Globes race, the frontrunner was dark comedy "Birdman," which had been nominated in seven categories -- on top of a series of nods and wins in other prize races.
It won two, including best comedy/musical actor for Michael Keaton -- now seen as being in a tight Oscar with the other Globes best actor winner, Britain's Eddie Redmayne ("The Theory of Everything").
But the top prizes went to "Boyhood" -- best film drama and best director for Richard Linklater.
Amy Adams won best comedy/musical actress for "Big Eyes," while Julianne Moore won best dramatic actress for "Still Alice." Both women have multiple Oscar nominations, but neither has ever won.
- 'Budapest Hotel' surprise -
Possibly the biggest surprise of the evening was Wes Anderson's stylish crime caper "The Grand Budapest Hotel" taking best comedy/musical film, over "Birdman."
"The 'Grand Budapest' triumph throws something of a curveball into the Oscar race," wrote the Los Angeles Times.
"Long a fan favorite with modest Oscar traction, awards groups have been warming to the quirky Anderson of late."
A key point as the Oscars race unfolds is the vast difference between who votes for the Globes, and who chooses the Oscar winners.
Whereas the Globes are selected by fewer than 100 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the prestigious Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences -- which hands out the Oscars -- has some 6,000 voting members.
"The HFPA are not the film industry," said Sasha Stone, founder and editor of film/awards discussion website Awards Daily -- something of an understatement about a body long lampooned in Hollywood.
For some pundits, the reaction from the Globes audience, most of whom are Academy members, could be the most telling aspect of Sunday night's ceremony.
"The loud applause a certain film gets during the show is something you can feel because the audience really are the people voting on awards," Stone told AFP.
"I felt that 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' was well received with the crowd, as was 'The Theory of Everything,' 'Birdman' and 'Selma.'"
For Variety's Gray, some Globe-winning actors definitely improved their Oscar chances.
"The wins for Patricia Arquette, Julianne Moore and J.K. Simmons are added to some critics' prizes, and it's always nice to have a reputation as a winner," he said.
"And Michael Keaton's speech was one of the highlights of the evening," he added. Keaton teared up while talking about his childhood and his own son.
"Globes always give out two best picture prizes, comedy/musical and drama. But even with doubled odds, the Globes winner went on to win Oscar only four out of the past 10 years," Gray said.
"Bottom line: It's the work that counts with members of the Academy."

Tuesday, January 13th 2015
Michael Thurston

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