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Golden Globe and SAG Nominations Recap: Who are the Front Runners?

It's official: awards season has begun. The Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics Choice nominations have all been announced over the span of the past week, officially kicking off Oscar season. The wide range of nominees in every category has proven that this is one of the most packed years in recent memories. There seem to be many contenders but few clear indications of winners; as of now, it's all a guessing game. But, nonetheless, there are clear front runners and underdogs that will surely take awards season by storm.


There’s no doubt that Netflix is the year’s powerhouse with four Best Picture nominees at the Golden Globes. Two of them are locks for future nominations, but the other two are a little more questionable. First, there’s Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, which might just be the biggest contender of them all. The legendary filmmaker’s decade-spanning gangster drama is being hailed as one of the greatest achievements of his career, and awards voters are flocking to recognize it, with five Globe nominations and four SAG nominations. It did face a big snub at both shows, though: Robert DeNiro for leading actor. Next, there is Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year. Telling the story of a couple getting divorced with one living in Los Angeles and one in New York, Baumbach is able to balance both sides and tell a story that is equally heartbreaking as it is uplifting. Marriage Story was the most nominated film out of all the Globe nominees, scoring six nominations, but shockingly missing out on a director nomination for Baumbach. And, while it did score three SAG nominations, it ultimately missed out on an ensemble nomination. Though, it will be a strong contender, does this film have the momentum to win Best Picture?


In addition, Netflix also has Best Comedy/Musical nominee Dolemite Is My Name and Best Drama shocker The Two Popes. Both films received recognition for their acting, with Eddie Murphy as a front runner for Best Comedy Actor, and Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins getting surprise nominations in their respective categories. But, despite that, both films were completely shut out of the SAG nominations. For these two, it's a waiting game to see just how far they'll get in the grand scheme of things.


Holding up as one of the year's strongest contenders is Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, securing five Globe and four SAG nominations. Though there has been mixed reception from some, the love for this film is too strong to kick it out of the Best Picture race. Transporting viewers back to 1969 Hollywood for two hours and forty minutes of pure joy, it’s hard to imagine this not getting an abundance of love from voters. At the moment, it seems to be on the path to winning Best Comedy/Musical at the Globes and Best Supporting Actor for Brad Pitt. Though Pitt has a lot of competition as he goes up against former Oscar winners Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, and Tom Hanks, he still seems to be an unstoppable force, already picking up award after award. If you can bet on Hollywood winning any Oscars, bet on Pitt.



Defying all odds and becoming one of the strongest contenders of awards season is Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite. The Palme D’or winning social thriller is already making history, receiving three Globe nominations and a SAG ensemble nomination. Its success at the SAG awards is a huge deal, as it is only the second foreign film to ever be nominated in that category. Nothing is stopping this film. The love and acclaim for this film have been extremely overwhelming; people who aren’t into films (nonetheless foreign films) are going out of their way to see it and join the hype. There’s no doubt that this is a film that will go down in cinematic history, and awards voters are not ignoring that. Bong Joon-ho is challenging Martin Scorsese for that Best Director win, and it shouldn’t be a surprise if he takes it home. In fact, you shouldn't be surprised if it becomes the first foreign film to ever win Best Picture.



In addition, there are also two very different war films that could easily make their way into the Best Picture lineup. First, there’s Taika Waititi’s World War 2 satire Jojo Rabbit, which got two Golden Globe and SAG nominations. The film has been capturing hearts since it won the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival. Though there has been some mixed reception from critics, the love for this film is still holding very strong. Plus, in this political climate, who wouldn’t want to give recognition to a film that’s completely sticking it to Nazis in an innovative way? On the opposite side of the war movie spectrum, there’s 1917, Sam Mendes’ World War 1 film shot in one take by legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins. Scoring three Golden Globe nominations, including Best Picture, this so-called technical masterwork is already a strong front runner despite not being released in theaters yet. Though it most likely won’t get into any acting or screenplay categories, expect 1917 to show up in a plethora of technical categories and be a strong contender for Best Director. If audiences are receptive to this film, it could climb its way through the ranks of awards season and reach the top.

Meanwhile, Joker has been holding very strong, even shockingly showing up in the Best Director category. Joaquin Phoenix is one of the strongest Best Actor contenders, and will most likely be going head to head with Adam Driver for the golden statue. Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for playing the same character in The Dark Knight over ten years ago, which could have an impact on Phoenix's chances to win. Ultimately, we'll just have to wait and see if Phoenix has what it takes and if Joker can keep its momentum to receive an Academy Award Best Picture nomination.


Greta Gerwig's Little Women and the Roger Ailes/Fox News drama Bombshell seem to be going head to head for that next slot. Both films received two Globe nominations, but Little Women was completely shut out of the SAGs while Bombshell soared with four nominations including Best Ensemble. Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie both seem to be locks for Bombshell, but Saoirse Ronan and possibly even Florence Pugh could make it into the mix. In addition, Awkwafina got a Globe nomination for her performance in A24's family drama The Farewell but was also cut from the SAGs. All three of these films could potentially get Best Picture nominations, but they seem to be strongest in the acting categories.


Other notable moments include Christian Bale (Ford v. Ferrari) and Taron Egerton (Rocketman) both earning Globe and SAG nominations, Cynthia Erivo (Harriet) and Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) holding strong with Best Actress/Supporting Actor nominations for playing their respective real-life heroes, and Lupita Nyong'o (Us) being snubbed from the Globes but included in the SAG lineup. In addition, Willem Dafoe has been almost completely shut out for his performance in The Lighthouse, as has Zhao Shuzen for The Farewell. Above all else, these nominations have proved that almost every category is packed to the brim, and this is going to be one of the most competitive Oscar races in history.

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