What Do ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Golden Globes Mean for Oscar Chances?
The Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody continued its astonishing march over the expectations of the movie industry by winning two main Golden Globes last night. But does the victory tell us anything about the film’s Oscar chances?
With Rami Malek having secured Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama and the production being named Best Motion Picture - Drama, it would seem that there’s an increased chance of winning the Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Picture.
One argument is that the publicity surrounded the Golden Globes fuels the Academy’s voting preferences, especially since voting opens today, while the headlines are still circulating. Nominations close on Jan. 14 and will be announced on Jan. 22, with final polls closing on Feb. 19; the 91st annual presentation takes place on Feb. 24.
Also within that timescale comes the Screen Actors Guild awards, which happens on Jan. 27, while the Oscar polls remain open. Malek and the movie are both up for equivalent SAG awards: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role and Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
Success in the Golden Globes and the SAGs is not a guarantee of success at the Oscars, but the results do bear similarities to each other. In the past five ceremony seasons, between 2013 and 2018, the top acting awards have matched three times – Gary Oldman in 2018, Leonardo DiCaprio in 2016 and Eddie Redmayne in 2015. There was further two-out-of-three success: Casey Affleck won the Oscar and Golden Globe in 2017 while Matthew McConaughey and Daniel Day-Lewis swept SAGs and Golden Globes in 2014 and 2013, respectively.
When it comes to the top movie awards, Argo won all three in 2013; 12 Years a Slave took the Oscar and Golden Globe in 2014, and Birdman won the Oscar and SAG in 2015. Spotlight gained the same the following year, then Moonlight followed suit in 2017. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri matched SAG and Golden Globe last year (The Shape of Water won the Oscar).
Stats are one thing – hard cash is another, and last night's victory has given the bookmakers food for thought. While betting on the Oscars is illegal in the U.S. because the result is predetermined, that’s not the case everywhere. Aggregator site Oddschecker reported shortening odds on both Malek and Bohemian Rhapsody, with the chances of Best Actor quoted around 3/5 and Best Picture around 5/2.
Another question is whether politics will come into play. The Golden Globes, chosen by the 100 or so members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, is generally regarded as a more populist award than the Academy Awards. In that respect. it can’t be ignored that Bohemian Rhapsody was singularly unpopular with the establishment. Rotten Tomatoes lists the movie as having achieved a 62 percent approve rating among critics, but 90 percent approval from the public.
In an increasingly tumultuous environment where popular opinion is becoming as visible as the opinions of those who are paid to express them – the Rotten Tomatoes site being a prime example – there’s always a possibility that voting will take place in a bid to restate the social position and power of the votes, rather than the quality of a particular movie. If enough people are determined to put Bohemian Rhapsody back in its place, that's exactly what could happen.
So, while nothing is guaranteed, it’s at least possible that the Freddie Mercury movie, after having defeated production problems, defied critical dismissal and smashed box office records, might have one more surprise left to deliver at the Oscars. Which, when you think about it, matches the character of Mercury himself rather well.