Thursday, December 11, 2014

Quantifying the 2014–2015 Golden Globe Nominations


The Golden Globes nominations were announced this morning, officially beginning American Movie Awards Season. Awards Season is an exciting time because it marks the two or three months of every year where it suddenly becomes normal—even expected—for everyone to be temporarily obsessed with cinema, which for once is something I'm very good at because I practice year round.

I tallied up all the nominations received by each film and have organized them as follows: total number of Globe nominations, Rotten Tomato rating, Metacritic rating, IMDb rating, and the name of the film (with a link to IMDb). An asterisk (*) indicates an early result with a significantly below-average amount of ratings at time of publishing (which will therefore probably be different by the time you're reading this).

7 — 94  89  8.7  Birdman (my review)
 99  100  8.5  Boyhood (my review)
 87  71  8.4  The Imitation Game
 88  79  8.4  Gone Girl (my review)
 92  88  8.2  The Grand Budapest Hotel (my review)
 100  95  6.6  Selma*
 81  72  7.7  The Theory of Everything
 75  58  7.4  Big Eyes*
 86  83  7.8  Foxcatcher
 tbd  tbd  6.6  Into the Woods*
 tbd  tbd  5.1  Annie*
 76  64  7.4  St. Vincent
 Everything else

The easiest way for a film to make it high in the rankings is to stack up on acting nominations because there are 6 acting categories in a 12-category race. If we exclude acting and music categories, limiting the field to Best Picture (Drama & Comedy), Best Directing, and Best Writing, we end up with something which looks a lot more like my personal favorite movies of the year:

3 — Birdman
3 — Boyhood
3 — The Grand Budepest Hotel
2 — Gone Girl
2 — The Imitation Game
2 — Selma
1 — Foxcatcher
1 — Into the Woods
1 — St. Vincent
1 — The Theory of Everything
0 — Annie
0 — Big Eyes

It is rare for a film nominated in a Best Picture category to not also be nominated in an acting category, while this year Gone Girl was nominated for both Directing and Writing but not Best Picture. Whether this means that Globe voters care more about performances than other aspects of film or whether this is simply the inevitable result of having more acting categories than anything else is up to you to decide. All I know is that every year I find movies with big performances but weak or generic scripts nominated for Best Picture, and it's always frustrating.

There are three films that received more than one total nomination but were not nominated in a Best Picture category:

 88  79  8.4  Gone Girl (my review)
 75  58  7.4  Big Eyes*
 tbd  tbd  5.1  Annie*

Gone Girl is the strangest entry here because it won both of the Real Movie categories (Directing and Writing) while snagging a nomination for its leading lady Rosamund Pike, whereas Big Eyes and Annie stacked up on acting a music nominations. It's also one of my personal favorite films of the year, as it presented one of the year's most complex and controversial characters and offered a unique and insightful perspective into modern identity, whereas many of the other Best Picture nominees are simple, safe, easy historical biopics (4 out of the 5 Best Pictures nominees for Drama are biopics).

There was only one film nominated in a Best Picture category which did not receive any other nominations:

1 — 94798.1Pride

To me this signals that voters thought of Pride as an "important" film rather than a "good" one, and the fact that the film features gay activists helping miners during a strike (the double-whammy of Gender Politics and Economics Of The 99%) seems to confirm this.

There are several critically acclaimed films which either received a nomination in a category other than Best Picture or received no nominations at all, and which are surprising because Pretty Much Everyone expected them to be nominated for Best Picture. Here are my Top 5 Most Curious Snubs:

1 — 96878.7Whiplash
0 — 96937.0Mr. Turner
1 — 73748.9Interstellar (my reviews one and two)
1 — 95768.1Nightcrawler (my review)
1 — 72828.2Inherent Vice

That's all for now. I feel obligated to make some sort of caveat statement about how the Globes are nominated by anonymous vote, so there's no behind-the-scenes conspiracy or anything like that; and that the movies which end up in the voting pool need to be campaigned for, and therefore don't actually represent the "best" movies of the year as much as the most popular or well financed. For those of you that want to know which are my personal best or worst movies of the year, you can find a ranked list of releases I've seen here. Stay tuned for more as Awards Season continues its recursive, narcissistic downward spiral toward self destruction.

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