Wednesday, October 17, 2018
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Here’s what Oscar voters will be looking at after the Golden Globes

A fashion blackout and stirring calls to end sexism made afterthoughts of Sunday night’s Golden Globe winners. Just when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s choices mean more than they have in years.

Timing is everything during movie awards season, especially one as wide open as this. The end game is winning Academy Awards. By luck of the calendar, the Globes can directly influence Oscars voters.

This year’s Academy Awards will be presented on March 4, later than usual to avoid competing for television ratings with the Winter Olympics. That also pushed back the academy’s balloting timeline; it officially began last Friday when Oscar nomination ballots were delivered to voters.

The deadline for their return is Friday, giving the Globes results time to sink in, maybe pop in that DVD screener they’ve skipped.

That means Oscar voters on the fence about Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri were nudged when the vengeance saga snagged four Globes for drama including best picture, actress Frances McDormand and supporting actor Sam Rockwell.

Sunday’s results mean the coming-of-age indie Lady Bird is now a major Oscar contender after winning musical/comedy Globes for best picture and actress Saoirse Ronan. Writer-director Greta Gerwig’s earnestly hip acceptance speech — plus Natalie Portman calling out the Globes for only nominating male directors — will make Oscar voters reconsider Gerwig’s work.

Gary Oldman’s best actor/drama Globe for Darkest Hour likely put a deadbolt lock on the Oscar he’s been conceded since the Telluride Film Festival last September.

James Franco’s best actor win in the musical/comedy category for The Disaster Artist should boost his runner-up chances. That is, unless the #TIMESUP movement dominating the Globes catches up to him.

Minutes after Franco accepted his Globe, actor Ally Sheedy tweeted: "James Franco just won. Please never ever ask me why I left the film/TV business." Another noted Franco and Christian Slater were sitting together, adding the hashtag #MeToo. Neither Sheedy nor Franco have commented further.

However, several Twitter accounts mocked Franco for wearing a #TIMESUP lapel pin at the Globes, with at least one alleging the actor’s sexual misconduct with her. Nothing proven, but in the current social climate any suggestion of impropriety could lead Oscar voters away from nominating Franco.

Some movies didn’t get the boosts they hoped for from the Globes. The Shape of Water led all contenders with seven nominations yet only Guillermo del Toro won, for best director. Allison Janney was named best supporting actress for I, Tonya but Margot Robbie’s lead portrayal of ice skater Tonya Harding was unrewarded. The Florida Project probably needed Willem Dafoe to win best supporting actor to increase its Oscars relevance.

We’ll know more on Jan. 23 when the academy’s nominees are announced. Then it’s five weeks until Oscar Night. If Hollywood has learned anything lately, it’s that things can change anytime.

Contact Steve Persall at spersall@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall.

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