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Posted at 9:10 AM ET, 01/19/2011

Do the Golden Globes tell us anything about who will win an Oscar?

By Jen Chaney

Colin Firth, Golden Globe winner. (NBC/AP)
Globes Photo Gallery

The Golden Globe winners have been announced. So that means we now know which actors, movies and filmmakers will win Oscars come Feb. 27, right?

Well, not exactly.

With the Academy Award nominations set to be announced on Jan. 25, I did a quick analysis of the past 10 years of Golden Globe victors to determine which ones are more likely to tell us something about who is headed for Oscar victory and which ones carry less forecasting weight. Here are the results. Kids, feel free to borrow this statistical analysis if you're trying to come up with an idea for your science fair project.

Obviously the people who vote for the Golden Globe winners -- who are members of the Hollywood Foreign Press -- aren't the same Academy members who choose the Oscars. Nevertheless, there is often some synchronicity between the two, most notably in some of the acting categories.

Best supporting actor

The Globes are fairly reliable here. In the past decade, the Globe winner has also won the Oscar every year except for two -- in 2006, when Eddie Murphy won the Golden Globe for "Dreamgirls," then remained seated at the Oscars while Alan Arkin grabbed a trophy for "Little Miss Sunshine," and in 2004, when Clive Owen won the Globe and Morgan Freeman took home the Academy Award.

Translation: If I were a betting woman, I would bet on Christian Bale as our next best supporting actor Oscar winner.

Best supporting actress

During the past 10 years, the lady who won the Golden Globe in this category has gone on to win the Academy Award five times, or in only 50 percent of the cases.

Translation: Globe winner Melissa Leo still looks like a frontrunner for an Academy Award win, but Sunday's victory hardly means she's a lock.

Best actress

Between the two lead actress categories -- drama and musical/comedy -- the Globes tend to forecast the best actress Oscar winner fairly accurately. Again, looking at the past decade, the Globes has been off-base 1.5 times: in 2001, the year the HFPA rewarded Sissy Spacek and Nicole Kidman instead of eventual Oscar recipient Halle Berry, and in 2008, when Kate Winslet won a Globe for best lead actress, but for "Revolutionary Road" instead of "The Reader," the film that finally put an Academy Award in her hand. (She also won a Globe that year for "The Reader," but in the supporting category; it was a complicated year for Winslet.)

Translation: There's already good reason to think Natalie Portman has an Oscar sewn up and the Globes only bolstered her case.

Best actor

The track record for the Golden Globes is a bit spottier here. The HFPA has failed to synch up with the Oscars in this category four times in the past decade, most recently when voters rewarded Mickey Rourke for his work in "The Wrestler" instead of eventual Oscar winner Sean Penn for his portrayal of Harvey Milk in "Milk."

Translation: Colin Firth remains well-positioned, but I am not sure that his Globe win tells us much more than how charming and British he is when he makes an acceptance speech. Let's see if he wins the SAG Award in this category.

Best director

This is where the Globes often veer off the Oscar course; the two awards shows have chosen the same filmmaker only half of the time during the '00s. Last year the Globes honored James Cameron rather than eventual Oscar victor Kathryn Bigelow.

Translation: For those attempting to make a solid prediction, look to the Directors Guild winner, to be announced Jan. 29. The DGA's voting body overlaps more with the Academy's, and they've failed to crown the same winner as Oscar only once during the past 10 years.

Best picture

Once again, the Globes are 50/50 here when it comes to forecasting the eventual Oscar winner. And they've been particularly off base during the past six years; only once, when "Slumdog Millionaire" swept the awards season in 2008, has the Globes best drama also been the Academy's best picture.

Translation: The Oscar race between "The Social Network" and "The King's Speech" is far from over.

By Jen Chaney  | January 19, 2011; 9:10 AM ET
Categories:  Awards Season, Movies  
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Also, don't forget that the Globes completely ignored "True Grit," which will likely receive best picture, best director, and a couple of acting nominations.

Posted by: Russtinator | January 19, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Honestly, any decisions made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are not relevant to viewers. Maybe it never has been. Heck, it completely ignored Clint Eastwood and "Gran Torino" and didn't bother to pay any kind of attention to the Lord of the Rings trilogy until the final movie. (The fact "Return of the King" won every award for which it was nominated still doesn't make up for ignoring the first two movies in the trilogy.)

Finally, I submit: "Chariots of Fire" for Best Picture in 1981. Proof positive at its absurdity.

The Golden Globes isn't any more relevant, but at least the award show is shorter.

Posted by: cfow1 | January 19, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Hey, cfow, I LIKED "Chariots of Fire." It was more of an ensemble film, which made it unsuited to the Best Actor/Actress and Supporting categories.

Russtinator, are the SAG awards a better predictor of Oscar winners than the Globes are? You seem quite knowledgable on such matters.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | January 19, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

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