Numlock Awards: The Post-Globes State of the Race

Numlock Awards is your one-stop awards season newsletter, and it’s back! Every week, join Walt Hickey and Michael Domanico as they break down the math behind the Oscars and the best narratives going into film’s biggest night. Today’s edition comes from Walter.

Incidentally, today is remarkable for reasons beyond the Globes; it’s the last day for BAFTA nominations voting, and so it’s actually a really important day for a few contenders who came out of last night with a win but who otherwise blanked on other precursor award shows.

It can be hard to get why the Golden Globes matter, because the answer is pretty secondhand. They’re a notoriously oddball group of people — as a person who has repeatedly clowned on the HFPA in print for the better part of a decade, this week has been delectable — who are increasingly coming off more as tinseltown Tammany than any group of trustworthy cultural insight. However, they do have an incredibly large television deal, and the Academy is stuck at home with nominations voting kicking off this very Friday, so any face time is good and in some categories they have an ounce of value. Today, I will go through those ounces and how they materially impact the state of the race.

Best Actress

We have a serious race right now!

Andra Day won for The United States vs. Billie Holiday, definitely an underdog win that has shaken up the race. As it stands now, a few more local critics’ prizes dropped since our last update, which still has Frances McDormand (Nomadland) up by a hair, but Day has been launched into second place thanks to her win in the Drama category, edging out Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman).

Day really needs that win to translate into a BAFTA nomination; she missed out on a SAG nomination — Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman), and Amy Adams (Hillbilly Elegy) round that high-value award out. The Critics’ Choice voting ended well before her win last night, so in order to translate that Globes win into momentum she’s really got to be pulling for a nod at BAFTA, which has been the best predictor of Best Actress winners for a while.

Best Actor

The Golden Globe for Drama is a genuinely good predictor in this category, and more importantly it lines up with a consensus of preliminary local critics’ prizes in this category. After a really beautiful speech from his wife, and with nominations at both Critics’ Choice and SAG, the late Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) is a huge favorite right now based on all the signals we’re seeing. Steven Yeun (Minari) was left of the nominations at the Globes, and if he surprises at SAG we’ll have a race, but right now the model gives Boseman a serious edge.

I contractually do not have to talk about the Golden Globe for comedic actor. That’s in my contract and you can’t make me do it.

Best Director

Chloé Zhao (Nomadland) is the undisputed frontrunner here, capping off a tour-de-force run on the local critics’ prizes with a win at the Globes. The numbers have her well outperforming her rivals, and while the DGA and BAFTA are yet to come, she’s got every scrap of momentum going for her right now.

Best Picture

The Globes are objectively meaningless.

Best Supporting Actor

Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah) won in an incredibly competitive category. The supporting actor pool is a puddle this year, with just seven names picking up any wins or nominations of value. Four of the strongest of them were up against Kaluuya last night, and he won.

Maybe it’s my Elo-brain thinking here but to me, those kinds of wins — where you beat the people you’ll be playing the rest of the season — are always particularly informative. We redo this next Sunday — only drop out Jared Leto (The Little Things) and add in Paul Raci (Sound of Metal) and Chadwick Boseman (Da 5 Bloods) — at the Critics’ Choice. Right now, Kaluuya is at around double the points of any of his rivals, a Critics’ Choice win could make this category quite easy.

Best Supporting Actress

Chaos!

This category is anyone’s game. Two people were nominated for a Globe, a Critics’ Choice and a SAG award, Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy) and Olivia Colman (The Father), and both of them were beaten out by Jodie Foster (The Mauritanian), a performance that was not nominated by SAG or the Critics’ Choice. Much like Andra Day, Foster really needs a nomination at BAFTA to stay in the game, because without one her momentum pretty much peaked last night.

My read on this is that it’s good news for Yuh-jung Youn (Minari), snubbed by the Globes but despite that leading in this category, trouncing among the local critics and claiming four of the five most-predictive prizes from the local groups. She’ll be competing at the Critics’ Choice next weekend; a win there cements her as frontrunner just as her two chief rivals are smarting from a loss. Also in the mix is Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), who the Globes in their infinite wisdom exiled into Best Actress for a Comedy, a decision that is, frankly, rude since that award does not exist.