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It’s an old story. Right out of the gate, a movie appears to be the frontrunner for all the awards. It’s inconceivable how another movie could beat it. But as the awards season develops, the movie becomes vulnerable, until Oscar night rolls around and it winds up going home with just one or two awards. That happened last year with Lincoln and after last night’s Golden Globes, it could happen again with 12 Years A Slave.
It was going to be a long night for Steve McQueen’s harrowing drama on slavery the moment Lupita Nyong’o lost Best Supporting Actress to Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle. And then John Ridley lost the screenplay category to Spike Jonze for Her...and then McQueen lost Best Director to Gravity’s Alfonso Cuaron. Anyone pulling for Chiwetel Ejiofor for Best Actor in a Drama was disappointed too, as Matthew McConaughey won for Dallas Buyers Club. Michael Fassbender didn’t beat McConaughey’s co-star, Jared Leto, for Best Supporting Actor.
However, the film did at least win the big prize, Best Picture - Drama. It must have felt like a huge weight was lifted off their shoulders at the 12 Years A Slave table, but they can’t possibly feel comfortable about it. Unless the film picks up some steam at the guild awards, the best drama of 2013 might get even shut out at the Oscars.
The American Hustle table was party central. Sure, Bradley Cooper probably wasn’t very happy about losing to Leto and David O. Russell lost to Jonze and Cuaron. But Hustle won the most movie awards of the night. Lawrence won a Globe for the second straight year and Amy Adams won Best Actress - Comedy/Musical. (It is important to note that Adams was not up against Blue Jasmine’s Cate Blanchett, who won Best Actress - Drama and will win the Oscar.)
Then, Hustle topped the most competitive category of the night, Best Picture - Comedy/Musical. It was a heavier category than past years, since it included The Wolf of Wall Street and Her, so if Hustle can beat those, what can’t it beat? If it wins Best Cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, then the Best Picture Oscar race might be over.
One of the other huge wins came for Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street. He should get nominated for an Oscar for his commanding performance as Jordan Belfort, but like Adams, he didn’t face some of the toughest competition in his Comedy/Musical category.
It is important to note that the Globes are decided by the 90-member Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is completely different from the Academy, a group made up of people in the industry. Still, strong showings at the Globes have started momentum. Last year's Best Picture - Dram winner was Argo, which went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars.