Lily Gladstone made history last night, becoming the first Indigenous woman to win Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama at the Golden Globes.
She gave the best speech of the night, at least among the film winners, acknowledging the historicity of her win, speaking Blackfeet from the stage and reminding everyone how horribly Native actors have been treated by Hollywood, but without being preachy. She just reminded everybody it used to be one way, and now steps are being taken to make it a better way, and that’s good. She can win this award, she can speak Blackfeet on an international telecast, she can thank her colleagues and her manager like everybody else. It is actual progress!
Lily looked amazing in a white Valentino gown with a black opera coat, and she wore black and white earrings by Blackfeet designer Lenise Omeaso, who is part of Antelope Women Designs.
I wish the gown fit a little better, but the coat and the head styling and jewelry are so good, the dress is the least important part of her ensemble. She was once again on the red carpet with Leonardo DiCaprio, who looked genuinely thrilled when she won. It remains the most—only?—endearing thing about him. Lily was clearly excited to win, too, making goofy faces with her trophy backstage. Winning and making such a lovely, heartfelt speech, Lily makes a great case for herself as the Best Actress frontrunner, but where there are winners, there must also be losers.
Greta Lee, unfortunately, is losing a lot of momentum, as is Past Lives in general. The Best Actress category is stacked, someone is going to get left out, and while I would personally skip Margot Robbie in favor of Greta (who wore Loewe), the reality is, Greta’s odds are getting longer. The Past Lives team, including Celine Song, Teo Yoo, and John Magaro, had a very quiet night, in what is probably going to become an even quieter awards season.
On the uptick, though, is Palme d’Or winner Anatomy of a Fall, which won Best Screenplay for Justine Triet (who also directed the film) and Arthur Harari, and Best Motion Picture, Non-English Language. Star Sandra Hüller was also a double nominee in the leading and supporting acting categories, and since Anatomy wasn’t France’s pick for international film consideration for the Oscars, they have no choice but to make a run at Best Picture. They have decent momentum for the nomination, and Arthur Harari and Justine Triet—who showed up in slacks, a cool blouse, and sensible flats, she won life last night—are now the frontrunners for Best Original Screenplay.
Back on the downward slope is Maestro and Bradley Cooper. Barbie had a rough night, Maestro had an outright bad one, going 0-for-four with their nominations. More, it seemed like Coop couldn’t get screentime unless he was jawing with another celebrity away from his table. I’m not convinced Carey Mulligan really gets worked up about these things, but we KNOW Coop cares, he’s been showing us since last summer how much he cares, but it’s becoming clearer this just isn’t going to be his year (again).
Although, we cannot put too much emphasis on the Globes, in and of themselves. They matter in so far as Oscar nominations open on Thursday, and this is the last big event—these are the last major headlines—before Academy members start their nominating process. One thing about the Academy remains unchanged, and that is that many members don’t watch a lot of movies. They are often making their decisions based on who they’re friends with, who they’ve had good work experiences with, who they’ve heard good things about, who’s overdue for recognition, there are a lot of reasons they choose who they choose other than “they did good work”.
As a predicator of voter behavior, the Globes are not a good measure, because unlike with the guild awards that come later in the season, there is no overlap in these voting bodies; we can’t look at Golden Globe voter behavior as an indicator of Academy voter behavior. And worse, the Golden Globe voters are paid. The new Golden Globes Organization published a directory with their 300 members, all of whom “work” for the Globes as members, and some are even full-time, salaried staff. I just don’t understand how this works as anything other than a total farce, even more so than the Globes always have been. It’s just a nakedly corporate endeavor now. I keep saying this—the Oscars are NOT perfect, but at least they’re voted on by the people who understand what it takes to make a movie. The Golden Globes? Somehow got even shadier!
So, when I say momentum is shifting, it’s about the coverage, not the awards themselves. Lily Gladstone, Justine Triet, they walk out of the Globes with positive coverage, with particularly feel-good headlines for Lily. That can only help her, especially as a relative new face to many in the Academy. Greta Lee and Celine Song, however, walk out with very little, not even a lot of fun screentime to get people asking who they are and what film they’re with. Ditto for Bradley Cooper, who once again looks like an also-ran. Is it fair? Should the Oscars be strictly about merit? Sure! But that’s not reality. The reality is it’s all about the headlines, and Lily and Justine got the good headlines.