As usual, this morning's Golden Globe nominations did more to confirm the Oscar race storyline than to shake it up. After the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's 5 a.m. PST announcement, the contest that the awards world had long seen coming was set in stone, revolving around three somewhat problematic front-runners — Zero Dark Thirty, Les Miserables, and Lincoln — with a pack of plausible second-tier contenders nipping at their heels in Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, and now, thanks to the Globes' one bit of alchemy, Django Unchained.
The awards season is a long process of watching a snake devour its own tail. After the hobnobbing amongst industry players at Oscar-season screenings and receptions, a consensus begins to form around who is in the race and who is out. The class of writers who spend their years working as award pundits post the rumors of consensus on their sites. For the various groups who stage awards shows — from the Globes to the SAG Awards to the entirely self-created Hollywood Film Awards — maintaining their relevance as "predictors" of the Oscars is all important. And so the electorates of this group seem to read the predictions and duly confirm them in their nominations. Before this morning's announcements, the two major prediction charts showed the three-way cluster at the top, with the pack just behind. And lo and behold, that is what the Globes gave them.
The one true stand-out from the conventional wisdom, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, has largely been ignored elsewhere in the campaign but took the spot of Globes' token oddball. The benefit of being a small 85 member association is that the group can coalesce around off-the-map choices. Each year they seem to give a little boost to some film that has slipped below the radar. This year, Salmon took that prize, getting one of the Best Comedy/Musical slots. The berth in that lesser ranks, however, while a nice piece of attention for the film is unlikely to propel it from Oscar oblivion into the thick of an already crowded field.
Already this is the wildest Oscar race of modern times. By this point in past years, a single film is generally the clear favorite, with maybe a semi-plausible contender still in the hunt. But if a wide-open field is the state of things, the Globes, as is their custom, confirmed that and left all the major contenders still standing, albeit some a little taller than others.
Let's review, then, the state of the race and where things stand in the post–Globe nominations world.