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Golden Globes: The track record isn't always golden

December 13, 2010 |  4:44 pm

Everyone knows the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. , which is announcing its nominations at 5:38 a.m. Tuesday, comes up with some whopper Golden Globe picks every year.

As easy a target as its honoring Pia Zadora as best new star might be, what can you say about the selection of “The Great Debaters” as one of the best dramas three years ago or “Bobby” four years back?

A number of winners in this year’s ceremony repeated at 2010's Oscars, including Jeff Bridges as best actor (for “Crazy Heart”) and Sandra Bullock as best actress (for “The Blind Side”). Yet because the Golden Globes make a number of nominations in two categories (drama and comedy or musical), the HFPA has much better odds of accurate Oscar prognostication than other awards groups.  Put another way, though, they also have twice as good a chance of being wrong, and indeed they often are.

For its awards presented last January, the Golden Globes shortlisted several people who were snubbed for Academy Awards. Robert Downey Jr. not only was nominated by the HFPA for the lead comedy or musical actor for “Sherlock Holmes” but also won the award. Downey wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar. Clint Eastwood was nominated for a Golden Globe for directing “Invictus” but wasn’t nominated for the same Academy Award (his spot at the Oscars went to Lee Daniels for “Precious”).

At the same time, the Golden Globes can give certain films momentum that soon vanishes like melting snow. A year ago, the HFPA bestowed its most nominations — six — on “Up in the Air,” establishing it as the film to beat in the Oscars. Although Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner shared the Golden Globe screenplay prize for adapting Walter Kirn’s novel, “Up in the Air” didn’t win a single Oscar.

— John Horn

Photo: Robert Downey Jr. in "Sherlock Holmes." Credit: Warner Bros.