In a way, the Golden Globe nominations that will be announced on Monday won’t be dramatically different than they would have been if Harvey Weinstein had never been accused of multiple instances of sexual misconduct.
After all, Weinstein’s biggest awards hope this year would have been the dark drama “Wind River,” a brilliant but challenging film that always would have been a tough sell to the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
The Weinstein Company may have placed a nominee in the marquee Best Motion Picture – Drama category for the last five years in a row, but that streak likely would have come to an end this year, despite Weinstein’s track record wooing and courting the 90-odd foreign journalists who make up the HFPA.
And while a full-strength Harvey Weinstein would no doubt have been campaigning hard for one of Jeremy Renner’s career-best performances in “Wind River,” the actor would likely have remained in the same position he is now that the film has been taken away from the Weinsteins to mount a campaign on its own: as an eminently worthy dark horse.
So no, the Weinstein scandal doesn’t kill the chances of films that otherwise would have been prime Globes contenders, or significantly boost the hopes of films that otherwise would have been bypassed.
But it’s not fair to say that Weinstein’s absence won’t have a strong affect on the Golden Globes nominations — because his fall was only the beginning of a seismic shift in Hollywood and in the rest of the country, as one powerful predator after another was exposed.
Weinstein was followed by Kevin Spacey and James Toback and Brett Ratner and Louis CK and Matt Lauer and dozens of others — and the HFPA, an often-embattled organization that in recent years has clearly been sensitive to the way it is perceived, has to be hyper-aware of the message that can be sent by its nominations.
The repercussions might well be seen most clearly in the Globes’ television categories, where Spacey’s series “House of Cards” has received eight nominations over the last three years and won twice, once for Spacey in 2015 and once for Robin Wright in 2014.
Spacey, of course, has virtually no shot at landing a nomination this year for Season 5 of the series — but everybody else on “House of Cards” could be in the same boat. “I don’t think they’ll want anybody from that show in the room,” said one publicist who frequently works with the HFPA. “They know it would be a huge distraction.”
The comedy series “Transparent,” meanwhile, has received seven nominations since 2015. Three of those, including one win, were for star Jeffrey Tambor, whose future on the show is uncertain after he was accused of improprieties. Tambor would be another distraction, to be sure, though it’s conceivable that voters won’t opt to penalize the entire show.
Spacey could have a big impact on the movie side as well. Pre-scandal, the actor’s team was preparing an awards campaign for his supporting role in Ridley Scott’s “All the Money in the World,” in which he played oil tycoon J. Paul Getty – but when the unsavory stories began to mount in early November, Scott opted to reshoot all of Spacey’s scenes with Christopher Plummer playing the role instead.
The HFPA was the first to see the hastily-shot and hastily-assembled result — they saw a rough cut on Dec. 4, just before their deadline — and they responded positively, especially to Plummer, according to reports. A nomination for the 87-year-old actor, or additional nominations for the film itself, could be seen as an irresistible statement of support for Scott’s action in purging his movie of Spacey at the 11th hour.
While the accusations against Woody Allen predate the Weinstein scandal by years, the current climate could also hurt the chances of Kate Winslet, the only person associated with Allen’s new “Wonder Wheel” who would have had any real shot at a nomination. It could be much easier to give that slot to somebody who won’t drag Woody’s baggage into the Beverly Hilton ballroom.
And in a way, the storms of the past three months — and the storms of the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency — could also push the HFPA toward a purposefully inclusive and diverse slate of nominees: toward women like Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”) and Dee Rees (“Mudbound”) in the directing category, toward movies about issues of race (“Get Out”), sexual orientation (“Call Me by Your Name”), justice (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), freedom of the press (“The Post”) and support for the dispossessed (“The Florida Project”).
If those movies are indeed recognized, you can’t say it’s because of Harvey Weinstein — they are some of the year’s best films, and many of them would deserve to be saluted at any time. But the Weinstein scandal, and everything that followed, created a climate in which it is increasingly important for Hollywood to send the right message and do the right thing — and there’s no question that the voters in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are aware of that.
They may make baffling choices at times — less frequently in recent years — but they aren’t tone deaf to the cultural changes we’re going through.
Let’s face it: A shadow hangs over Hollywood (and Washington) these days, and Globes voters might well want to shine a little light.