Movie buffs were ecstatic last year when New Jersey announced it would allow betting on the Academy Awards. Then TV fans got in on the fun when several NJ online sportsbooks offered Emmys betting in September.
Now, the movie awards season is in full swing.
Major critic organizations in LA and New York City handed out kudos, as did the National Board of Review. On Monday, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) announced the nominees for January’s Golden Globes ceremony.
The nominations may have you eager to fire off wagers on possible winners. However, unlike the Oscars or Emmys, the Globes are almost certainly going to remain off-limits for New Jersey sportsbooks.
Yes, it is a major awards show, but there are several reasons why sportsbooks will wait until the Oscars before taking bets on the movies again.
There are only 90 voters for the Golden Globes
If you’re not familiar with the Golden Globes, the event is an awards ceremony hosted by the HFPA. The ceremony dates back to 1944 and is considered a major precursor for the Academy Awards.
That is a lot of power for a single awards show, especially considering there are roughly 90 people who vote on them. The HFPA consists of members of the press who cover the film and TV industries for international media outlets.
With so few people voting on the awards, regulated sportsbooks in NJ are going to be gun-shy to offer any lines on the award categories.
First of all, if you know who is in the HFPA, it takes only a couple dozen phone calls asking how people might be voting to get a good sense of the frontrunners. More nefariously, it would only take a handful of bribes to swing a voting block in a particular direction.
By comparison, there are roughly 8,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) who are eligible to vote for the Oscars. The television academy that votes on the Emmys is even bigger, with over 25,000 members. Even in categories with smaller voting pools, it’s only a few hundred people.
The HFPA has a history of questionable voting
A big part of awards season involves the nominees going around and glad-handing voters for each of the big awards. That goes for the Globes, the guild awards, and the Oscars.
However, the Golden Globes have a long-standing reputation as an easily swayed group of voters. The reporters are not exactly household names, so when they are wined and dined by movie studios and given private dinners with the nominees, it is easy to see how they may even unintentionally be swayed to vote in a particular direction.
Remember the 2011 movie The Tourist with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp? Of course, you don’t; no one does.
However, this movie earned Globe nominations for both its stars. Those nominations get pointed to regularly as an example of just how silly and corruptable the Globes can get.
The New York Post reported on the dubious voting process in 2015, noting that Sharon Stone sent every HFPA a watch when she was nominated for Casino. Other winners, like Tom Cruise, are also mentioned for reaching out to each and every HFPA member.
Hollywood seems fine to turn a blind eye to the bribery that comes with lobbying for a Golden Globe. The industry knows what the show is and take the winners with a grain of salt.
Sportsbooks don’t have that luxury. The Golden Globes are a fun show to watch, but they are never going to be something to bet on with such a small, corruptable voting group.
Just use the Globes to help with Oscars betting
Rather than trying to bet on the Globes, use the Globes to help hone your Oscars betting picks. For many years, the Globes were a great predictor of which film wins Best Picture. Over the past couple of decades, the Golden Globes are increasingly less reliable predictors of the top category.
Since 2000, a Golden Globe winner for Best Drama or Best Musical or Comedy has gone on to win Best Picture only half the time. By comparison, in the 1990s, seven out of 10 Globe winners ended up taking the Best Picture trophy.
When it comes to Best Director, the Globes’ track record is much better in recent years, with the same winner as the Oscars five of the last six years. The lone exception was in 2015 when the Globes went with Richard Linklater for Boyhood over Alejandro Iñárritu for Birdman.
The track records for the Globes are understandably a little inflated by the fact that, with separate Drama and Comedy categories, the actor and picture categories give the Globes two winners to potentially win the Oscar.
Still, when it comes to both the Best Actress and Best Actor races, the Globes are on a 10-year streak of one of the two winners taking those trophies home too.
Those streaks would go back a ways further, too, were it not for the anomalous results of 2009. That year, the Globes recognized neither Sean Penn for Milk nor Kate Winslet for The Reader. It is worth noting though that the Globes did give Winslet an award, just for a different film, Revolutionary Road.
Oscar nominations are Jan. 13
If you want to watch the Golden Globes, the show will take place on Jan. 5 on NBC. The Oscar nominations will be announced roughly a week later on Jan. 13.
This awards season is a couple of weeks shorter than usual, with the Oscars ceremony taking place on Feb. 9.
With that in mind, it will be important to keep a close eye on precursor awards like the Globes and the guild awards, as the likelihood for a chalkier set of winners will be higher with a shorter window for the frontrunners to experience potential backlash.