While it wasn't up for either Best Picture category, Alfonso Cuaron's Roma won big at the Golden Globes this year. Not only did it manage to take home the Best Foreign Language Film award -- which was really expected -- but Cuaron also beat out the likes of Spike Lee, Adam McKay, Peter Farrelly, and Bradley Cooper to win Best Director. It's a big development in this year's award's race, but with it now in the past there is one important question remaining: will it translate to success at the Academy Awards?
On a statistical level, the answer is a bit of a mixed bag, as recent history suggests different things for the two categories in question here: Best Picture and Best Director. In the case of the former, it's hard to predict a relationship between Roma's win tonight and the top Oscar just because there isn't a lot of history to work with. The last film to win the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and go on to get a Best Picture nomination was Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which was all the way back in 2000 (and the movie ultimately lost to Ridley Scott's Gladiator).
This would suggest that Roma doesn't have much of a chance at qualifying for the biggest Academy Award, but that's probably not fair. One could argue that no foreign film since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon has received the same kind of universal fanfare that Cuaron's movie has received, which could easily result in it being a statistical outlier. Roma probably would have been nominated for Best Picture -- Drama at the Golden Globes this year, but it wasn't eligible because that category is exclusively for English-language features. Had it been, though, it's Oscar chances might seem a bit clearer.
But while things are very murky on the Best Picture side of things, the fact that Alfonso Cuaron won Best Director at the Golden Globes is actually excellent news for his Academy Award chances in the same category. There hasn't always been a correlation between the two award shows, but they have matched up very well in the last few years. Specifically, with the exception of 2014 -- where they disagreed about Richard Linklater and Alejandro G. Iñárritu -- they have seen their selections match up going back to 2013... which was also the year that Cuaron won both prizes for his movie Gravity.
On beyond statistics, however, there is another very important factor to consider -- and it's a factor that has been discussed at length throughout this awards season: the fact that Roma is a Netflix movie. While the Golden Globes is a show that keeps movies and television on equal footing, which would explain their openness to accept features from the streaming platform as "films," there will likely be at least some among the Academy voter populace that don't agree with that sentiment (and it should be recognized that there is zero overlap between that group and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association).
There are going to be individuals who feel that the limited theatrical run it went on before heading online shouldn't qualify it for Hollywood's highest honor, and those individuals certainly won't be voting for it in any categories no matter how significant the Golden Globes success. If that delegation is big enough, it could seriously hamper Roma's chances at winning top prizes at the Oscars.
Roma's marketing will certainly get a boost from the victories this evening, and Netflix may see a bit of extra traffic toward the movie in the upcoming weeks, but it's Academy Award future is still an interesting question mark. It has all the makings of a Best Picture and Best Director contender, but whether it will be able to cross the finish line and secure those key nominations won't be clear until the morning of January 22nd.