As the most high-profile precursor to the Oscars, the Golden Globes are a bit like the first messy guest you meet at a party — not the most reliable bellwether for how your whole evening will turn out, but a decent indication of the vibe in the room. Aside from splitting most movie awards into separate races for drama and musical or comedy, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has reliably peculiar taste and a strong bias for both the mega-famous and completely unknown. Before we dive in, never forget that Arnold Schwarzenegger won for playing a pregnant man in 1994’s Junior. So really, anything goes.
This year’s Golden Globe nominations ushered in a crop of expected favorites, including A Star Is Born on the big screen, and TV darlings Sharp Objects and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. But many familiar faces were turned away at the door (sorry, the entire cast of This Is Us!), while others were predictably welcomed back into the fold, including Globe MVP Jim Carrey (but, has anyone even watched Kidding?). This year’s Golden Globe noms seem to indicate a diverse range of stories and performers could fill out the Oscar race — from Black Panther and BlacKkKlansman to (one can dream) Crazy Rich Asians. But in the year following #TimesUp, a woeful lack of women represented behind the scenes feels particularly discouraging. Here were the biggest surprises, and what the film nominations could mean for Oscar season.
Early Favorites: A Star Is Born and Vice
Director Adam McKay’s vicious Dick Cheney film Vice led with the most nominations of any movie, including one of two nods for Amy Adams as the former VP’s wife, Lynne (Adams was also nominated for her work on HBO’s Sharp Objects). The Oscars love a dramatic transformation, and Christian Bale has made a career of shape-shifting, so he already has a leg up for his performance as George W.’s right-hand man. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper were predictably nominated in lead acting categories, with Cooper also up for Best Director, and “Shallow” up for Best Song. Though Sam Elliott was left out, look for him to enter the Oscar race for his supporting role as Jackson Maine’s grizzled brother.
Looking Good for The Favourite and Green Book
Another awards season heavyweight, The Favourite landed nods for all three of its stars: Olivia Colman (who’ll assume the role of Elizabeth II when The Crown returns for Season 3), Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz. Though director Yorgos Lanthimos was snubbed here (for Green Book director Peter Farrelly, best known for comedies like Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary), that could very well be reversed come Oscar time. Green Book, derided by some for its clumsy racial politics, surprised many by landing multiple nods, including for leads Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen.
Tough Acting Races Will Only Get Tougher
The Oscar nominations generally favor drama over comedy, potentially clearing room for two leading heartthrobs snubbed here, Ethan Hawke in First Reformed, and Ryan Gosling in First Man. But as usual, the lead acting categories will be cut in half at the Oscars, narrowing the field for those nominated across drama and comedy at the Globes. Hopefully John David Washington (Denzel’s son) will hang on for BlacKkKlansman, and newcomer Elsie Fisher for her star turn in the so-real-it-hurts Eighth Grade. Fifteen-year-old Fisher had the best response to this morning’s news — call it a mood for the ages.
Women Behind the Camera Are Still Being Overlooked
The Golden Globes has a notoriously poor record with women behind the scenes; Barbra Streisand remains the sole woman to win Best Director, for Yentl way back in 1984. Another snubbed critical favorite, Private Life will hopefully welcome at least one woman into the writing and/or directing categories at the Oscars with Tamara Jenkins. Can You Ever Forgive Me? director Marielle Heller would be another welcome addition to the race come Oscar time, as would Desiree Akhavan, whose conversion therapy film The Miseducation of Cameron Post won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, but has been left out of the Globes. Buzzy documentary Shirkers, directed by Sandi Tan, could also find itself in contention.
What TV Can Tell Us
On the television side, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) stayed true to their historically short attention span by slamming the door on a handful of previous winners in favor of acclaimed newcomers. This Is Us, Westworld, and The Handmaid’s Tale were all left off the Best Drama category (less surprisingly, as was House of Cards). Instead, the race is between four new series — Pose, Killing Eve, The Bodyguard, and Homecoming — and one legacy contender, The Americans for its stellar final season. (No, Game of Thrones was not eligible this year; winter is still coming.)
The Best Comedy race is something of a head scratcher (confession, I had to google Netflix’s The Kominsky Method; and, again, who is watching Kidding?), with perhaps the most egregious snub of all — Donald Glover’s Atlanta, a head above the rest in any category. With the disappearance of Black-ish and Insecure, it’s also distressingly white. HFPA’s affection for famous and familiar faces is at its most obvious in the TV comedy acting races (Candice Bergen and Deborah Messing over Issa Rae and Tracee-Ellis Ross? Okay, sure).
While the Oscars also love an occasional legacy nod (Gary Oldman, hi), we can expect an Oscar ballot that’s a bit more balanced with a focus on individual performances rather than career track records. The combination of comedy and drama awards will likely mean a hit for diversity in the acting races, but with this year’s push to make the Academy more representative of Hollywood and its audience, there’s hope that the big show will actually do better.