The nominations for the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards were announced earlier today in Los Angeles, and after the results had been tallied, two big winners emerged: Guillermo Del Toro’s interspecies Cold War romance The Shape Of Water, and HBO’s female-led, darkly comic Big Little Lies, which almost single-handedly propelled HBO back to awards dominance with six of the network’s 12 total nominations. (The other HBO series nominated were only able to muster one apiece.) Across this year’s relatively varied spread, though, there were still a few glaring omissions: For example, where was the Best Director nod for Greta Gerwig, whose Lady Bird has been cleaning up in critics’ awards?
We asked our TV and film editors, Erik Adams and A.A. Dowd, for their reactions to the notable hits and misses of this year’s Golden Globes.
The Globes’ scheduling—some eight months after the Emmys and right smack dab in the middle of the traditional broadcast season—makes the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s TV picks even more haphazard than their film honors. And ceremony does itself no favor by lumping its supporting actor competitors into two, unwieldy categories, essentially knocking the ensembles of half-hour, comedic fare out of contention. This can lead to some questionable and unpredictable breaks from conventional Emmy wisdom, but year-round premieres, rising profiles for streamers, and shifts in the prestige-TV calendar seem to be syncing up the tastes of the HFPA and the television academy.
Case in point: The road that’s all but cleared for a repeat of Big Little Lies’ big night at the Emmys, the sort of thing that will reinforce HBO’s decision to order another season of the limited series, despite the whole, you know, “limited” part. But the highlights of that whodunit—the powerhouse performances—are being duly noticed here, with a re-staging of the Emmys’ four-war face-off between the mega-wattage stars of Big Little Lies and Feud: Bette And Joan (sorry, Jessica Biel—it’s not your year) and Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley playing frontrunners in that kitchen-sink supporting actress race. (Though I echo Katie and Danette’s sentiments from earlier: Doesn’t “Fuck you, Tammy” deserve some hardware?)
One place you can always count on the Emmys and the Globes diverging, however, is in the comedy categories, where many of the recent big winners only have a season (or less) under their belt by the time of the ceremony. Combined with a fondness for high-concept that’s benefited Atlanta and Mozart In The Jungle, I’m surprised The Good Place was passed over again this year, muscled out by a pair of respectable newcomers who fit the mold for first-time Globe nominees (Showtime’s SMILF and Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and a returning, perennial nominee that would probably make a cutting “bridesmaid”/“bride” remark regarding its treatment by the HFPA (The Good Place’s Thursday companion, Will & Grace). Probably for the best in The Good Place’s case, though: A certain fickleness is the other pattern in the Golden Globe’s recent advocacy for young comedies, though who’s to say how much that early attention helped extend the life spans of Brooklyn Nine-Nine (which had only aired 12 episodes when it and star Andy Samberg won the top comedy series and comedy actor awards in 2013), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Jane The Virgin?
Better Call Saul is noticeably absent from a best-drama pack that would be identical to last year’s if it didn’t trade on dystopian vision (The Handmaid’s Tale) for another (Westworld), but at least Bob Odenkirk is in the running against the baffling likes of a lead performance that’s only beloved by awards-voting bodies (Liev Schreiber in Ray Donovan) and Jason Bateman in Ozark—one of my least favorite new shows of the year. Given the return of feel-good favorite This Is Us in many of the TV categories, I’m surprised this year’s beneficiary of the generally miserable state of affairs beyond the four sides of the TV screen—The Good Doctor—only notched a Best Actor nod for Freddie Highmore.
Some final stray thoughts: Maggie Gyllenhaal is the number-one reason to watch The Deuce and a past winner for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film, but it’s going to be tough to beat Elisabeth Moss’ already-Emmy-winning performance in The Handmaid’s Tale. Kyle MacLachlan played the hell out of three roles in Twin Peaks: The Return, and there are a million GIFs out there to express my approval of his nomination. And I’d be happy to see wins for any of the best actress nominees for comedy, whose ranks could only be improved if they also included the impish glee of Kristen Bell’s reforming Good Place sinner.
It’s helpful to remember that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is basically just 90 random journalists and photographers who like to throw a big, starfucking celebrity gala every year, and that their selections are neither especially taste-making nor a very reliable predictor of what will or won’t get nominated later by the Guilds or the Academy. Still, the Globes’ early placement on the award-season calendar does bestow a certain high profile on the HFPA’s selections—and this year, the group’s list of selections did include some major omissions.
The most notable snub is probably Greta Gerwig for Best Director. Though her excellent, widely acclaimed coming-of-age comedy Lady Bird scored four nominations, including one for Best Motion Picture, Musical Or Comedy and another for Gerwig’s script, the writer-director couldn’t crack HFPA’s exclusively white-male lineup of filmmakers. Neither could Jordan Peele, for that matter, whose Get Out joined Lady Bird in the Musical Or Comedy shortlist—a genre cheat in the vein of The Martian’s much-mocked relegation to the same category a couple years ago. One could argue that as, ahem, “comedies,” Lady Bird and Get Out were always going to have an uphill battle for a Director nomination. But the absence of both in favor of Ridley Scott, whose hastily reshot (and largely unseen) All The Money In The World scored an unexpected three nominations, is glaring.
Also conspicuously absent was The Big Sick, the autobiographical comedy written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. The film’s warm, crowd-pleasing mix of humor and pathos would seem to make a platonic ideal for Musical Or Comedy, and Nanjiani would have made more sense in the corresponding acting category than Steve Carell’s less-than-beloved work in Battle Of The Sexes, which isn’t really a comedy either. Meanwhile, one of the A.V. Club’s favorite movies of the year, The Florida Project, got left out of the Best Motion Picture, Drama category—though that was an admittedly tight field of critical darlings—and James Ivory’s adaptation of the André Aciman novel Call Me By Your Name got edged out of Best Screenplay by master of the walk and talk, Aaron Sorkin.
There were, of course, plenty of other great movies the Globes largely ignored, from Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, which scored only two nominations (including an obvious one for Daniel Day-Lewis), to the inexplicably forgotten Lost City Of Z, which is the kind of old-fashioned epic that awards groups used to go nuts for. And the HFPA’s habit of nominating the biggest stars regardless of the role (I’m looking at you, Johnny Depp in The Tourist) reached its limits with Jennifer Lawrence’s bold, intense, quaking performance in Mother!, whose reputation as an audience-reviled box-office bomb apparently outweighed the temptation to get Lawrence to the show. It would have been one blatantly celebrity-courting decision we could have gotten behind.