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When they don’t see you: The A.V. Club’s biggest Golden Globes snubs

L to R: When They See Us, Little Women, Us
Photo: Atsushi Nishijima (Netflix), Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures

This morning, the nominations for the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards were announced in Los Angeles, with Dakota Fanning, Susan Kelechi Watson, and Tim Allen taking turns breaking the good news to their fellow actors. Netflix emerged the big winner (for now), with the highest number of nominations across the film and TV categories, including best motion picture–drama nods for Marriage Story, The Irishman, and The Two Popes. Big Little Lies scored three nominations, including one for best TV drama, which made us briefly wonder what year it is. HBO had a strong showing overall, nabbing four nominations for Chernobyl, and three apiece for Barry and Succession. And upstart streamer Apple TV+ picked up three nominations for The Morning Show, proving that, despite an unsteady launch, it’s not out of the streaming race yet.

Before the ceremony begins on January 5, we asked TV editor Danette Chavez and senior writer Katie Rife for their thoughts on the biggest oversights, and a few of the more spot-on choices.


Danette Chavez

Even when you take into account the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s unrepentant desire to make the Golden Globes the biggest, most celebrity-packed party of the year, some of these choices are downright flummoxing. But there’s no more glaring omission than the lack of nominations for Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us, a powerful, elegiac series dedicated to the Exonerated Five, whose tale of injustice reverberates to the present day. The Netflix limited series is a work of consummate skill, from DuVernay’s direction to the performances from veteran actors Niecy Nash and Aunjanue Ellis. But given HFPA’s inclination to recognize rising stars, it’s especially disappointing to see Jharrel Jerome, who won an Emmy for his wrenching portrayal of Korey Wise, left out of the limited series/TV movie acting categories. Sacha Baron Cohen is good in The Spy, another Netflix limited series, but it’s not a revelatory turn like Jerome’s. Christopher Abbott’s nomination for Catch-22 is also a bit of a surprise, mainly because that Hulu miniseries has had nowhere near the same amount of buzz as When They See Us.

Speaking of limited series, Big Little Lies’ blurring of that distinction has done nothing to dull its luster, despite a sophomore outing that unraveled quicker than the Monterey Five in its back half. But what was HFPA going to do—not nominate Meryl Streep and her prosthetic chompers when given the chance? Michelle Williams, Kaitlyn Dever, and Merritt Wever are all rightly nominated for their work in Fosse/Verdon and Unbelievable, respectively, and Helen Mirren, a HFPA fave, was probably always going to get a nod for playing another royal. Still, this latest list of predominantly white nominees—no Black women or women of color were nominated in any of the TV acting categories—seems especially shortsighted in light of Watchmen, and the master class on acting Regina King has been giving every week. I realize When They See Us’ story of racial inequality may have been deemed too somber of territory to broach on awards night, but with HBO and Damon Lindelof backing them, how were King and Watchmen as a whole left out of these proceedings? Not that Lindelof’s adaptation of the comic series hasn’t also been addressing white supremacy, but surely HFPA wanted to party with Lube Man, if not Jean Smart and Tim Blake Nelson?

It’s also surprising to see Veep and Julia Louis-Dreyfus shut out, not just because the HBO comedy pulled out one of the best finales in recent years, but because most awards voters are creatures of habit, and both Veep and its star have multiple Globes nominations. How else does The Kominsky Method season two get three nominations while exciting new comedies like The Other Two and Pen15 are ignored? (This question also applies to the rubber-stamping of nominations for Rachel Brosnahan and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel). At least Ramy scored a nod for Ramy Youssef in the best actor–comedy series category; indeed, men of color had a slightly better day, with Rami Malek and Billy Porter earning nominations for their exceptional performances on Mr. Robot and Pose, respectively. But Porter has had a wonderful collaborator in MJ Rodriguez, who has been left out of the Emmy and Globes nominations this year despite being the heart of FX’s gorgeously queer drama.


For my money, Pose could have easily replaced The Morning Show in the best TV drama category, if it weren’t for the ridiculous star power of that Apple TV+ series. But part of any awards show coverage is understanding the rules of the game, which is why I’d never get my hopes up about Lodge 49 scoring any nominations, despite being one of the best shows of the year. Nominees who aren’t surprises, but are still pleasant, include Bill Hader (for Barry), Olivia Colman (for The Crown), Brian Cox (for This Is The U.S.—sorry, Succession), Jared Harris (for Chernobyl), and Kirsten Dunst’s barnstorming work in On Becoming A God In Central Florida. Finally, the rematch between Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Natasha Lyonne in the best actress–comedy category will make January 5 a nerve-racking night for me, when I’m not grousing about the lack of love for Anthony Carrigan in Barry.

Katie Rife

Paging Natalie Portman! When it comes to this year’s film nominees, the Globes’ biggest snub was, well, women in general, given that not a single film from a female director was nominated in either Best Picture category. No women were nominated for Best Screenplay or Best Director, either, an oversight that passed into a full-on slight the moment Todd Phillips got a Best Director nod for Joker. (It’s not the threat to civilization some think it is, but it’s a dumb movie, y’all.) Given the broad selection of personal, profound artistic statements made by women filmmakers this year, it’s safe to say the HFPA will be the subject of much protest in trade publications and on social media in the coming weeks.


Greta Gerwig’s work on Little Women was extraordinary, as both a writer and a director. But I’d say the bigger snub there was in the screenplay category, given that her innovative adaptation brought new life and a fresh perspective to a century-old text that’s already been adapted many times. Lulu Wang’s work as writer and director of The Farewell, which she adapted from her own radio story “What You Don’t Know,” is also worthy of major awards attention, given how elegantly she was able to tease universal themes out of a very personal story. Awkwafina was nominated for Best Actress-Comedy, and The Farewell for Best Foreign-Language Film. So we know the HFPA saw the film. Nominating an American production for Best Foreign-Language Film because it’s mostly in Mandarin is an oddly provincial choice in general, honestly; I don’t know why a self-proclaimed international awards body can’t just nominate the likes of
Parasite, The Farewell, and Portrait Of A Lady On Fire for Best Picture rather than shuffle them off to an Anglocentric side category, but nevertheless.

Those two would be my personal top choices for Globes nominations, but they’re far from the only worthy women this year: While Alma Har’el didn’t write Honey Boy—that would be Shia LaBeouf, who was snubbed for Best Supporting Actor—her work with the film’s cast is a great example of collaborative direction. (Same for the atmosphere Olivia Wilde created on the set of Booksmart, a pick supported by Beanie Feldstein’s well-deserved Best Actress-Musical or Comedy nomination.) Lorene Scafaria’s work on Hustlers is a very different, but equally worthy, type of direction, and while A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood was a bit of a letdown for me, I won’t stop beating the Marielle Heller drum until she gets the recognition she deserves.


In the acting categories, I’m currently lighting candles and praying for Eddie Murphy and Brad Pitt to get armfuls of awards this season for their utterly charming work in Dolemite Is My Name and Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood, so no complaints from me on their nominations. (Pitt’s “uhh, can I help you?” at the end of that latter film still makes me laugh every time i think about it.) The Best Supporting Actor award is The Irishman’s to lose with nods for Joe Pesci and Al Pacino, but where the hell is Robert De Niro’s Best Actor nomination? Or Adam Sandler’s for Uncut Gems? Call the film a comedy if you want; clearly the HFPA is willing to bend its category definitions, and the kid from Jojo Rabbit will survive just fine without a Golden Globes nomination.

Speaking of category ambiguity, Us isn’t exactly a funny movie. But if it means that Lupita Nyong’o gets a Best Actress nomination for her incredible performance in Jordan Peele’s sophomore film, call it a Comedy-Musical if you must. I know from experience that hoping for awards nominations for outstanding performances in horror movies is usually a lonely (and fruitless) position. But Nyong’o really is excellent in that film, and she won a New York Film Critics Circle award over the weekend, so—hope springs eternal, I guess. Same for Florence Pugh’s work in Midsommar, which has even less of a chance of getting awards recognition than Us, but left a much larger footprint on the year in film than Late Night or Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, both of which were forgotten almost as soon as they were released. It’s pretty funny, as well! And Wild Rose is actually a musical, so how about some appreciation for Jessie Buckley and her star-making turn in that film? I guess I’ve always got Daniel Craig and his Foghorn Leghorn accent to keep me warm until January.


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