The Golden Globe Award nominations are, as always, absurd. A perpetually-mystifying exhibit of stargazing and idiosyncratic taste, it’s not uncommon for some of the worst films and TV series of the year to score huge nominations while future Oscar winners are left off completely. The Hollywood Foreign Press gonna do the Hollywood Foreign Press.
This year’s nominations have their fair share of the admirable and the baffling, depending on your love for Queen, Dick Cheney, and priests grappling with global-warming paranoia—Bohemian Rhapsody scored huge nods, Vice leads the field with six mentions, and the celebrated First Reformed was shut out completely.
Plus there was the grand announcement of a brand new lifetime achievement award that will be given out alongside the annual Cecil B. DeMille honors (recent recipients include Oprah Winfrey and Meryl Streep) but will be reserved exclusively for television careers. We hadn’t realized that TV stars weren’t previously considered for the DeMille trophy, but this continues the HFPA’s increasingly odd diminishing of its TV honors, infamously banishing small-screen stars to the back of the ballroom and sullying the categories with routinely bizarre nominations.
In any case, here are our major reactions to this year’s bizarre crop. You can see the full list here.
SNUB: Maniac and Emma Stone rejected
Netflix’s trippy limited series was a peculiar acid trip that wasn’t lacking in star power, with Globes favorites Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Sally Field, and True Detective’s Cary Fukunaga all behind it. That the infamously celeb-crazy Golden Globes shut it out completely underscores that the daring, polarizing series truly wasn’t for everybody—thus also depriving Stone of the double-nomination most were predicting, alongside her nod for The Favourite.
SURPRISE: Sacha Baron Cohen nabs an actor nomination
What if Stephen Colbert had ever submitted himself for Best Actor in a Comedy for his years playing his Colbert Report character? It’s not a direct comparison to what Sacha Baron Cohen does on Who Is America?, which encompasses as much comedy-character performance as it does political commentary. But it’s still an intriguing move—and one Globes voters clearly went for—to submit for acting for a series that is otherwise non-fiction: capturing how real people interact with him.
SNUB: Atlanta: Robbin’ Season robbed
The Globes TV categories are notoriously erratic and, in recent years especially, have trended toward showering attention on new series, especially in the comedy fields. That explains a Best Comedy list that includes freshman shows Barry, Kidding, and The Kominsky Method but hardly absolves the HFPA for snubbing one of the year’s seminal series of any genre, Atlanta. Sure, creator and star Donald Glover picked up a Best Actor nod, but the show’s omission is not a great look.
SURPRISE: The Good Place, finally!
It’s about time NBC’s existential morality comedy got its due, though it’s confusing that Ted Danson didn’t join Kristen Bell and the show in the lovefest.
SNUB: This Is Us, Westworld, GLOW, black-ish, The Haunting of Hill House
Major contenders for best series that didn’t make it in.
SURPRISE: The Alienist love continues
Given typical award-show tendencies to salivate over buzzy, starry streaming series over the cable fare that was the hot new thing a decade ago, few predicted that TNT’s The Alienist would make such a strong showing this year, first scoring an Emmy nod for best limited series and now following with a Globe mention, too, plus one for star Daniel Bruhl.
SNUB: Jodie Comer for Killing Eve
Build a shrine to the infallible Sandra Oh, recently named Globes host, for her work on Killing Eve. But it’s a shame that her counterpart in the brilliant two-hander, Jodie Comer, keeps being overlooked for delivering one of the most hypnotizing and unsettling performances last year in television.
SURPRISE: Pose gets 10s across the board
Critics championed Ryan Murphy’s heartfelt, alternately joyful and devastating Pose and especially the work done by star Billy Porter. Since critics are also accustomed to their favorite shows getting snubbed by awards bodies, it’s a pleasant surprise to see both the series and Porter turn up on the Globes list.
SNUB: J.K. Simmons for Counterpart, Evan Rachel Wood for Westworld, Jeremy Strong for Succession, Maya Rudolph for Forever, Issa Rae for Insecure, Sterling K. Brown for This Is Us, John Krasinski for Jack Ryan
The TV performances many were predicting would pop up this year.
SURPRISE: Connie Britton for Dirty John, Stephan James for Homecoming, Richard Madden for Bodyguard, Candice Bergen for Murphy Brown, Debra Messing for Will & Grace
The performances that, some for better and some for worse, popped up instead.
SNUB: First Man and Ryan Gosling
Damien Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong biopic has lost significant awards steam since its liftoff this fall, with the director, the film, and star Ryan Gosling all failing to pick up nods. It’s supporting actress Claire Foy representing the “buncha boys” with the film’s sole nomination.
SURPRISE: Lucas Hedges shows up for Boy Erased
With most pundits predicting that Ryan Gosling and Ethan Hawke would show up in Best Actor, it’s a surprise that Hedges showed up instead. The industry It Boy had three performances in contention this year, so he could consider this recognition for all of them, though it fits that his juicy role in gay-conversion drama Boy Erased scored him the nod over Mid90s and Ben Is Back.
SNUB: First Reformed completely shut out
The legendary Paul Schrader’s (Raging Bull, Taxi Driver) drama had been pegged as a major player for Best Drama, star Ethan Hawke for Best Actor, and Schrader’s screenplay, but was shut out completely.
SURPRISE: BlacKkKlansman love
It was likely that Spike Lee’s historical drama was going to pick up some nominations, but no one predicted its total steamrolling of the major categories, scoring Best Drama, Best Actor (John David Washington), Best Supporting Actor (Adam Driver) and Best Director (Lee).
SNUB: Burning and Cold War out of Foreign Film
While Best Foreign Language Film is Roma’s award to lose—Alfonso Cuarón also picked up Best Director and Best Screenplay mentions—the two other favorites in the category, South Korea’s Burning and Poland’s Cold War, were confusingly left out. (One film in its place, Belgium’s Girl, is stirring up controversy as a danger to the transgender community.)
SURPRISE: Bohemian Rhapsody over... anything else
Few could fault awards voters for being won over by Rami Malek’s energetic performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, but that the film itself scored a Best Drama (WTF is that category placement?) despite its critical drubbing and historical inaccuracies is maddening. That’s especially true when, well, anything else, but specifically Widows, First Reformed, or Can You Ever Forgive Me? deserved that slot instead.
SNUB: Toni Collette for Hereditary, Ryan Reynolds for Deadpool 2, Viola Davis for Widows, Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn for Private Life, Julia Roberts for Ben Is Back
Just a handful of film performances many were predicting would pop up this year.
SURPRISE: Elsie Fisher for Eighth Grade, Nicole Kidman for Destroyer, John David Washington for BlacKkKlansman, Rosamund Pike for Private War, John C. Reilly for Stan & Ollie
The performances that, some for better and some for worse, popped up instead.
SNUB: Paddington 2 in every category
Justice for Paddington 2. Or, come on, at least give the year’s most entertaining, seriously well-made film its due credit in Best Comedy/Musical and Best Supporting Actor for Hugh Grant. (The consolation: stars Grant and Ben Whishaw, who voices the titular bear, both were nominated for their TV work on A Very English Scandal.)