Listen, everyone knew that awards season was going to be a little weird this year — it wouldn’t be representative of 2020 if it wasn’t. And the Hollywood Foreign Press Association always brings its share of curveballs to the conversation. With this morning’s Golden Globes nominations, that meant a slate that blended predictable nominees (The Trial of the Chicago 7, Nomadland, Mank) with a slew of odd and unexpected choices (Kate Hudson for Music? Jared Leto for The Little Things? James Corden for The Prom?!?). Looking at the big picture, it’s another year of one step forward, one step back for the awards show, which finally broke its own glass ceiling by nominating three women for Best Director… and then proceeded to slight all of 2020’s incredible black ensemble casts by nominating just about the whitest slate they could find for Best Drama. Here are 11 cases where the Golden Globes ruined someone’s morning.
Zendaya for Malcolm & Marie
We’re still angry about Zendaya getting snubbed for Euphoria’s first season last year, to be honest. And the Emmy-winning star is on the verge of officially entering the A-list with this week’s Netflix drop of Malcolm & Marie, a two-hander co-starring John David Washington that has been earning both of the actors rave reviews. So now would have been the time to recognize this bright young talent, and still… nothing. The weirdest thing about this snub is how neatly it could have fit into the Globes’ pattern of recognizing recent and soon-to-be-released films, which they did this year with The Mauritanian, The United States vs. Billie Holiday, and Music. So everyone thought Zendaya’s potential Oscar campaign would build momentum with a Golden Globe nod. Maybe the Hollywood Foreign Press Association took the script’s jabs at film critics too personally?
Da 5 Bloods
The very white nominees for Best Drama feel even more egregious when one considers that Spike Lee’s incendiary Netflix war thriller was shut out across the board. Did it come out too long ago for the notoriously recency-biased HFPA? No Picture, no Director, and no acting nominations for frontrunners Chadwick Boseman and Delroy Lindo, who gives the performance of his career as a veteran who returns to Vietnam to find buried treasure and exorcise his demons. Best Actor is a historically crowded category, but how could the voters ignore the passion and fury of Lindo’s work here? At very least, his name should have been called this morning. And all this after the Globes asked Spike Lee’s kids to hand out the awards!
I May Destroy You
Sigh. We should have known. Michaela Coel’s fearless HBO limited series was the kind of genre-pushing, personal storytelling that doesn’t easily fit in any one category — so the HFPA apparently didn’t bother with it at all. But I May Destroy You was atop almost every TV critic’s list at the end of 2020, and there was reason to think it would show up somewhere. Maybe premiering back in June was too long ago for Coel, especially in a year that felt like it went on forever. After all, they had to make room for the star power of The Undoing. And let’s not forget how much the HFPA ignored Watchmen and When They See Us, completely snubbing both. It is, shall we say, a disturbing pattern.
Paul Raci for Sound of Metal
Every year, the HFPA looks at one or two of the critical darlings and says, “Next.” And one of this year’s most noticeable slights went to the charming co-star of Sound of Metal. In the Amazon film, Raci gives a tender, nuanced performance as a man who helps guide a noise-band drummer (Riz Ahmed, who — to the organization’s credit — did score a deserved nomination) through life after a hearing loss. He’d been building momentum from critics’ groups across the country, and this stop sign hurts. It’s the sort of breakout performance that would have benefited from the nod.
One Night in Miami for Screenplay and Picture
Regina King landed a much-deserved Best Director nomination, the second ever for a black woman at the Golden Globes, and Leslie Odom Jr. rightly dropped into Best Supporting Actor for playing Sam Cooke. But most people thought that the Golden Globes would be the place for One Night in Miami to build momentum with Best Picture and Screenplay nominations. Nope. Missing a crowded Best Picture category is forgivable, even if it’s wrong, but how does a frontrunner to win the Oscar not get any space in Best Screenplay? Kemp Powers’ adaptation of his own play is a model of how to open this kind of material for the screen.
On the Rocks for Actress and Picture
Sofia Coppola’s NYC comedy was expected to be a major player across multiple categories this morning, but it only landed a single nod for Bill Murray’s performance in Supporting Actor. The comedy categories at the Golden Globes can sometimes be hard to fill, making a prestige project like this one from an established director a safe bet to run the table. Not this year. Did Rashida and Sofia not do enough Zoom roundtables with voters?
Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors for Lovecraft Country
This is truly scary stuff. HBO’s Lovecraft Country was impressive enough to Golden Globes voters to be considered one of the five best dramas of 2020 … but not enough for either of its stars to get a nomination for their performances? How does that compute? Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett are both fantastic through the entire season, and they’ve got that “future star” shine that the HFPA typically loves. What do they love more? Star power. That’s probably why they went with the scenery chewing of Al Pacino in Hunters and Sarah Paulson in Ratched over this deserving pair.
The Cast of Minari
The HFPA caused a stir by excluding Minari from Best Drama, relegating it only to Foreign Language Film, where it got a nomination. That still left it eligible in acting categories, however… where they also ignored it. Steven Yeun always had an uphill battle in a crowded Best Actor category, but how did they miss Yuh-Jung Youn for Best Supporting Actress, a category in which she has been prominent for most other critics’ groups awards? Does this mean Helena Zengel (News of the World) and Jodie Foster (The Mauritanian) should be considered more likely for Oscar too? What is going on?
Ellen Burstyn for Pieces of a Woman
The HFPA nominated Vanessa Kirby for her emotional performance in Netflix’s Pieces of a Woman, but the widely predicted nomination for her legendary co-star didn’t come to be. This one is particularly surprising given the Golden Globes history of recognizing legends. They’ve nominated Burstyn seven times, including giving her an award in 1979 for Same Time, Next Year, so this felt like a given — especially with all the buzz around her soul-baring monologue in the film’s emotional climax.
Cristin Milioti for Palm Springs
Let’s get this straight. Palm Springs is chosen as one of the best comedies of the year (great!) and it’s lead actor is nominated in Andy Samberg (cool!) … but they chose to ignore one of the main reasons this movie works at all? WTF? Palm Springs simply doesn’t work without Cristin Milioti’s comic timing and vulnerability. And they went with Kate Hudson and Rosamund Pike performances in movies no one has really seen yet? Can we rewind this category and start over?
What We Do in the Shadows
The funniest show of 2020 was an FX series about vampires, which, yes, was always going to be a tough sell for hoity-toity awards-giving folks. But the Emmy love for this masterful comedy gave reason for hope that the Golden Globes would follow suit. Instead, they put a stake in the hopes and dreams of fans of this show, leaving Best Comedy a likely showdown between the lovable Ted Lasso and the beloved Schitt’s Creek. Justice for Nandor!