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2019 Golden Globe Nominations: The Biggest Snubs and Surprises

Each year, the roughly 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association both confirm and upend various awards-season narratives with their Golden Globe nominations. This year was no different. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest snubs and surprises from this morning’s nominations.


Sam Elliott’s Momentum Slows?

The supporting actor category looks much as we expected it to this morning, except for one glaring omission: where is Sam Elliott for his rich, tearful work in the otherwise generously nominated A Star Is Born? Elliott has long been thought of, in some circles anyway, as the supporting actor front-runner. But just a week after winning the prize at the National Board of Review, Elliott finds himself without a nomination at the pre-prom. No disrespect to the fellow who likely snatched his nod, BlacKkKlansman’s Adam Driver—but this is a pretty big upset for a campaign that had been looking a lot sturdier than many other hopefuls’. Ah well; we’ll just chalk it up to the Hollywood Foreign Press being weird, as we do with everything Golden Globes-related, every year.

Mary Poppins’s Magic Burns Out

Mary Poppins Returns was richly rewarded Thursday: for Emily Blunt’s and (surprisingly?) Lin-Manuel Miranda’s lead performances, for best comedy/musical, for Marc Shaiman’s score. But curiously, especially given that last nomination, the sequel could not secure a spot in the best original song category. Perhaps all the film’s songs bled together into one pleasant blur, or maybe it was just up against competition that proved too tough: who do you say no to in that category to make room for Mary? Annie Lennox? Lady Gaga? Dolly Parton?? Maybe Poppins could have taken Boy Erased’s spot, but “Revelation” is a gorgeous song, one that closes out an Important Issue movie. Whatever the reason for the snub, Disney’s London skies are looking a little dimmer this morning.

The Ethan Hawke-aissance May Not Be Televised

He’s won some critics’ awards, yet First Reformed star Ethan Hawke couldn’t land a nomination for best actor in a drama—even though he didn’t even have to compete with Viggo Mortensen or Christian Bale, who are in the comedy/musical category. That may mark a serious impediment to the rest of his awards season campaign, despite his film being easily one of the best-reviewed of the year. Maybe the movie is too small, too alienating for the H.F.P.A. Or maybe they loved Lucas Hedges in Boy Erased too much. Or maybe if Rami Malek and Bradley Cooper had been run in musical/comedy where they belong, Hawke would have gotten what’s owed to him. In any case, the First Reformed folks better start praying to keep Hawke in the hunt.

Peter Farrelly and Adam McKay Spoil Everything

Well, they’re not spoiling everything. But the respective directors of Green Book and Vice are taking up spots that could have been occupied by The Favourite’s Yorgos Lanthimos, If Beale Street Could Talk’s Barry Jenkins, or Can You Ever Forgive Me’s Marielle Heller. Farrelly and McKay, two older comedy guys working more serious than usual, are pretty dull, mainstream choices in a year that offered exciting and different options. Heller’s nomination would have been particularly heartening, given that the Globes haven’t had a female directing nominee in almost 35 years, and Can You Ever Forgive Me—nominated for two major acting prizes—is one of the strongest titles of the year. But, no. Instead, the H.F.P.A. opted for Farrelly’s incredibly straightforward direction and McKay’s messy collage of a reviled vice president. We’ll forgive them someday, but not today.

_If Beale Street Could Sing

Craft categories don’t frequently lend themselves to surprises—partially because they aren’t as closely watched; partially because the right answers are often predictable—but it was admittedly strange not to see Nicholas Britell, who wrote the lush, jazzy score for If Beale Street Could Talk, missing among the nominees this morning. In addition to having some of the best music, that movie had some of the most music—it seems impossible that voters didn’t notice it. Other great scores that are missing, if not quite snubbed, include Nate Heller’s marvelous work for Can You Ever Forgive Me? and David Lang for Paul Dano’s directorial debut, Wildlife.

Cold War Gets Iced Out

In the foreign language film category, it was a slight shock not to see Pawel Pawlikowski’s beloved Cold War in the running. Pawlikowski’s last film, Ida, was a nominee for this award in 2015, eventually going on to win the trophy in this category at the Academy Awards. Cold War is the better movie, but it likely lost its slot to Roma, which, by the HFPA’s rules, was ineligible to compete in the best drama category—where it might otherwise have practically been guaranteed a nomination.


Stars Are Blindsided

The Globes are typically the awards most likely to present a nomination to anyone who sounds famous doing something on TV—or are they? Because in a strange new trend, stars Al Pacino and Kevin Costner weren’t nominated for their roles slumming it on the boob tube—even though Costner’s Yellowstone has been a ratings success on the newly rebranded Paramount Network. EGOT king John Legend also failed to sway the HFPA for his much-lauded turn as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar Live, and even Robin Wright’s complex tightrope act behind-the-scenes of a House of Cards in upheaval didn’t impress Globes voters.

An Actor Shakeup

Julia Roberts, for her part, earned a nomination for Homecoming. But so did her 23-year-old breakout costar, Stephan James—beating out Costner to enter a bizarre but fascinating best actor in a drama series category. Edging out worthies like Bob Odenkirk, Sterling K. Brown, Jeffrey Wright, and Globes perennial favorite Liev Schreiber are James, Jason Bateman, Emmy winner Matthew Rhys, and two more big surprises: Billy Porter from FX’s queer ballroom drama Pose, and Richard Madden from Netflix’s word-of-mouth hit Bodyguard.

The H.F.P.A. Doesn’t Like Shows that Age

Several veteran series in contention at the Emmys—and on critics’ best-of lists—failed to draw the HFPA’s attention. Atlanta, which won outstanding comedy series in 2016, wasn’t even nominated for its second season. Neither were the second seasons of This Is Us, Westworld, and The Handmaid’s Tale, reflecting the Globes’ interest in what’s up-and-coming.

Broadcast Isn’t Dead

Apparently, the H.F.P.A. also has a thing for network comedies. In the best actress in a comedy category, three out of the five actresses nominated come from sitcoms—Debra Messing, Candace Bergen, and Kristen Bell. Who says we have to let the old ways die?

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