The Golden Globes get to have fun with the motion picture — musical or comedy category, rewarding films that aren’t really that funny or musical but get a shot at gold because the drama category is often overflowing. Ditto for the actors in musical or comedy. Maybe the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. (HFPA) should create a dramedy category instead. Certainly the comedy-drama lines are clearer cut in television, where the Globes voters tend to nominate — and crown — newbies.
No Laughing Matter
While no straight-up comedies, a la “Trainwreck” or “Spy” — or even traditional musicals (granted, this year only “Cats” fits that description and the HFPA didn’t seem impressed with the Andrew Lloyd Webber adaptation), the motion picture — musical or comedy nominees present a difficult choice for voters. Pundits are already giving Globes veteran Quentin Tarantino the gong as showbiz is anticipating a “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” vs. “The Irishman” showdown at the Oscars. “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” also stars Globes regulars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt doing some of their best work. But “Jojo Rabbit” is quietly gathering traction, as it follows in the footsteps of Globes winners “Green Book” and “La La Land” from Toronto Film Festival accolades to a nom in this category. Taika Waititi’s self-described anti-hate satire mixes comedy and poignancy in a story that should strongly speak to the HFPA’s European voters as well. But will the strong box office for “Knives Out” sway Globes voters? Will “Dolemite Is My Name” suffer because it’s on Netflix and not 2,000 screens? (Probably not, but hey, it’s a thread that some are talking about.) And what about the musical “Rocketman,” with a superb Taron Egerton as a brutally honest Elton John? In any case, expect these films to make strong Oscar showings.
New faces, such as Ana de Armas from “Knives Out,” Beanie Feldstein from ‘Booksmart” and Roman Griffin Davis, the titular “Jojo Rabbit,” pepper the actor and actress in a musical or comedy category. Even rising stars Awkwafina and Taron Egerton are fairly new to the awards circuit. And while the Globes loves to acknowledge fresh faces — mostly in the TV categories — this year is a bit out of the box. But precedent points to veteran thesps going home with the trophies. And the veterans here are formidable: Cate Blanchett (nominated 10 times with three wins), Emma Thompson (with nine nominations and two wins), Eddie Murphy (a six-time nominee — with one win — making a much-welcome return to form in “Dolemite Is My Name”), Daniel Craig (it’s his first Globes nom but he IS James Bond) and the Golden champ of the bunch, Leonard DiCaprio, with 12 nominations and three wins.
A ‘Big’ Contender Returns
The love for HBO’s “Big Little Lies” continues, even with the series’ category switcheroo. David E. Kelley’s adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s novel swept the 2018 Golden Globes, earning six nominations (and nabbing four wins) across the limited series/TV movie races. When it returned for an off-book second season this summer (but with all players, characters and setting intact), it was forced to compete in drama. Some may have felt it should have been in that category from the get-go, but HBO stands by not being sure the show would return at all until after the first season’s awards were handed out. The HFPA didn’t fault the lack of foresight, though. Sure, Season 2 scored fewer noms than the first year with three, but they are extremely coveted ones (drama series, TV drama actress for Nicole Kidman and TV supporting actress for Meryl Streep.
Celebrating the Shiny and New
The contenders in the limited series/TV movie categories always provide the most ample opportunity for the Golden Globes voters to celebrate what’s new in the world of television simply by the fact that these are one-season or one-night-only engagements. But this year the HFPA really took that to heart, only nominating one freshman out of five in the comedy series category (Netflix’s “The Politician”), as well as in drama (Apple TV Plus’ “The Morning Show”). In contrast, the limited series race sees two projects that received previous awards glory at the Emmys: FX’s “Fosse/Verdon” and HBO’s “Chernobyl,” which took home the coveted limited series trophy from the Television Academy. The HFPA also rewarded three complete newcomers in projects that either premiered too late for Emmy consideration (Showtime’s “The Loudest Voice” and Netflix’s “Unbelievable”) or simply just didn’t capture enough attention there (Hulu’s “Catch-22”).