The nominations for the Golden Globes were announced this morning. Remember how we almost didn’t have to go through with the Golden Globes anymore? Le sigh, so close, yet so far. Instead, this is the first post-HFPA Globes, as the HFPA has dissolved, and the Globes are now voted on by an unknown body—I see lots of articles listing all the nominees and none asking who came up with these nominations in the first place.
This is the first year of the Globes under the management of Penske Media, the same company that owns three of the four major industry trades, the awards-prognostication site GoldDerby.com, and Dick Clark Productions, which produces the Golden Globes. The Golden Globes are an in-house affair now, and somehow, even less transparent than they were under the HFPA, an organization known for their shadiness. Also, they can’t find a host. Things are going great. Anyway, let’s talk about these nominations that I’m sure weren’t generated by an AI bot.
First and foremost, 2023 has been a very good year for film, full of good films and performances, so this is not a year in which I like to use the word “snubbed”. It’s impossible to nominate everyone, and there are more worthy inclusions than there are nominations, so yes, some people and films will not be nominated. That is not a snub when the year is as rich as this one has been. Some notable exclusions are Harrison Ford, for either 1923 or Shrinking, but he’s a historically under-nominated actor anyway; Julia Louis-Dreyfus for You Really Hurt My Feelings; The Color Purple in the best comedy/musical category; Vanessa Kirby for Napoleon; and Barbie’s America Ferrera for Best Supporting Actress; Viola Davis also didn’t get nominated for Air.
This year, the Globes introduced a category for Best Performance in Stand-Up Comedy on Television and proceeded not to nominate any combination of John Mulaney, Pete Holmes, Nate Bargatze, Marc Maron, Zainab Johnson, Beth Stelling, Ali Siddiq, or Mae Martin. Never mind that a lot of the best stand-up this year has come via self-produced specials released on YouTube, including Kyle Kinane’s Shocks and Struts and Matteo Lane’s Hair Plugs & Heartache. Whoever is voting for the Globes went for A-list comedians like Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer—whose comedy has never been worse—and Ricky Gervais—whose comedy has been decimated by James Acaster. Wanda Sykes and Trevor Noah are the only acceptable nominations, but in terms of taste, this category shows that the Globes are as star f-cking as ever, and have no interest in recognizing actual achievement, just big names.
Speaking of star f-cking! Another new category is “Cinematic Box Office Achievement”, aka the popular/blockbuster category people have been fighting off at the Oscars for years, and if anything puts the final nail in that idea, it should be the Golden Globes. The nominees include some of the biggest films of the year, such as Barbie and Oppenheimer, and famously under-performing box office flop Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One. Again, who can take this seriously.
On the TV side, things are much as expected. Emmy voting already happened back in August, so this has no bearing on anything, but there was a lot of love for Succession, though Nicholas Braun was basically only main cast actor to not get a nomination, and The Bear is still a “comedy” and got five nominations. The nods for The Crown in the midst of its worst season is as lame as nominating Air multiple times, but again, this is about star f-cking, not taste or good judgment.
On the film side, the split of drama and comedy categories means more nominations to spread around, allowing for Cailee Spaeny to be honored for Priscilla, as well as including Alma Pöysti for Fallen Leaves, Aki Kaurismäki’s Finnish dark comedy about second chance love. Nice to see those inclusions, when they are almost certain to be excluded from the more limited slots at the Oscars. Also, these nominations do nothing to help or illuminate Oscar voting, as the field is incredibly stocked with great performances this year. Lily Gladstone, Emma Stone, Margot Robbie, Fantasia Barrino, Greta Lee, Carey Mulligan, and German actress Sandra Hüller remain in a tight race. Natalie Portman and Annette Bening remain on the bubble. Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t have a real shot.
As for the leading actors, again, it’s the expected and competitive crop of Cillian Murphy, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bradley Cooper, Colman Domingo, and Jeffrey Wright and Paul Giamatti (who are both nominated in the comedy category), with long shots Barry Keoghan and Andrew Scott. The comedy actors are unserious potential Oscar nominees, including Timothee Chalamet for Wonka, Joaquin Phoenix for Beau Is Afraid (he’s a longshot for Napoleon at the Oscars), Nicolas Cage for Dream Scenario, and Matt Damon for Air (another Oscars longshot).
As for the best picture nominees, the usual suspects are all represented, from Barbie and Oppenheimer to Killers of the Flower Moon, Past Lives, Maestro, Anatomy of a Fall, Poor Things, American Fiction, and The Holdovers. It is nice to see Jonathan Glazer’s super upsetting Holocaust drama, The Zone of Interest included, and May December got a shout, but I will never understand tall this love for Air, a perfectly fine middle-of-the-road movie that is hardly one of the best of the year. Also, they nominated Air in the comedy category, instead of an actual comedy, like Bottoms, or even the JLaw-led No Hard Feelings. Again, how am I supposed to take this seriously?
Honestly, the film nominations look like charts on GoldDerby.com, which is, again, owned by the same company producing the Golden Globes. Couldn’t possibly be any motivation to use the Globes to keep people guessing and checking Gold Derby, is there? I mean, they’ve got six nomination slots in every category, which means if you’re looking at this for Oscar prognostication, you have to decide who you would drop for the potential Academy ballot. It seems designed to feed into the guessing games that make up the Gold Derby forums and to push traffic to the “experts’” ever-shifting lists of potential nominees.
Despite a change in ownership, the Golden Globes remain as unserious as ever. Nothing reveals the naked machinery of awards season like clinging to an awards show that serves no purpose except to generate headlines for the industry trades that are owned by the same people producing the telecast. Say what you want about the Oscars, but at least that is about people who make films nominating their peers for their work. Who is even coming up with the nominations for the Golden Globes, let alone voting for them? I have a feeling the people from Gold Derby are involved somehow, but that is hardly reassuring. They have a vested interest in certain outcomes, to keep interest in the Oscar race alive and pumping traffic for their website. If I hear the words “Gold Derby” spoken aloud during the Golden Globes, I will lose it. It would be like Fan Duel running the Super Bowl.
Check out all the nominations here.
We're talking about this on The Squawk!