Awards season has begun, with a diverse slate of nominees.
Golden Globe nominators pulled David Fincher’s sleepy “Mank” and the revenge-driven “Promising Young Woman” deeper into the Oscar race on Wednesday, while embracing female directors, reacting somewhat coolly to Black ensemble films and, as ever, sprinkling honors on a wide range of stars, from first-timers to living legends.
The Golden Globes have always been a peculiar ritual. The statues are awarded by a clandestine group of foreign journalists, only 89 of whom vote. Top prizes are split into dramatic and comedic categories, often in confounding ways. Rather bizarrely, foreign-language films are not allowed to compete for the most prestigious awards.
This year, however, the surreal nature of the affair has been heightened by a pandemic-era question: The Globes are actually happening?
Almost every film in contention has been released online or is still awaiting release. Many cinemas have now been closed for 11 months.
The black-and-white “Mank,” a tale of Old Hollywood, led the nominations with six, including one for best drama. It will compete against “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “Nomadland,” “The Father” and, in a surprise, “Promising Young Woman.”
Shut out of the best drama race was the Netflix critical favorite “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” although Globes voters recognized the lead performances by Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis. In general, films with primarily Black casts did not receive as many nominations as awards handicappers had expected, and Spike Lee’s war drama “Da 5 Bloods” was completely snubbed. (His children, Satchel and Jackson, will serve as Golden Globe Ambassadors, a job that traditionally involves politely shooing winners off the stage.)
Competing for best comedy or musical of the year will be “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” “Hamilton,” “Palm Springs,” “The Prom” and — out of nowhere — “Music,” a coming video-on-demand film by Sia about a young woman on the autism spectrum. Sia’s film, which has been contentious among advocates for those with autism, focuses on a low-functioning teenager being cared for by her newly sober, drug-dealing sister (played by Kate Hudson, who was nominated for best actress in a comedy or musical).
Notable acting nominees included the fast-rising Anya Taylor-Joy, who was honored in the film categories for “Emma” and on the TV side for “The Queen’s Gambit.” Sacha Baron Cohen was also a double acting nominee, recognized for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” two polar-opposite roles. He picked up a third mention as a “Borat” producer.
For a lot of people, including some in Hollywood, it is hard to care about little golden trophies at a time when the coronavirus is still killing more than 1,000 Americans a day. Others will undoubtedly welcome the Golden Globes as a silly distraction — the reliable balm of celebrity self-involvement and did-you-see-that-ugly-outfit schadenfreude.
Amy Poehler and Tina Fey will return as hostesses, this time broadcasting bi-coastally with Fey staying in New York, while Poehler hosts from Los Angeles. The ceremony is planned for Feb. 28 and will be shown on NBC.
Globe nominations are coveted marketing tools; studios and streaming services will quickly roll out expensive ad campaigns based on the tallies. For the first time since the pandemic began, moviedom will have a national platform to use as a pep rally: “I’m Still Here!”
The Globes may also help steer an adrift Oscar race onto some kind of course. (The Oscars are planned for April 25.) Globes voters, for instance, gave Glenn Close a lift by recognizing her scenery-gnawing Mamaw from “Hillbilly Elegy.”
In truth, the Globes are not predictive of much. Over the last 20 years, the Globes and the Oscars have agreed on best picture winners 50 percent of the time. Last year, Globe voters chose “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” and the war drama “1917” as best in class. Neither won at the Academy Awards, which recognized the genre-busting “Parasite.”
Netflix’s contenders include ‘Mank,’ ‘The Queen’s Gambit,’ ‘The Crown,’ ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ and ‘Ratched.’
Netflix, only a competitor on the movie side of the Globes since 2016, dominated to a jaw-dropping degree, amassing 42 combined nominations — and that was without its newest episodic hit, “Bridgerton,” receiving a single mention. Among companies, WarnerMedia was second, with 13 nominations, including seven for HBO and two for HBO Max.
Netflix has homegrown films in contention (“Mank,” “The Prom”) as well as films that it bought from pandemic-stricken traditional studios, specifically Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Among the television categories, the streaming service has established crowd pleasers (“The Crown,” “Ozark”) and shiny, new hits (“The Queen’s Gambit”). In a surprise, “Ratched,” a melodramatic “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” prequel from Ryan Murphy, received three nominations, including one for best television drama.
Amazon received 10 nominations, with Regina King’s “One Night in Miami,” a fact-based drama about a meeting of four Black luminaries, picking up nods for best director, song and supporting actor (for Leslie Odom Jr., who plays Sam Cooke). And Globe voters honored “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” which arrived on Amazon Prime Video in October, in the best comedy or musical category, among others. “Small Axe,” Steve McQueen’s anthology of five films, added two nominations.
“I’m thrilled about what it says about our film strategy — a slate that has grown tremendously and really embraces diverse stories, which is something that global audiences are demanding,” Jennifer Salke, the head of Amazon Studios, said by telephone.
Amazon didn’t do as well on the television side of the ledger, although Al Pacino landed a somewhat surprising nomination for “Hunters.”
Hulu also put together 10 nominations. “The Great,” a first-season series starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult and set in 18th-century Russia, received three nominations, including one for best television comedy, where it will compete against “Emily in Paris” (Netflix), “The Flight Attendant” (HBO Max), “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+) and “Schitt’s Creek” (Pop TV).
Three women, including Regina King, are nominated for best director.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has come under attack in recent years for failing to pay attention to inclusion and diversity. At the most recent ceremony, for instance, the group put forward — yet again — an all-male slate of directors.
It was very different this year. King, Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”) and Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”) were all recognized, the first time the majority of the nominees have been women. The recognition was a particular boost for the first-time filmmaker Fennell, who, in addition to creating her well-regarded revenge film, played Camilla Parker Bowles on “The Crown.” Joining them were Fincher (“Mank”) and Sorkin (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”).
The actor nominees include Chadwick Boseman, Riz Ahmed, Maria Bakalova and Kate Hudson.
The best actor in a drama category reflects a broad range of talents, with Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Gary Oldman (“Mank”), Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”) and Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”) all nominated. In a surprise, Tahar Rahim, best known for his role in the French film “A Prophet” and the Hulu series “The Looming Tower,” nabbed a slot for his performance as a Guantánamo Bay inmate in “The Mauritanian.”
The actress categories were filled with surprises. The group sidestepped the eight-time winner and 25-time nominee Meryl Streep, who could have been chosen for either “The Prom” or her role as a celebrated author in “Let Them All Talk.” Instead, voters opted for the Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova in the best actress in a musical or comedy category, for her ultra-crude, yet surprisingly sweet turn in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Michelle Pfeiffer did nab a slot for her role as an aging Manhattan socialite in “French Exit” and she will compete against Taylor-Joy (“Emma”), Hudson (“Music”), and Rosamund Pike (“I Care a Lot”).
In the drama category, Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”), will vie against Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”), Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”) and Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”).
Proving yet again that there is no longer a dividing line between film and television actors, Olivia Colman joined Taylor-Joy in being nominated for both mediums. Colman, a three-time Golden Globe winner, racked up nods for both “The Crown” and her supporting role in the feature drama “The Father.”
‘Minari’ is nominated for best motion picture, foreign language.
It wouldn’t be the Globes without a foreign-language film kerfuffle. This time, the group has egg on its face because Lee Isaac Chung’s “Minari” has to compete as a foreign-language nominee — even though Mr. Chung is an American director, the movie was filmed in the United States, it was financed by American companies and it focuses on an immigrant family pursuing the American dream.
But the characters in “Minari” predominantly speak Korean. As a result, Globe rules require it be part of the best foreign-language film race; it cannot be considered for the top prize. The cast of “Minari” was eligible for acting nominations but received none.
“Hamilton,” on the other hand, benefited from the group’s rules. As a recorded stage performance, “Hamilton” is not eligible for the Oscars. But the H.F.P.A. has no such hangup. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical received a nod for best musical or comedy nominee, while Miranda was nominated for best actor in a musical or comedy.
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