It was a very good day at the Golden Globes for FX and Amazon, a good day for BBC America and Showtime — and a fair day for HBO and Netflix.
It was a terrible day for network television.
Its most prestigious and highest rated drama, “This Is Us,” was shut out of the 2019 Golden Globe nominations. Not even previous winner Sterling K. Brown could score a nod. So NBC, which airs the ceremony January 6, will reap no official recognition, just ad dollars, cementing the impression that only events worth watching on network TV are those that are broadcast live (Super Bowl, Oscars, Thanksgiving Day parade, musicals such as “Jesus Christ Superstar”).
Still, the Hollywood Foreign Press didn’t make too many egregious errors. First up, Amazon, which was recognized for three distinct series, each with its own tone and spirit. The trendy “Twilight Zone”-inspired drama “Homecoming” scored 3 nominations, for Best Drama Series and lead actors Julia Roberts (who missed a drama film actress nod for “Ben Is Back”) and up-and-comer Stephan James as therapist and patient in a spooky Florida rehab facility. Yummy true-crime and class conflict sizzler “A Very English Scandal,” which premiered last spring, was also nominated for 3 awards, Best Limited Series/TV movie and actors Hugh Grant (lead in that category) and Ben Whishaw (supporting). And of course last year’s comedy winner, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” whose second season premiered Dec. 5, scored expected nods for series, star Rachel Brosnahan and supporting actress Alex Borstein. Almost makes that steep Amazon Prime membership worth it.
The HFPA displayed their preference for international fare with nominations for the sleek and witty BBC America series “Killing Eve.” It will compete for Best Drama Series; Sandra Oh will compete against Roberts, Elisabeth Moss of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Keri Russell of “The Americans” and Caitriona Balfe of “Outlander” for Best Actress in that category. Oh is also co-hosting hosting the Golden Globes –with Andy Samberg of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”–so you can safely predict how that category is going to go). It is very likely that Roberts took the spot that belonged to Oh’s co-star Jodie Comer and I will try to get over it. Try.
Netflix’s best chance at a prestige prize comes with the British production “Bodyguard,” which was nominated for Best Limited Series and its blazing star performance by “Game of Thrones” graduate Richard Madden as a veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome who is assigned to protect a high-ranking government officer. Mysteriously, the streaming service scored 3 nominations for Chuck Lorre’s “The Kominsky Method,” a comedy about old men (Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin) with diminished horizons and weak bladders. The popularity of this show can be attributed to the average age of the HFPA member: 102.
Surprisingly, Netflix did not score a single nomination for the acclaimed update of Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House,” which seems a shame as young viewers had nightmares watching this one and it would been a thrill to see some of its cast members in the mix along with AARP qualifiers Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Glenn Close and Willem Dafoe.
FX continued its streak as the premium basic cable channel with expected nominations for the “Versace” limited series and its stars, Emmy winner Darren Criss, Penelope Cruz and Edgar Ramirez. “The Americans” scored farewell nods for Best Drama series and actor and actress Matthew Rhys (who won the Emmy) and Keri Russell. The real thrill for FX was that its transgender drama “Pose” won nominations for Best Drama series and its sensational star, Billy Porter, who had more quotable lines of dialogue than any actor in any TV show this year.
HBO’s wearying penchant for dark dramas only yielded nominations for the peculiar murder mystery “Sharp Objects” (series, Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson) and one nomination for “Westworld” (Emmy-winner Thandie Newton).
Hulu received surprise nominations for the dull “Alienist” limited series and its star, the German actor Daniel Bruhl, and two for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a show that has jumped the bonnet. The benefits of having a show that’s currently airing helped Showtime’s “Escape at Dannemora” win nominations for Best Limited Series and its gutsy star Patricia Arquette. And to prove how perspicacious the Hollywood Foreign Press can be, it awarded Sacha Baron Cohen a stealth nod for Best Actor in Comedy Series for Showtime’s “Who is America?,” presenting a threat to Douglas, Donald Glover (“Atlanta”), Jim Carrey (“Kidding”) and this year’s Emmy winner Bill Hader (“Barry”).
Some news: The Hollywood Foreign Press has acknowledged that we are in a Golden Age of television and they want to catch up, bestowing their highest honor, the Cecil B. DeMille award, established in 1952 and given to movie stars who have kissed the ring or given Rolexes to the members, on a worthy contributor to the TV medium. The first recipients of this award, which will eat up another 10 minutes of air time during the Jan. 6, 2019 ceremony, will be announced shortly. And I know you are dying to tweet about it.
The Golden Globe Awards, like many shows of its kind, is caught up in a downward spiral of viewer indifference. Its own Golden Age has passed and now seems quaintly irrelevant. The gold standard of awards shows–the Oscars–has lost 20 million viewers in the last four years. So how many fewer people will watch the Globes this year? We will know on January 7, the morning after.
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