Golden Globe Awards: Major takeaways from this year’s nominations

December 12, 2013

Nominations for the 71st Annual Golden Globes were announced Thursday morning in Beverly Hills. “12 Years a Slave” and “American Hustle” lead the field with seven nominations each while “House of Cards” and “Behind the Candelabra” earned four nods each to lead the pack in the television categories. (See the full list of nominees.) How did the Hollywood Foreign Press Association do with their picks this year? Here are some key takeaways.

The word comedy doesn’t mean much.

Unlike the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes splits movie nominations into two categories: drama and comedy or musical. Among this year’s comedy or musical nods, one could maybe reach for musical status — the Coen Brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis” — even if it isn’t in the “Chicago” or “Mamma Mia!” musical theater sense of the word. The others aren’t musicals nor are they particularly funny. But I suppose it’s better that “Her,” “American Hustle,” “Wolf of Wall Street” and “Nebraska” were nominated rather than this year’s batch of pure “comedies.” Who wants to hear, “And the Golden Globe goes to ‘Grown-Ups 2’”? Other than Adam Sandler, of course.

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss are at the top of their games.

It’s not like this trio of actors has just burst onto the scene. Ejiofor starred in “Kinky Boots,” holiday favorite “Love Actually” and has been nominated for Globes three times before; Elba played everyone’s favorite criminal finance wiz on “The Wire”; and “the Elaine dance” has become shorthand for cutting a rug in a weird way 17 years after Louis-Dreyfuss unleashed her little kicks and thumb moves on the world in “Seinfeld.”

But these actors are getting nods in multiple media this year. Ejiofor and Elba are up against each other in two best actor categories — one for dramatic movie (for “12 Years a Slave” and “Mandela,” respectively) and another for miniseries or television movie (“Dancing on the Edge” and “Luther”). Louis-Dreyfuss got nods for her role in the film comedy “Enough Said” and television show “Veep.”

There are so many good movies and performances this year that the word snub feels irrelevant.

Sure, there are films that could have just as easily been in the best dramatic movie category. But if “August: Osage County” or “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” had made the list, what would they have edged out? The sad news is that there isn’t much room for surprises or dark horse contenders. Smaller movies that could have gotten love in other years, such as “Fruitvale Station” or “Short Term 12,” never had a chance. But while awards season enthusiasts might find the situation unexciting, film fans have much to be happy about.

It's the award show that mixes television and film, and that means a lot of information. The Post's Emily Yahr breaks down the five things you need to know about this year's Golden Globe nominees. (Nicki Demarco/The Washington Post)

There are a few big variances between yesterday’s Screen Actors Guild nominees and today’s Golden Globe announcement.

Of course, because the Globe nominations are split into categories, there’s space to spotlight more films, but “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Her” and “Labor Day” had no mention yesterday, while today all three have big nominations. Meanwhile, the Screen Actors Guild lavished praise on “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” with nominations for Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey in her supporting role and the cast (essentially the SAG version of best picture). For what it’s worth, the SAG nominees are generally thought to be a better predictor for the Oscars.

Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick’s daughter Sosie Bacon is this year’s Miss Golden Globe.

The Hollywood Foreign Press annually chooses the offspring of some actor — or in this case two — to serve as a decked-out lackey during the awards show, because, well, who knows? Some have gone onto big (or biggish) things, including Melanie Griffith (1975), her daughter with Don Johnson, “50 Shades of Grey” star Dakota Johnson (2006), Joely Fisher (1992) and Freddie Prinze Jr. (1996). Given Bruce Dern’s nomination this year for best actor in a musical or comedy, it might have been fun to let his daughter with Diane Ladd, Laura Dern, reprise her role (1982). Alas, the HFPA didn’t agree.

TV’s critical darlings did very well.

Did TV critics steal ballots from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and fill in their own list of nominations? That might explainwhy a few critical favorites – generally ignored at award shows – scored some nods. Namely: Tatiana Maslany, who seamlessly played multiple characters in BBC America’s “Orphan Black”; Monica Potter, one of the stars of weepy “Parenthood”; and a best comedy nomination for NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” (whose star, Amy Poehler, returns as Globe’s co-host this year with Tina Fey).

And did the same critics erase all the series that usually sweep awards? Showtime’s “Homeland” and AMC’s “Mad Men” typically rack up the trophies, but were completely shut out Thursday morning — a development that stunned a few people, but made others very happy, as both dramas had notably “off” (i.e. terrible) seasons.

There was a shakeup in best drama category.

With “Mad Men” and “Homeland” out, some new series were added to this always-competitive category. In addition to regulars “Breaking Bad” and “Downton Abbey,” voters also gave nods to CBS’s “The Good Wife,” which is having a major resurgence this season, along with Netflix’s buzzy political thriller “House of Cards” and Showtime’s freshman series “Masters of Sex.” Notably snubbed: Longtime HFPA favorites “Boardwalk Empire” and “Game of Thrones.”

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Masters of Sex” are the notable newbies.

The Globes always enjoy being ahead of the curve and regularly give new shows a turn in the spotlight. This year, their bold choice is Fox’s comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” nominated for best comedy alongside “Girls,” “Modern Family,” “Parks and Recreation” and “The Big Bang Theory.” “Brooklyn” stars Andy Samberg as a quirky detective leading a ragtag team of weirdos adjusting to the precinct’s stern new captain; Samberg also scored a nod for best actor in a comedy.

In addition to its best drama nomination, “Masters of Sex” scored a best actor nod for star Michael Sheen. James Spader and Michael J. Fox are hardly new names, but both got acting nominations for their new shows, Spader for his creepy (even for him) turn in “The Blacklist” and Fox for his role on his self-titled NBC show. Don Cheadle (Showtime’s “House of Lies”), Jim Parsons (CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory”) and Jason Bateman (Netflix’s “Arrested Development”) were also nominated in the comedy category.

Meanwhile, the first season of Netflix’s “House of Cards” got lead acting nominations for Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, along with supporting actor Corey Stoll, who plays an alcoholic congressman.

Netflix didn’t quite break out.

The streaming TV behemoth didn’t make the same splash it did at the Emmys with its original series. While “House of Cards” received its expected nominations, the widely-praised “Orange Is the New Black” was almost shut out with just Taylor Schilling picking up a nom for actress in a drama alongside Maslany, Wright, “The Good Wife’s” Julianna Margulies and “Scandal’s” Kerry Washington.

Did submitting as a drama instead of a comedy hurt the show’s chances? It’s possible — the departure of “30 Rock” left a few slots open in the comedy field. (A show needs six new episodes in the previous calendar year to be eligible; Tina Fey’s comedy only had five). Schilling’s fellow best actress nominees are Zooey Deschanel (“New Girl”), Lena Dunham (“Girls”), Edie Falco (“Nurse Jackie”) and Amy Poehler (“Parks and Rec,”).

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