As always, the Golden Globe nominations were filled with oddities — here are some of the strangest surprises and snubs in TV and movies.
Starz: Can you hear champagne corks popping? That’s probably over at Starz, the cable channel that gets a fraction of the attention lavished on HBO/Showtime/FX and yet racked up six nominations, the third-most of any network. Under-the-radar shows such as ballet drama “Flesh and Bone,” time-traveling drama “Outlander” and cable-news comedy “Blunt Talk” all picked up nominations, sending curious viewers to Google immediately. Nicely done, Starz.
Lady Gaga: While Lady Gaga is a scene-stealing, blood-sucking vampire on this season’s especially gross “American Horror Story: Hotel,” it’s still unusual to see a pop star’s name on the award show list. But she earned it — though her scenes are horrifying, you can’t take your eyes off her.
“Mozart in the Jungle” and “Casual”: Amazon made a splash with “Transparent” last year, but few expected the classical-music comedy “Mozart in the Jungle” to show up in the competitive comedy category; plus, Gael Garcia Bernal nabbed a best actor nomination. Same with Hulu’s dark comedy “Casual,” another streaming-service surprise to compete in the top category.
Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”), Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) and Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”): We’ll categorize this as a “pleasant surprise,” as sometimes it takes awhile for award shows to catch up to new shows, especially those starring younger, less-established actors. Luckily, the Globes quickly caught on to the buzz of the delightful “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” as well as the poignant comedy “Master of None” and the sharp “Mr. Robot,” even though they both just premiered in the last few months.
Judith Light: The groundbreaking “Transparent” is a hit for Amazon, and Jeffrey Tambor is likely to win again for his role as a transgender woman. Less of a sure thing? Attention for Light, who plays Tambor’s ex-wife. Now she’s up for supporting actress in a series, limited series or TV movie, though there’s some tough competition against Maura Tierney in “The Affair” and Uzo Aduba in “Orange Is the New Black.”
“The Big Short”: Despite its absurdly star-studded cast — Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, Christian Bale and Marisa Tomei — the movie hasn’t been that heavily marketed, so it was surprising to see it get so much love from the Hollywood Foreign Press. Not only did the movie beat out Nick Hornby’s script for “Brooklyn,” but it also scored two acting nominations for Carell and Bale and one for best film comedy.
Melissa McCarthy and “Spy”: The spoof about a mousy CIA agent doing field work for the first time was released at the beginning of the summer, which might as well be decades ago as far as awards voters are concerned. And yet, the Hollywood Foreign Press clearly didn’t forget how much that movie made them laugh, which meant that both the comedy and its star landed nominations. The movie also elbowed out some other comedies, not to mention “comedies” (the HFPA has an interesting definition of the word), leaving “Grandma,” “Diary of Teenage Girl” and “Sisters” out in the cold.
“Mad Max: Fury Road”: For a summer blockbuster that’s essentially a two-hour race sequence, George Miller’s sequel was a huge hit with Golden Globe voters. The movie was nominated for best director, best score and best film drama — up against the likes of “Carol,” “Spotlight,” “Room” and “The Revenant.”
Alicia Vikander: The Swedish actress is taking Hollywood by storm. Few had heard of her last year this time — and some awards announcers are still struggling with her name — but now she has two very well-deserved nominations. She’s up for her supporting role in Alex Garland’s surprise hit, the sci-fi thriller “Ex-Machina,” in which she plays a robot. She’s also nominated for her lead role in the drama “The Danish Girl” as the real-life character of Gerda Wegener, the wife of the first person to undergo sexual reassignment surgery.
Broadcast TV: This year’s Globes are clearly a party for pay-cable and streaming services, and broadcast TV is not invited. Sure, there are crashers like Fox’s “The Grinder” and “The Last Man on Earth,” but gone are the days of “Modern Family” (ABC); “The Good Wife” (CBS); and even “Downton Abbey” (PBS).
“The Americans”: Sorry, everyone. No matter how much you wish for this excellent show to be recognized, it’s just not destined to happen. No award show is going to care about “The Americans.”
“Black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat”: These ABC comedies have gotten more buzz in their respective second seasons — yet still nothing for Anthony Anderson or Constance Wu, even though Anderson landed an Emmy nomination and Wu is by far the breakout star of her show.
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”: Even though this Tina Fey-produced Netflix comedy got two big nominations yesterday at the SAG Awards, voters ignored this one completely. Shocking considering the show’s pedigree and great reviews for the cast.
“Inside Amy Schumer”: Sure, Schumer got a nom for “Trainwreck.” But her sharp, caustic comedy series seems tailor-made for the Globes voters. They tend to have edgier taste than Emmy voters, who honored this Comedy Central show in September.
Johnny Depp: Depp was a serious contender for “Black Mass.” He had all the transformative elements of an awards-ready performance — the prosthetics, bright blue contact lenses, a memorably terrifying character, even a Boston accent. But it wasn’t enough to beat out some other really stellar performances including Leonardo DiCaprio (who’s going to be nearly impossible to beat for his role in “The Revenant”), Eddie Redmayne as the first person to undergo sexual reassignment surgery in “The Danish Girl,” Will Smith in “Concussion” (also doing an accent, though prosthetic-less), Bryan Cranston as a blacklisted screenwriter in “Trumbo” and Michael Fassbender in “Steve Jobs.”
“Straight Outta Compton”: The hugely successful summer box-office surprise didn’t land a single nomination, despite clear love from the public and critical acclaim. Of course, after the controversy about glossing over NWA’s violence against women, the screenplay wasn’t likely to get major points. But any of the talented newcomer actors could have been contenders.
Acting awards for “Spotlight”: “Spotlight” got no shortage of love, with nominations for best drama, director and screenplay, but none of the stars in its ensemble cast were singled out. In a replay of yesterday’s SAG nominations, neither Michael Keaton nor Mark Ruffalo got nominations. Rachel McAdams scored a nomination from the Screen Actors Guild but not from the HFPA. Don’t feel too badly for Ruffalo, though. He still ended up with a nom for best actor in a comedy for his work in “Infinitely Polar Bear.”
“Bridge of Spies”: Aside from a nomination for supporting actor Mark Rylance (who is also up for an acting award for his star turn in “Wolf Hall”), Steven Spielberg’s Cold War drama got no love. Could it be that the Spielberg-Tom Hanks magic is wearing off? More likely, it appears that voters are less interested in the more stereotypical awards fare — which would explain why other understated period dramas, such as “The Danish Girl,” “Brooklyn” and “Suffragette,” also ended up with fewer nominations than expected.
Meryl Streep: Not quite a snub, not quite a surprise, but nevertheless noteworthy: Meryl Streep didn’t get nominated! She was only really in contention for her lead role in “Ricki and the Flash,” which didn’t exactly make waves at the box office. Still, it was kind of nice that her absence made way for Amy Schumer and Melissa McCarthy.