The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has had its say, at least in terms of what it thinks is worthy of consideration for the best in film and television in 2020. Coming later in the year than normal due to COVID-19, it was after Groundhog Day when the full list of Golden Globes nominees was announced. And among them there were some happy surprises… and some significant snubs.
At a glance, the most surprising omission is the absence of Delroy Lindo’s name in the “Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama” category. Lindo, who’s done sterling character work his whole career, enjoyed the performance of a lifetime in the latest Spike Lee joint, Da 5 Bloods. There he played a Vietnam veteran suffering from PTSD, as well as a growing sense of greed. It was a tour de force, but the rest of the film, it was ignored by the HFPA when the five male acting nominees were announced in the drama category: Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Anthony Hopkins (The Father), Gary Oldman (Mank), and Tahar Rahim (The Mauritanian).
Indeed, Da 5 Bloods did not receive a single nomination, being excluded from Best Drama, Screenplay, or any other recognition. And within the “Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama” category, it’s worth noting LaKeith Stanfield’s contagiously paranoid turn in Judas and the Black Messiah was also snubbed. While the film saw nominations for Daniel Kaluuya in Best Supporting Actor and for Best Original Song, Judas was similarly shut out of “Best Picture – Drama” and all other film categories.
Other notable snubs in the dramatic side of the movie nominees is the absence of Kate Winslet for “Best Actress” in the admittedly disappointing Ammonite; instead the nominations went to Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holliday), Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman), Frances McDormand (Nomadland), and Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman).
However, a happy surprise is how the drama-heavy Best Director category has three women listed in its five nomination slots for the first time in Golden Globes history. Chloé Zhao (Nomadland), Regina King (One Night in Miami), and Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) all received Best Director nominations, nearly doubling the total number of women who’ve been nominated in this category by the HFPA in its 78-year history. The other five previous women to get the rare recognition are Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty), Ava DuVernay (Selma), Jane Campion (The Piano), Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation), and Barbara Streisand (Yentl and The Prince of Tides).
The change comes after the HFPA came under heavy scrutiny in recent years for excluding women directors, including Greta Gerwig getting snubbed twice, first for Lady Bird and then Little Women, as well as Lulu Wang for The Farewell, Lorene Scafaria for Hustlers, and Olivia Wilde for Booksmart just last year.
The three nominees this year are also joined by familiar auteurs David Fincher (Mank) and Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7). Yet it’s interesting both of the male directors are nominated for Netflix films, which might give extra credence to Fennell or Zhao in that category for helming films that managed to have theatrical releases, and thereby support exhibition, during the pandemic.
On the television side, perhaps one of the biggest snubs, at least for viewers at home, is the exclusion of Bridgerton from any single nomination. Despite apparently being the most popular original series ever launched by Netflix, which announced last month that 82 million households at least watched the first episode of the Netflix series in its first 28 days, Bridgerton was noticeably absent from a Best Drama nomination.
The exclusion of the Shonda Rhimes-executive produced series is especially intriguing since traditionally the HFPA is eager to nominate new popular fall series, getting a foothold on recognizing them before the Emmys can do so in September. Some might suggest Bridgerton’s omission could suggest an aversion for romantic period pieces, but Anya Taylor-Joy was nominated for Best Actress in the musical-comedy film category for the admittedly more accurate Regency-set Emma (she was also nominated for “Best Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television” category for The Queen’s Gambit). Speculation on whether the snubbing was a matter of quality will likely be ongoing.
Also What We Do in the Shadows was entirely shut out of the comedy sections of the TV nominations while Lovecraft Country was surprisingly nominated for “Best Television Series – Drama” while not getting (arguably more deserved) nods for Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett in the acting categories.
On the flip side, Emma Corrin received a surprise nomination for “Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama” for playing Princess Diana, as did Josh O’Connor as “Best Actor” for likewise portraying Princes Charles in The Crown.