18 Golden Globes Snubs & Surprises

The Golden Globe nominations have kicked off awards season. Ramin Setoodeh on what this means for the upcoming Oscar race.

On Thursday morning, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced its annual Golden Globe nominations, further cementing its status as the Iowa straw poll of awards season.

This year’s Michele Bachmann—for better or worse—is Lincoln, the biopic from Steven Spielberg about our 16th president. It led all other films with seven nominations, and arguably now becomes the frontrunner in this year’s Oscars race. Argo and Django Unchained each logged five nominations. Les Miserables and Zero Dark Thirty (both really great films!) didn’t do as well as expected.

Before we get to the rest of the list, a few points of consideration: The Academy Awards nominations are about a month away, and the Feb. 24 ceremony—hosted by a guy middle America won’t recognize—is traditionally shaped by what happens on the Globes stage. Many Oscars voters lean on the Hollywood Foreign Press (a small but influential crop of about 80 journalists) as a guide for which studio screeners to pop into their DVD players. This year, the Globes could even overshadow the Oscars, since it tapped two hilarious comedians—Amy Poehler and Tina Fey—to headline the boozy celebration on Jan. 13.

Here are the 18 biggest snubs and surprises from this morning’s announcement. And even though Globes cover TV too, nobody cares about those races, so we’re ignoring them. (If you’re still curious, click here for craziness about how The Newsroom got nominated over Mad Men.)

SNUB: Tom Hooper, Les Miserables. The fact that the King’s Speech director lost the Globe two years ago to David Fincher (The Social Network), should have been a sign. But Hooper’s omission this morning is one of the most idiotic moves I can remember from an organization that loves musicals so much that they nominated Tim Burton for directing 2007’s Sweeney Todd. (And Burlesque and The Phantom of the Opera for best picture.) Les Miz is one of the most director-centered achievements in years, as Hooper coaxed live singing performances from his talented cast. Instead, he got knocked out by the star power of Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), who has made a mildly entertaining if long-winded Western about slavery starring Jamie Foxx.

SURPRISE: More Django Unchained. That two supporting actors from the movie, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio, would be nominated over Robert DeNiro (Silver Linings Playbook) is shocking. Waltz’s performance is the richer of the two, but the Globes love the Titanic star so much they’ve nominated him eight other times (J. Edgar, Revolutionary Road, etc.).

SNUB: Jack Gyllenhaal, End of Watch. There are so many great actors this year, so he was always a long shot, but the Hollywood Foreign Press Association supposedly really liked David Ayers’s gritty cop drama. As they should have: Gyllenhaal is fantastic in the role, giving a career best performance. But he just couldn’t edge past weighty turns from Lincoln’s Daniel Day-Lewis, Flight’s Denzel Washington and The Sessions’ John Hawkes. Unfortunately, a snub from the Globes means he’ll probably be sidelined for the rest of awards season. His co-star, Michael Pena, was also robbed of a supporting actor nomination.

SURPRISE: Three acting nods for The Master. Paul Thomas Anderson’s movie that may or may not be inspired by Scientology is the year’s Sarah Palin—in that nothing divided audiences more. The Screen Actors Guild gave it the cold shoulder on Wednesday by only nominating Philip Seymour Hoffman. The Globes recognized him along with his co-stars Joaquin Phoenix (who has been too busy bashing the Oscars to actually campaign for one) and Amy Adams (who, in my opinion, was better in last year’s The Muppets).

SNUB: Anthony Hopkins in Hitchcock. In a year with surprisingly few biopics, Hopkins made a convincing director of Psycho. But mixed reviews for the movie, combined with a strong field of actors, cost him a nomination.

SNUB: The Hobbit. Peter Jackson’s prequel to his Lord of the Rings trilogy was ignored.

SNUB: The Dark Knight Rises. So was Batman.

SURPRISE: Richard Gere in Arbitrage. Maybe this shouldn’t have been a surprise, since the Globes gave Gere an award for 2003’s Chicago. But I still wasn’t sure if he’d be nominated for his shady CEO. Following a trend at the Oscars, the Globes sometimes pass over strong performances in smaller movies in favor of the studio extravaganzas.

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SNUB: Quevenzhane Wallis, Beasts of Southern Wild. She was absent at yesterday’s SAG nominations because of a technicality that made her film about a Louisiana hurricane ineligible. The Globes could have nominated her, but they chose not to. And she’s only 9! If she gets the Oscar nomination, she’ll be the youngest girl to ever appear in that category, a feat that’s becoming more of an uphill battle. Her competition this awards season is Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone), Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) and Naomi Watts (The Impossible), who all racked up Globe nominations.

SNUB: Emmanuelle Riva for Amour. After her recent Best Actress prize by the Los Angeles Critics (she tied with Lawrence), the 85-year-old Riva didn’t make the cut. Then again, it would be something of an anomaly to have two French performances in the same category, and the flashier one, by Cotillard as a whale trainer who loses both her legs, is getting more attention.

SNUB: The supporters of Les Miz. Given the Hollywood Foreign Press Associations’ obsession with musicals, it’s a shame that Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway are the only acting nominations. Russell Crowe (as Javert) or Eddie Redmayne (as Marius) both missed, probably because they cancelled out each other’s votes. The best supporting acting category is one of the most bloated in years (with the likes of Alan Arkin in Argo, Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln and entire cast of Django Unchained). I’m also bummed that stage actress Samantha Barks, sensational as Eponine, was ignored.

SURPRISE: Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy. Best supporting actress? OK! I have no explanation for why this happened, when …

SNUB: Her ex-husband Tom Cruise wasn’t nominated for Rock of Ages. Critics ripped apart Adam Shankman’s adaptation of the Broadway valentine to the ’80s. But people (people!) this is the Globes. If Nathan Lane was nominated in this category for 2005’s The Producers, then Cruise should have been for his (kind of brilliant) turn as Stacee Jaxx.

SNUB: Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike. I was also expecting a surprise nomination for Channing Tatum as best actor/musical comedy, since he was in every movie this year.

SURPRISE: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. What? Huh? I’ve yet to see this film, which came out earlier this year, but it nabbed three Globes noms for Best Picture Musical/Comedy as well as for its stars Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor.

SNUB: Keira Knightely, Anna Karenina.

SURPRISE: Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea. Her Globe nomination, combined with her surprise New York Film Critics Circle win, means she’s officially entered the Oscar race. Now voters will be scrambling to watch her little-seen indie.

SNUB: Julia Roberts in Mirror Mirror. Just kidding! That movie was so horrendous, not even the Globes could pretend to celebrate its star.