The Golden Globes TV nominations are supposed to be ridiculous. Over the last 10 years especially, they've become known—beloved even—for the kind of left-field, WTF, "go home Globes you're drunk" nominations that have actually made the awards group more exciting than the Emmys, if not as respected.
This year's Golden Globes nominations are the most surprising yet. They're actually good.
With big nominations for new series Westworld, This Is Us, and Atlanta, plus a slew of nods for big TV events like The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story—the expected frontrunner with five nominations—and first-time contender black-ish, it's not just that Hollywood Foreign Press Association produced a roster of nominees that are generally pretty great. It's also the first time that there's not a single one of them that makes you go, "What the hell?"
The unpredictable whims of the Hollywood Foreign Press is typically rooted in a desire to crown the hot new show, proving that the organization has a pulse on what's buzzy and cool—which is certainly refreshing in comparison to the incessant rubber-stamping of establishment series at the Emmys.
While historically some choices have been odd—no nominations for the final season of Mad Men—the Golden Globes still has a great track record at rewarding great TV. From Roseanne to Brooklyn Nine-Nine, it's given trophies to series that were never even nominated for Emmys, and wins for for fan favorites like Party of Five, Nip/Tuck, Grey's Anatomy, and The X-Files in the Best Series categories when the Emmys wouldn't.
Other times the picks have been hilariously off. The past several years have seen nominations for Piper Perabo in Covert Affairs and Callie Thorne in Necessary Roughness, series I still don't believe actually existed. But when a reputation for random also makes room for rewarding Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Sarah Michelle Gellar, Parenthood's Monica Potter, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's Rachel Bloom, Sons of Anarchy's Katey Sagal, and Penny Dreadful's Eva Green, you can't complain too much.
So while predicted nominees The Americans, House of Cards, and Mr. Robot might be missing from Best Drama Series, it's to make room for the hotbed of new series The Crown, This Is Us, Westworld, and Stranger Things—all of which are more "Globes-y," and deserve to have their breakout, if imperfect, first seasons find buzz translated into awards consideration.
Plus, while the continued love for Mozart in the Jungle remains baffling, if the Emmys categories manage to give attention to Atlanta, Insecure's Issa Rae, plus previous Globe winners and Emmy snubees Rachel Bloom and Gina Rodriguez, we should be thrilled.
So without further ado, here's our list of snubs and surprises—what would an award nomination be without some venting?—from a list of TV nominations that is, really, quite pleasing.
SNUB: House of Cards
Both Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are Globes winners and House of Cards has two previous Best Drama nominations. Did season four of the Netflix series deserve awards consideration? Hell no. Nonetheless, it's surprising to see an awards group resist the temptation—and the Globes, especially, resist the star power.
SURPRISE: The women of Westworld and This Is Us
That Westworld scored a slew of nods isn't a total surprise. The expensive, racy HBO drama is exactly the kind of show the HFPA orgasms over. That This Is Us, a network drama, joins it in Best Drama in the age of cable and streaming domination is slightly more of a shock, though its first-season buzz had most pundits predicting its inclusion. The most unexpected nods are a showering of love for the respective series' breakout actresses in the acting categories and a total snub of their male counterparts.
Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton, the best parts of Westworld, earned Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress nods, while Anthony Hopkins and Jeffrey Wright—two Globes favorites—are shut out. From This Is Us, Mandy Moore and Chrissy Metz are first-time nominees in Best Supporting Actress, while the male ensemble scored zero nods. (Sterling K. Brown, however, is competing for People vs. O.J. Simpson.)
SNUB: Gilmore GIrls: A Year in the Life
What does Lauren Graham have to do to get an award for playing Lorelai already? Though the Globes did do what the Emmys never did and gave Graham a nod during her run on the original Gilmore Girls, the polarizing Netflix revival was shut out completely this year.
It's rare that a series later into its run scores with the shiny-new-thing obsessed HFPA. After two years of snubs, black-ish earns Best Comedy, Actor (Anthony Anderson), and Actress (Tracee Ellis Ross) nominations, landing in Best Comedy over the likes of predicted nominees Silicon Valley, Orange Is the New Black, Divorce, and Insecure.
SNUB: The Get Down
One of Netflix's bonkers-expensive epic gambles paid off—The Crown scored three nominations—and the other did not. Baz Luhrmann's splashy, inventive, ultimately rather messy The Get Down didn't make it into any categories, despite the Globes fetish for, well, all those things.
SNUB: Better Things
Pamela Adlon's jewel of a FX series is precisely the kind of vision-driven series and lead performance we expect the Globes to reward, especially since the small series will likely escape Emmys radar. It's a bummer that Adlon couldn't break in for Better Things, but it's lovely that Issa Rae from Insecure did.
SURPRISE: Network TV's resurgence
The Globes have always been about what's hip, cool, and edgy, which is precisely why network offerings haven't fared well in the past few years. So three nods apiece for This Is Us and black-ish is a major win for the networks, with mentions for The CW's Rachel Bloom and Gina Rodriguez a godsend for the channel so often dismissed by awards groups. Still, the news wasn't excellent for The Good Place's Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, Speechless's Minnie Driver, or Designated Survivor's Kiefer Sutherland, all of whom were primed for nods this morning.
SNUB: Orange Is the New Black
Despite offering a fourth season that fans were more obsessed with and moved by than ever, Orange Is the New Black finds itself without any Globes nominations for the first time in its run. With so many new comedies on the HFPA's radar, maybe that's to be expected. But when Mozart in the Jungle again finds its way in there, and when Samira Wiley so deserves recognition, it's still a bummer.
SURPRISE: Riley Keough
The young actress (the granddaughter of Elvis) was riveting on the woefully underrated The Girlfriend Experience. While the series is far too out there for us to expect any Emmys love, that Keough shows up on the Globes list is right where she belongs.
SNUB: Taraji P. Henson
Last year, Taraji P. Henson was the deserved winner for Best Actress in a Drama for her work on Empire, but this year she was passed over for new blood like The Crown's Claire Foy, Westworld's Evan Rachel Wood, Stranger Things' Winona Ryder, The Americans' Keri Russell (finally!), and returning contender Catriona Balfe from Outlander. Balfe is the only repeat nominee, with Viola Davis, Robin Wright, and Eva Green also passed over.
SURPRISE: Mozart in the Jungle
Sure, the Amazon streaming series about the world of classical music is lovely. It won Best Comedy and Best Actor (Gael Garcia Bernal) last year, but the Globes are infamous for snubbing series and stars the year after they win, and we thought this slight series might fall away in favor of newer shows like Insecure or Divorce.
SNUB: All the Way
HBO's well-reviewed adaptation of the Tony-winning play starring Bryan Cranston as LBJ scored the Breaking Bad star an expected nod, but was passed over in Best Limited Series or Made for TV Movie in favor of The Dresser, which is…confusing.
SURPRISE: The Night Manager
AMC's slick James Bond-lite limited series cleaned house at the Globes, scoring Best Miniseries or TV Film, Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Film (Tom Hiddleston), Best Supporting Actress (Olivia Colman), and Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Laurie). Could its popularity possibly be a threat to another People vs. O.J. Simpson steamrolling?
Atlanta's nominations in Best Comedy and Best Actor (Donald Glover) aren't a surprise because they don't deserve them. They're a surprise because when a show and performer deserves nominations this much, you always brace yourself for the worst.
While TV's funniest show has won two consecutive Best Comedy Emmys and five straight Best Actress in a Comedy Emmys for Julia Louis-Dreyfus, it has not won a single Golden Globe. Still, the HFPA is giving the show another go, with nods in Best Comedy and for Louis-Dreyfus. Again.