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In a year when women's stories dominate, HBO's 'Big Little Lies' leads the TV pack in Golden Globe nominations

In a year when women's stories dominate, HBO's 'Big Little Lies' leads the TV pack in Golden Globe nominations
Nicole Kidman, left, Shailene Woodley and Reese Witherspoon in "Big Little Lies," which received six Golden Globe nominations Monday. (HBO)

Tales of women in conflict, including “Big Little Lies,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Feud: Bette and Joan” dominated the TV nominations for the 75th annual Golden Globes on Monday.

True to form, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which hands out the Golden Globes, honored an eclectic mix of new and returning series from cable networks, streaming services and broadcast networks, with perennial awards favorites HBO, Netflix and FX once again leading the TV pack.

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But at a moment when the mistreatment of women in Hollywood and in the halls of government is front-page news, the association recognized a number of projects dealing head-on with physical abuse, sexual exploitation and industry sexism.

Leading the network tally was HBO with 12 nominations, with half of those going to the limited series “Big Little Lies” -- the most-nominated show of the year. The all-star tale of a group of privileged California women caught up in a murder mystery will compete with “Feud: Bette and Joan” and “Fargo” (both FX), “The Sinner” (USA) and “Top of the Lake: China Girl” (SundanceTV) for limited series or TV movie.

As it did at the Emmys, “Big Little Lies” scored nominations for its leads, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman. Supporting performers Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgard and Laura Dern were also recognized in their respective categories.

HBO’s biopic about convicted financier Bernie Madoff, “The Wizard of Lies,” picked up two nominations in the limited series or movie made for TV category for stars Robert De Niro (actor) and Michelle Pfeiffer (supporting actress).

“Big Little Lies” is closely followed by “Feud: Bette and Joan,” which scored a total of four nominations. The limited series, from prolific producer-writer Ryan Murphy, explores the infamous rivalry between screen legends Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. Jessica Lange, who played Crawford, and Susan Sarandon, who played Davis, were both nominated for actress in a limited series or TV movie, and will face off against Kidman and Witherspoon.

Jessica Biel is a surprise entrant in the category, nominated for her portrayal of a young mother accused of murder in USA’s “The Sinner.”

Hulu’s Emmy-winning “The Handmaid’s Tale,” based on the novel by Margaret Atwood and set in a dystopian future where women are forced to become reproductive slaves, scored three nominations, including one for drama series. It was the only freshman nominee in a category otherwise dominated by returning series.

Rounding out the category are Netflix’s retro-supernatural tale “Stranger Things,” its lavish royal drama “The Crown” and NBC’s popular family weepie “This Is Us.” “Game of Thrones,” which was on hiatus last year, also returned to the category.

The HFPA, known for favoring the new and shiny, was particularly keen on comedies centered on females, recognizing “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” a snappy period piece about a housewife turned stand-up comic that debuted last month on Amazon, and “SMILF,” Showtime’s black comedy about a single mom and sexual abuse survivor, for comedy or musical series.

“Master of None,” Aziz Ansari’s semi-autobiographical Netflix comedy, also landed a series nomination for the first time. In the old-but-new department is NBC’s revival of “Will & Grace.” Rounding out the category is ABC’s “black-ish,” also nominated last year.

Notably, four out of five nominees for actress in a comedy or musical were first-time honorees for their particular roles. Competing are Rachel Brosnahan, who plays the title character in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Issa Rae of HBO’s “Insecure,” Pamela Adlon of FX’s “Better Things,” Frankie Shaw for “SMILF” and Alison Brie of Netflix’s “GLOW.” Previous winners and nominees including Tracee Ellis Ross (“black-ish”), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”) and Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) were shut out.

The category for lead actress in a drama series included nearly as many fresh faces.

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Elisabeth Moss, the Emmy-winning lead of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” was nominated alongside newcomers Katherine Langford, the star of Netflix’s teen suicide mystery “13 Reasons Why” and Maggie Gyllenhaal of HBO’s gritty ‘70s porn drama “The Deuce.” Returning to the category is Caitriona Balfe of Starz’s time-traveling romance “Outlander,” and last year’s winner, Claire Foy, who stars as a young Queen Elizabeth II in “The Crown.”

In the actor in a drama series category, first-timers Jason Bateman of Netflix’s “Ozark,” Sterling K. Brown of “This Is Us” and Freddie Highmore of “The Good Doctor” will face off against returning nominees Liev Schreiber (Showtime’s “Ray Donovan” ) and Bob Odenkirk (AMC’s “Better Call Saul”) .

In the comedy or musical actor category, Kevin Bacon earned his first nomination for the Amazon series “I Love Dick.” He will compete with actors who are returning to the category in roles they’ve played before, including Ansari, Anthony Anderson (“black-ish”) Eric McCormack (“Will & Grace”) and William H. Macy (Showtime’s “Shameless”).

Notably absent from the running was three-time nominee and 2014 winner Jeffrey Tambor, who stars as a transgender woman in Amazon’s “Transparent.”

Showtime’s revival of “Twin Peaks” was overlooked in the limited series or TV movie category, but star Kyle MacLachlan, who (sort of) reprised his role as Special Agent Dale Cooper, was nominated for actor in a limited series or TV movie, where he will compete with De Niro, Jude Law (“The Young Pope,”) Ewan McGregor (“Fargo”) and Geoffrey Rush (“Genius,” National Geographic).

‘75th Annual Golden Globe Awards’

Where: NBC

When: 5 p.m. Jan. 7

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