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Netflix dominates Golden Globe nominations with ‘Marriage Story’ and ‘The Irishman’

Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Ray Romano in “The Irishman.”
Robert De Niro, left, Al Pacino and Ray Romano in “The Irishman.”
(Netflix)

Netflix dominated the Golden Globe nominations with strong showings from movies including “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story,” as well as series including “The Crown” and “Unbelievable.”

The largest subscription streaming service collected 34 nominations for its shows and films from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which announced the nods early Monday morning.

The streamer’s bounty in the film categories, at 17, far surpassed that of its closest rival, Sony Pictures, which scored 10 nods for flicks including Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood” and Marielle Heller’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”

In TV, the nominations were much less lopsided, with Netflix earning 17 nominations versus 15 for HBO, which had a powerful showing from shows including “Chernobyl,” “Barry” and “Big Little Lies.” Netflix scored four nominations each for its critically acclaimed British drama “The Crown” and the miniseries “Unbelievable,” about a Washington teenager who was raped in her apartment and the investigations that followed.

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Netflix’s big morning is a boost for the streamer, which sees awards season as being about much more than bragging rights. The Los Gatos, Calif., company is counting on marquee original content to fend off competition from rivals including Disney+, Apple TV+ and the upcoming HBO Max, which are spending billions of dollars to unseat Netflix as the dominant player in subscription video.

For Netflix and streaming competitors, awards campaigns are a key way of driving viewers and attracting top-tier talent. To meet the challenge in the industrywide arms race for viewers, Netflix is spending an estimated $15 billion on content this year. Netflix’s trove of nominations reflects the advantages of playing the volume game — overwhelming the competition with the sheer amount of content it produces.

The nominations also come at a crucial time for HBO, which is facing a major test under the ownership of AT&T Inc. The Dallas-based phone company is counting on the pay-TV network to drive its own streaming strategy with HBO Max, which launches next year. At the same time, the company has faced questions over whether it can sustain the quality of its programming under the new leadership.

Netflix is expected to wage an expensive Oscar campaign for awards hopefuls after its best picture nominee “Roma” lost to Universal Pictures’ “Green Book” earlier this year. Spanish-language “Roma” was not eligible in the main best picture categories during the 2019 Golden Globes, because of HFPA rules governing foreign-language movies. Last year, Netflix had five film nominations.

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This year, three of the Golden Globes’ best picture drama nominees were produced by Netflix. Its contenders include Noah Baumbach’s emotionally complex “Marriage Story,” featuring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a couple going through a wrenching divorce. The film earned six nominations.

“The Irishman,” Martin Scorsese’s epic 3½-hour mob movie starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino, was recognized in five categories, including best supporting actor for Pesci and Pacino. “The Two Popes,” with Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, is up for honors in four.

The two other best picture drama nominees are Universal Pictures’ World War I drama “1917" and Warner Bros.’ grim supervillain origin story, “Joker.”

The Eddie Murphy film “Dolemite Is My Name,” about blaxploitation cinema legend Rudy Ray Moore, was nominated for best picture on the comedy/musical side, and also is up for best actor for Murphy. It’s competing with “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood,” Fox Searchlight’s “Jojo Rabbit,” Lionsgate’s “Knives Out” and Paramount Pictures’ “Rocketman.”

The major studios and their specialty film divisions were largely overshadowed by the streamer’s onslaught of contenders. Warner Bros. came in with six nominations, led by four for “Joker,” including best drama, actor (Joaquin Phoenix) and director (Todd Phillips).

Walt Disney Co. also had six nominations, mostly in animation and music categories with “Frozen 2" and its photo-real remake of “The Lion King.” Jon Favreau’s update of “The Lion King” was nominated in animation, despite being made with a hybrid of computer animation and live-action filming techniques using virtual reality.

Coming away with a relatively small bundle of nods were such awards season stalwarts as A24, Focus Features, Fox Searchlight and Sony Pictures Classics, which earned two apiece.

Indie distributor Neon got four nominations, including three for the satirical Korean thriller “Parasite,” which is up for best foreign-language film, director (Bong Joon Ho) and screenplay. The socially incisive genre-bending film is expected to be a contender for best picture at the Oscars. Neon also was recognized for the French film “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.”

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Lionsgate had five nominations, with three for the witty murder mystery “Knives Out” and two acting nominations for Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie in “Bombshell,” about the women of Fox News who accused founder Roger Ailes of sexual misconduct.

Besides Netflix, a handful of streaming shows caught the HFPA’s attention this year, including Hulu’s series adaptation of “Catch-22,” which netted two of the Disney-controlled company’s five nominations. “Fleabag” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” combined for five honors for Amazon Prime Video, while Apple TV+ entered the fray with three nominations for “The Morning Show,” starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

These were the first Golden Globe nominations for Apple. “‘The Morning Show’ is resonating with audiences all around the world, and today’s recognition from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association further reinforces how timely and special this series is,” said Jamie Erlicht, Apple’s head of Worldwide Video, in a statement.

Here’s how the studios and networks stack up.

Film distributors

Netflix 17
Sony Pictures Releasing 8
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures 6
Warner Bros. Pictures 6
Lionsgate 5
Universal Pictures 5
Neon 4
Amazon Studios 3
Paramount Pictures 3
United Artists Releasing 3

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A24 2
Focus Features 2
Fox Searchlight Pictures 2
Sony Pictures Classics 2
LD Entertainment / Roadside Attractions 1
STXfilms 1

TV networks

Netflix 17
HBO 15
Hulu 5
Amazon Prime Video 5
FX Networks 4
Apple TV+ 3
Showtime 3
BBC America 2
USA Network 1


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