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Awards

Johnny Depp, ‘Mad Max’ and other Golden Globes snubs and surprises

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

“Mad Max: Fury Road” earned two Golden Globes nominations. 

(Jasin Boland / Warner Bros.)

The Golden Globes have come a long way in five years. 2010 was when, you might recall, the nominees in the movie musical or comedy category included such enduring classics as “Burlesque,” “Red” and “The Tourist.” Now comedy nominations from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. awards are at least respectable (“The Big Short” and “Joy”) or slightly respectable (“Trainwreck” and “Spy”), and actors are (mostly) lauded for the performances for which they’re nominated.

Still, it wouldn’t be the morning of Golden Globes nominations if there weren’t a handful of head-scratchers, puzzlers and outright howlers. Here are six surprises, snubs or otherwise notable narratives from Thursday announcement.

“Mad Max” rising. It was hard to know where, if anyplace, “Mad Max: Fury Road” would fit in this awards season. It’s hard enough for any blockbuster to be remembered this time of year, let alone a blockbuster that came out in May. But the National Board of Review named it best film and the L.A. Film Critics Assn. tabbed George Miller best director. Now the Golden Globes have doubled down, nominating it for both director and best movie drama. It’s still too early to say whether it or Miller can land a spot on crowded Oscar lists. But the surprisingly robust showing at the Globes on Thursday morning doesn’t hurt.

Incidentally, on the subject of blockbusters, it’s worth noting that, after “The Martian” was totally snubbed in the SAG Awards nominations, awards-season order was restored Thursday as the movie landed nods for director, lead actor and best movie musical or comedy (OK, not total order).

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Golden Globes 2016: Full Coverage | Complete listSnubs, surprises and reactions | Top nominee photos

The “Mad Max” effect. Best picture drama was always going to be a tough Globes category; it’s a really competitive year, and there aren’t a lot of best picture hopefuls the HFPA can jam into comedy/musical (unlike last year, when eventual Oscar winner “Birdman” was classified as a comedy). And once “Mad Max” landed in the drama category, it was going to get even tougher -- so tough you could make a great list just off the movies that were left off the Globes list Thursday morning. Among them: “Brooklyn.” Bridge of Spies,” “Steve Jobs” and Straight Outta Compton.” At least one (“Spies”) will be nominated for Oscar best picture, and you can make a case for others.

Some of this is not the Globes’ fault -- it’s just a deep year for dramas. But it is the odd result of having 10 nominees (as the Oscars can do), but carving out five of those spots for comedies (as the Oscars never do).

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Johnny Depp-ed. Globes voters do love their stars. And they especially love Johnny Depp. He’s been nominated 10 times, including for the aforementioned “Tourist.” Yet he gives a much more awards-ready performance as Whitey Bulger in this season’s “Black Mass” and … nada. Depp seemed like the one element of the movie sure to get a Globes nomination. Yet the film was zeroed out Thursday morning.

Instead, the HFPA went with a group of actors that included “Trumbo’s” Bryan Cranston, an actor who was attracting little attention until he landed a SAG Award nomination Wednesday. They still did go with Will Smith in “Concussion” — a bubble candidate for most Oscar pundits but as sure a thing for the Globes as you’ll find. Old habits about celebrities change. They don’t die.

Out of the “Spotlight.” By now it’s becoming a significant question: Where’s the love for the “Spotlight” actors? First the movie failed to garner much individual support at  the SAG Awards (only Rachel McAdams in a supporting role). And then Thursday morning the Golden Globes gave the movie not a single acting nod (its three slots were for director, screenplay and picture). No Michael Keaton, no Mark Ruffalo, no Rachel McAdams, no John Slattery. This is an actors’ piece through and through. Yet somehow the ensemble idea seems to be working against it.

Act up. One of the actors snubbed for “Spotlight,” Ruffalo, did get a nomination — for “Infinitely Polar Bear.” Can’t remember which one that was? You’re not alone. The movie, about a dad with psychiatric issues, debuted at Sundance nearly two years ago and barely made a dent at the box office. (It’s also arguably not a comedy, but that’s another matter.) Yet there was Ruffalo, in a lead actor category, getting a nod for that film. Ah well, at least he’ll be at the show. 

Also turning up, unexpectedly, will be Jane Fonda in “Youth,” a supporting performance that’s been buzzed about less in that film than a number of her co-stars, and both Christian Bale and Steve Carell from “The Big Short” as lead actors. Contrary to the cancel-out dynamics of the “Spotlight” ensemble, the HFPA managed to nominate both actors — in the less competitive comedy category, but still. And it considered both actors leads, which you can make a case against, as the Oscars almost certainly will.

The Streamies. OK, so it’s not a film trend. But it’s still notable that the HFPA made sure nearly all its TV comedy nominees were shows you watch on computers -- “Casual,” “Transparent,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “Mozart in the Jungle.” And the other two -- “Veep” and “Silicon Valley” -- are consumed in large gulps online via the likes of HBO Now. Even for a group that likes to see itself as in front of the curve (it helped kick off all the “Transparent” awards love last year) this was still a bold statement. Just two years ago, four of its five TV comedy nominees were on network. And all five were on your TV set.

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One area the Globes didn’t go Netflix? Film. Though the site’s “Beasts of No Nation” took a slot in SAG’s top prize of ensemble, the movie on Thursday landed but one acting nomination, for Idris Elba. Stream away those TV comedies, but watch movies in a theater.

Twitter: @ZeitchikLAT

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