As if determined to avoid the “do any of you even watch TV?” reaction that inevitably accompanies the Round Up of Usual Suspects known as the Emmy nominations, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. produced a jaw-dropping list of Golden Globe nominees on Thursday.
And while it continues the long-standing tradition of Golden Globe wackiness, the list also rather bravely reflects the virtually unmeasurable nature of modern television.
It is simply impossible to quantify television in any meaningful way beyond personal preference or particular intent.
WINNER: miniseries actress - Lady Gaga
NOMINATED: miniseries(Suzanne Tenner / TNS)
NOMINATED: motion picture comedy; comedy actor - Christian Bale, Steve Carell; screenplay(Paramount Pictures / TNS)
NOMINATED: motion picture drama; drama actress - Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara; director - Todd Haynes; original score(Courtesy of The Weinstein Compan / The Weinstein Company)
NOMINATED: drama actor - Eddie Redmayne; supporting actress - Alicia Vikander; original score(Agatha A. Nitecka / Focus Features)
WINNER: drama actress - Taraji P. Henson
NOMINATED: drama series(Chuck Hodes / FOX)
NOMINATED: miniseries; miniseries actress - Kirsten Dunst; miniseries actor - Patrick Wilson(Chris Large / FX)
WINNER: comedy actress - Jennifer Lawrence
NOMINATED: motion picture comedy(Merie Weismiller Wallace / 20th Century Fox)
NOMINATED: drama series; drama actor - Wagner Moura(Daniel Daza / Netflix)
NOMINATED: motion picture drama; director - George Miller(Jasin Boland / TNS)
WINNER: supporting actor - Christian Slater; drama series
NOMINATED: drama actor - Rami Malek(Sarah Shatz / USA)
NOMINATED: comedy series; best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a series, limited series or motion picture made for television - Uzo Aduba(JoJo Whilden / Netflix / TNS)
NOMINATED: drama series; drama actress - Caitriona Balfe; supporting actor - Tobias Menzies(Ed Miller / Starz Entertainment)
WINNER: drama actress - Brie Larson
NOMINATED: motion picture drama; screenplay(George Kraychyk / A24)
NOMINATED: motion picture drama; director - Tom McCarthy; screenplay(Kerry Hayes / TNS)
WINNER: supporting actress - Kate Winslet; screenplay
NOMINATED: drama actor - Michael Fassbender; original score(Francois Duhamel / Universal Pictures)
WINNER: comedy actor - Matt Damon; motion picture comedy
NOMINATED: director - Ridley Scott(Giles Keyte / 20th Century Fox / TNS)
WINNER: director - Alejandro González Iñárritu; drama actor - Leonardo DiCaprio; motion picture drama
NOMINATED: original score(Kimberley French / 20th Century Fox)
NOMINATED: motion picture comedy; comedy actress - Amy Schumer(Mary Cybulski / Universal Pictures)
NOMINATED: comedy series; comedy actor - Jeffrey Tambor; supporting actress - Judith Light(Beth Dubber / Amazon Studios)
NOMINATED: comedy series; comedy actress - Julia Louis-Dreyfus(Handout / TNS)
NOMINATED: miniseries actor - Mark Rylance; supporting actor - Damian Lewis(Giles Keyte / Masterpiece / BBC)
I say this with some authority, having just dutifully put together several end-of-year lists: There is just no way to acknowledge all the quality shows and performances in groups of 10, much less five or six, even if you divide them up, as the Globes do, into comedy and drama.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. clearly wanted to steer attention away from certain award franchises, notably “Mad Men,” for which only Jon Hamm was nominated, and broadcast comedies of any name, often in favor of shows that may not show up on any other list of any sort, and kudos to them.
The broadcast networks, with their 23-episode work horses, some of them consistently terrific, were mostly ignored in favor of “trophy television” -- those newer, sleeker, 12-episode series served up by streaming services whenever and wherever you desire, which is kind of depressing. But with the exception of “Flesh and Bone” for miniseries (really, Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., “Flesh and Bone”?) there isn’t a nominee without merit, and the surprising nature of the lists is, in itself, refreshing.
Both “Narcos” and “Outlander” appeal to non-American audiences, and provide an important reminder that the Television Renaissance is not just an American experience. Eighty-five percent of “Narcos,” which follows the exploits of Pablo Escobar, is in Spanish, and, according to some polls, it is the second-most-watched show in the U.S. and the U.K. (after “Game of Thrones”).
“Outlander” is about a British woman magically transported to 18th century Scotland, and though it debuted strong last year, it failed to win any awards -- something the Globes may rectify, with nominations in the actor and actress category as well.
The comedy side was a bit less surprising: “Transparent” (Amazon), “Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix) and virtually-mandated-by-law nominees “Veep” and “Silicon Valley” (both HBO).
The acting categories are a safer mix of obvious choices -- Emmy winners Viola Davis and Hamm, breakout stars Tariji P. Henson (“Empire”) and Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”) -- and celebrations of the underrecognized -- Eva Green (“Penny Dreadful”), Maura Tierney (“The Affair”) and Rachel Bloom, singing star of the valiant but struggling “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”)
Many great shows, established (no “Good Wife”) and outlier (no “UnREAL”?) were not acknowledged because, quite frankly, that is now the way it is with these awards. Television has become too vast, disparate and discrete to categorize in any way. During awards season, then, there is much to be said for simply spreading the love around.