Golden Globes movie surprises and snubs: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ one of the year’s best, while ‘Widows’ is shut out
It wouldn’t be an awards nominations morning without a few surprise mentions and snubbed contenders. From the mysteriously overlooked songs of “Mary Poppins Returns” to the unexpected recognition for Rosamund Pike and John C. Reilly, here are the top surprises and snubs from the 2019 Golden Globes announcement.
“Vice” might get the last laugh
Critics have yet to weigh in on Adam McKay’s scathing biopic about former Vice President Dick Cheney, which opens in wide release on Christmas Day, but the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. voted for it early and often. The Annapurna title surprisingly led the film nominations with six mentions, including lead actor in a comedy or musical for Christian Bale’s transformative performance as Cheney, and supporting mentions for Amy Adams’ portrayal of Lynne Cheney and Sam Rockwell’s take on George W. Bush. The movie was also acknowledged in the director and screenplay categories (both for McKay), as well as best motion picture comedy or musical.
“Widows” gets wiped out
Though the female-led crime thriller has collected critical acclaim for, among other things, Steve McQueen’s clever direction, Viola Davis’ lead performance and Brian Tyree Henry’s supporting role, the Fox title was completely shut out of this year’s nominations. It’s unfortunate, as the ensemble movie — also starring Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya and Liam Neeson — also isn’t doing as well as it should at the box office, despite all the praise for its genre savvy and gritty realism (Gillian Flynn co-wrote the screenplay).
“Bohemian Rhapsody” sings
The HFPA is having such a good time with the Queen biopic. While the nomination for Rami Malek’s lead performance as Freddie Mercury was expected, it’s the acknowledgment in the best motion picture drama category that has some puzzled. Critics, including The Times’, called the movie formulaic and sanitized at best, and visibly messy, especially since director Bryan Singer was fired during production and replaced by Dexter Fletcher. Nevertheless, audiences don’t seem to mind, as it’s grossed $541 million worldwide so far.
Male directors make the cut
Yet again, the HFPA has snubbed women from the best director category, opting instead for McKay (“Vice”), Alfonso Cuaron (“Roma”), Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”), Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”) and, most surprisingly, Peter Farrelly (“Green Book”). Even that lineup left out two prime contenders: “The Favourite” auteur Yorgos Lanthimos and blockbuster “Black Panther” helmer Ryan Coogler.
The year’s nominated titles in the animation category are also all directed by men. The only female-helmed film recognized in the nominations was Lebanon’s “Capernaum” (directed by Nadine Labaki), and the only woman mentioned in the screenwriting category is Deborah Davis who shares screenplay credit on “The Favourite” with Tony McNamara.
Foreign language fiasco ensues
Surprisingly, the HFPA chose to recognize Belgium’s controversial entry “Girl,” which centers on a teenage transgender girl with dreams of becoming a ballerina. Though the Netflix title collected a few awards at the Cannes Film Festival and currently boasts a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it has been criticized for its problematic, reductive portrayal of trans people and casting of a cis male in the lead role. “Girl” was included in the nominations over South Korea’s acclaimed thriller “Burning” and Poland’s lauded romantic drama “Cold War.”
Disney misses a high note
The Golden Globes actively snubbing a Disney movie-musical — can you imagine that? Such is the case, as “Mary Poppins Returns” was left out of the original song category. Still, the sequel to the beloved classic collected mentions for its score and the lead performances by Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, as well as in the best motion picture comedy or musical category. And Disney is still competing in the song category via “All the Stars” from “Black Panther,” against “Girl in the Movies” from Netflix’s “Dumplin’,” “Requiem for a Private War” from “A Private War,” “Revelation” from “Boy Erased” and, of course, “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born.”
Lead actress categories shake it up
It was widely expected that Olivia Colman of “The Favourite,” Emily Blunt of “Mary Poppins Returns,” Elsie Fisher of “Eighth Grade” and Constance Wu of “Crazy Rich Asians” would be recognized in the lead actress in a motion picture, musical or comedy category. A surprise contender is Charlize Theron of “Tully”; the dark dramedy was released back in May and hasn’t been a major player in awards conversations (though The Times saw it coming).
Additionally, “A Private War’s” Pike was surprisingly included in the corresponding drama category, alongside Lady Gaga of “A Star Is Born,” Melissa McCarthy of “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” Glenn Close of “The Wife” and Nicole Kidman of “Destroyer.” In addition to Davis, that also means Yalitza Aparicio, the highly lauded first-time actress of “Roma,” was notably snubbed.
Lead actor categories sneak in surprises
It’s a shame that the lead actor in a motion picture drama category — which includes Malek of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Bradley Cooper of “A Star Is Born,” Willem Dafoe of “At Eternity’s Gate,” Lucas Hedges of “Boy Erased” and, most surprisingly, John David Washington of “BlacKkKlansman” — left out Ethan Hawke of “First Reformed,” the critically hailed A24 drama that scored no nominations. In the corresponding musical or comedy category, Reilly of Sony Classics’ “Stan & Ollie” surprisingly snuck in, alongside Bale of “Vice,” Miranda of “Mary Poppins Returns,” Viggo Mortensen of “Green Book” and Robert Redford of “The Old Man & the Gun.”
“First Man” doesn’t lift off
In the wake of a disappointing box office performance, the cosmic drama only nabbed nominations for supporting actress Claire Foy’s performance, as well as for Justin Hurwitz’s score. The HFPA didn’t have any love for Ryan Gosling’s leading portrayal of Neil Armstrong or Damien Chazelle’s direction — a harsh reversal, since Chazelle’s last film “La La Land” collected a record-breaking seven wins, victorious in every category in which it was then nominated.
“A Star Is Born” loses some luster
Many assumed that “A Star Is Born,” a critical and commercial hit, would sweep the nominations. And while five nominations certainly is a strong showing — the movie was acknowledged in the director and lead actor categories (both Cooper), as well as those of lead actress (Lady Gaga), original song (“Shallow”) and best motion picture drama — it missed out on nominations for screenplay and Sam Elliott’s supporting turn. Elliott in particular was seen as a major contender of the awards race.
“Paddington 2” doesn’t please
January releases rarely turn up in awards conversations, but how could the HFPA not even be mildly pleased by “Paddington 2,” which scored a rare 100% rating from 214 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes? While it’s wonderful that Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw were both nominated for their performances in the Amazon series “A Very English Scandal,” the former should have at least gotten another mention for his villainous turn in the crowd-pleasing movie. “Aunt Lucy said, if we’re kind and polite the world will be right,” says the beloved bear in the movie. The HFPA did him wrong.
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