Golden Globe nominations pit pop stars against proven composers in music categories

Mary J. Blige, whose song "Mighty River" is up for a Golden Globe, is also nominated for her acting in "Mudbound."
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Pop Music Critic

Say this for the Golden Globes: Nowhere else is Nick Jonas likely to be nominated for an award taken home in recent years by the likes of U2 and Bruce Springsteen.

A former boy-band heartthrob who can still measure his success in squeals, Jonas is up for best original song with “Home,” his thumping electro-pop ditty from the animated feature “Ferdinand.”

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The tune, which Jonas co-wrote with Top 40 fixture Justin Tranter, is pretty frothy by award-season standards; compared to Sam Smith’s gloomy “Writing’s on the Wall,” which won the original song prize in 2016, it’s basically “Bye Bye Bye.”

Yet “Home” isn’t the only smiley song by a pop star in the running for a Golden Globe: Mariah Carey also scored a nomination for “The Star,” her and songwriter Marc Shaiman’s uplifting ballad from the Christian animated movie of the same title.

Could next year’s ceremony provide the setting for one of Carey’s famously loopy public pronouncements?

Eh, don’t bet on it: Her and Jonas’ competition includes some more conventional choices, any of which is likelier to win the award come January.

Indeed, the song to beat is likely “This Is Me,” Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s song from the P.T. Barnum musical “The Greatest Showman.” The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which hands out the Golden Globes, is known for its love of musicals.


And Pasek and Paul are already proven HFPA favorites; at the most recent Globes, they beat Justin Timberlake’s No. 1 radio smash “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” (from “Trolls”) to take best original song with “City of Stars,” one of the tunes they wrote with Justin Hurwitz for “La La Land.” (“City of Stars” also won the Oscar for original song.)

Also from a musical: “Remember Me,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez’s catchy Mexican-style number from the animated “Coco.” The married couple are familiar to awards voters, of course, from their work on Disney’s “Frozen,” which earned them an Academy Award in 2014.

Then again, the inescapable “Let It Go” somehow lost that year’s Golden Globe to U2’s dreary “Ordinary Love,” so go figure.

That leaves “Mighty River,” Mary J. Blige and Raphael Saadiq’s slow-moving soul ballad from “Mudbound,” as the final original song nominee for next year’s Globes. It’s a long shot, but Blige has clearly impressed the HFPA; she’s also up for a supporting-actress award for her role in “Mudbound.”

Speaking of long shots, Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood earned his first Golden Globes nomination for his latest collaboration with director Paul Thomas Anderson on “Phantom Thread.”

In the best original score category, Greenwood is up against four established Hollywood composers: Carter Burwell (for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), Alexandre Desplat (“The Shape of Water”), John Williams (“The Post”) and Hans Zimmer (“Dunkirk”).

Each of those guys has won or been nominated for a Golden Globe on numerous occasions. But maybe that means Greenwood and Carey, as outsiders, will be seated within chatting distance at the Beverly Hilton?

Dare to dream.

Twitter: @mikaelwood