The Kominsky what now?
On Thursday the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. once again showed its love of all that is shiny and new in television — even when it’s, well, old — nominating “The Kominsky Method” for comedy series mere weeks after its first-season debut on Netflix.
The Chuck Lorre-created comedy follows a pair of aging Hollywood buddies, played by Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin, both of whom were also nominated.
“Kominsky” joined other first-year shows that received multiple nominations Thursday, including the Netflix terrorism thriller “Bodyguard,” Amazon’s psychological drama “Homecoming” and the oddball Showtime comedy “Kidding.” “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” the latest iteration of the FX anthology series “American Crime Story,” led with four nominations overall and will compete with another fact-based limited series, “Escape at Dannemora,” which isn’t quite halfway through its seven-episode run on Showtime.
Although the nominations may have prompted head-scratching on Thursday morning, the Globes’ recognition for so many new shows — particularly from streaming networks like Netflix and Amazon — is not surprising.
Particularly as Peak TV sustains its overwhelming number of new shows, the HFPA seems to pride itself on being a tastemaker, using the nominations to predict the Next Big Thing, with mixed results. Last year “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” a fast-paced comedy about a 1950s housewife who pursues a secret career as a stand-up comedian, won two Golden Globes, including comedy series; the show subsequently became a much-needed breakout hit for Amazon and swept this year’s Emmys.
The Golden Globes were key to the success of “Maisel,” said series star Rachel Brosnahan, who won for actress in a comedy or musical last year and was nominated again on Thursday. “We had just aired the first season when nominations were announced last year,” she told The Times. “It was really what helped people find us to begin with. We are so grateful to be recognized for a second — they are absolutely part of the beginning of our story.”
The series was one of the few returning favorites to be recognized on Thursday; its second season was nominated for three more Golden Globes just one day after it debuted.
FX had the most for any network (10), but Amazon was a close second, with nine, tying with HBO and finishing just ahead of Netflix, with eight. Bravo, known mostly for its guilty-pleasure reality programming, earned its first nomination, for Connie Britton’s performance in the just-released limited series “Dirty John,” based on The Times’ print series and podcast.
Along with “The Kominsky Method,” “Maisel” will compete against “Barry,” HBO’s dark comedy about a hit man turned aspiring actor; NBC’s critically beloved existential sitcom “The Good Place”; and the quirky “Kidding,” which stars Jim Carrey as the grieving host of a children’s show.
The drama series category featured an entirely new field of nominees, meaning that both last year’s dystopian winner, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and weepie favorite, “This Is Us,” were overlooked in favor of four first-year series: “Pose,” a groundbreaking FX drama about the ’80s ballroom scene featuring a cast of transgender performers; “Bodyguard,” a British thriller with shades of early “Homeland”; “Homecoming,” which is based on a podcast and stars Julia Roberts; and “Killing Eve,” a witty BBC America series about a female assassin on the loose in Europe.
Not every nominee was brand new: The HFPA finally got around to nominating “The Americans” (FX) for drama series for its final season.
Over the years, the Globes have made their name, and slowly gained their stature, as a reliable predictor for the Academy Awards, but the correlation between the Globes and the Emmys has never been as strong. Part of the issue is timing: The Globes are usually handed out in early January, more than eight months before the Emmys. But the often seemingly haphazard nominations are also the result of a very small pool of voters picking favorites from an increasingly large and chaotic field of television shows.
Where the Emmys can be maddeningly repetitive, honoring the same winners year after year, the Globes are more capricious, nominating new and/or under-the-radar shows and the next year moving on to the next thing. Recent one-year wonders include “The Affair,” “Mozart in the Jungle, “ “Mr. Robot” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”
But as fickle as the HFPA can be, the Globes have been a pretty good bellwether for the general direction of the industry, recognizing emerging platforms and honoring shows on cable and streaming networks years before the Emmys.
In 2000, the HFPA named HBO’s “The Sopranos” TV’s best drama, and series stars James Gandolfini and Edie Falco also won Golden Globes while the Emmys remained stuck in a “West Wing” loop. Similarly, “Sex and the City” broke through at the Golden Globes before winning Emmys, and the HFPA has been quicker to hand out top honors to shows from streaming networks, such as “Transparent,” which won for comedy series in 2015, and “The Crown,” which won for drama series in 2017.
The group’s idiosyncratic taste also leans inevitably to shows featuring British accents, which this year include “Patrick Melrose,” the Showtime limited series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and adapted from the novels by Edward St. Aubyn; “Bodyguard,” a huge ratings hit for the BBC that was acquired by Netflix and stars “Game of Thrones” alum Richard Madden; and “A Very English Scandal,” a historically-based limited series from Amazon that stars Hugh Grant as a closeted MP who conspired to kill his lover, played by Ben Whishaw.
And even though writers and performers of color have made major strides in television in recent years, the nominees Thursday were predominantly white, snubbing the multiple Emmy-nominees “Insecure,” “Atlanta” and “Blackish.”
This year, the HFPA made yet another bid for gravitas, this time in television; on Thursday, the organization announced plans for an award for special achievement on the small screen. The as-yet-unnamed award “will honor TV’s biggest names and brightest talents” and will be the equivalent of the Cecil B. DeMille award for film, said HFPA President Meher Tatna. “Honorees will be selected based on their outstanding accomplishments, as well as the impact and influence that their television career has had on the industry and audiences.”
Staff writer Yvonne Villarreal contributed to this report.
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