Golden Globes: 'Mad Men' Snub a 'Ridiculous' Exception Among Safe TV Choices (Analysis)
Matt Weiner is free to freak out over his drama's fiasco omission, but the HFPA otherwise plays it surprisingly safe and less adventurous than recent years.
The first rule of the Golden Globes is always "prepare yourself for the crazy." After that, everything is much easier to figure out. It also helps to not completely freak out about nominating decisions because it's impossible to know what's going on inside the personal globes of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
That said, when it comes to television. the Globes have a history of being more current and daring than Emmy voters, which offsets the sometimes head-scratching nominations.
That said redux: Matt Weiner you are now free to freak out. The Mad Men creator must indeed be mad -- furious would be a better word -- over the complete and aggressively thorough dis the HFPA gave to his show.
Except for the total exclusion of Mad Men -- which makes no sense but could be a bad omen for the Emmys -- there wasn't anything overtly insane.
In fact, in a year when a number of great dramas had foreign roots, it's actually surprising that the Globes missed an opportunity to lavish nominations on Broadchurch from BBC America and The Returned, a French series that ran on the Sundance Channel. Those two imports were in the top three of my Best Dramas of 2013, topped only by Breaking Bad.
In many ways, the Globes this year are a mixture of safe -- Downton Abbey and House of Cards in the best drama category, for instance -- and some admirable new-blood decisions (nods to Showtime's Ray Donovan and Fox's Brooklyn Nine-Nine) that might have been savvier had they tapped into even more "obscure" shows the organization prides itself on spotlighting (the aforementioned Broadchurch, The Returned, Hulu's Moone Boy, etc.).
Also, the Starz miniseries Dancing on the Edge was good, but including that with the channel's The White Queen, which I also quite liked, seemed a bit excessive.
The biggest shocker, clearly, is the complete lack of recognition for Mad Men, which seems inconceivable. As I noted in my list of top dramas for the year, there's certainly something in the zeitgeist about knocking Mad Men down a few pegs after its sixth season, but to knock it completely out of all categories? Ridiculous.
The effect of that decision has ramifications for the acting categories as well, of course. Instead of hammering home that mistake -- what more needs to be said than it's inconceivable and ridiculous? -- here are some other, more nitpicky notes on the categories:
For best drama, I like the inclusion of Showtime's Masters of Sex, which is the smarter pick over Homeland, but it would have been better to sub Orange Is the New Black for Netflix's other offering, House of Cards, and the Downton Abbey slot could have been used to liven things up with, say, BBC America's Orphan Black, AMC's The Walking Dead, FX's The Americans or Sundance Channel's Rectify. Being bold should continue to be a Globes hallmark, but Downton Abbey is not bold.
This is why I say the nominations are fairly safe and staid by Globes standards. Dropping Boardwalk Empire is partly understandable -- even though it happened in arguably the best season the show has had -- but no nod to HBO's other series, Game of Thrones? It's clear HFPA members know enough about Orphan Black to nominate its brilliant star Tatiana Maslany as well as Taylor Schilling from Orange Is the New Black, so why not their shows?
The best actor categories have no real shockers if you factor in that those who were nominated are fine choices in their own right -- swapping out worthy actors for other worthy actors just gets reductive, but I would have loved to see either Anna Gunn from Breaking Bad, Lizzy Caplan from Masters of Sex or Emmy Rossum from Shameless (both Showtime series) in the slot that went to Robin Wright.
A better task would be to press the HFPA to expand its categories so that supporting actors and actresses from dramas and comedies not only wouldn't have to battle each other but also wouldn't be lumped in with those from miniseries and movies, an apparent time-saving gesture that makes the supporting categories particularly vicious to win. On the other hand, at least the Globe categories aren't as haphazardly idiotic as the SAG Awards', which are an omnishamble of epic proportions.
As for comedies, it was nice to see the Globes nominate Fox's Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which speaks to the group's historic sense of what's relevant right now (even when it's blind to some of the rest of it -- but we can't all get what we want or it wouldn't be Hollywood now would it?).
I've said it before, so why not again: I love Edie Falco dearly and want to see her on the screen and at awards shows as much as possible, but her role on Nurse Jackie is really not a comic one -- but this year the Globes pulled an Emmys with her inclusion in that category. I would have loved to see Jessica Walter from Arrested Development get that slot.
On the plus side for Globe nominations, there's the inclusion of Maslany, Schilling, Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan), Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Idris Elba (BBC America's Luther), James Spader (NBC's Blacklist), Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), Don Cheadle (Showtime's House of Lies), Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Top of the Lake, Monica Potter (NBC's Parenthood), Corey Stoll (House of Cards) and Jon Voight (Ray Donovan) -- so the pluses shouldn't be overlooked.
They always are, of course. Finding the snubs is always more motivating than cheering the smart or bold choices. So maybe there shouldn't just be a set of rules for girding oneself for the craziness of Globe nominations, but an overarching one for the Emmys and Oscars, etc. And that is -- it's just an award. It doesn't mean the work you did but didn't get nominated for is any less valuable, artistically.
There, all better.
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