What the Golden Globes Got Wrong on TV
When it comes to television, getting outraged about the Golden Globes is like going berserk over the fact your 6-year-old nephew can’t solve a Rubik’s Cube.
If the Globes have some debatable influence on what happens at the Academy Awards when it comes to movies, no such voodoo exists on the television side, where frequent Globe nominations have been laughable head-scratchers or prescient nods to truly impressive small screen performances. But consistency? No.
Of course, this in no way is a suggestion that the erratic Emmy voters are much better, but their snubs or curious inclusions usually make people (critics especially) mutter, “Nope.” Or, “Not again.” In the case of the Globes, it’s more along the lines of Tina Fey’s “Whuck?!” from 30 Rock.
You cannot hope to understand the Globes anymore than you can understand Gaelic. Just be thankful that the truly mystifying misses have no real impact on the Emmys. Save your real scorn when those voters mess up. And, in fairness, spread your praise when they get it right.
But let’s focus on the Golden Globes here, taking a critical look at what they got right and what fell from Uranus and landed on the ballot. Let’s also skip supporting actors/actresses because it would be easier to explain quantum physics than the reasoning behind why the Hollywood Foreign Press Association includes in this category performances from dramas, comedies, movies and miniseries. Besides, it would take six or seven paragraphs to get out all the rage for excluding Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn.
Best TV Series, Drama: Boardwalk Empire (HBO), Dexter (Showtime), The Good Wife (CBS), Mad Men, The Walking Dead (both AMC).
Well, you have to give the Globes some credit for not sneaking a peek at anyone’s Top 10 list from 2010, which, when it’s all said and done, will probably include more mentions of Breaking Bad than the HFPA has members. The inclusion of The Walking Dead here is admirable and bold, but Breaking Bad is probably the biggest no-brainer of a very competitive field. Perhaps The Good Wife, a fine show, is an attempt to appease the broadcast networks. Or maybe they just didn’t want to expand the category by one. In either case, the snub can’t be justified using any form of logic. And if there had to be a nominee from the networks, you’d think the Globes would have picked Lost. How quickly they love ‘em and leave ‘em. Very strong arguments can be made here about Sons Of Anarchy, Terriers, Men Of A Certain Age and Treme. But those snubs are natural head-butting arguments. No Breaking Bad is just egregious.
Best TV Series, Comedy. 30 Rock (NBC), Modern Family (ABC), Big Bang Theory (CBS), Glee (Fox), The Big C, Nurse Jackie (both Showtime).
This seems very Emmy-like and you’d hope that if the Globes are going to be wacky and unpredictable, they might go for worthy types like It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Louie, maybe Archer (all from FX -- perhaps that’s just not a channel all the members get?). Looking deeper, who among us isn’t still laughing about all the drug addiction and marriage-wrecking “jokes” on Nurse Jackie? That is one thigh-slapper of a show. And yes, it’s OK to make cancer funny on The Big C, but it would help if it was funny-funny, not sad-funny. Maybe they could slap on some of that live-audience-laughing-insanely-at-everything stuff they’ve got going on at Big Bang Theory. Or maybe Parks and Recreation might have been a better choice for one of those slots?
Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama: Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire, Jon Hamm, Mad Men, Hugh Laurie, House, Michael C. Hall, Dexter, Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad.
Oh, so HFPA voters have actually seen Breaking Bad enough times to consider its star, Bryan Cranston. Interesting. Or maybe, having snubbed him in the past, someone over there thought three consecutive Emmy wins for lead actor should be addressed? In any case, there’s not much to argue about in this category. These are all excellent, deserving actors. Maybe Hamm will get rewarded for his stellar, subtle work on Mad Men, having lost at the Emmys three consecutive times to Cranston. This is the kind of stocked category that makes TV proud.
Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama: Julianna Margulies,The Good Wife, Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men, Piper Perabo, Covert Affairs, Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy, Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer.
Doing! Which one of these is not like the other? Yes, esteemed men of the HFPA, Perabo is definitely hot. And yes, she can act, but not in the same league as everybody else here. So, the question is, “Whuck?!” It really would have been nice to see Gunn in here. And if by some chance the Perabo choice was meant to be some kind of out-of-nowhere pick, it would have been more wise to pick someone like, say, Khandi Alexander from Treme. Or any woman from Treme. Beyond that, it’s great to see Sagal here, since she’s already a Hall of Fame, first ballot winner for Worst Ever Emmy Snub. And Moss had a fantastic season on Mad Men. Those are the two front-runners here, so stick that in your Piper and smoke it.
Best Actor in a TV Series, Comedy: Alec Baldwin,30 Rock, Steve Carell, The Office, Thomas Jane, Hung, Matthew Morrison, Glee, Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory.
There are certainly some issues here. First, name one funny thing Morrison has said on Glee. Exactly. He’s a foil in the show, Globies. Periodically getting a laugh does not make him a good nominee. Jane is an inspired pick, so that’s your didn’t-expect-that moment. Absent Morrison, you could have added Louie C.K. from Louie. Forget the ensemble idea, elevate someone from Modern Family here. They really deserve it. Same goes for It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Might want to fix that FX oversight of yours. And, respectively, you could have had Nick Offerman from Parks and Recreation. In fact, notwithstanding the genius of Baldwin, Offerman could easily be your winner.
Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy: Toni Collette, United States of Tara, Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie, Laura Linney, The Big C, Tina Fey, 30 Rock, Lea Michele, Glee.
Oh, Lord, do we have problems here. In defense of the HFPA, they’ve made the same mistakes as the Emmy voters. Look, Collette, Falco and Linney are three of the finest actresses alive. And they do great work in these shows. But only Linney gets to tilt her performance toward anything that might resemble hilarity. Those “dark comedies” are really 30-minute dramas. That Kaitlin Olson from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Amy Poehler from Parks and Recreation aren’t on here is just criminal. At least Michele has funnier lines than Morrison when it comes to Glee. But the clear winner here is Fey. If only she had some women in funnier roles to compete with.
The good news is that the Golden Globes, a wonderful awards show to watch on television, doesn’t really influence what will happen at the Emmys, a mostly boring show to watch on television. But at least the Emmy voters are attempting to have their nominations accurately reflect what’s happening on the small screen.
Email Tim Goodman at Tim.Goodman@thr.com
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Scott Feinberg, the lead awards analyst for The Hollywood Reporter, is one of the entertainment industry's most experienced and trusted experts about the Oscars, Emmys and Tonys. He started on the awards beat in 2001, writing for independent websites including his own ScottFeinberg.com before joining the Los Angeles Times and then THR, for which he writes “The Race” blog, which won the LA Press Club’s National Entertainment Journalism Award for best entertainment blog of 2012-2013. A voting member of both the Broadcast Film Critics' Association and Broadcast Television Journalists Association, he is also writing a book about film history for young people for which he has interviewed more than 500 high-profile Hollywood figures whose careers span the silent era through the present.
Follow Scott on Twitter at twitter.com/scottfeinberg.
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