Golden Globes TV Winners: Head-Scratchers, a Critical Favorite and Cookie
'Mozart in the Jungle' shocks with two big nods, while 'Mr. Robot' gains steam.
The 20 million or so viewers tuning into Sunday's Golden Globe Awards likely had one thing in common: slight-to-serious confusion when the winners of most TV categories were called.
Among the shows that can now be plugged — and, no doubt, already are — as "Golden Globe-winning," are a CW musical averaging fewer than 1 million viewers a week (Crazy Ex Girlfriend), an Amazon comedy about an orchestra conductor (Mozart in the Jungle) and a 1500s-set drama that quietly aired on PBS (Wolf Hall). Even by Hollywood Foreign Press Association standards, the 2016 Globes brought exceptionally unconventional choices and perhaps more of a disconnect from mainstream popularity than we've seen at any TV awards show in recent memory.
There are a couple obvious exceptions. Jon Hamm officially wrapped Mad Men's farewell tour with his second win for playing Don Draper. It follows an Emmy, his first, in September, and marks the official end of the iconic AMC drama's storied awards-show tenure. Oscar Isaac, zeitgeisting thanks to his role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, won for HBO awards-bait mini Show Me a Hero. And Lady Gaga took the trophy for her work on American Horror Story: Hotel. (Even those not familiar with her work on FX and Ryan Murphy's successful anthology recognize the singer as household name.)
The big pop culture moment of the night, however, was Taraji P. Henson winning for Fox's Empire. Almost a year to the day after its launch, Empire is still the biggest show on broadcast TV — and Henson's Cookie Lyon is the face of that success. Her win marks the show's first formal recognition, if you don't count its 18 million weekly viewers.
The rest of the night brought a mix of pseudo-expected critical favorites and complete shockers — the latter, being Mozart in the Jungle. One of Amazon's first series, which has taken a deep backseat to streaming sibling Transparent, managed to nab the top comedy prize and a win for star Gael García Bernal. Amazon does not release viewership stats, so nothing can be said with certainty, but Mozart very well might have the least awareness of any nominated series. That's saying something when you consider the fact that The CW's Crazy Ex Girlfriend is the lowest-rated series on broadcast television. But it's a critical darling, and lead Rachel Bloom's win in the comedy actress race echoes last year's CW victory for Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez.
In terms of pop culture cachet, USA's Mr. Robot went into the night with much more heat. The drama's freshman season was one of the most acclaimed things to air in 2015. And the Globes love the latest and greatest. The best drama series win and supporting actor nod for Christian Slater echoes last year's performance by The Affair. The Showtime show proved it still has some thrall over voters, by the way, with Maura Tierney's supporting actress win.
Big picture-wise, the night probably bodes best for Mr. Robot. It's up for additional kudos at this year's Screen Actors Guild Awards and seems poised to be a real contender in the 2016 Emmy race. If history is any lesson, Mozart might be more of a Globes-specific anomaly. The Affair's semi-sweep in 2015 (top drama and a best actress nod to Ruth Wilson) translated to zero Emmy love.
So is there a takeaway from all the new, perhaps unfamiliar faces this year? Only that the Golden Globes are always anything but expected — and that anybody who won their office pool with these TV picks deserves more prize money than they likely have coming their way.