Golden Globe Nominations: Why the TV Picks and Snubs Shouldn't Be a Surprise

THR's awards analyst illustrates how the HFPA favors certain long-running shows while simultaneously trying to be the first group to stake a claim on new ones
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Jeffrey Tambor in 'Transparent'

In the vast majority of the television-specific Golden Globe categories, you can count on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to do two things: (1) rally around old favorites — they have a ton of repeat nominees every year; and (2) champion a brand-new show — they love to be first!, as they were with Sex and the City, Girls and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, among many others, even if they often dump those shows the next year. In other words, don't expect the second or third season of a show to land it recognition for the first time.

The 2014 Golden Globe nominations, announced on Thursday morning, only reinforced these "rules."

The newbies that it got behind included Amazon's Transparent (best musical/comedy series, best actor in a musical/comedy series Jeffrey Tambor) — there was a time when people would have read the phrase “streaming from Amazon” and assumed it was missing a “the” — as well as Showtime's The Affair (best drama series, best actor in a drama series Dominic West and best actress in a drama series Ruth Wilson), HBO's Silicon Valley (best musical/comedy series), The CW's Jane the Virgin (best musical/comedy series and best actress in a musical/comedy series Gina Rodriguez), Cinemax's The Knick (best actor in a drama series Clive Owen) and ABC's How to Get Away With Murder (best actress in a drama series Viola Davis).

Read more Golden Globe Awards Nominations: The Complete List

Fair warning to those shows, though: Most of the newbies that the HFPA staked a claim on last year were more or less dumped this year, including Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which won best musical/comedy series and best actor in a musical/comedy series but was completely shut out this year; Masters of Sex, nominated last year for best drama series and best actor in a drama series but shut out this year; and Orphan Black, nominated last year for best actress in a drama series but nothing this year. (Two of last year's nominees didn't even survive to this year: The Michael J. Fox Show was canceled back in May and Arrested Development faded back into oblivion.) In fairness, the group did stick by House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, Netflix's two standouts, as well as Ray Donovan, or at least the show's Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight (last year's best supporting actor winner).

In this year's best drama series category, The Affair is joined by three past nominees — Downton Abbey (both of the last two years), The Good Wife (four years ago and last year) and House of Cards (last year) — as well as Game of Thrones, which is making its first appearance in three years. Mad Men, which was a nominee for its first four seasons, but has been missing ever since, couldn't quite make it back.

Best comedy series marks the return of HBO's somewhat stale Girls for the third consecutive year, as well as the first series nom for Orange Is the New Black (which was unwisely and unsuccessfully pushed in the drama series category last year but, along with Shameless, jumped over to musical/comedy this year) and the aforementioned Jane the Virgin, Silicon Valley and Transparent. Somewhat unbelievably, ABC's fan favorite Modern Family was totally shut out from the category (after five straight noms in the category); even more unbelievably, HBO's Veep still has never even been nominated in it. Go figure.

Joining Owen and West in the best actor (drama) race are three of last year's first-time nominees: House of Cards' Kevin Spacey, who probably would have won last year had the first season of House of Cards not come up against the last season of Breaking Bad, as well as The Blacklist's James Spader and Ray Donovan's Schreiber. Jon Hamm, a five-time nominee for Mad Men, was left out in the cold.

Only one of last year's best actor (musical or comedy) nominees made it back this year: House of Lies' Don Cheadle, who will compete with Tambor, Louie's Louis C.K., Derek's Ricky Gervais and Shameless' William H. Macy. The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons, who won this category's last two Emmys, wasn't invited back, nor was Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Andy Samberg, last year's winner.

In the best actress (drama) race, Davis and Wilson are joined by last year's winner, House of Cards' Robin Wright, as well as The Good Wife's Julianna Margulies, a nominee for the sixth straight year (and a winner five years ago), and Homeland's Claire Danes, long an HFPA darling, who was nominated in two of the last three years. Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany and Scandal's Kerry Washington won't be back this year.

Along with Rodriguez and Orange Is the New Black's Taylor Schilling, who was nominated last year on the drama side, the best actress (musical/comedy) category is filled out with Veep's Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Girls' Lena Dunham — both back for the second straight year — and, for the fourth time in six years, Nurse Jackie's Edie Falco. Somewhat awkwardly, Parks and Recreation's Amy Poehler, who co-hosted the Globes last year and will be back this year, and who won this category last year, was not nominated this year. New Girl's Zooey Deschanel also won't be back.

The miniseries/TV film-specific categories panned out pretty much as expected. Cleaning up were HBO's True Detective (miniseries/TV film and lead actors Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey), FX's Fargo (miniseries/TV film, lead actors Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton), HBO's The Normal Heart (miniseries/TV film, lead actor Mark Ruffalo), SundanceTV's The Honorable Woman (lead actress Maggie Gyllenhaal), HBO's Olive Kitteridge (miniseries/TV film, lead actress Frances McDormand), Starz's The Missing (miniseries/TV film and lead actress Frances O'Connor) and FX's American Horror Story: Freak Show (lead actress Jessica Lange, an HFPA favorite).

Read more Golden Globe Nominations: 'Fargo' Makes a Big Impression, Amazon and CW Break Through

The only notable exclusions from the miniseries-specific acting categories: Sherlock: His Last Vow's lead actor Benedict Cumberbatch (who'll be at the party anyway as a best actor nominee for the film The Imitation Game); The Trip to Bountiful's Cicely Tyson and AHS: Freak Show's other lead actress Sarah Paulson.

As for the supporting acting categories, which consider work in drama and comedy series as well as miniseries and TV films, the only real surprises were the exclusions of two very big names: The Normal Heart's Julia Roberts and Modern Family's Sofia Vergara.

Instead, the supporting actress nominees were AHS: Freak Show's Kathy Bates and Mom's Allison Janney, both of whom were awarded Emmys earlier this year, plus Orange Is the New Black's Uzo Aduba (also a SAG nominee yesterday), Downton Abbey's Joanne Froggatt and True Detective's Michelle Monaghan. The supporting actor nominees, for their part, were Voight, The Normal Heart's Matt Bomer, The Good Wife's Alan Cumming, Fargo's Colin Hanks and Olive Kitteridge's Bill Murray (also nominated on the film side for St. Vincent). Fun fact: None of those 10 people except Voight were nominated in the same categories last year.

I guess this ain't (totally) your grandfather's HFPA.

Twitter: @ScottFeinberg

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