Golden Globes: Tim Goodman on TV's 'Woeful' Nominations (Opinion)

Smash Season 2 Poster Art - P 2012

Smash Season 2 Poster Art - P 2012

It’s one thing to await the Golden Globe nominations with a mix of curiosity -- will it combine some of its yearly odd picks with daring picks as well? -- and also that nervous feeling of wondering exactly how embarrassing some of the picks will be. It’s quite another to wake up to find the Globes voters have completely lost their minds.

No Mad Men nomination in drama? Smash – as a reminder, it’s a musical drama – in the comedy category? Wow. Just … wow.

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Now, normally that Smash craziness would make someone’s day, someone who might be super cynical about a show like that (ahem), because it’s as if the Globes are making the joke for you. It’s effortless.

But really, this time the joke isn’t funny anymore. It’s on the Globes, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association apparently doesn’t get it. The Emmys have nothing to fear from the Globes, and the Globes are in no way an early indicator of what will succeed at the Emmys. No, given Thursday’s announcements, when it comes to television the Globes are about as accurate and important as the SAG Awards. And that’s a level of failure that’s hard to grasp.

In the span of two days, two awards shows have shown they know almost nothing about television. Worse, the nominations aren’t just off-brand or quirky, they’re embarrassing and show a complete lack of respect for the medium. You know, the most powerful medium on the planet. Yeah, that one.

It would be easy (and yes, it’s important) to fly into a rant about how the Golden Globes and SAG Awards need to restructure their categories to better represent television. For example, it’s nice that the Globes at least acknowledge supporting actors, but when it does so by tossing them in with supporting actors in miniseries and TV movies as well, what you get is Max Greenfield, so funny in Fox's New Girl, going up against Mandy Patinkin, so serious in Showtime's Homeland. (That’s so wrongheaded, funny and sad that it just makes any sane person drop to the ground.) But no, a thorough lashing -- er, helpful analysis -- of both organizations' category woes will be left for another time, another column.

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Because how can anyone make sense of what the Globes did Thursday? I never thought I’d say this, but it’s at least partly understandable that Showtime's Nurse Jackie, a dramedy, gets tossed into the comedy category too easily and wrongly. But at least -- gah -- there are supposed to be funny elements to it. The only funny thing about Smash is how bad it is and how earnest it is in that business of badness. But a comedy? Nope.

And did the Globe voters decide to punish Matthew Weiner or something? Not nominating Mad Men in the drama category is more than just unfathomable, it’s embarrassing. Put the Smash and Mad Men issues together, and the message to the world is: “We give up. We’re out of darts to throw.”

As for best dramas, on the one hand, you want to tell Globes voters congratulations for finally nominating AMC's Breaking Bad, after a full four seasons of brilliance have gone by. Better late than never. But HBO's The Newsroom? Seriously? At the expense of Mad Men, HBO's Game of Thrones, AMC's The Walking Dead or FX's Justified and Sons of Anarchy?

Dear Santa, remember when I asked you to please get SAG voters a television for Christmas? Yeah, you’ll need to double up on that wish.

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In fact, the only nomination for Mad Men was Jon Hamm for lead actor. It’s like there are no actresses on the show.

Last year the Globes at least acknowledged that Kelsey Grammer gave the best acting performance on television, so snubbing him this year for his work in Starz's Boss seems less grievous.  It allows Jeff Daniels into the mix, and for the record, his work on The Newsroom is the best thing about the show. Not to ring the same bell I did Wednesday with the SAGs, but maybe a little category expansion is both worthwhile and necessary amid this ongoing television renaissance. The Emmys did it.

(Oh, and how must the Emmy folks be gloating this morning? Back-to-back displays from competing awards shows that prove they have nothing to worry about. The disrespect for TV by others is no doubt noted at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.)

While it’s no surprise to see ABC's Modern Family and CBS' The Big Bang Theory in the comedy category, HBO's Girls is a nice (and necessary) addition. But this Globes obsession with Showtime's Episodes -- a fine and funny series, just not anywhere near a top five comedy -- really has to end. By including it for a second season and coupling it with the Smash debacle, not only does FX's Louie go criminally ignored yet again, but so does NBC's 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation, Fox's Raising Hope, FX's It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Archer, Showtime's House of Lies, HBO's Veep and -- well, the list goes on and on.

I would plead for the Globes to admit that Smash was a mistake, but my fear is that they’d then stick it in the drama category and remove Breaking Bad. That’s precisely how untrustworthy the HFPA is when it comes to good judgment (and taste).

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Oh, and Aaron Paul, people? Where is Aaron Paul? You watched Breaking Bad, it seems. The guy next to Bryan Cranston a lot of the time? That guy should be nominated. 

There’s a tiny fraction of make-up goodness in the nominations: Louis C.K. (Louie) and Don Cheadle (House of Lies) in the actor in a comedy category. But really, the damage is already too great to undo.

I will, however, take great pleasure in wondering who will win supporting actress, as Hayden Panettiere (ABC's Nashville) and Sofia Vergara (Modern Family) go up against, um, Downton Abbey's Maggie Smith. PBS will take that challenge every year. Oh, I forgot. That category rant is a separate column.

Until then, here’s the thought I spoke out loud when looking at the nominations Thursday morning: “You can’t be serious?” And when it comes to the Golden Globes, it’s now more true than ever that they’re not.


Twitter: @BastardMachine