Golden Globe TV Leaders: FX and A-Listers Ascend, But One Is the Loneliest Nom for Many

Amazon Studio; JoJo Whilden/FX; Courtesy of HBO

A mix of star power, head-scratchers and one-offs dominate the 2019 TV nominations.

With Thursday morning's Golden Globes nominations, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association again proved that its arms are open to the unexpected, the one-offs and, even more so, the A-list. Among the TV nominees, in particular, marquee names include Julia Roberts, Jim Carrey, Michael Douglas, Sacha Baron Cohen, Amy Adams, Patricia Arquette and Hugh Grant.

For sure, many of these performances were expected to get love from the HFPA set and beyond — see Roberts for Amazon's Homecoming and Adams for HBO's Sharp Objects — shoring up even more industry goodwill between now and the 2019 Emmys. But outliers are not unrepresented. It's difficult to imagine that much of the town hit their collective pillow on Wednesday night with dreams of three noms for Chuck Lorre's Netflix foray The Kominsky Method in their heads. But there is both rhyme and reason to almost all the top contenders.

Kominsky, no slouch in reviews, packs HFPA-approved elder statesmen Douglas and Alan Arkin. Call it the new Grace & Frankie since the latter earned bubkes for Netflix. Amazon's domestic run of English mini A Very English Scandal is tailor-made for the Brit-loving voters, as is U.K. summer ratings monster Bodyguard. That ultimately bowed stateside on Netflix in October — as an acquisition, mind you — and its drama series nomination over HBO breakout Succession or even NBC heavy-lifter This Is Us speaks volumes about this small voting body's tastes and priorities. Elsewhere in the biggest of newcomers, only time will tell if Jim Carrey's TV return — Showtime's Kidding — is getting its first taste of many accolades to come or just a friendly tap from a show that's probably quite thirsty to see the semi-reclusive star grace the Beverly Hilton stage

The HFPA had no reason not to double down on its previous coronation of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Amazon's favorite child, which had a huge night at the 2018 Globes before going on to fortify that darling status at the 2018 Emmys, earned another three nominations (repeats for series and star Rachel Brosnahan) just one day after the second season finally bowed on the streamer. Drama leader of 2018 The Handmaid's Tale is also back in the field, with a series nom and another tap for reigning drama winner Elisabeth Moss. The sheen has dulled on the Hulu juggernaut since then, particularly when it lost the most recent Emmy drama race to HBO's Game of Thrones. But Game of Thrones was not eligible for this Globes, and the HFPA has never been as much of a fan to begin with.

Speaking of HBO, this is only the second time in 20 years that the network hasn't had an original in the best drama race — though Barry proved a gift in comedy. Many thought a drama spot might go to Succession, which has a British pedigree in creator Jesse Armstrong and approached the Globes as an awards newcomer. (The HFPA famously prides itself on being the first to throw accolades at new series before the guild kudos and long before the Emmys.) Drama, instead, is dominated by FX. It's the soon-to-be Disney-owned network that led in all TV categories with a total of 10 nominations. Four, the most of any TV project, went to Emmy darling The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. Another three went to the final season of The Americans and two more went to Ryan Murphy's other 2018 offering: Pose. Its best drama inclusion, not to forget the nom for star Billy Porter, is one of the more significant nominations of the day.

FX's tally put it one above HBO and Amazon, tied with nine, and two above "more isn't always more when it comes to awards" Netflix. The streamer clocked in at eight, but that really should come with a caveat. It had zero creative involvement with  BBC One import Bodyguard. And the same goes for Amazon and A Very English Scandal.

What's most interesting, beside this year's choice of wild cards and boldface names, might be the sheer volume of productions mumbling Three Dog Night lyrics in the nominations' aftermath [Note: I realize Harry Nilsson wrote that song]. A stunning 14 series or projects earned a lonely one mention apiece. The biggest examples there are Atlanta (Donald Glover, but not best comedy), GLOW (Alison Brie, but not Betty Gilpin), Murphy Brown (Candice Bergen, but not best comedy), Westworld (just Thandie Newton) and Succession (Kieran Culkin and nothing else).

So amid all the TV chaos, who has the greatest opportunity to shine? It seems newly announced ceremony co-host Sandra Oh has a real opportunity to grab the drama lead for Killing Eve, a title she missed out on at the Emmys to exiting Crown star Claire Foy. Overcoming Hollywood royalty Julia Roberts, however, may prove too daunting. Sharp Objects could also be lucrative for longtime Golden Globes favorite Amy Adams. Oscar may continue to elude the actress, but two previous Globe wins (out of 10 nominations) says she is not in thrall to the HFPA — who, by the way, also has a supporting nomination for Vice.

These takeaways only scratch the surface of the complete rundown of nominations. And, if you think some of these honorees were unexpected, wait until you check out what happened on the film side.