Golden Globes: Sia's 'Music' Earns Nods Despite Autism Controversy

Merrick Morton

The poorly reviewed movie, which has yet to be released in the U.S. and wasn't on awards experts' radar, is the directorial debut for the singer-songwriter.

When the Golden Globe nominations were announced Wednesday morning, there were the usual upsets, snubs and surprises, but one film stood out in particular, largely because not many had even heard of it.

The feature film Music earned a nod for best picture, musical or comedy, while its star Kate Hudson also picked up a best actress nomination. The film wasn't on awards experts' lists as a contender for major awards this season and it currently has a 29 percent freshness rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

Music is the feature directorial debut for singer-songwriter Sia, and follows a free-spirited and newly sober drug dealer (Hudson) who finds herself the sole guardian of her teenaged autistic half-sister, named Music, who is played by Maddie Ziegler. Leslie Odom Jr. also stars as the pair's friend and neighbor. Along with directing, Sia wrote and performed 10 original songs for the movie's accompanying album.

Last year, backlash emerged about Sia's decision to cast Ziegler, who has starred in many of the performer's music videos, as a nonverbal character with autism, as opposed to a performer on the autism spectrum.

"Why don’t you watch my film before you judge it? FURY," the singer wrote in a tweet in November after a teaser for the movie dropped, leading to the social media backlash. She later responded to specific criticism on social media, writing on Twitter that the movie is based on her "neuroatypical" friend, adding, "I made this movie with nothing but love for him and his mother." (All tweets have since been deleted.)

Music, which was first announced in 2015, was released in Sia's native Australia via StudioCanal in January. The movie has yet to be released in the U.S., set for a one-night-only release Feb. 10 in select Imax theaters before being released onto PVOD platforms Feb. 12.

Golden Globes arbiters, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has long been known to make head-scratching choices. Along with Music, this year's other surprises include Netflix series Emily in Paris and Ratched, while snubs include Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods and Michaela Coel's I May Destroy You.

The Golden Globe Awards ceremony is produced by Dick Clark Productions, a division of MRC, which is a co-owner of The Hollywood Reporter through a joint venture with Penske Media titled P-MRC.