Golden Globes: Streamers Steamroll in Film and TV With 68 Nominations

Carrey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman and Kaley Cuoco in Flight Attendant
©Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection; HBO Max

Though traditional theatrical distributors held their ground in film, the rise of streaming features — and the category's overwhelming dominance among TV nominations — make it a marquee year for younger platforms.

In a year in which most Americans were homebound due to the coronavirus pandemic, the streamers dominated the 78th annual Golden Globe Awards nominations with an overwhelming 68 mentions spanning film and TV.

Still, when it came to the top film category, best motion picture drama, the traditional theatrical distributors held their ground, accounting for three of the five nominations. Sony Pictures Classics scored a surprise nomination in the category for the Anthony Hopkins-starrer The Father and will compete against Fox Searchlight for Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland and Focus Features for Emerald Fennel for Promising Young Woman. Netflix landed the category’s other two mentions for David Fincher’s Mank and Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7.

On the musical or comedy front, the best motion picture nominees skewed more toward the streamers, with Amazon nabbing one for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and Netflix doing likewise for The PromHamilton, which was released primarily on the Disney+ platform, also scored a nomination, while the traditional distributor Neon and Hulu landed a nomination for the Sundance 2020 breakout Palm Springs. The category also included a little-seen entry from Vertical Entertainment, the Kate Hudson-starrer Music, which was directed by singer-songwriter Sia.

But perhaps the biggest story of the morning was how female directors performed in the top film directing category, where they have been woefully underrepresented historically. In a Golden Globes first, three women were nominated for best motion picture director: Fennell for Promising Young Woman, Regina King for One Night in Miami and Zhao for Nomadland. (Both Fennell and Zhao also were recognized in the film screenplay category.) The trio will compete against Mank’s Fincher and Chicago 7’s Sorkin, the former who is a previous Golden Globes winner for best director. Barbra Streisand is the only female director to ever win a Golden Globe in the category.

"To awards insiders, the Golden Globes are nothing like the Academy, but they do have one thing in common, only one woman has won the best director award,” says Melissa Silverstein, founder of the advocacy website Women and Hollywood and director of the Athena Film Festival. “This year the Golden Globes took a step that the Academy has never done, which is to nominate multiple women for best director of a motion picture. They nominated a black woman, Regina King, an Asian woman, Chloe Zhao, and a white woman, Emerald Fennell. This is a moment that we should all remember and know that it has been a long time coming. The future that we have all dreamed of has become our present. Let’s make it continue for years to come."

The late Chadwick Boseman was nominated for best film actor in a drama for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, a move that will strike a chord with fans still mourning the death of the Black Panther actor at the age of 43 to cancer. Boseman is up against Sound of Metal’s Riz Ahmed, The Father’s Hopkins, Gary Oldman for Mank and The Mauritanian’s Tahar Rahim. Boseman’s longtime agent Michael Greene called the moment “bittersweet” and said the nomination offers a testament to the fact that the beloved actor continues to “shine bright.”

Boseman’s Ma Rainey co-star Viola Davis nabbed a nomination in the best film actress in a drama and will vie for the honors against The United States Vs. Billie Holiday’s Andra Day, Pieces of a Woman’s Vanessa Kirby, Nomadland’s Frances McDormand and Promising Young Woman’s Carey Mulligan.

In an impressive showing, Sacha Baron Cohen landed two nominations: one for best actor in a comedy or musical category for his Borat sequel and another for supporting actor in the drama Chicago 7, in which he portrays Abbie Hoffman. The lead actor comedy or musical nominees also include The Prom’s James Corden, Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda, The Personal History of David Copperfield’s Dev Patel and Palm Springs’ Andy Samberg.

In the supporting actor heat, Baron Cohen will face off against Judas and the Black Messiah’s Daniel Kaluuya, The Little Things’ Jared Leto, On the Rocks’ Bill Murray and One Night in Miami’s Leslie Odom Jr. The counterpart supporting actress category offered a mix of previous Golden Globes nominees such as Hillbilly Elegy’s Glenn Close, The Father’s Olivia Colman and The Mauritanian Jodie Foster and newcomers Amanda Seyfried and Helena Zengel for Mank and News of the World, respectively.

TV categories were overwhelmingly dominated by streamers, with the comedy races seeing the most turnover and fresh faces. There wasn’t a single holdover in the main comedy race from 2020, with outgoing Emmy darling Schitt’s Creek (POP) being joined by a slew of first-year series: Netflix's Emily in Paris, HBO Max's The Flight Attendant, Hulu's The Great and Apple's Ted Lasso. Not only did those nominations spread the love among streamers, save Amazon, all five of the nominated series scored mentions for performers — including all four cast members of Schitt's Creek and rival leads Lily Collins, Kaley Cuoco, Elle Fanning and Jason Sudeikis.

The Crown was the lone drama to return to the top race and the biggest TV performer overall. This year, the awards darling — which topped all projects, film or TV, with five nominations for performances — is joined by first-time best drama nominee Ozark. The fellow Netflix drama had previously only seen nominations for star Jason Bateman. The second season of The Mandalorian also broke through, after the Disney+ project failed to make a Globes impression in its freshman year. First-year shows nominated were HBO's Lovecraft Country, which notably did not see any mentions in the acting categories, and another Netflix offering: Ratched. The latter is one of the bigger surprises in the TV categories — though not if you consider the HFPA’s longstanding affections for executive producer Ryan Murphy (see: The Prom).

The miniseries and anthology categories are true mixed bag of recent favorites — HBO’s Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant showpiece The Undoing scored multiple nominations, as did Netflix breakout The Queen’s Gambit and Steve McQueen’s Amazon film series Small Axe— and Emmy leftovers Unorthodox and Normal People. Those two were steamrolled in September by Watchmen — a project that was completely snubbed by The Golden Globes in 2020, if you need any reminder of how mercurial this show really is.

All of these nominations, which were announced by Sarah Jessica Parker and Taraji P. Henson, come amid a topsy-turvy awards season in which most of the ceremonies have been pushed back as organizers grapple with how to pull off an event safely amid the pandemic. This year’s Golden Globes will air live on Feb. 28 (about six weeks later than usual) on NBC, with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler returning to host.

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.