Golden Globes: 'Vice' Dominates Politically Charged Film Nominees

Matt Kennedy/Annapurna Pictures

The acerbic portrait of former Vice President Dick Cheney earned six nominations, including best motion picture, musical or comedy.

There’ll be no avoiding politics at the 76th annual Golden Globe AwardsVice, Adam McKay’s acerbic portrait of former Vice President Dick Cheney, topped the list of nominations announced Thursday by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, scoring six mentions, including best motion picture, musical or comedy.

And while Vice was assigned to the Globes' musical/comedy category, the best motion picture, drama, nominees also should provide plenty of potential for politically charged acceptance speeches. In a show of diversity, three films that deal with black themes made the list: Black Panther, the Marvel superhero blockbuster set in the fictional African country of Wakanda; BlacKkKlansman, the true story of a black detective who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the '70s; and If Beale Street Could Talk, an adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel about a black family enduring amid a false incarceration.

Rounding out the best drama category are two musical dramas: Bohemian Rhapsody, the biopic about Queen’s Freddie Mercury, and A Star Is Born, the fictional account of a tragic romance between a fading rocker and a rising pop star.

Meanwhile, back in the best musical/comedy category, Vice isn’t the only film with political subtext. There’s also Green Book, about an interracial friendship that develops during a road trip through the 1960s South. The two will compete against the romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians, which shines a spotlight on its all-Asian cast, and The Favourite, in which three women claim center stage as they vie for power in 18th century England. The only example of pure escapism in the category is the musical Mary Poppins Returns— and even if it takes a few jabs at predatory bankers.

In their nominations in the various acting categories, the HFPA voters also offered a further show of diversity, by including John David Washington for BlacKkKlansman and Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody among the best drama actors; Crazy Rich Asians’ Constance Wu for best musical-comedy actress; Mary Poppins Returns’ Lin-Manuel Miranda for best musical-comedy actor; and, in the supporting categories, Mahershala Ali for Green Book and Regina King for Beale Street.

On the other hand, no women cracked the list of nominees for best director. The all-male line-up included A Star Is Born’s Bradley Cooper, in his directorial debut, and BlacKkKlansman’s Spike Lee as well as three other directors who also collected writing noms — Roma’s Alfonso Cuaron, Vice’s McKay and Green Book’s Peter Farrelly (nominated along with Nick Vallelonga and Brian Hayes Currie). Of course, since the Globes nominate 10 best pictures among two categories, but only five directors, that meant a lot of the best picture directors were excluded — among them Beale Street’s Jenkins (who did earn a screenplay nom), The Favourite’s Yorgos Lanthimos, Panther’s Ryan Coogler, Asians’ John Chu and Poppins’ Rob Marshall.

With five nominations, the high-profile A Star Is Born matched the number of nods earned by the previous incarnation of the archetypal Hollywood tale, the 1976 version starring Barbra Streisand — although that one was nominated for best comedy/musical, while this time around, Star was nominated for best drama. Both Cooper and Lady Gaga collected double nominations: Cooper as drama actor and director and Lady Gaga as drama actor and song composer, a double nomination that Streisand also achieved in her day. And if the new Star crew is looking for promising omens, there’s the fact that the 1976 Star won in all five categories in which it was nominated.

When it came to acting lists, both Vice and The Favourite fielded three nominees each. In the case of Vice, Christian Bale picked up a best drama actor nom for transforming himself into Cheney, while in the supporting categories, Amy Adams scored for playing the VP’s wife, Lynne Cheney and Sam Rockwell earned an invite for portraying President George W. Bush. While the historical figures in The Favourite are less well-known, Olivia Colman joined the best comedy actress ranks for her turn as Queen Anne, while supporting noms went to Emma Stone for playing Abigail Masham and Rachel Weisz for playing Lady Sarah Churchill.

Roma, Cuaron’s look back at his childhood in Mexico City, was ineligible to compete for the Globes' best drama prize, since that is reserved for English-language films, but was nominated in the Globes’ foreign-language film category and also earned directing and screenplay nominations for Cuaron. The film, which is Mexico’s submission in the corresponding Oscar category, was joined by Lebanon’s Capernaum, Belgium’s Girl, Germany’s Never Look Away and Japan’s Shoplifters, all of which are also their respective country’s Oscar submissions.

In the animated film category, three studio-produced offerings — Pixar’s Incredibles 2, Disney Animation’s Ralph Breaks the Internet and Sony Animation’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse — will face off against two indies: Wes Anderson’s stop-motion Isle of Dogs, distributed by Searchlight, and Mamoru Hosoda’s hand-drawn Mirai, distributed by GKFilms. 

Among distributors, Annapurna and Fox Searchlight shared top honors with 10 nominations each. Annapurna, Megan Ellison’s production/distribution company, could thank strong showings by Vice and Beale Street, as well as Nicole Kidman’s best dramatic actress nom for the gritty Destroyer. The Fox specialty film label benefited from a slate that included The Favourite; Isle of DogsCan You Ever Forgive Me?, which attracted acting nominations for Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant; and The Old Man and The Gun, which brought Robert Redford a place among the best actor nominees for what could be his valedictory screen performance.

The Golden Globe Awards ceremony, which will be held Jan. 6, is produced by Dick Clark Productions, which shares a parent company with The Hollywood Reporter.