Top Golden Globes TV Snubs
THR's Tim Goodman calls the HFPA "ridiculous" for combining comedy, musical and sometimes dramatic actors in same category – but says TV winners don't matter anyway. Find out why.
Any award show that doesn't nominate Breaking Bad for best drama can't be taken seriously, but if you've watched the Golden Globes through the years as a lover of television, then you probably knew that.
The Globes have no influence on Emmy nominations, much less wins, so there's not much power in the hands of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. This is an awards ceremony that has always valued film before television (an injustice) but draws attention mostly because, as a television event, it's fun to watch. See: Gervais, Ricky.
That's why there wasn't much shock or awe from a TV content perspective this year. Nothing against Piper Perabo, but her nomination in the best performance by an actress in a dramatic television series was ludicrous and was far-fetched even by Emmy standards. And yet, Katey Sagal won in that category and not only was it deserving and overdue, but she should have won an Emmy the season before. That's the quirky nature of the Globes getting it both right and wrong.
Another fine example is best drama, where HFPA members realized there was considerable heat for AMC's The Walking Dead zombie series and gave it a nomination after only six episodes. But snubbing Breaking Bad is a flat out deal-breaker when it comes to being taken seriously. Boardwalk Empire won in that category (up against Mad Men, Dexter, The Good Wife and The Walking Dead) and you'll get no complaints here for that, but this category was essentially disqualified in the nomination stage.
Steve Buscemi won best actor for his work in Boardwalk Empire and, coming from a category that was extremely strong (Hugh Laurie, Bryan Cranston, Michael C. Hall, Jon Hamm) it's hard to have any gripes about that. Every actor in the group could have received the nod and few people would complain.
That's less true of the best comedy or musical television category. The HFPA put in 30 Rock and Modern Family, two of television's smartest and funniest shows, plus Glee which is certainly more musical than comedy. The Big Bang Theory also got nominated but is a tier down from TV's best comedies. Yet the inclusion of Nurse Jackie and The Big C continued an unfortunate Emmy-esque trend of taking very good 30 minute dramedies that are heavy on angst and putting them up against shows that are truly funny. While there's more humor in The Big C than Nurse Jackie, combining the funniest bits of each wouldn't even merit inclusion here. The Globe was won by Glee, a wonderfully fun but creatively erratic series that hopefully won't pull such an upset at the Emmys.
The specter of what is actually a comedy or not also messed up the best performance by an actress in a musical or comedy category. Showtime's trifecta of brilliant actresses - Toni Collette, Edie Falco and Laura Linney were all nominated here and would, by almost any standards, be the heavy favorites. But none of them are funnier than Tina Fey and none of them sing as well as Lea Michele. You see the problem. The award went to Linney and, given the parameters of this ill-conceived category, why not?
The same issues plagued best actor in a comedy or musical, but at least the winner, Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory, was a worthy candidate in a show that's actually a comedy. Was he funnier than Alec Baldwin? Not from this angle, and the same comparison could be made about Steve Carell in The Office. At least Matthew Morrison (far more musical in Glee - and dramatic, even - than funny) or Thomas Jane (great but not bust-a-gut funny in HBO's Hung) didn't get the nod.
In television's miniseries or movie category, The Pacific on HBO was the standout in a solid field, but the Globe went to Carlos (Sundance Channel), over others like Pillars of the Earth (Starz) Temple Grandin and You Don't Know Jack (both HBO). Fine work abounds here so there's no need to pitch a fit (but come on - you can't beat the grandness and saturating brutality of war that The Pacific documented so superbly).
Claire Danes and Al Pacino won for actress and actor in a miniseries or movie, but beyond snubs in the nomination process (so nobody from The Pacific was worthy?) you'll get no argument here.
For a true and nagging grievance, the Golden Globes are particularly guilty of being lazy and misguided for cobbling together the best performance by an actor/actress in a series, miniseries or movie category. You see what they did there, yes? Including "series" is ridiculous and indefensible. It ends up pitting Hope Davis against Sofia Vergara or David Strathairn against Scott Caan. Please fix these misguided categories, HPFA members. How do you compare winner Jane Lynch's comedic performance in Glee against Kelly McDonald's wonderfully conflicted turn as a struggling immigrant in Boardwalk Empire? Or even Colfer's surprisingly dramatic turn as a bullied gay student in Glee with Eric Stonestreet's relentlessly funny performance as a gay father in Modern Family?
Answer: You don't.
Maybe it's time the Golden Globes took television a little more seriously. Although that might entail taking the Globes itself more seriously. Neither is likely to happen very soon.
Email Tim Goodman at Tim.Goodman@THR.com