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Another day, another chance to be annoyed at another awards entity messing up nominations in the television industry.
Only this time, there’s more heft to the announcements — if “heft” has ever been used to describe the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s yearly “what-that-what?” known as the Golden Globes — and thus more reason to be disappointed about the organization getting it wrong.
For the Globes, it’s not hard to look bigger and, at least on the surface, more knowing about the most powerful medium on the planet when you follow the Screen Actors Guild award nominations — a group so seemingly uninterested in television that its half-hearted and limited categories seem like they were cobbled together by a bored assistant who was already 45 minutes late to his other job at a bookstore.
Thursday’s Globe nominations were, like years of Globe nominations before them, part head-scratcher for past nominees, part forward-thinking nod to fresh blood that the Emmy voters won’t get around to recognizing for another three years, and part calculated box-checking to make sure the highest-profile actors will be drinking champagne in the Beverly Hilton ballroom come awards night.
Given how awards for television have gone in recent years, it might be hard to bitch about such an amalgamation of oddities.
And yet — and yet! — wow, is there some Golden Globe-level nonsense to talk about.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association decided it might as well keep on snubbing Mad Men, a decision that will look, when history’s cruel evaluation comes down, like the kind of astonishing bullshit that it is. Yes, the Golden Globes are perhaps best known for loving new blood at the expense of older series — part visionary, part welcome tonic to the Emmys’ yearly rubber-stamping of the past — but it’s not OK to ignore what will go into the TV Hall of Fame as one of the two or three best series in history.
That said, the Mad Men nonsense wasn’t completely unexpected, of course, since this is just more of said snubbing of that gem on the part of the HFPA, which can never get enough Downton Abbey and this year jumped the gun and nominated Showtime’s drama The Affair, when the freshman sensation has gone from Roman candle to sad little sparkler before its season has even ended.
The Affair is one of the Globes’ “let’s be early” moments that will blow up in its face, because the show wasn’t even Showtime’s most worthy entry (it essentially boxed out the gains made by Masters of Sex last year).
No, the clear shocker this year is that The Americans on FX was ignored yet again, a now certifiably disturbing awards show trend given that The Americans is playing in a different league than pretty much any other non-miniseries drama out there.
Before ranting just a little bit more, a brief aside here — yes, every year the Golden Globes does a few things that are admirable and refreshing enough to tone down the snub-anger, and this year its nomination of The CW’s fresh Jane the Virgin series as best comedy and its breakout star Gina Rodriguez as best actress in a comedy qualified as salve.
Yay, for that.
And, of course, the most obvious and necessary aside is to reiterate that these are the Golden Globes — getting too worked up over them is an exercise in not only futility but stupidity, so there’s that.
But if you love television or at least take it seriously, nominations of almost any kind — heft or respected provenance notwithstanding — gratuitous oversights and clear violations of taste or intelligence can prove extremely annoying.
You know, like turning Tatiana Maslany into a snub again. Really? Come on, people, can we at least get one thing right? I would argue that Orphan Black, the series from which her brilliance originates, was also dubiously ignored. Look, if The Affair got in — mark my words, historically we’ll be wincing at that as early as, well, right now — then there’s no tittering about any show.
But snubbing Tatiana Maslany? After the recognition? That just hurts.
Now, back to this attempt at analyzing what the hell just happened.
For best drama, the Globes continue to really love Downton Abbey, which absolutely can’t happen if you’re going to do something asinine like jump in too early on The Affair. Those two block out The Americans (insert grinding of teeth sound here), The Walking Dead, The Leftovers, The Knick, Homeland, Penny Dreadful, Masters of Sex, Orphan Black, Rectify or perhaps something like Outlander from Starz which, unlike The Affair, actually improved as it went along.
Not to mention that little show known as Mad Men.
(Really, the more you try to get inside the mind of Globes voters — definitely not advised — you wonder how or why they decided to skip Outlander, which is right in their wheelhouse.)
For best comedies, there’s less of a forehead-slapping inclusion, particularly since Orange Is the New Black, which was inexplicably ignored as a drama last year gets moved to the comedy side and Globe voters rightfully tabbed Amazon’s brilliant Transparent as a worthy candidate here. Plus, the previously mentioned “Way to go, Globes!” positive of recognizing The CW’s Jane the Virgin limits this category to only two others, which were filled by HBO’s Girls and Silicon Valley entries — no argument there at all — leaving worthy nominees like Louie and Veep in the cold. Not to mention that Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which was last year’s Globe shocker — and winner! — didn’t get nominated. It’s arguably the best sitcom on broadcast television, so go figure on several fronts.
But this category is almost a perfect example of why complaining about any awards show is such a disheartening exercise. What would you take out? Every entry is worthy. I think the exclusion of Louie is egregious and perhaps it should have nudged out Girls, but maybe the better answer is the one I now preach yearly: Expand the categories.
Clearly, there’s more great television than five nominations can cover.
Elsewhere the Golden Globes did what it had to do — lavish attention on Fargo and True Detective, the two miniseries (from FX and HBO, respectively) that absolutely had to be adored. I’m disappointed that The Honorable Woman, which was equally as brilliant, was left off the list (though its star Maggie Gyllenhaal was nominated). That said, I applaud the inclusion of The Missing, which I thought would lose out to The Honorable Woman. That at least one got nominated, at the expense of American Horror Story, is a win in my book. (Though, if I’m getting greedy, BBC America’s The Game would have been there, too.)
While it’s hard, on a day of egregious oversight like this (coming on the heels of a day like Wednesday when the SAG idiocy happened), to applaud all that the Globes got right about television, it’s important to do so, even with the caveat that “it’s just the Globes.” That’s because the Emmys, the flagship awards show for the TV industry, just flat-out can’t be counted on to get things right. So on a day when a critic wants to go running down the street screaming out the names of the unjustly snubbed — Mad Men and its actors, The Americans and its actors, Tatiana Maslany, Louie, Veep, The Honorable Woman, The Leftovers and its actors, The Walking Dead and its actors, among only the most very obvious — it’s also important to smile about Jane the Virgin, Transparent, Orange Is the New Black, The Missing, not messing up on Fargo or True Detective, plus Jeffrey Tambor, Allison Tolman, Gina Rodriguez, etc.
In the world of awards, sometimes you take what you can get to stave off having your head explode.
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