Here’s Some Money, Please Validate Me! – 78th Golden Globe Nominees Announced

For the purposes of legal protection, I will say upfront that I can’t prove that the 90+ members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are bribed for their votes at the Golden Globes. It is merely an opinion, mostly presented tongue-in-cheek, based on the history of truly baffling nominations and awards that repeatedly smack of desperate people wanting to pretend they’re friends with celebrities, teaming up for mutual benefit with desperate productions looking for prestige validation to boost sales. Sure, there’s some good stuff that gets recognized as well, which normally gets reflected in the various trade guild ceremonies, BAFTAs and Oscars, but year after year, the HFPA puts out a list of nominees that make one alternately wonder what drugs they’re on, how much they were paid to do it, or how much they just want to appease the Ryan Seacrests of the world. And yet people accuse the Academy of going off the rails in attempts to feel relevant.

This year, sadly, is no different. There’s one major headline with today’s release of the Golden Globe nominees, and even then it might be somewhat cynical. But even if it’s not, it’s essentially buried in another shit pile of pandering that truly boggles the mind.

Unfortunately, the industry still lends this multimillion dollar cocktail party enough credibility to make it something of a bellwether for the Oscars, so until the world pulls its collective head out of its ass and sees this mockery for what it very likely is, I’m duty bound to cover it.

The official list of all nominees can be found here. As always, I’m only concerned with the film half of the equation, and I’ll provide whatever links and release information I have available. (* – denotes posthumous nomination)

Best Motion Picture – Drama
The Father – In theatres 2/26, streaming TBD
Mank – Netflix
Nomadland – Hulu 2/19
Promising Young Woman – VOD
The Trial of the Chicago 7 – Netflix

Best Actress – Drama
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Netflix
Andra Day – The United States vs. Billie Holiday – Hulu 2/26
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of a Woman – Netflix
Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman

Best Actor – Drama
Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal – Amazon
Chadwick Boseman* – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins – The Father
Gary Oldman – Mank
Tahar Rahim – The Mauritanian – In theatres 2/12, streaming TBD

Best Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm – Amazon
Hamilton – Disney+
Music – VOD 2/12
Palm Springs – Hulu
The Prom – Netflix

Best Actress – Musical/Comedy
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Kate Hudson – Music
Michelle Pfeiffer – French Exit – In theatres 2/12, streaming TBD
Rosamund Pike – I Care a Lot – Netflix
Anya Taylor-Joy – Emma. – VOD/DVD

Best Actor – Musical/Comedy
Sacha Baron Cohen – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
James Corden – The Prom
Lin-Manuel Miranda – Hamilton
Dev Patel – The Personal History of David Copperfield – VOD/DVD
Andy Samberg – Palm Springs

Best Motion Picture – Animated
The Croods: A New Age – VOD
Onward – Disney+/DVD
Over the Moon – Netflix
Soul – Disney+
Wolfwalkers – AppleTV+

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
Another Round (Denmark) – VOD
La Llorona (Guatemala/France) – Amazon
The Life Ahead (Italy) – Netflix
Minari (USA) – VOD 2/26
Two of Us (France/USA) – Limited theatres

Best Supporting Actress
Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy – Netflix
Olivia Colman – The Father
Jodie Foster – The Mauritanian
Amanda Seyfried – Mank
Helena Zengel – News of the World – Theatres/VOD

Best Supporting Actor
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah – Theatres/HBO Max 2/12
Jared Leto – The Little Things – Theatres/HBO Max
Bill Murray – On the Rocks – AppleTV+
Leslie Odom, Jr. – One Night in Miami – Amazon

Best Director
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
David Fincher – Mank
Regina King – One Night in Miami
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Chloe Zhao – Nomadland

Best Screenplay
Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman
Jack Fincher* – Mank
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton – The Father
Chloe Zhao – Nomadland

Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat – The Midnight Sky – Netflix
Ludwig Goransson – Tenet – VOD
James Newton Howard – News of the World
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Mank
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jon Batiste – Soul

Best Original Song
“Fight for You” – Judas and the Black Messiah
“Hear My Voice” – The Trial of the Chicago 7
“Io Si (Seen)” – The Life Ahead
“Speak Now” – One Night in Miami
“Tigress & Tweed” – The United States vs. Billie Holiday

I will note some positive aspects before I start trashing this trash. I’m glad Amanda Seyfried got nominated for Mank, as it’s the best performance she’s ever given. I also breathe a sigh of relief that the most “poppy” ceremony still felt the need to exclude Scoob! and Trolls World Tour from the Animated Feature category. Sacha Baron Cohen is nominated twice, which is a pleasant surprise, but he definitely deserves the Supporting Actor nod for Chicago 7.

Okay, let’s unpack the bullshit. There are at least five films on this list that I’ve never even heard of. I’m not perfect, but I do my best to keep up with this stuff, and for five movies to completely slip through the cracks just screams that they’re trying to buy notoriety. So just for fun, I checked them out on Rotten Tomatoes. That at least sparked recognition for one of them, The Little Things, thanks to a screenshot of Denzel Washington. That film has a whopping 48% rating. As for the other four, only The Life Ahead – with 91% – has a Certified Fresh rating. But that’s only nominated for Foreign Language (it was not Italy’s submission) and Original Song because we just can’t NOT nominate Diane fucking Warren every goddamn year. The other three, Music (a musical directed by fucking Sia that draws comparisons to the dumpster fire that is Cats), The Mauritanian (Guantanamo Bay legal drama that’s certain to get confused with The Mandalorian), and I Care a Lot (thriller about late-stage capitalism) have ratings of 29%, 62%, and 93% respectively, meaning that only one of them is really worth your eyes.

Next, The Prom? Really? I haven’t watched it, but based on reactions, I’m not the least bit inclined. It currently holds a “Rotten” 56% rating, with the negative reviews being VERY negative, like D+ range, mostly because no one wanted to see Ryan Murphy do Glee with adults and we have well reached the saturation point with James Corden. But because he does the Carpool Karaoke and fellates celebrities with the best of them, of course he’s nominated and the movie is somehow up for Best Picture.

The one thing that people will universally latch onto as a positive is the fact that three women are nominated for Best Director. And this is definitely a good thing. But it rings a bit hollow to nominate Regina King but not nominate One Night in Miami for Best Picture. They’d have had room for it if they had properly nominated The Trial of the Chicago 7 as a Comedy, because while it has dramatic elements, it thrives on Sorkin’s wit to let us laugh at the absurdity of the miscarriage of justice depicted in the film. Make that shift, and you have space for One Night in Miami as a Drama and you don’t have to pad out Musical/Comedy with consensus bad movies like The Prom or Music. That still doesn’t solve how Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom doesn’t get a Best Picture nomination, but at least it mitigates the issue.

This problem is even more glaring when you consider the fact that Hamilton is nominated twice, including for Best Picture, when I’m fairly certain it’s not even eligible for the Academy. Please correct me if I’m wrong on this, but I don’t believe it was ever intended for a theatrical release, so being on a streaming service wouldn’t qualify it. It was always intended as subscriber bait for Disney+, and in that respect it succeeded, but that’s it. It wasn’t even produced as a film. It’s a recording of the stage musical, not a film adaptation. If they ever do make a true Hamilton movie, I’d love to see it, especially since In the Heights got delayed into late 2021 at this point. But this is a glorified concert video, not a produced film. Either the HFPA is desperate for something to qualify for the Musical/Comedy category (Emma. was RIGHT THERE FOR YOU!), or they’re desperate to try to get on the Hamilton bandwagon five years too late. Pick one. It’s still desperation, and still bullshit.

As always, the HFPA likes to think itself superior because of their Foreign Language category, but again, it’s bullshit. Italy chose Notturno instead of The Life Ahead as its Academy submission, so the HFPA will thumb their nose at the Academy and nominate it in two categories, even though, as previously mentioned, that other nod is for yet another Diane Warren ballad that no one gives a shit about. Also, they like to brag about nominating American productions that use Foreign Language, so Minari gets its sole mention in this list, even though it’s likely to be given a lot more recognition by the Academy instead of trying to shoehorn it into a category where it’s not eligible. Finally, they brag about allowing multiple submissions per country, but here it falls flat, because the multiple nominees are France (with USA and Guatemala) and the USA itself (solo and with France). So the wider net they cast lands two nominations each for America and the default country for foreign films? Cut the crap.

So yeah, this is gonna suck. If you actually watch this charade, I hope you enjoy Tina Fey and Amy Poehler phoning it in over Zoom. Tomorrow the SAG nominees get announced, and hopefully that will look a lot more sane and a lot less thirsty.

Join the conversation in the comments below! Are you rooting for any of these films? Am I harping on the transparent bullshit too much? Do you actually like James Corden, and if so, how’s it going, James? Let me know!

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