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The Winners and Losers of the 2018 Golden Globe Nominations

As always, the loosest, most mysterious awards show around delivered a list of acknowledgements that was equally exciting and confounding

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To get to entertainment’s messiest, loosest (read: drunkest) night of the year, first we must sit through a 5 a.m. PT announcement of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s chosen nominees. Notoriously small, arbitrary, and biased toward the famous and/or international, the HFPA is an odd gatekeeper to bypass on the long road of Oscar season. But the Globes remain an institution, so The Ringer’s Alison Herman and Miles Surrey got up bright and early to sort through the fallout across television and film. While Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh start workshopping their bits, here are the winners and losers of Thursday morning’s nomination slate.

Loser: Atlanta

Atlanta returned from a one-year hiatus at the Golden Globes—the result of a delayed second season and creator-writer-actor Donald Glover starring in a Star Wars movie—with little to show for it, scoring just one nomination for Glover (Best Actor–Musical or Comedy). Granted, Atlanta had only two nominations at the 2017 Globes (Best Television Series–Musical or Comedy and another acting nod for Glover), but the comedy won both awards. It seemed like the HFPA would ride the wave of Atlanta hype from this year’s Emmys—in which the series earned three wins and was nominated in an additional 13 categories—for a second season that was just as unanimously praised as the first. (Not to mention, it brought us the unforgettably terrifying “Teddy Perkins.”) But it was left out of the Comedy category, and, worse than that, Brian Tyree Henry wasn’t acknowledged.

Atlanta’s only hope for Globes glory is another acting win for Glover, but that may prove a considerable challenge. For an awards body that loves its stars, Glover will be competing against Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method), Jim Carrey (Kidding), Bill Hader (Barry), and Sacha Baron Cohen (Who Is America?). If Atlanta’s destined to strike out at the Globes anyway, Glover might as well do an Emmys redux and get someone to show up in character as Teddy Perkins. The HFPA permits its Globes guests to drink a copious amount of alcohol during the ceremony; combine that with the sight of that ghoulish figure, and we’ve got ourselves a viral moment. —MS

Winner: Old White Guys

Is there anything more telling than the exclusion of Atlanta:Robbin’ Season” for The Kominsky Method? The former was a universally lauded season of television that managed to build on the tremendous accomplishment, and surprise, of its predecessor with a surreal, cynical tour through black life in America. The latter is a Chuck Lorre sitcom about aging that’s occasionally a moving meditation on loneliness and grief, but more often a well of crude prostate jokes and eyerolls directed at millennials and their dang PC grandstanding (and also smartphones). I’m much more fond of Jim Carrey’s mournful, playful Kidding, but must admit that it falls into the same category of an aging star (in Kominsky’s case, the excellent though blatantly category-fraud-perpetrating Alan Arkin) compelling an awards body with the sheer force of their gravitas. The Hollywood Foreign Press notoriously loves a movie star, a trend that benefited Julia Roberts, Patricia Arquette, and Amy Adams in other categories. But sometimes, its interest in star power over everything leads to some disappointing, and thoroughly traditionalist, choices by default. —AH

Winner: A Movie Nobody’s Seen Yet

As always, a handful of movies nominated at the Globes haven’t had their theatrical releases yet. Nobody is going to question the merits of Mary Poppins Returns and its four Globe nominations; it doesn’t take much squinting to understand why a highly anticipated sequel starring Emily Blunt and the creator of Hamilton is drawing considerable hype. And while it’s a totally different movie, the same sentiment goes for Vice.

The Dick Cheney biopic (three words I never expected to write) earned six nominations Thursday, including Best Picture–Musical or Comedy and acting nods for Christian Bale, Sam Rockwell, and Amy Adams. Therein lies the film’s appeal to the star-loving HFPA: Vice is a star-studded vehicle (it also has Steve Carell in a sizable role) from Adam McKay, the guy behind Anchorman and The Big Short. Because Vice has been seen by only voting members and critics under embargo, the merits of this film are still a mystery. But after The Big Short, McKay has proved himself to be effective with scathing sociopolitical satires. The pedigree seems to have been more than enough to convince the HFPA to buy in. —MS

Winner: The Emmys

Normally, the Golden Globes pride themselves on using their calendar-year eligibility rules to honor the late-year TV breakouts the Emmys automatically exclude due to their wonky scheduling. I’ve long joked that the Best Actress in a Television Series–Musical or Comedy award is all but reserved for the HFPA’s Ingenue of the Moment, from Rachel Brosnahan last year to Rachel Bloom and Gina Rodriguez in years past. It’s part of the Globes’ fascinating split identity: reactionary cultural conservatism on the one hand, a compulsive need to get in on the ground floor of up-and-coming talent on the other.

This year, however, TV may have been unusually front-loaded. Pose’s strong showing certainly makes the HFPA look like tastemakers, but fellow Ryan Murphy series The Assassination of Gianni Versace has already had its day in the sun. Likewise, the nominations of Killing Eve (and Globes cohost!) Sandra Oh don’t land with the splash they might have if the Emmys hadn’t seen the light several months before, while Barry’s Bill Hader and Henry Winkler already have their trophies in hand. Even Ted Danson has already represented The Good Place to the Emmy votership, another opportunity for thunder-stealing thwarted. In 2018, it’s the Emmys who look like the trendsetters and the Globes who look like the fusty follow-ups. And when the Emmys inevitably go all in on The Kominsky Method, the HFPA will have already taken the heat. —AH

Winner: Flawed Oscar Bait

Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody are the kind of movies awards-show bodies like the HFPA would’ve fallen head over heels for a decade ago: a feel-good biographical dramedy that only slightly touches on race and a musical biopic about a famous rock band. Both of these films are egregiously flawed; Green Book fumbles its message on race, while Bohemian Rhapsody provides little nuance to Freddie Mercury’s sexuality or the band’s history. Nevertheless, both films scored with the Globes: Green Book pulled in five nominations, while Bohemian Rhapsody nabbed two. Though the unpredictability is at least part of the HFPA’s appeal, those hoping that voting bodies for awards shows were getting smarter were unfortunately proved wrong. —MS

Loser: Widows

You’d think Widows would be Globes catnip. Steve McQueen assembled arguably the most stacked acting roster of the year for his take on the heist movie: Viola Davis, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall, Liam Neeson, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo all had sizable roles. It might not have made the biggest splash at the box office, but it garnered unanimous critical praise, and it’s exactly the kind of movie the Globes typically recognizes.

Widows got zero nominations. Every actor was snubbed, as was McQueen, who previously earned a directing nomination at the Globes for 12 Years a Slave. The shutout is especially disappointing considering that its potential spot in the Best Picture–Drama category is occupied by Bohemian Rhapsody, a vastly inferior and flawed film. The HFPA can be spicy with its picks, but this is a bad take. —MS

Winner: TV Drama

For years, pretty much everyone—by which I mean “I, with most people I know in general agreement”—has said that television comedy, (extremely) broadly defined as the half-hour show, is a more interesting and vital form than television drama. Yet this year’s Globes slate reverses the trend. The comedy field is weighed down by the exclusion of Atlanta, the carryover of heavy favorites from last year like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and the addition of a deeply traditionalist sitcom with a Netflix paint job in The Kominsky Method. This time it’s the drama category, not comedy, with the new blood, and exciting new blood at that. Killing Eve has electrified and recast the espionage thriller; Pose made history with heart; Homecoming made auteur-driven, movie-star-led TV seem more intimate than bombastic. Even The Americans got a surprise last-season nod, a graduating senior as thrilling as the freshmen. In the HFPA’s rarefied universe, at least, the drama may be staging a long-overdue comeback. —AH

Loser: The Handmaid’s Tale

But awards nominations are finite, and all this progress has to come at someone’s expense. On its own terms, The Handmaid’s Tale had a perfectly acceptable showing, fielding a couple of acting nominations for Yvonne Strahovski and Elisabeth Moss. But relative to the show’s total dominance last year, and even at the Emmys earlier this year, its haul marks a dramatic backslide in progress, with no series nomination whatsoever and no double-dipping into its packed supporting cast, leaving Ann Dowd out in the cold. In my opinion, at least, this reversal of fortune corresponds with a dip in the show’s quality. As we all know, however, quality isn’t everything when it comes to awards, and the poor Globes showing indicates that Handmaid’s is losing more than one key constituency. The problem with channeling the zeitgeist so eerily is that the zeitgeist is wont to change. —AH