Snubs, surprises, and victory speeches: How the Golden Globe nominations break down

The awards, which celebrate the best of TV and film, take place on January 8th

Snubs, surprises, and victory speeches: How the Golden Globe nominations break down


If there was one major surprise at yesterday’s Golden Globes nominations, it was the inclusion of the Irish film Sing Street in contention for ‘Best Film (Comedy or Musical)’. To say that John Carney’s 80s-set romp, a charming comedy about a bunch of schoolboys who start a band, has only the scantest of chances of claiming the prize – seeing it is nominated in the same category of the leader-of-the-nominations-pack La La Land – is no understatement, but the nod is further reminder that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association often opens up the field to a far more diverse range of movies and TV shows than the other nights that punctuate Awards Season.

As with any year, the nominations announcement comes with its usual supply of surprises and snubs, as well as frontrunners to claim the prize on what it typically the most fun awards ceremony of the year. Here’s our take on the biggest shocks to come out of those listed yesterday, as well as the likely winner of the categories.

Best Motion Picture – Drama

  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Lion
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight

Snubs: That Martin Scorsese’s Silence, a film he has described as a passion project and which he has spent decades preparing for, failed to garner a single nod has surprised many, though the film’s intensity plays better to the Academy than the HFPS. Furthermore, the absence of Denzel Washington-directed Fences pushes the adaptation of the stage play squarely into a film of performances, rather than a classic.

Surprises: While it has been favourably reviewed, many critics argue that Lion, which tells the true story of a young Indian boy who gets separated from his family and adopted by an Australian couple, is perhaps too sentimental to claim the prize. But it’s Hacksaw Ridge, directed by the troubled Mel Gibson, who last year’s host Ricky Gervais obliterated live on stage, that is the real surprise here.

Winner: It’s a two-horse race between Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight, with the latter have better buzz right now.

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

  • 20th Century Women
  • Deadpool
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • La La Land
  • Sing Street

Snubs: The ‘Musical or Comedy’ list avoids any potholes in its nominees, perhaps having learned the lesson from last year’s inclusion of The Martian.

Surprises: Sing Street, which only made $3.2m at the US box office, has significantly punched above its weight to even make it onto the list, but it’s the love for Deadpool, the R-rated superantihero comedy starring Ryan Reynolds, the kind of movie that never gets awards buzz, that is the most refreshing choice here.

Winner: It’s hard to see anyone toppling La La Land in this category, but with the small number of voters, the diversity of the nominees could through up a major surprise.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
  • Joel Edgerton, Loving
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences

Snubs: Although both are Awards Season darlings, neither Tom Hanks in Sully nor Matthew McConaughey in Gold could bank on their star power to get them on a list of well-reviewed performances.

Surprises: Arguably the most surprising name on the list is Garfield’s, but mostly down to how Mel Gibson is still regarded as toxic in Hollywood circles. It’s perhaps more surprising that his work in this than Silence took the nod, but his appearance should have come as no surprise to anyone.

Winner: Casey Affleck’s turn as a troubled uncle coping with grief in Manchester by the Sea is the one to back here.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Amy Adams, Arrival
  • Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Snubs: The Girl on the Train couldn’t pull off the Gone Girl nomination it would have wanted for Emily Blunt, in a tight category that should be difficult to whittle down for the Academy.

Surprises: None, with a roster filled with HFPS favourites and critically-lauded performances.

Winner: Very tricky to name this one. Irish-Ethiopian actress Ruth Negga’s turn is the best chance Loving has, though the current momentum seems to have swung to Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy. The dark horse is Huppert, with the French actress appealing to the foreign press.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

  • Colin Farrell, The Lobster
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jonah Hill, War Dogs
  • Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool

Snubs: In a scattershot list – Ryan Gosling is likely to be the only one to graduate to the Oscar’s shortlist for ‘Best Actor’ – the exclusion of Michael Keaton, a reliable figure over the past two years, in The Founder is the biggest snub.

Surprises: The love for Florence Foster Jenkins and Hugh Grant is understandable giving the considerable clout of Meryl Streep, and it’s even understandable that Deadpool sees Reynolds included, despite the fact most of the movie sees him wearing a mask. But Jonah Hill’s nomination for War Dogs, a performance that is mostly just an annoying laugh, is the most strange.

Winner: Ryan Gosling is the frontrunner so far ahead that he could pose like Usain Bolt in that viral photo from the Olympics.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical

  • Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
  • Lily Collins, Rules Don’t Apply
  • Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen
  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Meryl Steep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Snubs: The subtraction of any of the leading women in Hidden Figures, the story of the African-American female mathematicians in the space race, spells trouble for its Oscar hopes.

Surprises: Only of the pleasant kind, with Steinfeld’s turn in the very well-received teen drama the nicest surprise here.

Winner: The voters love Meryl, who has eight wins from 31 nominations to date. But she’s being honoured with the lifetime achievement award on the night, so Emma Stone should claim the prize.

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Simon Helberg, Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals

Snubs: Liam Neeson’s absence for Silence is perhaps the most surprising, what with the actor having revitalised his career over the last decade and collaborated with Scorsese on the passion project.

Surprises: Two major surprises are Simon ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Helberg and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who most likely edged out his co-star Michael Shannon, a character actor and Awards Season favourite.

Winner: Mahershala Ali is the frontrunner, but Hell or High Water was a critical hit and Jeff Bridges is more likely to curry favour here.

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

  • Viola Davis, Fences
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Snubs: No major snubs here, though both Margot Martindale and Molly Shannon could have expected a nod for their respective roles as dying mothers.

Surprises: The only slight surprise on the list is Kidman, but this is likely the list that will progress to Oscar night.

Winner: Viola Davis will dominate Awards Season, have made the decision to put herself forward as a supporting role in what is definitively the lead of Fences. Michelle Williams is the dark horse, but her performance is mostly condensed to one three-minute sequence, which will struggle to topple Davis.

Best Director – Motion Picture

  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
  • Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Snubs: Scorsese’s omission is the only one that matters in a field in which only three men stand any chance of winning.

Surprises: If anything, Tom Ford’s inclusion is an even bigger shock than Mel Gibson, who has directed a number of critically acclaimed dramas in his day. Ford’s Nocturnal Animals was more divisive than any film on the list, but the nomination is serious recognition for what is only his second movie.

Winner: It’s hard to call between Chazelle, Jenkins, and Lonergan, all of whom could claim the honour. Momentum seems to be with Chazelle right now, whose direction of the film’s song and dance numbers could swing it his way.

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
  • Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water

Snubs: By not splitting adapted and original, this is the one area where the Golden Globes squeezes out comedies. But it’s the crafty reworking of Arrival, based on a long-considered-unfilmable novella, that’s the biggest snub.

Surprises: Tom Ford, again, is the biggest shock on the list, though he hasn’t a chance of winning.

Winner: Manchester by the Sea should claim this one.

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

  • Nicholas Britell, Moonlight
  • Justin Hurwitz, La La Land
  • Johan Johannsson, Arrival
  • Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka, Lion
  • Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Benjamin Wallfisch, Hidden Figures

Snubs: None, a solid list.

Surprises: None, either.

Winner: Despite it being included on many best of the year lists, this is Arrival’s only real shot in 2017, though it’ll have to topple La La Land first.

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

  • Can’t Stop the Feeling, Trolls

Music & Lyrics by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Shellback

  • City of Stars, La La Land

Music by Justin Hurwitz, lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

  • Faith, Sing

Music & lyrics by Ryan Tedder, Stevie Wonder and Frances Farwell Starlite

  • Gold, Gold

Music & lyrics by Brian Burton, Stephen Gaghan, Daniel Pemberton, and Iggy Pop

  • How Far I’ll Go, Moana

Music & lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Snubs: Audition (The Fools who Dream), Emma Stone’s big number from La La Land, is the biggest omission from the relatively uninspiring list.

Surprises: Nothing major.

Winner: It’ll most likely go to Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose Hamilton clout has turned him into Hollywood’s golden boy, though City of Stars is the dark horse.

Best Animated Feature Film

  • Kubo & the Two Stings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • Sing
  • Zootopia

Snubs: The freezing out of Pixar with no nod for Finding Dory is a blow to the animation house that essentially necessitated the creation of this category. It’s also a blow to the R-rated Sausage Party, which has campaigned hard, but whose mantle has been stolen by Deadpool.

Surprises: Sing is the only outlier in the group, another rote animation from the crew at Illumination.

Winner: While Kubo is the dark horse, it isn’t even Laika’s best in a year that will be dominated by Disney, with Zootopia a neck ahead of Moana.

Best Foreign-Language Film

  • Divines (France)
  • Elle (France)
  • Neruda (Chile)
  • The Salesman (Iran/France)
  • Toni Erdmann (Germany)

Snubs: The lack of any love for South Korea’s The Handmaiden is the biggest surprise on the international list, which isn’t bound to the same rules of one country/one movie like the Academy.

Surprises: None, it’s a list of film festival favourites.

Winner: It’s most likely a two-horse race between Elle and Toni Erdmann, with the latter coming with a greater sense of ownership of this category.

Best Television Series – Drama

  • The Crown
  • Game of Thrones
  • Stranger Things
  • This is Us
  • Westworld

Snubs: With Only Game of Thrones having carried over from last year, the biggest snub belongs to last year’s victor Mr Robot, while the absence of House of Cards and Narcos won’t worry Netflix too much, with two of its dramas getting through.

Surprises: The biggest surprise is the inclusion of This is Us, the NBC era-spanning family drama, at a time when network TV shows rarely see any love.

Winner: Stranger Things could pull off something very special here, and deserves it.

Best Television Series – Comedy or Musical

  • Atlanta
  • Black-ish
  • Mozart in the Jungle
  • Transparent
  • Veep

Snubs: The freezing out of Orange is the New Black, which came off the back of a season few would call comedy, isn’t good news for the drama, which also found scant favour from the Emmy voters. But no love for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Insecure, Silicon Valley, You’re the Worst, and the brilliant Fleabag shows how competitive the category is.

Surprises: Black-ish finally getting a nod after three seasons is great news at the Golden Globes, which has a tendency to award newer and soon to be wrapped-up shows only.

Winner: If they decide to award novelty, Atlanta will take it, otherwise it’s Veep’s to lose.

Best Actor in a TV Series – Drama

  • Rami Malek, Mr Robot
  • Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
  • Matthew Rhys, The Americans
  • Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
  • Billy Bob Thornton, Goliath

Snubs: With no nominations for Billions, with two lead performances from previous winners Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis, the Showtime show seems like the biggest snub, though no love for Kevin Spacey is a bad sign for House of Cards.

Surprises: One baffling, with Thornton’s show a little-seen Amazon one, and one great one, with Matthew Rhys certainly deserving his nod.

Winner: The momentum might swing Rhys’s way, with his nomination seen as long overdue.

Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama

  • Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
  • Claire Foy, The Crown
  • Keri Russell, The Americans
  • Winona Ryder, Stranger Things
  • Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld

Snubs: Only Irishwoman Balfe carries over from last year, though Outlander looks unlikely to claim a prize here. But it looks like a snub to last year’s winner Taraji P Henson, who also didn’t pick up a nod for Hidden Figures.

Surprises: Keri Russell, like her on and off-screen flame Matthew Rhys, is the nicest surprise here, but will probably fail to break through the showier newbies on the list.

Winner: Winona Ryder will probably claim it, given how much of a juggernaut Stranger Things has been, as well as this marking her comeback.

Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy or Musical

  • Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
  • Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
  • Donald Glover, Atlanta
  • Nick Nolte, Graves
  • Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Snubs: Network TV talent, with the exception of Anderson, have been completely frozen out here.

Surprises: None.

Winner: Jeffrey Tambor has dominated this category in the recent past, but it looks like momentum could shift to Donald Glover this time.

Best Actress in a TV Series – Comedy or Musical

  • Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Sarah Jessica Parker, Divorce
  • Issa Rae, Insecure
  • Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
  • Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

Snubs: Constance Wu for Fresh off the Boat at a push, in what is the most competitive category of the night.

Surprises: Divorce has not been too well received, so SJP’s inclusion shows that she remains a perennial favourite of the HFPA.

Winner: This is a category dominated by fresh blood, so expect Issa Rae, whose HBO drama deserves as much recognition as Atlanta, to take the prize.

Best Actor in a Limited Series or Made-for-TV Movie

  • Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
  • Bryan Cranston, All the Way
  • Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
  • John Turturro, The Night Of
  • Courtney B Vance, American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson

Snubs: None, it’s the list most people would have expected.

Surprises: See above.

Winner: If American Crime Story can hold on until January, it’s Vance’s to lose, otherwise it should go to Cranston.

Best Actress in a Limited Series or Made-for-TV Movie

  • Felicity Huffman, American Crime
  • Riley Keough, The Girlfriend Experience
  • Sarah Paulson, American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson
  • Charlotte Rampling, London Spy
  • Kerry Washington, Confirmation

Snubs: Phoebe Waller-Bridge deserved a nod here for her turn on Fleabag.

Surprises: Rampling is the biggest surprise here, for the BBC series that really split audiences and critics alike.

Winner: It’s hard to see anyone toppling Sarah Paulson here.

Best Supporting Actor in a TV Series, Limited Series, or Made-for-TV Movie

  • Sterling K Brown, American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson
  • Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
  • John Lithgow, The Crown
  • Christian Slater, Mr Robot
  • John Travolta, American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson

Snubs: TV comedies get short shrift here, with the wide category dominated by prestige drama.

Surprises: None, it’s a list of expected talent.

Winner: This is the category where American Crime Story could trip up, most likely paving the way for Lithgow theatrical performance as Winston Churchill.

Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series, Limited Series, or Made-for-TV Movie

  • Olivia Colman, The Night Manager
  • Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
  • Chrissy Metz, This is Us
  • Mandy Moore, This is Us
  • Thandie Newton, Westworld

Snubs: With Headey GoT’s only acting nomination, the show really fell out of favour with HFPA voters, but will regain the lost ground as it moves into its final seasons. And Kelly Bishop deserved a nod for her work on Gilmore Girls.

Surprises: Metz and Moore break through for Network TV, which shows the pulling power of This is Us, which has proven a real hit with US viewers.

Winner: Thandie Newton is the best thing, by a long mile, in Westworld, playing a character that looks like she was plucked out of Westeros and accidentally dropped into the turgid realm of Westworld.

Best Limited Series or Made-for-TV Movie

  • American Crime
  • The Dresser
  • The Night Manager
  • The Night Of
  • American Crime Story: the People vs. OJ Simpson

Snubs: The much-hyped Gilmore Girls revival found no love at all with the Golden Globes voters, though perhaps the show that most deserved a nod in this category is Planet Earth II.

Surprises: The Dresser, a co-production from the BBC and Starz, marks the latter’s first foray into made-for-TV movies, and their creative gamble was justly rewarded here.

Winner: It should go American Crime Story’s way on the night.

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