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The Golden Globe Nominations: Still Crazy After All These Years

Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life.
December 15, 2011

It’s never a surprise that the Golden Globe nominations often seem as earnestly devoted to tippling as the Golden Globe ceremony itself. The surprises come from seeing which peculiar left turns the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is taking this year.

This year’s nominations, which were announced this morning (the full list is here), certainly include plenty of standard nods for films like The Descendants, The Artist, and Hugo, and for television shows like Downton Abbey and The Good Wife.

But who’s that, peeking around the corner? Callie Thorne of the USA show Necessary Roughness, who grabbed her nomination for drama series lead actress over, for instance, Connie Britton, who could have been nominated for her role either in the super-classy Friday Night Lights or the super-trashy American Horror Story.

Speaking of American Horror Story, please enjoy its nomination for outstanding drama series — an honor not bestowed on AMC’s Breaking Bad, perhaps the most honored show in television.

Over on the comedy side, there was no series-level love for any of the NBC Thursday night comedies — the nominations for comedy (or musical!) series went to Glee, Modern Family, New Girl, Enlightened, and Episodes. Too bad, Parks And Recreation — you should have featured more of Zooey Deschanel.

The comedy surprises continued as two-time Emmy winner Jim Parsons was snubbed in favor of his Big Bang Theory co-star Johnny Galecki, while David Duchovny and Thomas Jane were nominated for Californication and Hung but Steve Carell’s final run on The Office was shrugged off. Likewise, there was no recognition for the white-hot Melissa McCarthy of Mike & Molly, who won the Emmy in September and is a candidate for a Bridesmaids Oscar nomination.

Unlike lead actors, supporting actors are pushed into a single category whether they do drama or comedy, which presents the hilarious spectacle of Sofia Vergara of Modern Family facing off against Maggie Smith of Downton Abbey, while Eric Stonestreet (also of Modern Family) stares down Guy Pierce of HBO’s Mildred Pierce miniseries.

Every year, one or two movies are inexplicably classified as musical/comedy rather than drama, and this year, they are the decidedly non-hilarious Michelle Williams vehicle My Week With Marilyn — which, yes, technically includes a character singing and is in the barest sense a musical, but then, the same is true of Shame — and Roman Polanski’s Carnage, for which both Kate Winslet and Jodie Foster were nominated. The play Gods Of Carnage was generally regarded as a dark comedy, but the movie almost completely suppresses any humor. That means Winslet, Foster, and Williams make up three-fifths of the comedy/musical actress pool despite doing very, very little comedy. (The other two-fifths are Kristen Wiig of the actual comedy Bridesmaids and Charlize Theron of the at least partial comedy Young Adult.) Conversely, Moneyball is nominated as a drama, despite containing a good splash of comedy.

So yes, these nominations, as always, are weird. It’s certainly not worth being actually angry about them (if you were, you’d be … well, as someone noted yesterday, you’d kind of be one of these people), but that doesn’t mean there’s not something to be said for taking your hat off to the sheer whimsy of, say, pitting Michelle Williams’ heartbreaking work as Marilyn Monroe against Kristen Wiig with chocolate stuck to her teeth.

The Golden Globes are a fundamentally goofy proposition, given out by a tiny club of journalists at a ceremony that’s famous for the fact that everyone gets hammered. They’re bringing back Ricky Gervais to host, and he’s coming back to host, which pretty much means that any supposedly daring remarks on his part have been tacitly approved by management, which will remove any sense of mischief that might have surrounded his cornball jokes last year (“Hugh Hefner is old!” “How old is he?” “Hugh Hefner is so old…”).

Bravo, Golden Globes. Never get normal on me. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

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