In which our resident prognosticators attempt to make sense of the nonsensical: the Golden Globes. Today, we take a look at the television nominees…
We’ll say this for the Globes: as ludicrous and corrupt as their nomination process is (more about which famous people they can get in the room than who actually deserves an award), they do tend to pick satisfying winners. For every embarrassing “Angelina Jolie for The Tourist,” there’s a statue handed to Laura Dern, Martin Scorsese, or Jessica Chastain. Quite simply, the Hollywood Foreign Press — a hodgepodge organization made up of less than ninety actual voters — wants to throw a fancy party, yes, but also maintain the appearance of respectability.
Of course, insiders know that nothing could be further from the truth, but the Globes remain important simply because they are perceived to be important. If Academy members watch the Globes, and that influences their Oscar ballot in any small way — whether it’s by being swept along a rising tide of accolades for a particular film or performance, or even by how a winning actor handles themselves on the podium (look out, Kate Winslet!), the Globes continue to make themselves relevant. Fortunately for us at home, getting everyone in the room half-drunk and hiring Tina Fey & Amy Poehler as hosts just helps the experience.
That’s enough of an introduction. In the first of two parts, we’ll take a stab at the Television nominees. Who will win? Who should win? Read on.
BEST TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
The Good Wife
House of Cards
Masters of Sex
David: We’ll start this off with an easy one. I don’t think there’s any way on the planet that Breaking Bad, fresh off its brilliant final season and insanely great finale, doesn’t take home the big prize on Sunday. The ONLY show possibly standing in its way, as at the Emmys, is Netflix’s House of Cards, and that would still be an incredible upset. Thrones not being on the list is a high injustice, but with respective two- and three-time winners Homeland and Mad Men not in the field either, nothing’s stopping Heisenberg. And again, the HFPA desperately wants to be cool.
Chase: It kills me that Game of Thrones gets no love here. If Downton Abbey wasn’t so distinctly British I wouldn’t understand how it gets the nod over Thrones. If the HFPA wants to be cool they might take a look at Masters of Sex which combines the era of Mad Men with the edge of sex research. But I think this is Breaking Bad’s award to win. It’s their last chance to give it the love it deserves.
Rachel: I have this great fear that any octogenarian with a television is going to yell at their grandson for not voting The Good Wife. If that happens, I will murder my television. Breaking Bad, in addition to being its last award season, is responsible for *most* of the best performances, writing, directing, and overall episodes of the year. A travesty if it loses. Masters of Sex is extremely interesting television, though, and I am excited (ha) to see it included.
Sean: It is beyond ridiculous that Game of Thrones is absent here. It is also downright appalling that Boardwalk Empire is missing, but don’t even get me started. Breaking Bad will likely take this category. But the Globes have been known to throw their support behind a new drama with potential. That candidate could be House of Cards this year.
Nathan: Well, Game of Thrones is fun to watch, and while I enjoy the hell out of the overall story, and the production value, the individual episode narratives are generally weak and hinge on that crazy moment that is doled out weekly to the last storyline shown. Aside from feeling the need to share that, I agree with David. Breaking Bad is going to win all the shinies.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Taylor Schilling, Orange Is The New Black
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Robin Wright, House Of Cards
David: Obviously I’m thrilled the Globes even nominated Maslany — something the Emmys failed to do — and while I’ll keep beating the drum for her, I don’t expect a win here. There are already two other hot new shows represented, and I’m calling it for Kerry Washington. Scandal, despite not being my cup of tea, has the virtue of not being science fiction, anathema for your typical group of awards voters.
Rachel: Scandal is trash, and I can say that confidently, because I watch every week. Inexplicably. Tatiana Maslany acted circles around these other women this year, in fact, she played several characters, and should have been nominated all five times. I will puke if it goes to Margulies or Washington. I shouldn’t eat a large dinner because Kerry Washington will win.
Sean: My personal choice would be Robin Wright for her Lady Macbeth-like performance in House of Cards. That isn’t going to happen. Its quite probable that it will be Washington, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Taylor Schilling could take it for Orange is the New Black. Despite its dismal showing in other categories, she was liked enough to be nominated. And the show itself had huge buzz behind it when airing. Maybe this win could help get things rolling for an awards push for next season.
Nathan: Giving it to Schilling would be a neat way to make women AND cord cutters happy. Seriously, Jezebel would talk about it all day on Monday. More seriously, Taylor Schilling‘s ability to convey a compelling emotional journey glues together the best female-centric show available right now, not to mention one of the best online-only shows. Weren’t we talking about HFPA cool points earlier?
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Michael Sheen, Masters Of Sex
Kevin Spacey, House Of Cards
James Spader, The Blacklist
David: Like Best Drama, this will come down to Cranston vs. Spacey. The latter is still a movie star, but that hasn’t meant as much as it used to these last few years. The odds of Bryan Cranston not winning his first Golden Globe for his final season on BB are minimal.
Chase: I’m not so sure here. The HFPA has a long history of throwing awards at big names whether they deserve them or not. Kelsey Grammer won two years ago for Boss (yeah, I don’t remember it either) beating out the likes of Cranston, Lewis, and Buscemi. I think Spacey wins here. He’s the big name.
Sean: The obvious answer would be Bryan Cranston, but I keep getting the feeling that the Hollywood Foreign Press wants a new toy to play with, albeit with an established star. That new toy will surely be Kevin Spacey for House of Cards.
Rachel: Bryan F—ing Cranston.
BEST TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
The Big Bang Theory
Parks & Recreation
David: Ugh. There is no finer sitcom on television than Parks — but it has never been recognized before, and the HFPA probably won’t start now. Last year’s winner Girls had a polarizing second season and probably won’t repeat, and with newcomer Brooklyn only having half a season under its belt, that leaves (oy) Big Bang Theory and (sigh) Modern Family. Screw it. Modern Family, by default. But I won’t be happy.
Sean: Where the hell is Veep? For the most part, television is where comedy goes to die (especially if we are talking about traditional sitcoms). I’m abstaining from this mediocre line-up. If I were forced to pick one I would say Girls, only because its the only show on this list that I can sit through more than 10 minutes of. And though not as good as its first season, at least it tried to do something different this past year.
Chase: I’ll stick up for the unloved Big Bang here. It’s not a great show, but it’s a funny show. And it’s definitely the best Chuck Lorre comedy. Sure, it’s cheap laughs, but that kind of thing occasionally goes over at the Globes. I’m not saying it should win over the much better Parks, but it wouldn’t bug me as much Modern Family winning again by default.
Rachel: It is obvious what should win. Parks is the best show on television. I had to pay my way through college; I am neurotic, but it is rarely funny; I am married therefore my sex life is boring, so I don’t “get” Girls. It also had a divisive season with the one episode I did like guest-starring Patrick Wilson and a weirdly out-of-left-field case of OCD, so….Bang ?
Nathan: Parks and Recreation‘s best season was their third, but I’m really hoping that they give it to them as an apology for not even nominating them that year.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation
David: Obviously I’m not predicting a win for my beloved Amy Poehler, either — hey, at least she’ll get an on-stage joke out of it! — but this one should actually make sense, because Julia Louis-Dreyfus should take it. She’s amazing on Veep, has already won an Emmy twice for the role, and the Globes will want to play catch-up.
Sean: Julia Louis-Dreyfus blew the competition out of the water with her second season of Veep. I see her repeating her Emmy victory.
Rachel: I’ll do it for you, David, because damn it, someone has to. AMY POEHLER.
Nathan: Holy crap, is Nurse Jackie still on the air? Okay, that wasn’t nice, and in all honesty, I only watch two of these shows, and, of those shows, Zooey Deschanel is only the third-most charming thing about New Girl, whereas Amy Poehler has kept Parks all warm and fuzzy since the beginning. Then again, Poehler is up against a super-duper-well-regarded Seinfeld vet with a show that I’m “stupid for not watching”, so my vote is just hope, not expectation.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Jason Bateman, Arrested Development
Don Cheadle, House Of Lies
Michael J. Fox, The Michael J. Fox Show
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
David: Jason Bateman (my choice) actually won for AD’s second season, and he has an outside shot here. Jim Parsons, historically the “safe” choice, also won in 2011. Don Cheadle won last year, in what was quite a controversial decision. Andy Samberg is too much of an acquired taste. So that leaves Michael J. Fox, a delightful, inspiring actor on an aggressively mediocre show. What a wretched year for the comedy division.
Rachel: Jim Parsons again. The Bang train (is that a thing?) is showing no signs of slowing. Cheadle is brilliant, but I am not a huge fan of that show, and it is losing the “niche” market to newer buzzier shows. Safe choice. Fox cannot rise above that material.
Sean: If I’m just going with gut instinct (which I am), then it has got to be Michael J. Fox. It’s a big comeback performance. Who cares if the show sucks? He’s well-liked enough to overcome that.
BEST MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
American Horror Story: Coven
Behind the Candelabra
Dancing on the Edge
Top of the Lake
David: Behind the Candelabra will win, and it won’t be close. End of story.*
*Okay, not “end of story,” because a LOT of critics really love Top of the Lake, but it won’t matter.
Chase: Full agreement. I think this is as big a lock as anything on Globes night. Soderbergh, Damon, and Douglas? That’s money in the bank. Plus, this is actually a miniseries and not just a TV series in disguise.
Nathan: I have nothing new (read: little) to say in regards to this field, but I just want to say that I watched (and was floored by) Top of the Lake months ago and I think everyone should know that. BTW, If Coven wins, I’ll leave the industry altogether.
Rachel: Top of the Lake was brilliant. Not as brilliant as Broadchurch…whatever. Matt Damon’s ass and Michael Douglas’s balls have this in the bag. Behind the Candelabra.
Sean: Their balls and ass aside – Behind the Candelabra is one of the best films of the year on television or in theaters. Douglas and Damon are brilliant, and fully committed to the material. Soderbergh directs with camp-filled flash, but also remains steady and honest in his depiction. The art direction, cinematography, and costumes are all jaw droppingly-gorgeous. And the script is both touching and naughtily funny. You’ve also gotta applaud HBO for letting Soderbergh go all the way with the gay material. The film isn’t shy about ANYTHING. Just add it as one more reason in the already incredibly large pile of reasons as to why film artists are flocking to HBO to create projects – as long as you’ve got a great interesting story pitch, you can do just about anything. Candelabra wins with no competition.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Helena Bonham Carter, Burton & Taylor
Rebecca Ferguson, The White Queen,
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven
Helen Mirren, Phil Spector
Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake
David: If Top of the Lake will win anything, it’ll be here — Moss has never won for Mad Men, and some voters might think she’s overdue. But I’m predicting Helena Bonham Carter, in the kind of glamour role the HFPA can’t get enough of, will take the prize.
Chase: I’ll use the logic David used on Julia Louis-Dreyfus earlier here. Jessica Lange has won the Emmy here twice, and she is reportedly great in this role.
Sean: Jessica Lange is a stunning actress and I’m so happy her career has been rejuvenated by such a bizarre and daring show. But this latest season has been plagued by weak writing and a more tongue-in-cheek sensibility. It doesn’t have that hard horror edge anymore, and its far more campy than scary. Lange continues to bring her A-Game, but there is only so much she can do with such shallow characterization and plot development. She just doesn’t hit the dramatic highs of the first or second season. I think Elizabeth Moss will surprise here.
Rachel: I’m going to go out on a limb, Elizabeth Moss. She deserves it, and it’s a Cheadle pick.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Matt Damon, Behind The Candelabra
Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing On The Edge
Idris Elba, Luther
Al Pacino, Phil Spector
David: Despite any concerns about vote-splitting, it’ll be Michael Douglas. (Idris Elba would be awesome, though — just because he’s Idris Elba.)
Chase: Again, I would not be surprised if the biggest name, Pacino, jumped up and won by surprise here. But I’ve got to go with Douglas as well. It won’t hurt that he survived a cancer scare this year either.
Rachel: Michael Douglas’s balls. Luther is the shiznit, but this one is obvious.
Sean: They might as well have Michael Douglas standing in the wings for this one. He is going to win without question. And if the film were eligible for Oscars, he would also be the front-runner to take Best Actor. And he would completely deserve it. Still one of the best performances by any actor in any medium this past year.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Jacqueline Bisset, Dancing On The Edge
Janet McTeer, White Queen
Hayden Panettiere, Nashville
Monica Potter, Parenthood
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
David: What a stupid category. No Anna Gunn? No Emilia Clarke? Give me something I can work with! Okay, let’s see… I’ll throw a dart. Sofia Vergara. Crap. Fine. When in doubt, pick Modern Family.
Chase: Seriously. This looks like the time to use the bathroom during the show.
Rachel: I don’t know what any of these things are…Okay, I do….but I am abstaining. This is ludicrous.
Sean: With such powerhouse female names taking over American Horror Story this year, I’m actually pretty shocked that none of them registered enough for Globes voters. You would expect them to squeal with delight at the thought of Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett sippin’ Moet and Chandon in their golden ballroom… Modern Family it is, then.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Rob Lowe, Behind the Candelabra
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Corey Stoll, House Of Cards
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan
David: Finally! A truly competitive group — but this one always is, thanks to the HFPA’s inscrutable logic in lumping basically all of scripted television into one category. Stoll was just about the best thing about House of Cards, and the Globes LOVE Jon Voight…perhaps enough to give him the win for another mediocre show, a la M.J. Fox. But I’m anticipating Aaron Paul will ride off into the sunset with his co-star, closing the book on Breaking Bad’s Globes run.
Sean: If this category weren’t so stacked with heavyweights, I would say Rob Lowe has a chance for Behind the Candelabra. It is a brief but wickedly funny turn by Lowe, who has lots of love within the industry. But this nomination also makes up for his Emmy snub, when Scott Bakula somehow got in over him. I fully expect Aaron Paul to take this in a walk. But, if the Globes decide to go with a new shiny toy, expect Corey Stoll to bring some heat (another nominee passed over by the Emmys, but making up for it with a Globe citation).
Rachel: Aaron Paul. Done.
Nathan: If Rachel had just posted first it would’ve saved David and Sean a whole lot of time.
Read Part 2 on the Film categories here. Much more contentious debate ensues.