As strange as it might be that a hundred or so international journalists have such sway over awards season thanks to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the Golden Globes, we have to say that we always enjoy nominations morning: the HFPA very much march to the beat of their own drum, and their picks rarely fail to induce eyebrow raises, adding a touch of unpredictability to an awards season.
READ MORE: ‘Shape of Water,’ ‘The Post’ & ‘The Crown’ Lead 2018 Golden Globes Nominations
This year’s batch of honorees, announced this morning, don’t have anything quite on the level of the year where “Burlesque,” “The Tourist,” “Alice In Wonderland” and “Red” were all nominated, but there’s still a host of omissions, and a few pleasant surprises, in there. We’ve picked out the biggest snubs and surprises below: you can let us know your own thoughts in the comments (by the way, here’s our original Golden Globe predictions if you want to see how right and wrong we were).
“All The Money In The World”
Given that almost no one has seen the film, and it was undergoing heavy reshoots just weeks ago, not many people were figuring that Ridley Scott’s “All The Money In The World” would figure in to the Globes nominations. But the ’70s-set kidnap thriller, which made headlines after scandal-plagued star Kevin Spacey was replaced by Christopher Plummer at the last minute, picked up three nominations — for Plummer himself (in a performance that was literally shot in the last month), for Michelle Williams in best Actress, and for Scott as Best Director. It might have missed out on a Best Drama slot, but it’s definitely what the film needed to put it in the awards game, given that most critics groups to date haven’t seen it.
“The Shape Of Water”
We’ve been a little worried about the awards prospects of “The Shape Of Water.” It’s a rare film that unites Team Playlist in adoration, but Guillermo Del Toro’s fish-man-romance has always had the potential to be a bit far-out in premise for Academy members, and it hasn’t done that brilliantly with critics groups so far. It needed a big win to get the foothold it deserved in the race, and that’s what the Globes have provided it, with the movie picking up seven nominations, which is particularly notable given that the Globes don’t have technical awards (where the film will likely do well with AMPAS). Sally Hawkins was probably always a given, but nods for Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer in the supporting categories, and one in the competitive screenplay race, suggest that the film has an across-the-board strength that should keep it safe come Oscar time.
The genre split in nominations always leads to some unexpected nominations at the Globes, sometimes pleasingly so (Julie Delpy, Greta Gerwig and Julia Louis-Dreyfus back in 2013, for instance), sometimes not so much (Lily Collins in “Rules Don’t Apply” last year, for instance). This year, in a category that otherwise lines up surprisingly well with the Oscar front-runners thanks to the presence of Margot Robbie, Saoirse Ronan and Emma Stone, the eyebrow-raiser is Helen Mirren in “The Leisure Seeker,” a movie we had forgotten was even eligible. The road trip movie by director Paolo Virzi played in competition in Venice to semi-tepid reviews, but the Globes do love Ms. Mirren (this marks her fifteenth nomination), so clearly couldn’t resist the temptation when a slot needed filling.
“I, Tonya” in Best Picture
It’s been clear since its TIFF premiere that “I, Tonya” would be a big awards player in terms of the acting races, but with critics more divided on the movie itself, it wasn’t clear that the film itself would break through, even with the Comedy/Musical split: movies like “The Big Sick,” “Beauty & The Beast,” “Downsizing,” “Battle of The Sexes,” “Baby Driver” and “Victoria & Abdul” were all viable candidates to get in. But it was Craig Gillespie’s film that saw the competition off, and it does make us wonder if the film’s being overlooked by some as a Best Picture contender — it’s clearly connecting with audiences, and probably plays well on a screener too.
In a year of almost historic thinness in the Best Actor race, there weren’t really a lot of contenders to join dead certs Day-Lewis, Chalamet, Hanks and Oldman for the fifth slot in the Best Actor in a Drama line-up. But even so, most had figured that it would be Jake Gyllenhaal for “Stronger” making up the numbers. Instead, Denzel Washington snuck in for his colorful turn in “Roman J. Israel Esq.” Did the HFPA like it more than the critics? Are the industry keen to make it up to Washington after he failed to win for “Fences” last year? Or, after eight previous nominations, was writing Washington in again just the path of least resistance? Either way, his presence definitely makes a Gyllenhaal nomination from AMPAS more unlikely unless SAG throw him a lifeline, and puts Washington with James Franco and Daniel Kaluuya in the chase for the fifth Oscar slot.
Again, the thinness of the race meant that there was likely to be an unexpected choice or two in the Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical line-up, but with Kumail Nanjiani, Matt Damon, Adam Sandler and Tom Cruise all in the hunt, few had considered the possibility that Ansel Elgort might pick up a nomination for his turn in “Baby Driver.” But the “Fault In Our Stars” actor picked up his first nod for Edgar Wright’s film, and it’s a pleasing outcome: it’s not the kind of performance that’s often up for awards, but Elgort did an excellent job with a very tricky, often silent and physical gig that it’s hard to imagine many other actors being able to pull off.
“The Greatest Showman”
“The Greatest Showman” is a comedy and a musical and therefore was engineered in a lab to become nominated for a Golden Globe nomination, but even so… really? Really? You sure you guys don’t want to check the tape?
“The Boss Baby”
Granted, it wasn’t a great year for animation, and yes, GKIDS’ great animations are represented (“The Breadwinner“) and Pixar obviously, but “The Boss Baby”? Was the gift bag that good?
Hong Chau – “Downsizing”
Alexander Payne is generally a big awards season force. That’s certainly not the case this year, and the conversation about his latest sci-fi tinged dramedy, “Downsizing” has been incredibly muted. It’s not a huge surprise, given she was the most talked about element of the movie, but seeing Hong Chau’s name as a Best Supporting Actor in “Downsizing” did raise our eyebrows a bit. It’s a minor, pleasant surprise and a reminder that a good performance isn’t always lost in a largely forgotten movie.