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The Biggest Snubs And Surprises From The 2023 Golden Globes Nominations

What used to be the biggest precursor to the Academy Awards — the Golden Globes — is back this year. Or at least, the ceremony will be back on television after the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's 2022 Golden Globes honors were announced via Twitter in the wake of controversies surrounding the organization's membership and practices. The Globes used to be considered the fun awards show. They recognize film and television, divide their categories into drama and comedy or musical, and generally take more risks than the Oscars (though their picks often lacked diversity). To rebuild its reputation, the HFPA invited 103 new voters to participate in 2023. 

Makers of film and TV as well as awards pundits were curious to see what the rebranded Globes' nominations might look like. True to form, when the nominees for the 80th annual Golden Globes were read aloud on Monday morning, Dec. 12, they included some already-cemented frontrunners and some wild curveballs. Heavy favorites like "The Banshees of Inisherin," "Everything Everywhere All at Once," and "The Fabelmans" earned eight, six, and five nominations respectively on the film side. As for TV, critical favorites like "Abbott Elementary," "The Crown," and "White Lotus" dominated their categories. The expanded Globes voting body got it mostly right, but still, some worthy names and titles were ignored while some curious choices got unexpected attention. These are the most notable snubs and surprises.

A quiet morning for Women Talking

Sarah Polley's adaptation of a 2018 novel of the same name was widely expected to have multiple nominees in the Best Supporting Actress category as well as a bevy of nominations elsewhere. The film has a large, almost entirely female ensemble cast that includes Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy, Rooney Mara, and Frances McDormand ... all of whom have been singled out by the Globes, the Oscars, the Emmys, and various film festivals and critics groups for their previous work.

"Women Talking" was thought to be a strong contender for Best Picture with a reasonable shot at Best Director. It was named one of AFI's movies of the year, it was the first runner-up to "The Fabelmans" at the Toronto International Film Festival for the TIFF 2022 People's Choice Award, it's appeared on multiple top-10 lists, and it's done well with other awards bodies so far, such as the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the Gothams, and the Satellite Awards. Polley did receive a nod for Best Screenplay, and Hildur Guðnadóttir was nominated for her work on the score, but the complete lack of acting nominations is a major surprise.

It's possible that votes were split between cast members. It's also possible voters didn't seek it out. After strong festival showings, the film's release date was unexpectedly pushed back about a month to Dec. 23. Its challenging subject matter — "Women Talking" is about Mennonite women who realize they're being drugged and sexually assaulted — could have contributed to its poor showing in a year full of well-received, crowd-pleasing blockbusters like "Avatar: The Way of Water," "Elvis," and "Top Gun: Maverick," all of which showed up in the Best Motion Picture, Drama category.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Some noise from The Menu

"The Menu" — from director Mark Mylod, whose previous work includes "Game of Thrones," "Shameless," and "Succession" — got solid reviews and earned double its money back at the box office at a time when most awardsy adult films have fizzled in theaters. But it didn't really have awards buzz — until now. Horror-comedies can be a hard awards sell, and this horror-comedy about an extremely upscale restaurant and the food snobs who patronize it is as dark as a burnt marshmallow. It combines a high-brow premise and excellent performances with gory and even silly horror sensibilities. Though "The Menu" didn't make it into the Best Picture, Musical or Comedy category, it did manage to snag two largely unexpected lead acting nominations for Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy.

Fiennes plays renowned chef Julian Slowik, who operates a $1,200-a-plate dinner-as-performance-art establishment called Hawthorne and is in the midst of an existential crisis about having topped out in his career. Taylor-Joy is Margot, the mysterious last-minute guest of molecular gastronomy fanboy Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) who feels out of place at Hawthorne. Both Fiennes and Taylor-Joy are deserving of any accolades they collect for "The Menu." Their surprise nominations here might help their Oscars chances, though they're probably still long shots. Without separate lists for comedy and drama, the Academy only recognizes 10 instead of 20 lead actors and actresses in total; neither Fiennes nor Taylor-Joy are close to the heads of their respective packs.

What We Do in the Shadows and Reservation Dogs left out in the cold

Vampire mockumentary "What We Do in the Shadows" and Indigenous teen dramedy "Reservation Dogs" are both co-produced by Taika Waititi and air on Hulu. They have small but loyal followings that include a fair share of critics and awards voters. "What We Do in the Shadows" has previously been nominated for 17 Emmy awards — it's been selected for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing multiple times — but the Globes have continually snubbed it. So it was again this year. While the show's fourth season wasn't quite as strong as its first through third seasons on the whole, its eighth episode, "Go Flip Yourself," was one of the funniest things on TV in 2022. It's a shame but not a tragedy that it missed out in Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy. Matt Berry's absence is less forgivable. 

The Globes had shown some love to "Reservation Dogs" in its debut season, however. Last year, it was one of the five nominees for Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy, along with "Ted Lasso," "The Great," and returning nominees "Hacks" (last year's winner) and "Only Murders in the Building." With a second season that performed even better with critics, it's curious that this groundbreaking comedy was left out of consideration. Then again, as good as "Reservation Dogs" is, it hasn't found a broad audience, and the Globes like to shine their light on what's new, cool, and popular.

... In favor of Wednesday

What's new, cool, and popular right now is Netflix's "Wednesday." This spinoff of "The Addams Family" co-produced and co-directed by Tim Burton premiered only weeks ago, but it's already breaking Netflix's viewership records, and now it's the recipient of two Golden Globes nominations. Breakout star Jenna Ortega was nominated for Best Performance in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy, alongside Jean Smart for "Hacks," Quinta Brunson for "Abbott Elementary," Kaley Cuoco for "The Flight Attendant," and Selena Gomez for "Only Murders in the Building." The show itself is represented in the Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy category, where it will be competing against "Hacks," "Abbott Elementary," "Only Murders in the Building," and fellow first-time nominee "The Bear." 

The Globes have a history of spotlighting ingenues who lead TV series in their first seasons as nominees and even as eventual winners. For example, Claire Danes won a Golden Globe for "My So-Called Life," and Keri Russell took home the trophy for "Felicity," as did America Ferrera for "Ugly Betty" and Gina Rodriguez for "Jane the Virgin." The chances "Wednesday" has to win Best Television Series are probably slimmer. Genre-heavy series (like "What We Do in the Shadows") rarely win the top prize, which as of late usually goes to shows that are more prestigious and actor-driven. Recent victors "Hacks," "Schitt's Creek," "Fleabag," "The Kominsky Method," "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," and "Atlanta" prove the rule.

Qualified victories for House of the Dragon and Andor

Speaking of genre-heavy shows, Disney+'s "Andor" and HBO's "House of the Dragon" received nominations, but not as many as they deserved to. The "Star Wars" and "Game of Thrones" prequels were two of the best and most talked-about new series of the year. Diego Luna was nominated for Best Performance in a Television Series, Drama, for reprising his role as rebel fighter Cassian Andor from "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," but "Andor" failed to secure a best drama series nomination for itself. Arguably a worse oversight was Stellan Skarsgård's omission from the supporting actor category. His performance as the entirely new character Luthen Rael is maybe the best acting anyone's ever done in a "Star Wars" project. 

Also missing from the acting categories were "House of the Dragon" stars Paddy Considine and Matt Smith. Smith forced viewers to confront their complicated feeling about his charismatic anti-hero, Daemon Targaryen. But Considine turned in a performance for the ages as an aging and ailing King Viserys, especially in a powerhouse eighth episode that "Thrones" fans won't soon forget. Unlike "Andor," "House of the Dragon" did manage to make the cut for Best Television Series, Drama, where it'll go up against "Better Call Saul," "The Crown," "Ozark," and "Severance." Emma D'Arcy, who is nonbinary, was submitted and selected in the best actress category for playing adult Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in the second half of the season. Smith and Milly Alcock, who plays teenage Rhaenyra, were nominated for Critics' Choice Awards but ultimately snubbed by the HFPA.

Nope to Nope

Jordan Peele's "Nope" got off to an unexpectedly strong start this awards season with a surprise Best Supporting Actress win for Keke Palmer at the 2022 New York Film Critics Circle Awards. The sci-fi western has been a critical favorite all year and has performed well with groups like the Saturn Awards, who recognize achievement in science fiction. Peele's "Get Out" was nominated for Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy in 2018, and Daniel Kaluuya was nominated for best actor. Though "Nope" didn't become quite the cultural sensation that "Get Out" did, it's still an ambitious and artful box office success that seemed to have been gaining momentum. 

In part, "Nope" might be suffering from category confusion. NYFCC recognized Palmer as a supporting actress, but it's difficult to make the case that she's not the co-lead. Her co-star, Kaluuya, likely isn't getting as much attention for his subdued but masterful performance because he's a recent Globe winner for "Judas and the Black Messiah." He ran the table in 2021, taking home the SAG, BAFTA, and Academy Awards as well for his portrayal of late Black Panther party chairman Fred Hampton. "Nope" is also the most difficult to parse and categorize of Peele's movies to date. Even the people who love it aren't sure what to make of it, which might've affected its chances at the Globes, where films are neatly (but usually never logically) sorted into dramas and comedies.

Yes to lone acting nominees

There weren't many egregious snubs in the film acting categories, but there were plenty of hopefuls who were left on the outside looking in, and even more surprise nominations from films that experts had written off. "Everything Everywhere All At Once" co-star Jamie Lee Curtis was chosen over her newcomer co-star Stephanie Hsu. Though favorite Brendan Fraser made the cut, his "The Whale" co-star Hong Chau likely just missed out, as did Paul Mescal from "Aftersun" and Judd Hirsch from "The Fabelmans." 

On the flip side, Ana de Armas earned a Best Performance in a Motion Picture, Drama nomination for her well-reviewed performance as Marilyn Monroe in the otherwise derided and, some say, exploitative Netflix film "Blonde." Similarly, Hugh Jackman was nominated for his lead performance in "The Son," another divisive awards hopeful that drew criticism for its handling of mental illness. Eddie Redmayne nabbed a best supporting actor spot for his (lead) performance as serial killer Charlie Cullen in Netflix's "The Good Nurse." Other lone nominees include Jeremy Pope for "The Inspection," Adam Driver for "White Noise," Carey Mulligan for "She Said," Lesley Manville for "Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris," and Emma Thompson for "Good Luck to You, Leo Grande." Of this bunch, only Bill Nighy — named for Best Performance in a Motion Picture, Drama — was a safe bet. He shares best lead performance honors with Cate Blanchett at the Los Angeles Film Critics' gender-neutral awards.

Better representation for Black actors, with one notable exception

The Globes faced a boycott in 2021 in part because it was revealed that among their voting body of 87 journalists, there were exactly zero Black members. Suddenly, the underrepresentation of actors of color made more sense. The HFPA added new and more diverse voters to its process, and it appears that was reflected in the nominations of 13 Black artists on Monday morning. Viola Davis and Angela Bassett were included for "The Woman King" and "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," respectively ... action blockbusters that pulled in hundreds of millions at the box office. That neither film is in the running for best picture is a bit of a surprise, but Davis' and Bassett's nominations are pleasant. Nominations in the performance categories for these kinds of popcorn movies — even when they're well-made — are exceedingly rare, as is evident from best picture contenders "Top Gun: Maverick" and "Avatar: The Way of Water" and their zero acting nods. 

However, the Globes' biggest snub probably belongs to Danielle Deadwyler, who missed out on best actress honors for her acclaimed turn as the mother of lynching victim Emmett Till (Jalyn Hall). Deadwyler had already won the Gotham Award for Outstanding Lead Performance as well as Breakthrough Performance — Female at the National Board of Review awards. Though she's evidently not favored by the HFPA, she's got support within the industry, and some pundits thought she could win

International features underperform

In the last few years, international features have made a bigger-than-usual splash at American awards ceremonies. "Parasite" writer-director-producer Bong Joon Ho earned Globes nominations for his directing and screenplay in addition to winning Best Motion Picture — Foreign Language. The film went on to win four Oscars, including Best Picture. In 2022, "Drive My Car" got Oscar noms for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. It's gotten to the point that many prognosticators reserve a spot in picture and director categories for an international filmmaker in their predictions. 

2022's race has three reasonably strong horses: Germany's remake of "All Quiet on the Western Front," which is streaming on Netflix in the U.S., famed South Korean director Park Chan-wook's "Decision to Leave," and Indian auteur S. S. Rajamouli's bombastic "RRR." "All Quiet" has been praised for its cinematography and score. Park won Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival, and Rajamouli won Best Director from the New York Film Critics Circle. "RRR" was also named one of the 10 best films of the year by the National Board of Review. The Tollywood epic did receive a nomination for its banger of an original song, "Naatu Naatu," and all three films were recognized in the best international feature category. Still, with future awards hopes (including Oscars) on the line, these global hits underperformed with the Globes.

Maverick soars, but Tom Cruise fails to land a nomination

The question that's hanging over every 2022 and 2023 awards show is, how well will the biggest movie of the year and one of the biggest movies of all time fare? "Top Gun: Maverick" is the year's reigning box office champ, and there's immense goodwill in the industry for the movie that brought audiences back to the theaters. But it has competition in other well-liked sequels, "Avatar: The Way of Water" and "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery." All three pulled off best picture nominations at the Globes, though "Avatar 2" and "Glass Onion" did better than "Maverick." James Cameron made the Best Director five. Daniel Craig was honored for his performance as detective Benoit Blanc in Rian Johnson's "Knives Out" follow-up, though Janelle Monáe, who's probably right on the bubble, missed out. 

"Top Gun: Maverick" did get an original song nomination for "Hold My Hand" by Lady Gaga and Bloodpop with Benjamin Rice in addition to the film's nomination for Best Motion Picture, Drama. But Tom Cruise was nowhere to be found, at least as an actor. The co-producer of "Maverick" will win a Globe should the movie take home the top prize in picture, but if it does, there's a chance Cruise won't accept. The mega movie star returned his previous three Globes trophies in protest during the 2021 Globes debacle. There's no way to know if Cruise's public stand in 2021 hurt his chances, but another actor who's gone on the record and insisted he won't attend the ceremony — Brendan Fraser — did receive a nomination.