Mank (Courtesy of Netflix)
Streaming services dominated nominations for the 78th Golden Globe Awards, signaling a power shift in Hollywood away from traditional movie studios and cable and broadcast television players towards digital upstarts. It’s a move that’s been accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic when much of the world has been stuck at home and theaters have remained closed.
One of the key beneficiaries of that change, Netflix, towered over the competition, with a staggering 42 nominations across the film and television categories, including nods for the likes of “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “The Queen’s Gambit,” and “The Crown.” But it wasn’t the only representative of a new order. Amazon Studios snagged 10 nominations, including nods for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” and its “Small Axe” anthology series, while Hulu netted 10 nods as well, which included nominations for “Palm Springs” and “Ramy.”
“Mank,” a black-and-white ode to old Hollywood that was released by Netflix, nabbed a leading six nominations. That includes nods for best drama, as well as for its director David Fincher and for Gary Oldman’s performance as “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz. “The Crown,” another Netflix production, led the television category with six nominations. The lavish historical drama, which chronicles the private life of Queen Elizabeth II and her family, scored nominations for best TV drama, as well as for the performances of several of its cast members. Olivia Colman who plays the monarch, and Emma Corrin, the actress tasked with channeling Princess Diana, picked up nominations.
“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” a Netflix political drama that was acquired from Paramount Pictures when COVID-19 disrupted a planned theatrical rollout, was the second most nominated film with five nods. “Schitt’s Creek,” fresh off its Emmy sweep, picked up five nominations, one short of the high-water mark set by “The Crown.”
“Mank” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7” will face off in the drama category against “Promising Young Woman,” “The Father,” and “Nomadland. The Globes recognizes comedies and musicals in a different category, allowing them to better spread the wealth more broadly. Nominees for the best musical or comedy include “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” “Music,” “The Prom,” “Palm Springs,” and “Hamilton,” a filmed version of the Broadway smash that became a streaming sensation when it hit Disney Plus last summer.
In the best TV drama race, “The Crown” will face off against “The Mandalorian,” “Ozark,” “Ratched,” and “Lovecraft Country.” “Schitt’s Creek” will vie for best TV comedy honors with “The Great,” “Emily in Paris,” “The Flight Attendant” and “Ted Lasso.”
On the film front, Globes voters nominated a record three female directors, Chloe Zhao (“Nomadland”), Regina King (“One Night in Miami”) and Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”). They become the sixth, seventh and eighth women to be nominated for a Golden Globe for directing — joining Barbra Streisand, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola, Ava DuVernay and Kathryn Bigelow. Zhao is also the first Asian woman nominated for the directing prize.
The Globes are like the Oscars’ boozier, louder and often more entertaining cousin — champagne flows freely, the awards are largely focused on acting and directing and less on below-the-line categories like sound editing or cinematography, which means the ball room of the Beverly Hilton is an A-list only affair, and viewers tune in hoping they’ll see their favorite stars loosen their inhibitions ever so slightly. This year’s broadcast will be a very different even though it brings back veteran hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. The Globes will unfold virtually this year, so as not to become a coronavirus super-spreader event.
The awards show has a habit of recognizing emerging talent and new and buzzy shows, and the 2021 edition didn’t disappoint in that regard. HBO Max’s “The Flight Attendant” earned two nods after wrapping up its inaugural season this winter, acting newcomer Maria Bakalova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”) scored a top nomination, and Anya Taylor-Joy, who made a splash in “The Queen’s Gambit,” was nominated for her turn as a chess prodigy in that series and for her work as a romantic meddler in “Emma.”
Taylor-Joy wasn’t the only multiple acting nominee. Sacha Baron Cohen was singled out for his work in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” and for his chameleonic turn as Abbie Hoffman in “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” while Colman earned a nod for “The Father” along with her nomination for “The Crown.”
There were some notable snubs. Spike Lee’s critically acclaimed Vietnam epic, “Da 5 Bloods,” failed to score a best drama nod and its star Delroy Lindo was shut out; water cooler favorites “Dead to Me” and “Bridgerton” missed out on nominations; and awards darling Meryl Streep didn’t land a nomination for her comedic turn in “The Prom.” Their exclusion paved the way for upsets. Tahar Rahim (“The Mauritanian”), Kate Hudson (“Music”) and Jared Leto (“The Little Things”) landed nominations despite failing to make many prognosticators’ short lists, while Netflix’s “Ratched” squeaked into the TV drama race after enduring mediocre reviews.
Whereas the Oscars are voted on by filmmakers, craftsmen, performers and other Hollywood players, the Globes are decided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a close-knit group of journalists who boast roughly 100 members. Consequently, the Globes aren’t always a good gauge for how the Academy Awards will unfold. Last year, the Globes awarded top honors to “1917” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” only to see them fall short of capturing best picture at the Oscars, where they lost to “Parasite.”
The HFPA had a brush with controversy last winter when it revealed that “Minari,” the story of a family of South Korean immigrants making a life for themselves in rural America, would contend in the best foreign language film race. A24, the film’s producer, submitted the film in that category due to HFPA rules. The group stipulates that at least half of the dialogue in contenders in the Golden Globes’ best drama or comedy/musical categories must be in English, a barrier that “Minari” failed to clear even though it is produced by an American company, features many American actors, and is directed by Lee Isaac Chung, an American filmmaker. “Minari” did manage to snag a best foreign language nomination, but it was shut out in every other category.
The Globes will air on NBC on Feb. 28.
Variety's Brett Lang contributed to this post.