By Ewan Marmo-Bissell, Second Year, History
Following the first set of 2019 awards nominations on December 6, what were the biggest surprises and snubs?
The late, great, Bill Goldman famously said that in Hollywood, nobody knows anything. Nobody knows what’s going to be a hit, what’s going to work, and who will reap the benefits. Sometimes before Awards Season, the marketing for some movies make them look like front runners – last year, Battle of the Sexes (2017) and the significantly more acclaimed The Florida Project (2017) fell short when the awards actually came around.
Despite this, we all sit down readily hoping to see our favourites win the plaudits they deserve, though a nomination is an achievement in itself. Now Awards Season has rolled around, we’re ready to watch our favourites vying for the highest honour of the industry at the Academy Awards on February 24, but until then, we’ve got the Golden Globes.
As usual, there are plenty of surprising nominations in many categories amidst the expected choices, and many huge snubs. There’s categories aplenty but the main interests are the major film categories - best film, best director, best actor and best actress.
If Beale Street Could Talk
A Star Is Born
Musical or Comedy
Crazy Rich Asians
Mary Poppins Returns
London Film Festival / If Beale Street Could Talk
So the Globes like to separate their major awards into ‘Drama’ and ‘Musical/Comedy’ nominations, five for each. Obviously not all films fit this binary system, and films are oddly categorised – most notably last year Get Out (2017) received a nomination in the ‘Musical/Comedy’ half. The five nominees for ‘Best Motion Picture - Drama’ are BlackKklansman, Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, If Beale Street Could Talk, and A Star Is Born.
Most notable amongst these are Bohemian Rhapsody and Black Panther. Bohemian Rhapsody has been divisive and critically panned for its inaccuracies, while Black Panther is the first MCU film to receive a non-technical nomination.
The inclusion of Black Panther in this list may be a tip-off to a potentially historic Academy Award nomination. This comes after the backlash against the Oscars’ attempted introduction of a ‘Popular Film’ category in November, for which Black Panther was surely a shoe-in. Bohemian Rhapsody is also a surprise after its reception by critics because the Globes are decided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Despite the criticisms, the film is loved by audiences, and is approaching $600 million worldwide at the box office.
Netflix Media Center / Roma
The most notable exception from ‘Best Motion Picture - Drama’ was the Netflix released Roma from filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón – still considered a key contender for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Cuarón did however receive nominations for writing and directing the film. Other major snubs include Paul Schrader’s soul-shaking film First Reformed, Lynne Ramsey’s You Were Never Really Here and Leave No Trace, which was adapted and directed by Debra Granik. The most notable snub for many, however, is First Man, previous award darling Damien Chazelle’s glorious depiction of the build up to the Apollo 11 launch.
Over in the ‘Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy’ section, the nominees are Crazy Rich Asians, The Favourite, Green Book, Mary Poppins Returns, and Vice. Crazy Rich Asians and Mary Poppins are two big surprises compared to previous years, and, along with Black Panther’s nomination, signposts a lean to more commercial films, despite the inclusion of indie flick The Favourite.
It might not be shocking, but the Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs didn’t get within a dog’s piss of the nomination list, with their anthology film clearly falling short of the mark for this year’s Globes.
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
Peter Farrelly (Green Book)
Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)
Adam McKay (Vice)
IMDb / A Star Is Born / Warner Bros / Photo by Clay Enos
Over in the director’s category we see one of the two nominations for Roma - Cuaron’s direction here being heralded. Spike Lee gets a nod for BlackKklansman as does Bradley Cooper for A Star is Born. The last two spots are taken by Adam McKay for Vice, and Peter Farrelly for Green Book.
IMDb / You Were Never Really Here / BFI
It is important to note here the absence of any female director, despite particularly acclaimed films helmed by women released this year. Leave No Trace was directed by Debra Granik and You Were Never Really Here features some heart clenching direction from Lynne Ramsay. It’s odd that in a year with strong, potential contenders, a woman wasn’t even given the validation of a nomination.
Glenn Close (The Wife)
Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
Nicole Kidman (Destroyer)
Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Rosamund Pike (A Private War)
Musical or Comedy
Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns)
Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade)
Charlize Theron (Tully)
Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians
London Film Festival / Can You Ever Forgive Me?
The most surprising inclusion in the ‘Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama’ is Melissa McCarthy for her role in Can You Ever Forgive Me?. This is her first ever nomination for a dramatic role, and a step away from her previous success in comedic roles, particularly Bridesmaids (2011) for which she was nominated for ‘Best Supporting Actress’ at the Oscars.
McCarthy joins Rosamund Pike (A Private War), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Nicole Kidman (Destroyer), and Glenn Close (The Wife) on the list. In terms of snubs, to describe Thomasin McKenzie’s exclusion from the Globes as a snub is unfair since she was never likely to be nominated, but her brilliant performance in Leave No Trace deserves a note from me at the very least.
IMDb / Leave No Trace / MAB Productions
Meanwhile for ‘Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy’, Emily Blunt lands a nomination and this is her year. She has been at the peak of her powers with an incredible performance as Mary Poppins following an equally impressive role in the hit A Quiet Place, also directed by her real-life husband, John Krasinski. She joins Olivia Colman (The Favourite) - risen from Peep Show (2003-15) fame to sure-fire Academy Award nominee - Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians), and Charlize Theron (Tully).
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Willem Dafoe (At Eternitys Gate)
Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased)
Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)
Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale (Vice)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns)
Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)
Robert Redford (The Old Man & the Gun)
John C. Reilly (Stan & Ollie)
IMDB / At Eternity's Gate / CBS Films
The nominees for ‘Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama’ include Bradley Cooper for A Star is Born, as well as Willem Dafoe for his lesser known turn as Vincent van Gogh in At Eternity’s Gate. Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased), and John David Washington (BlackKklansmen) all too received nominations.
IMDb / First Reformed / Killer Films
There was a general consensus that Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury was the shining centrepiece of Bohemian Rhapsody, so his nomination is no surprise, though again there are snubs for other well regarded performances. Joaquin Phoenix was spectacular in You Were Never Really Here, and Ben Foster too in Leave No Trace. More surprising though was the snubbing of Ethan Hawke’s portrayal of a tortured pastor coming undone in upstate New York (First Reformed), and Ryan Gosling as the quiet, introspective Neil Armstrong in First Man, who supremely balances despair he experiences in his family life with a fear of potential annihilation in space.
In the ‘Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy’ category though there were no real surprises, with odds-on favourite Christian Bale - as the famous businessman-cum-politician Dick Cheney - picking up his nomination for Vice, as well as Robert Redford, for his supposed last role in The Old Man and the Gun.
Featured Image Credits: UPI Media / First Man / Universal Pictures
Have we missed any films you think are deserving of recognition?