The nominations for The 2019 Golden Globe Awards – the annual gong give-out organised by The Hollywood Foreign Press Association – are in, which means that “awards season” has officially kicked off. So now is the time when movie fans can start wringing their hands about what was nominated, what wasn’t nominated, and the current political/cultural conversations of the day. The big talking point of recent times – namely, the issue of inclusion and diversity – certainly seems to have been addressed, or at least pondered, by The Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
The nominations list is undoubtedly peopled by performers from all manner of cultural backgrounds, which hopefully points to a changing Hollywood. There are plenty of nods for African-Americans, a few for Asian-Americans and Latinos, a handful for Jewish-Americans, and lots for women in “strong female roles.” With so much talk in the media about Hollywood’s need to embrace all cultures, genders and demographics, it looks like those in charge of The Dream Factory have been listening. All of which means there’ll be no need for debate about The 2019 Golden Globe Award nominations, right?
Well, not quite. Every time that The Golden Globe Awards are announced, everybody starts whining about the legitimacy of The Hollywood Foreign Press Association – a cabal of veteran journalists from around the world who live and work in Hollywood, but file stories for publications outside of the US – and questioning their movie picks. What nobody later seems to mention, however, is that the nominations for the far more heralded Academy Awards are usually pretty much identical to those of the Golden Globes, with a few minor differences.
The Golden Globe Awards’ tradition of splitting its major gongs into the categories of Drama and Comedy/Musical, however, usually prompts a few head scratching moments. Thankfully, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association didn’t opt to tag Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born as musicals (as they did with, for instance, the Johnny Cash biopic, Walk The Line, back in 2005), slotting both popular picks into the Best Motion Picture, Drama category, alongside the African-American driven flicks, Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman and If Beale Street Could Talk. Interestingly, only one of this trio of films’ African-American directors (BlacKkKlansman’s Spike Lee) made it into the Best Director category, which is not split into Drama and Comedy/Musical. Spike will find himself up against Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Alfonso Cuaron (the deservedly acclaimed Best Foreign Language Film nominee Roma), Peter Farrelly (Green Book) and Adam McKay (Vice).
Side question: does Black Panther’s Best Film nomination mean that more comic book movies will score nominations in future, or just ones with significant cultural relevance? Either way, it’s great to see this cracking flick on the nominations list. Wakanda forever!
The aforementioned Green Book is another of the nomination list’s odd anomalies. Yes, it’s directed by Peter Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary), but does this race relations-themed flick belong in the Best Film, Comedy/Musical category? Sure, there’s a lot of humour in the film, but it’s a little strange seeing it go up against Crazy Rich Asians, The Favourite, Mary Poppins Returns and even the political satire, Vice. Call it this year’s The Martian, another recent Best Film, Comedy/Musical nominee that had many confounded. “No, it’s a musical,” Matt Damon memorably said to the press after the sci-fi survival drama scored him a gong as Best Actor In A Comedy Film at The Globes in 2016. Sometimes, the Comedy/Musical category looks more like a way for The Hollywood Foreign Press Association to hedge its bets and squeeze in more top-tier nominations than it does an opportunity to celebrate genuine thigh-slappers and toe-tappers.
Though the questions will continue, a few things are certain: with a selection of richly disparate films on the nominations list and two potentially excellent (and “diverse” enough to please the webosphere’s always-ready-to-pounce commentators) hosts in Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg, The 2019 Golden Globe Awards will undoubtedly be an entertaining knees-up for both those glammed up at the front tables, and those watching in their trackies at home.
Click here for a full list of the (film) nominations for The 2019 Golden Globe Awards.