La La Land
Courtesy of Lionsgate

Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land,” a musical ode to Los Angeles, topped the 2017 Golden Globe nominations on Monday, picking up seven nods. It was followed closely behind by “Moonlight,” a low-budget coming-of-age drama that received six nods.

The two films have dominated the awards season so far, along with “Manchester by the Sea,” which picked up five nominations on Monday, including a best drama nod.

Unlike the Oscars, the Globes separate comedies and musicals from dramatic films, and they also recognize television programming. They also do not award documentaries or below-the-line categories such as film editing, cinematography, or makeup.

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“La La Land,” starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling — both of whom scored nominations — will compete in the best musical or comedy category, alongside “20th Century Women,” “Deadpool,” “Florence Foster Jenkins,” and “Sing Street.” In addition to “Manchester” and “Moonlight,” the films competing for drama honors are “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hell or High Water,” and “Lion.”

On the television front, limited series “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson” was tops with five nods. “The People v. O.J. Simpson” is an acclaimed look at the football star’s murder trial. It got Globes attention for the work of Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden, and John Travolta as Robert Shapiro. FX backed the program.

Globes voters chose to honor several new shows. “Game of Thrones” was the only veteran among best TV drama nominations. The group included “The Crown,” “Stranger Things,” “This Is Us,” and “Westworld,” all of which are in their initial seasons.

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Newcomer “Atlanta,” a critically acclaimed look at the Atlanta rap scene, got a best comedy nod as well as best actor acting honors for star Donald Glover. It will head off against “Black-ish” and “Veep,” as well as previous winners “Mozart In The Jungle” and “Transparent.”

If “Manchester,” “Moonlight,” and “La La Land” were widely expected to be showered with Globes attention, there were nevertheless some big surprises. “Nocturnal Animals,” a stylish noir thriller, was an unexpected player. It got nods for director Tom Ford, who was also nominated for writing the screenplay, as well as for supporting actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

It was also a big morning for Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge.” The World War II drama scored three nominations, including best drama and best actor (Andrew Garfield), while Gibson was nominated for his directing. Gibson is a controversial figure in the industry. His career went into a tailspin after he was arrested for drunk driving in 2006 and was caught on tape making anti-Semitic remarks to his arresting officer.

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There were also some unexpected snubs. “Fences,” an adaptation of August Wilson’s stage classic, failed to earned a best drama nomination, and Denzel Washington was shut out of the directing category. He did get a best actor in a drama nod, and co-star Viola Davis received a supporting actress nomination.

In another surprise omission, Tom Hanks was overlooked for his performance as hero pilot Chesley Sullenberger in Clint Eastwood’s “Sully.” He is considered one of the Oscar front-runners.

“Silence,” Martin Scorese’s late-screening religious epic about Jesuit priests in feudal Japan, was completely shut out, as was “Orange is the New Black,” a perennial awards nominee that got no love.

The Globes are voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, an intimate group of roughly 90 journalists for foreign media outlets. The organization has been criticized in the past for being overly cozy with studios and for accepting gifts, but it has tried to tighten rules in recent years. It has also raised eyebrows over some of its selections, infamously handing out an award to Pia Zadora in the 1980s as best newcomer and more recently recognizing “The Tourist” and “Burlesque,” two critically derided pictures from 2010 that got top nominations.

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But as television programming, the Globes get high marks. The champagne flows freely during the broadcast, creating a looser, boozy atmosphere than the more staid Academy Awards.

The Globes’ picks for best animated feature included box office smashes “Moana” and “Zootopia,” as well as “Sing,” an upcoming release about a music competition for animals. The group also recognized “Kubo and and the Two Strings,” a stop-motion fantasy action-adventure film, and “My Life as a Zucchini,” a lesser-known French-Swiss stop-motion work. “Finding Dory,” the year’s biggest domestic hit, was shut out.

The Globes haven’t been at the center of Hollywood’s diversity crisis in the same way that the Oscars have been a focal point for the lack of opportunities afforded actors and directors of color. However, the group did recognize a number of films and shows such as “Moonlight” that were created by black artists, and honored the work of black actors like Ruth Negga (“Loving”), Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”), Octavia Spencer (“Hidden Figures”), Issa Rae (“Insecure”), and Tracee Ellis-Ross (“Black-ish”).

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Lionsgate scored a leading 17 nominations across the film and TV landscape. The company was honored for backing or distributing such films and shows as “La La Land,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Outlander,” “Graves,” and “Hell or High Water.”

Indie distributor A24 scored the second-most film nominations, earning nine nods for such movies as “Moonlight” and “20th Century Women.”

HBO led all television networks, roaring back with 14 nominations for the likes of “Game of Thrones,” “Insecure,” and “The Night Of.” It’s retribution for the premium channel, which sunk to seven nods last year as challengers such as Netflix and Amazon gained traction. It was followed by FX, which earned nine nominations for “People v. O.J. Simpson” and “Atlanta.”

“The Tonight Show’s” Jimmy Fallon will host the Globes broadcast, which is set to air on Jan. 8 live from the Beverly Hilton. Fallon follows Ricky Gervais and the tag-team of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in hosting duties over the past few years.

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