The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is always full of surprises, but there was at least one pleasant one this morning: when it came to the comedy/musical category for the Golden Globes, they actually nominated comedies and musicals. If that sounds like a no-brainer, consider last year’s winners: “The Martian” took best picture while its star Matt Damon took best actor. Best actress in a comedy/musical went to Jennifer Lawrence of “Joy.”
Every year, the Golden Globes endure criticism when it comes to the film comedy category: why even bother breaking the categories into drama and musical/comedy when so many films end up blurring the lines? (This was perhaps most noticeable in 2010 when the Globes nominated “The Tourist,” along with stars Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, as a comedy.) But this year, they actually chose to do something about it, nominating two genuine musicals (“La La Land” and “Sing Street”) and two laugh-out-loud comedies (“Deadpool” and “Florence Foster Jenkins”). The fifth nominee is “20th Century Women,” which may not be full of belly laughs, but doesn’t feel out of place in the comedy category. Even more impressive is the quality of the films recognized; in years past, a “Burlesque” or “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” was able to slip in simply because there wasn’t much competition.
When it came to the acting choices, there weren’t any questionable “comedies” either. In the actor category, Ryan Gosling of “La La Land” and Hugh Grant of “Florence Foster Jenkins” were expected. Ryan Reynolds was considered a likely candidate for “Deadpool” thanks to strong box office, good reviews, and pure star power. And there was a solid fanbase for Colin Farrell in the dark comedy “The Lobster.” The fifth slot was taken by Jonah Hill for “War Dogs,” from Todd Phillips, who directed “The Hangover,” which won the Golden Globe in 2010.
For the women, Emma Stone of “La La Land,” Meryl Streep of “Florence Foster Jenkins,” and Annette Bening for “20th Century Women” were widely predicted. But the HFPA was wise to honor Hailee Steinfeld for one of the smartest and funniest comedies of the year, “The Edge of 17.” The surprise in this field was Lily Collins for Warren Beatty’s “Rules Don’t Apply.” The young actress beat out the likes of Susan Sarandon in “The Meddler” and Sally Field in “Hello, My Name is Doris” to score her first nod.
Perhaps it speaks to the volume of solid choices this year that the category was filled out with actual comedies and musicals. Some quality films were even overlooked, from Whit Stillman’s “Love and Friendship” to the Russell Crowe-Ryan Gosling headed “The Nice Guys.” But it’s hard to complain when the comedy/musical category is so well represented by the choices that were included.