Golden Globes Snubs and Surprises: From ‘Moonlight’ to ‘The Night Manager’

Moonlight Golden Globe Win
Paul Drinkwater/NBC

The Golden Globes are known for their unpredictability, but with so many of this year’s winners following Globe trends, 2017 had fewer surprises than usual. Still, who expected underdogs Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Isabelle Huppert to prevail on the film side? And who thought AMC’s “The Night Manager” would win more Globes than FX’s mighty “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” in the TV honors? Or that indie darling (and critics favorite) “Moonlight” would go home empty-handed, before winning the night’s final award? Or that HBO, the year’s most nominated TV network, would score a goose egg?

Here are 11 of the biggest snubs and surprises from the 2017 Golden Globes:

SURPRISE: Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
Most had tipped Natalie Portman to win her third Golden Globe for channeling the former First Lady in “Jackie,” but it was Isabelle Huppert who scored the best actress win for Paul Verhoeven’s divisive film “Elle.” Perhaps it’s not such a surprise; the HFPA loves its international stars, Huppert is an icon, and they clearly loved the sexual revenge drama, which also won best foreign language film.

SNUB AND SURPRISE: “Moonlight”
The year’s critical favorite, “Moonlight” went in with six nominations — second only to “La La Land” with seven nods. But while “La La” enjoyed a clean sweep, Barry Jenkins’ acclaimed indie, focusing on a young gay black man coming of age, appeared to be going home empty-handed, particularly after supporting actor frontrunner Mahershala Ali lost to Aaron Taylor-Johnson for “Nocturnal Animals.” But all was well at the end of the night as Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers announced “Moonlight” as the best picture of year — which at that point, felt like a surprise (although Oscar winner “12 Years a Slave” experienced the same rollercoaster in 2014). Even producer Adele Romanski noted at the podium, “To be honest, I didn’t think this was going to happen.”

SNUB: HBO
With 14 nominations, the premium cable powerhouse led all contenders going into the night. Surprisingly, the network was shut out completely — enduring losses for hot newcomers (“Westworld,” “Insecure”), veterans (“Veep,” “Game of Thrones”), and an acclaimed limited series (“The Night Of”) alike.

SURPRISE: “La La Land’s” clean sweep
While it was expected to be a good night for Damien Chazelle’s musical, few predicted the movie would win in every category for which it was nominated, taking home seven statues. In the musical/comedy film category it took home film, actor, and actress, in addition to awards for director, screenplay, score, and song (“City of Stars.”) It broke the record previously held by “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Midnight Express,” which both won six.

SURPRISE: Tracee Ellis Ross, “Black-ish”
It’s always wise to bet on a first-time nominee in the TV acting categories, and Ross had the added benefit of noms for her series and co-star Anthony Anderson. But her win is a minor upset as many saw this category as a showdown between HBO divas Sarah Jessica Parker (a four-time Globe winner landing her first nom for “Divorce”) and Issa Rae (the “Insecure” creator-star is celebrated newbie in the mold of the previous two winners: Gina Rodriguez and Rachel Bloom).

SNUB: Courtney B. Vance and Sterling K. Brown, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
They both won Emmys for their work as rival lawyers Johnnie Cochran and Chris Darden, but the acclaimed duos fell victim to…

SURPRISE: “The Night Manager” (nearly) sweeps limited series acting categories
AMC’s limited series had the second most nominations of the year in TV categories (after “O.J.”), and was obviously a top contender. But few expected all three of its nominated actors to take home trophies: star Tom Hiddleston and supporting players Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman. Laurie, who has two previous Globes for “House,” was perhaps most surprising of all as he topped both Brown and “The Crown” standout John Lithgow.

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SURPRISE: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, “Nocturnal Animals”
When Tom Ford’s moody thriller premiered, all the awards buzz was on co-star Michael Shannon for best supporting actor. But the Golden Globes not only chose to nominate Taylor-Johnson, he won the award over perceived frontrunner Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”) and a legend like Jeff Bridges (“Hell or High Water.”) Taylor-Johnson failed to score a SAG Award nomination for his portrayal of a violent psychopath who terrorizes Jake Gyllenhaal and his family, but the Globe win boosts his odds for an Oscar nod.

SNUB: Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”
The reigning Emmy winner lost his first Globe bid to Jon Hamm’s final “Mad Men” season last year. And this year he went down to Amazon’s “Goliath” star Billy Bob Thornton — the only nominee from a freshman show (always a Globes advantage), who previously pulled a big upset with his win for “Fargo” in 2015.

SURPRISE: “Zootopia”
Not a big shock, as the film was a critical and financial smash, but it faced stiff competition from fellow Disney flick “Moana.” But in the end, the fuzzy animals of “Zootopia” beat out Dwayne Johnson’s god to take the top animation prize.

SNUB: “This Is Us”
NBC’s breakout hit was nominated for three Globes in two categories (drama series and supporting actress for both Mandy Moore and Chrissy Metz), and lost them all. It wasn’t the only freshman series with multiple noms shut out (Netflix’s “Stranger Things” lost two bids and HBO’s “Westworld” lost three), but it was the only one that airs on the network that also broadcasts the Globes.

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  1. Alex Meyer says:

    Very glad for most of La La Land’s wins, Moonlight’s wins, and the People V. O.J. Simpson and Sarah Paulson’s wins. I do wish Mahershala Ali won for Moonlight instead of Aaron Taylor-Johnson. That was just b.s.

  2. Alison says:

    To me, I was incredibly surprised over a few of categories: best actress in a drama motion picture- I still firmly believe Natalie Portman has the performance of the year (and will go on to win the Oscar). If you haven’t seen Jackie, please do. Second, best supporting actor in a drama motion picture- I’ve only heard Mahershala Ali is absolutely incredible in Moonlight (and will still most likely also go on to win the Oscar), so it was surprising to see ATJ win. Finally, the miniseries categories- I truly believed it was going to be down to The Night Of and The People VS O.J. Simpson.

  3. Bill B. says:

    To me there were really only two major surprises. Supporting actor in which Ali seemed a shoe-in & the screenplay award to La La Land, which it did not deserve despite being a wonderful movie. This landslide by La La Land doesn’t assure an Oscar win though. I think it is still between it and Moonlight, though Manchester by the Sea is still a possibility.

  4. The Golden Globes should be about talent not categories.

  5. David says:

    why are these surprises? the globes will always choose gorgeous movie stars first, and foreign fare like the Night Manager, regardless of what is better. they are actually pretty predictable in their thirst/shallowness , it’s the prognosticators that take them too seriously

  6. When you take a show like the OJ SIMSON TRAIL and make it a movie that is a movie not a TV show. The shows that are on Netflix and paid channels should be considered movies,that’s why they are called movie channels. The TV channels like networks CBS,NBC,ABC,TBS and so on should be considered TV shows.So get your winners right or put more awards on the table. Or stop being paid for giving awards because one way or another people will catch on to what you are doing. This should never be about anything other than talent.

  7. Tom says:

    It’s really Aaron Taylor johnson who gives the phenomenal performance — not michael Shannon who is great. It seems that the nominating committees go for the name sometimes. So thrilled that the golden globes recognized this great performance in one of the best and underrated movies of the year

    • Sue says:

      We were so disappointed, we wanted to see Nocturnal Animals and it was gone from our movies 2 weeks ago! We saw the trailer when we saw Manchester. And The Night Manager was very good and Olivia Coleman also great on Broadchurch (on Netflix). Then again, The Night Of would have been a good win too. Plus, started The Crown the other day, highly recommend it.

  8. Marie says:

    but it faced stiff competition from fellow Disney flick “Moana.”

    How was it stiff competition? Moana never got the same attention Zootopia got.

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