Golden Globe voters rose to the challenge this year of sifting through the daunting volume of TV series available via broadcast, cable and digital outlets — a deluge of programming that is having a kind of El Nino effect on the TV biz.
But Hollywood Foreign Press Association members braved the storm. With this year’s picks, the Globes reflect the exponential growth in the number of intriguing new series, and the number of platforms fielding worthy contenders for awards gold, from Hulu and Amazon to the next-generation efforts of Starz, the CW and USA Network. With Netflix, Amazon and Hulu landing four out of six nominations in the comedy series category, the lines that may have existed between linear TV and streaming services have officially been obliterated.
The spreading of the nominations wealth ended HBO’s traditional wide lead over the competition in the total nominations derby. Netflix, which is also a contender in the film arena, led with eight bids, followed by HBO with seven, Starz with six and five apiece for Amazon and FX. This year marks the first time in at least 10 years that HBO has not lead the Globes TV pack.
And with the rise of premium digital competitors, broadcast TV’s struggle to field distinctive awards fare has become that much more difficult. ABC, bolstered by “American Crime,” and Fox grabbed four noms apiece. CW took in two acting noms, much to its pleasant surprise after so many years as kudos wallflower. CBS mustered one, for “The Good Wife’s” Alan Cumming, while NBC is out of the race entirely.
There were plenty of actor nominees this time around that required a Google check for the spelling of names — a welcome change from the usual-suspects trend that prevails in Emmy races. Globe voters found worthy performances in low-profile programs such as Starz’s “Flesh and Bone” and “Blunt Talk” and Netflix’s “Narcos” and “Bloodline.” Globes voters have also been traditionally game to throw nominations to actors on shows that don’t scream awards-bait, such as Fox’s “Scream Queens” and “The Grinder,” Starz’s “Outlander,” Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful” and CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”
Globe voters have rarely been sentimental about honoring stalwarts. This time around, even more perennial favorites were cleared out to make room for newbie nominees. No doubt the creative teams behind Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle,” Hulu’s “Casual” and “Outlander” were shocked to hear their shows called out in the top series categories early Thursday.
“Downton Abbey,” “Homeland,” “House of Cards,” “Mad Men” and even the 2015 Globe drama series winner, “The Affair,” were left out of the running for series. The drama heat this year has three newcomers in “Empire,” “Mr. Robot” and “Narcos,” a sophomore in “Outlander” alongside the reigning Emmy drama champ, “Game of Thrones.” AMC’s “Better Call Saul” made pretty much everyone’s prediction list for drama series nominees but wound up with only recognition for star Bob Odenkirk.
In comedy, the inclusion of “Mozart in the Jungle” and “Casual” were jaw-droppers, in a good way. “Orange Is the New Black,” Silicon Valley” and the 2015 champ “Transparent” are back again. HBO’s much-honored “Veep,” the reigning Emmy comedy series winner, also broke in after not making the cut last year.
But HBO’s “Girls” fell out of contention for the first time in the show’s four-season run to date. “Jane the Virgin,” the sole representative of broadcast TV last time around, also dropped out although star Gina Rodriguez earned a second consecutive mention in the category she won for 2015. Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” was seen as a prime contender, after landing an Emmy nom in September and SAG Award nom on Wednesday, didn’t make the cut.
Another big surprise is to see HBO left out of the limited series/made for TV movie category. The cabler’s top contenders this year, miniseries “Show Me a Hero” and biopic “Bessie,” earned acting noms for stars Oscar Isaac and Queen Latifah, respectively. But FX dominated the category this year with noms for “Fargo” and “American Horror Story: Hotel.” ABC muscled in with “American Crime,” which was no surprise after its Emmy haul in September. But Starz’s “Flesh and Bone,” a drama set in the world of ballet, was a surprise choice especially against the star power of “Bessie” and the rave reviews for “Show Me a Hero,” David Simon’s look at race and class tensions in the late 1980s.
The series acting categories also saw an injection of new blood. Globes voters have never been shy about embracing popcorn and genre fare and well-known faces. That’s reflected in drama actress nom for “Scream Queens” star Jamie Lee Curtis and the comedy actor bid for Rob Lowe in Fox’s freshman comedy “The Grinder.”
Coming on top of Wednesday’s SAG nomination, “Mr. Robot” star Rami Malek is officially an Emmy contender. The Globe nom for the series also gives “Mr. Robot” momentum going into Emmy season but it’s not a sure thing. Showtime’s “The Affair” won the Globe for drama series this year but did not snare a single nom in the Emmy derby.
With so much competition, even a still-young drama like “Affair” had an uphill climb in its second go-round with the Globes. Stars Ruth Wilson (who won in 2015) and Dominic West are out of the Globes’ drama acting races this year, while co-star Maura Tierney grabbed a supporting actress bid.
(Pictured: “Casual, “Mozart in the Jungle” and “Outlander”)