The HFPA proved its commitment to honoring new talent and stories for 2018. Here are the top TV 75th Annual Golden Globes nominees, including picks to win, broken down by category.
There is only one newcomer in the drama series race this year, and given that it has already won a slew of Emmys, it hardly feels all that new. That is, of course, Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Joining it on the Globes ballot is HBO epic “Game of Thrones,” which has been nominated four times previously, as well as sophomores Netflix sci-fi throwback “Stranger Things,” NBC family drama “This Is Us” (the lone broadcast representative), and last year’s winner, Netflix period piece “The Crown.” While “The Crown” is a proven favorite, it will be hard to beat the Television Academy’s choice in “Handmaid’s Tale.”
MUSICAL OR COMEDY SERIES
ABC’s family comedy “Black-ish” and Netflix’s comedy-drama hybrid “Master of None” are the only two returning nominees in the category this year. Left out are Emmy favorites “Veep” from HBO and “Transparent” from Amazon. Instead, the HFPA spotlighted some true newcomers in Amazon and Amy Sherman-Palladino’s 1950s-set “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and Showtime and Frankie Shaw’s auteur single mom comedy “SMILF.” Rounding out the category is previous six-time nominee for its original sitcom run, “Will & Grace,” whose revival is not only reaping ratings rewards but now has a chance at awards gold, too. The category is tough to predict, especially given just how new some of these freshman series are. (“Maisel” debuted less than a month ago.) “Will & Grace,” with its beloved nostalgia factor, just might have the edge.
LIMITED SERIES OR TV MOVIE
Once again, this category is not only an embarrassment of riches but also a seriously tight race. It is also extremely female-focused, as four of the five nominees centered their storytelling on one or a group of strong women. HBO adaptation “Big Little Lies” took the Emmy glory earlier this year, but given that it was just announced as returning for a second season, some voters may feel it unfair to reward it in a “limited series” category. Intense competition comes from FX anthology drama “Fargo” now in its third season and previously nominated twice (with one prior win); “Feud: Bette and Joan” FX’s latest anthology drama starring heavy-hitters Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon (both nommed for actress); USA breakout “The Sinner,” which boasts a return to TV from Jessica Biel; and “Top of the Lake: China Girl,” the second installment in Sundance’s anthology drama, starring “Handmaid’s Tale’s” Elisabeth Moss. “Big Little Lies” is a solid pick, but if the HFPA wants to diversify from the Television Academy, “Feud” could play spoiler.
The previous twice-nominated Bob Odenkirk, the lone representative of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” prequel “Better Call Saul,” and Liev Schreiber, four-time previously nominated for his role as fixer and family man “Ray Donovan” represent the vets in the category this year. “This Is Us” star Sterling K. Brown feels like an old pro in this category, given his Emmy win earlier this year, but this is, in fact, his first time being heralded by the HFPA for his role in the family drama. Other newcomers are Jason Bateman in a rare dramatic turn in Netflix’s “Ozark,” and Freddie Highmore, who portrays an autistic doctor with savant syndrome in ABC’s new hit “The Good Doctor.” Given his winning streak, Brown is favored to triumph here, but Highmore is also a strong contender for the nuance he brings to the kind of character rarely seen on the small screen.
With last year’s winner Donald Glover ineligible this year, and awards heavyweight Jeffrey Tambor not earning a spot on the ballot (perhaps due to recent sexual misconduct allegations against him), for the first time in years, this comedy acting category could be anybody’s game. For the second consecutive time both Anthony Anderson (ABC’s “Black-ish”) and Aziz Ansari (Netflix’s “Master of None”) are competing in the category: Anderson’s show has been on the air for four years, though, while Ansari’s only two. William H. Macy joins them on the ballot for his second nom for Showtime’s “Shameless” (his first was in 2015), as do newcomers Kevin Bacon (Amazon’s “I Love Dick”) and Eric McCormack (NBC’s “Will & Grace”). This is one category in which the winner is often the newcomer, so both Bacon and McCormack have fair shots — Bacon has never been nominated in this category, while McCormack has (five times), but not since 2004.
LIMITED SERIES OR TV MOVIE ACTOR
Every year it is easy to lament holding limited series and TV movie performances up against each other, given that limited series have between eight and 18 hours of storytelling to showcase a person’s work, while TV movies have two at best. And every year the caliber of talent attached to both increases, making the choice that much harder. This time around, former Cecil B. DeMille Award winner Robert De Niro is up for his work as Bernie Madoff in HBO’s original movie “The Wizard of Lies” up against four limited series actors: Jude Law (HBO’s “The Young Pope”), Kyle MacLachlan (Showtime’s “Twin Peaks” revival), Ewan McGregor (FX’s “Fargo”) and Geoffrey Rush (Nat Geo’s “Genius”). Good luck to voters: this is one category that may be too close to call.
As with the dramatic actor category, the women represented here are split pretty evenly among new and returning players. Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) seems like a vet given her Emmy win. (She was nominated for her work on “Mad Men” in 2011.) “Outlander’s” Caitriona Balfe and “The Crown’s” Claire Foy are both back on the ballot, both for the second time — Foy won last year, when she was a fresh face in the race — while other newcomers include Maggie Gyllenhaal for HBO’s period piece “The Deuce” and Katherine Langford for Netflix’s adaptation of “13 Reasons Why.” While strong cases can be made for Foy and Gyllenhaal, just as at the Emmys, Moss is the one to beat here.
With her second consecutive nomination for “Insecure” on HBO, Issa Rae is the only veteran in the comedy acting category this year. It’s a diverse list of performances that run the gamut of female experiences and emotions, even when told with a comedic bent, and celebrate quite a few women who took control of their own careers and crested their own shows. Fresh faces in the race Pamela Adlon (FX’s “Better Things”) and Frankie Shaw (Showtime’s “SMILF”) portrayed single mothers trying to juggle demanding families with varying degrees of successful careers. Alison Brie (Netflix’s “GLOW”) and Rachel Brosnahan (Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) tapped into the idea of starting over and embarking upon public careers in entertainment. If the HFPA wants to follow the path blazed in 2017 by honoring the auteur comedian, it will be Shaw’s year, but Brosnahan, who had the harder job of keeping up with the pace of Amy Sherman-Palladino’s dialogue while working within the confines of a 1950s period piece, could also be the ingenue they turn to.
LIMITED SERIES OR TV MOVIE ACTRESS
Co-stars are competing against co-stars in a repeat ballot from this year’s Emmy race with four major contenders in “Big Little Lies” stars Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon as well as “Feud: Bette and Joan” stars Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon. The lone single nominee is Jessica Biel, who made a star turn as a haunted mother-turned-murderer in USA’s “The Sinner” this summer. It may prove hard to argue against Kidman’s star power, but given the HFPA’s love of being a trendsetter, rather than follower, Biel might just edge out the Emmy winner to take the Golden Globes trophy come January.