For as scattered as the Golden Globes can be, there are at least a couple of constants when it comes to the nominations. The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. has proved time and again that its favorite kind of actors to reward tend to come from two extreme sides of the spectrum: talented first-timers and huge household names. If a project stars someone who is truly new and/or shiny, chances are that the HFPA will pay ample attention come nomination time.
The 2019 TV noms largely stuck to this rule. The Globes honored such movie stars as Julia Roberts (“Homecoming”), Jim Carrey (“Kidding”), Michael Douglas (“The Kominsky Method”) and Penelope Cruz (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”) for their exemplary TV work, while such favorites as Laura Dern (“The Tale”) and Candice Bergen (“Murphy Brown”) returned.
On the other side of the coin, two of the acting noms went to Billy Porter (for his nuanced portrayal of a ballroom emcee in FX’s “Pose”) and Stephan James (for his slowly unfurling performance as an earnest army veteran in “Homecoming”) in the competitive drama series actor category.
Still, a closer look at the nominations reveals that this year’s batch contains far more star power and way fewer pleasant newcomer surprises than per usual. On the one hand, the Globes historically have loved to guarantee that as many big-name actors will be at the ceremony as possible. On the other, this saturation of A-list talent accurately reflects the ballooning demand in the television industry for high wattage stars to launch and anchor projects.
TV isn’t a second choice or last resort for film stars anymore; it’s a savvy career move to make audiences see them in a new and different light.
Roberts, who had never been a series regular on TV before and chose to break that pattern with her uncharacteristically quiet “Homecoming” role of a conflicted therapist, is an especially good example of just how radically the tides have shifted.
With so many high-profile actors turning to television, there is simply less room for deserving newcomers to break through. This is also partly due to fewer acting categories at the Globes than the Emmys, since the Globes continue to combine supporting performances from comedies, dramas, limited series and TV movies into one catchall category — which is a real shame. Prestige and precedence dominated this year’s supporting categories when fantastic actors from shows the Globes have honored — including Brian Tyree Henry (“Atlanta”), D’Arcy Carden (“The Good Place”), Betty Gilpin (“GLOW”) and Indya Moore (“Pose”) — could and should have stood a better chance at getting in. If the Globes would just separate those categories to more accurately reflect the breadth of series and talent flooding TV today, the awards could recognize both more stars and more performers who don’t already have an enormous presence in Hollywood. If that’s not the definition of a win-win, what is?