Golden Globes Nominations: 8 Surprises Beyond Snoop Dogg’s Trippy Cameo

Michael Buckner

Although celebrities, publicists and NBC are boycotting the 79th annual Golden Globes, the show will go on — although it’s unclear in what form.

On Monday, the Hollywood Foreign Press trudged forward with its nominations for its dinner on Jan. 9, which currently doesn’t have a broadcast partner because of scrutiny over the glaring lack of diversity among its voters. The organization’s president Helen Hoehne informed viewers on YouTube, where about 10,000 people were watching, that the HFPA had instituted changes to reform its outdated practices, including adding 21 new members. Last winter, a bombshell investigation in the Los Angeles Times revealed that the group previously didn’t have a single Black member.

Then Hoehne introduced a surprise presenter — Snoop Dogg — to kick off the nominations. Wearing dark sunglasses just after 6 a.m. in Los Angeles, Dogg struggled with the teleprompter, butchering so many of the nominees’ names that it was hard to tell who actually got nominated. In the end, Focus Features’ “Belfast” and Netflix’s “The Power of the Dog” led all films, with seven nominations each. On the TV side, HBO’s “Succession” picked up five nominations, more than any other show.

After a year of non-stop controversy, “the HFPA accommodated filmmakers/studios who requested their content to be considered only for specific categories,” the organization declared in the description of their livestream. While publicly many studios seemed to be standing by and seeing if the HFPA actually reforms itself, privately they were making requests and campaigning in a new, more subtle way.

That likely affected the voters’ decisions, as there were a few surprises in the mix.

Maggie Gyllenhaal gets in for best director
Until this morning, only eight women had ever been nominated for a Golden Globe for directing, with three of them — Regina King, Chloe Zhao and Emerald Fennell — making the cut last year. Now there’s a ninth person to join that club: Maggie Gyllenhaal for directing “The Lost Daughter.” Jane Campion, who made “The Power of the Dog,” also got nominated in the category (this is her second Globes nomination for directing; her last one was for 1993’s “The Piano”). Given “The Lost Daughter’s” sweep at the Gotham Awards, the film could continue to build momentum as Oscars voting begins in January.

Mahershala Ali is nominated for “Swan Song”
The two-time Oscar winning actor made it in the competitive best actor in a drama category alongside Javier Bardem (“Being the Ricardos”), Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”), Will Smith (“King Richard”) and Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”). In “Swan Song,” Ali plays a man living with a terminal illness who decides to have himself secretly cloned. But the Apple Studios drama has not caught much traction in the awards season race so far.

The Globes liked “West Side Story” — but didn’t love it
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association loves a musical (just ask the producers of “Burlesque”). So it’s a little surprising that Steven Spielberg’s revival of “West Side Story,” which had a tepid opening weekend at the box office, only picked up four nominations. Most notably: Rita Moreno didn’t join co-star Ariana DeBose in the best supporting actress category. And Ansel Elgort didn’t land a nomination for best performance by an actor in a musical or comedy.

Where is “Nightmare Alley”?
Guillermo del Toro’s noir drama, starring Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett, didn’t get single nomination. While studios didn’t screen movies specifically for HFPA voters, voters were still able to get into press screenings as journalists from international outlets. But “Nightmare Alley” was one of the last movies to screen this awards season, which might be why it was overlooked. The Searchlight Pictures movie opens on Dec 17.

Christine Baranski is nominated for “The Good Fight”
“The Good Fight” streamed its fifth season this year, but this is the first time its leading lady has been celebrated for it by this voting body. While Baranski should always be considered a top contender, her familiarity to the HFPA might have pushed her over the top here. (She was previously nominated by the group in 1996 and 1997 for her comedy work on “Cybill.”) It also likely helped that her storyline this season dove into diversity in nuanced ways rarely seen on television, at a time when the organization was thinking a lot about the issue.

Tahar Rahim finally gets recognized for “The Serpent”
Rahim is now a consecutive nominee after seeing love from the HFPA in 2021 for his role in the feature film “The Mauritanian.” The French actor has stolen scenes for years (remember his turn as Ali Soufan in Hulu’s “The Looming Tower”?), but the BBC and Netflix’s “The Serpent” flew far under the radar, which is why this nomination comes as a surprise.

“Impeachment: American Crime Story” gets nominated — but none of its actors do
The FX limited series is the third in the “American Crime Story” anthology from Ryan Murphy. With the first two installments (“The People v. O.J. Simpson” and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace”) winning the limited series/tv movie category in 2017 and 2019, respectively, perhaps some people assumed this would be a lock for a nom. But because it was so under-discussed while it was on (and because it did not get added to the network’s Hulu hub for catch-up or binge-watching), it feels under seen. Additionally, this is the only year the series was nominated by the HFPA when none of the actors were, which makes it even more of a head-scratcher. Sarah Paulson especially did some standout work as Linda Tripp, and she has been a past HFPA favorite (four nominations, one win).

Oh Yeong-su is nominated for “Squid Game”
The global phenomenon “Squid Game” picked up three nominations, including best TV drama series. While it is certainly no surprise that this Korean drama keeps racking up accolades, Yeong-su has not been making the campaigning rounds for other awards that his co-stars, including fellow Globe nominee Lee Jung-jae, have. The Globes have been known for celebrating performers that other voting bodies overlook, though, so chalk this one up as one the best surprises.