golden globes 2021

The Biggest Snubs and Surprises of the 2021 Golden Globe Nominations

Only one of these projects received Golden Globe nominations on Wednesday. Photo-Illustration: Vulture, Netflix and HBO

The weirdest awards season ever got even weirder Wednesday morning as the Hollywood Foreign Press association announced its 2021 Golden Globe nominations in a bizarre livestream that somehow managed to leave out a major category. As for the nominations themselves? Well, they were perfectly Globe-ular, which means they are the usual mix of assumed Oscar heavyweights, A-listers in mediocre movies, and a couple of nominations for projects nobody has ever heard of. And, as always, much great work was left entirely by the wayside. Join us as we run down the snubs and surprises of the 78th Golden Globe nominations.


We may destroy something over the lack of I May Destroy You nominations.
How many Golden Globe nominations do you think I May Destroy You, a series on many critics’ best-of-the-year-in-TV lists, received? Three? At least two, right, for Best Limited Series and Michaela Coel’s performance? Well, it got zero. Zero. Zero? ZERO. This snub is an affront to quality television.

Emily in Paris is nominated for Best TV Comedy, and you know somewhere Sylvie is rolling her eyes.
Emily in Paris is a fun, if silly and occasionally maddening, work of escapism. But is it award-worthy? Non, ma chérie. My theory is that many members of the foreign press voted for it in part because it makes Americans look like such self-indulgent isolationists. And you know what? Based on the past four years, maybe we deserve that.

Lady Whistledown reports that Bridgerton is not invited to the 2021 Golden Globes.
Given the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s history of pouncing on new and buzzy series, a nomination or two for Bridgerton seemed like a certainty. But it was not to be. Which is fine. Bridgerton would have RSVP’d no to this party anyway because it plans to be very busy having sex in a hedge maze on the night of February 28.

Wait, did she say Ratched?
Yes, Taraji P. Henson, who, along with Sarah Jessica Parker, announced this year’s Globe nominations, did say that Ratched, yet another Ryan Murphy joint that looked beautiful but quickly became a frustrating and empty exercise, was nominated for Best TV Drama. That happened.

Little support for the Mrs. America supporting players.
While Cate Blanchett was recognized for her portrayal of Phyllis Schlafly, none of the many fine supporting performances in Mrs. America — by Uzo Aduba, who won an Emmy for her portrayal of Shirley Chisholm; Margot Martindale, also Emmy-nominated for the series; Tracey Ullman, also also Emmy-nominated for the series; and Globe fave Sarah Paulson — got a mention. Mrs. America blanked on a Best Limited Series nomination, too.

Small Axe is a limited TV series!
In our humble opinion, it is not. It’s a collection of thematically connected individual films. But Amazon submitted it on the TV side, so it was nominated for Best Limited Series and John Boyega got a nod for his performance in a limited in what was one of those thematically connected films, Red, White and Blue. It’s not a surprise to see Steve McQueen’s achievement deservingly nominated at the Globes, but it’s frustrating that perhaps because of Amazon’s award-season calculus — maybe the company figured Small Axe had a better shot as a TV show rather than as several individual movies — series that were actually made as series (see, yet again, I May Destroy You) got shut out. (Update: A representative for Steve McQueen told Vulture that the filmmaker always intended to make Small Axe as a television series and that “Amazon had absolutely no hand in calculating what category would be most fruitful.”)

A sad day for the Matt Berry community.
As has been well established on this website, Vulture strongly and frequently bets on Matt Berry. But that bet did not pay off today, as neither he nor What We Do in the Shadows got any love from Golden Globes voters.

On the other hand, a big day for the Cuoco Hive.
Kaley Cuoco and her addictive HBO Max series The Flight Attendant both scored nominations on the comedy side, which was a bit of a surprise but a pleasant one. I’d suggest that Cuoco’s Cassie, owner of so many excellent coats, should celebrate with a drink, but we know that’s a bad idea. Stick to a nice flavored seltzer, Cassie.

Smollett and Rae, overlooked.
While Lovecraft Country got a nomination for Best Drama Series, none of the actors did, including Jurnee Smollett, who seemingly had the best shot at one. Coming off Insecure’s strong fourth season, it also seemed very possible that Issa Rae might land her third Golden Globe acting nomination. But she didn’t. In fact, every female acting category in the television arena is completely dominated by white women this year.

The Paul Mescal joyride screeches to a halt.
Mescal has been the Normal People star given the most opportunities to bask in awards glory, but that changed today when his co-star Daisy Edgar-Jones received a Golden Globe nomination and Mescal had to take a seat.

Hey, has anyone seen Hugh Jackman?
He delivered an extraordinary performance as the conniving principal in HBO’s Bad Education, and he’s just … not here? Like, how? And why?

Also, just to clarify one more time: Emily in Paris was nominated for Best Musical/Comedy Series, but Dead to Me was not?
And neither was PEN15? Or The Good Place? Or the aforementioned Insecure or What We Do in the Shadows? Or — long shot, I know — BoJack Horseman? Okay, just making sure I understand what happened here. (Note: I still don’t understand what happened here.)


Three women made it into Best Director.
Before today, the Globes had nominated only five women for Best Director ever, and never more than one female filmmaker in a single year. Now there are three: Nomadland’s Chloé Zhao and One Night in Miami’s Regina King were both widely predicted in advance, but we also got the delightful inclusion of Promising Young Woman’s Emerald Fennell, whose film surprisingly proved a sturdy all-around contender. Do you think the Globes will bring back Natalie Portman to present Best Director this year?

Black-led ensembles were nowhere to be found in Best Motion Picture Drama.
This year’s field boasts a wealth of Black-led productions, and while many of them were rewarded elsewhere on the ballot, the Globes’ unofficial top category still wound up noticeably white. You could say Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and One Night in Miami got dinged because of their stage origins, but while that may be true, it doesn’t explain the snubs for the unquestionably cinematic Judas and the Black Messiah and Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, the latter of which was shut out entirely. (In a feat of terrible timing, Lee’s kids are this year’s Globes ambassadors.) Considering that one of the films that did get in was The Trial of the Chicago 7 — a film that shares the same setting, themes, and even a character with Black Messiah but is told through a white POV — the contrast is even more eye-emoji-worthy.

Mank is back!
When David Fincher’s Old Hollywood drama started getting snubbed by critics’ groups, the very people you’d assume would most enjoy a black-and-white film about the writing of Citizen Kane, it was tempting to write the movie off: Would it even get a Best Picture nod? The Globes proved the folly of that notion, awarding the film six nominations, more than any other movie. It was a Manksgiving feast, and it just goes to prove the old adage: Never, ever count out a movie about making movies.

News of the World, not so much.
Every season, rumors swirl about a second-tier contender that the HFPA secretly loves. Last year, it was The Two Popes, and the papal buddy movie accordingly took home four nominations. Word had it that News of the World was this year’s Globes fave, but come nomination morning, Paul Greengrass’s throwback Western blanked in the big categories, earning nods only in Best Supporting Actress and Best Score. Greengrass will have to hope the Academy’s directing branch favors his expansive canvas more than the HFPA did.

Did the Globes just give us our Best Actress five?
With Promising Young Woman running in Drama rather than Musical/Comedy, that Best Actress category seemed to mirror the Oscar race exactly: a pair of past winners in Viola Davis and Frances McDormand, two slots for Vanessa Kirby and Carey Mulligan, respectively, and an open spot for a wild card. Would the fifth nominee be a buzzy newcomer like Zendaya for Malcolm & Marie? A venerated A-lister like Kate Winslet for Ammonite? Nope. Instead, the Globes went for Andra Day’s late-breaking performance in The United States vs. Billie Holiday, a role that ticks a lot of Oscar-friendly boxes. With none of the nominated actresses on the Musical/Comedy side looking like a threat — sorry, Michelle Pfeiffer — don’t be surprised if this is our Academy lineup next month.

Meryl out, Corden in?
Speaking of Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy, the unthinkable happened there: 32-time Globe nominee Meryl Streep was left out for both The Prom and Let Them All Talk. Even weirder? Her Prom co-star James Corden, whose performance was widely regarded as the worst thing about the film, made it in on the male side. The same thing happened with Palm Springs: Vulture fave Cristin Milioti got snubbed, while her co-star Andy Samberg got nominated. Nothing against Samberg, but did the HFPA watch the same movie as everyone else?

Two critical darlings got snubbed in the supporting races.
Critics’ groups have been riding hard for Sound of Metal’s Paul Raci and Minari’s Youn Yuh-jung this season. Neither is exactly a fresh face — Youn is a screen legend in Korea, while Raci has had bit parts in Parks and Rec and Goliath — but their scene-stealing performances earned them a bunch of new fans. The HFPA was unfortunately not among them: While their films found favor elsewhere, both Raci and Youn were left out of the Globes’ supporting categories in favor of established names like Jodie Foster in The Mauritanian and Jared Leto in the critically savaged serial-killer movie The Little Things. Can Raci and Youn turn things around at SAG, or are they destined to be awards-season footnotes?

What the hell is Music?
Avid followers of online controversies may recall Music as the thing that made a lot of neurodivergent people mad at Sia. But did you know it is also an actual movie and thus eligible for the Golden Globes? In the most head-scratching development of the morning, the HFPA awarded Music two nominations: Best Musical/Comedy Motion Picture and Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy for Kate Hudson, who I guess is the star of Music? Of course, there’s another big reason you haven’t heard of this film — it isn’t out yet. The movie’s inclusion is a by-product of the Globes moving their eligibility window to the end of February to align with Oscar, which also explains how Rosamund Pike got nominated for the black comedy I Care a Lot even though it doesn’t hit Netflix for a few more weeks. You won’t have to wait as long to see Music: It heads to VOD on February 12, at which point we’ll all learn together whether it’s a musical or a comedy.

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The Snubs and Surprises of the 2021 Golden Globe Nominations