And the Golden Globe nominees are…

Last week, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) announced the Golden Globe nominees. Filmmakers vote for the Oscars, international critics vote for the Globes. What makes the Globe more interesting than the Oscars? They happen first.

So, let’s look at some of the nominees:

Best Motion Picture – Drama

I’ve seen and liked four of the five nominees. I’d probably vote for Promising Young Woman, because it’s a daring concept (avenging date rape) and excellent execution. My capsule review will turn up on my next Movies I’ve Recently Seen article.

Promising Young Woman

But I also loved The Father (it’s not yet available in the Bay Area), Mank, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. I haven’t yet seen Nomadland.

Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy

I have mixed feelings about separating movies between genres. Is the “Best Drama” officially better than the “Best Musical or Comedy? Keep reading and you’ll see that the foreign critics think so.


Consider the two leaders in this category. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is in no way a musical, and Hamilton is in no way a comedy. Without the music, Hamilton would be a historical drama. Without the humor, Borat would be a documentary.

I also loved The Prom – truly an old-fashioned musical comedy. I was delighted to discover it was nominated. I haven’t seen the other nominees, Palm Springs and Music.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

I’m skipping over Best Motion Picture — Foreign Language, because I haven’t seen any of the nominees. Either I missed the best five foreign films this year, or the Globe members disagree with me considerably.

Best Screenplay and Direction

There’s only one Best Screenplay category; it doesn’t matter if your film is a drama, comedy, or a musical. But here’s something interesting: The screenplay nominations are the exact five movies nominated for Best Motion Picture — Drama. That tells us that screenwriters – the least celebrated of all filmmakers – are really important. It also tells us that the Globe members think that comedies and musicals don’t deserve these awards.

The Prom

By the way, Best Director has almost exactly the same nominees. The only difference is that One Night in Miami supplants The Father.

Various acting awards

If Viola Davis doesn’t win Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, either the Golden Globes are rigged, or I missed some incredible performances. Curiously, this film could have been nominated for Musical or Comedy; this movie could easily be called a musical – although a serious one.

Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

The late Chadwick Boseman will probably win Best Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama, again for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. But it would be out of sentiment. He was excellent, but Anthony Hopkins’ performance in The Father is even better.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm gives us two comedy nominees: Maria Bakalova and, of course, Sacha Baron Cohen. But Cohen will have to go against Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton for Best Actor in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy. That’s a tight one.

And what about the supporting actors – who don’t have to worry about if their films are officially dramas or comedies (supporting characters don’t have to fit drama or comedy). I was blown away by Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy. And if Sacha Baron Cohen fails in the leading role for Borat, he’ll likely win the supporting prize for The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy

Another difference between the Globes and the Oscars: The Golden Globes also give awards for television as well as movies. Among the small-screen series nominated that I enjoyed were The Flight Attendant, The Crown, Unorthodox, and The Queen’s Gambit.

Don’t take these nominations too seriously. If nothing else, consider them suggestions for what movies you should screen over the next few weeks.

The Golden Globe ceremonies will happen February 28, at 5:00 Pacific time on NBC.