The Golden Globe nominations are here, and as always, there are a few noteworthy snubs and oddities among the recognized films. As the end of 2018 fast approaches, various awards bodies are weighing in, listing what they feel is the best the year had to offer. On the heels of the National Board of Review and American Film Institute unveiling their respective top 10 lists, the Hollywood Foreign Press became the latest to name their selections. While there's still plenty of time for things to change ahead of Oscar Sunday in February 2019, the race is starting to become clearer.
In these initial stages, there have been some pleasant surprises - including from the Globes. Marvel Studios' Black Panther scored a huge nod when it was nominated for Best Picture - Drama, and Sony's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is in the running for Best Animated Feature. After being shunned by NBR and AFI, Adam McKay's Vice got a much-needed boost by earning six nominations (the most of any film), including Best Picture - Comedy or Musical and Best Director. Looking over the full list, there's a lot to celebrate - but there are some serious head scratchers as well. Here are the biggest Golden Globes snubs.
On-paper, Damien Chazelle's Neil Armstrong biopic had all the makings of a serious awards contender, and following the raves it got at festival screenings, it felt like it'd be a legitimate contender. Unfortunately, things haven't gone the way many initially expected, and First Man's awards prospects continue to sink. Ignored entirely by NBR and AFI, First Man picked up just a pair of Golden Globe nominations. Claire Foy was among the five in Best Supporting Actress, and Justin Hurwitz received a nod for his memorable musical score. Those two are very much deserving of their accolades, but fans of First Man can't help but feel it deserved more.
While detractors felt First Man was too cold and emotionally distant to truly connect with viewers on an emotional level, the film was lauded for its impressive technical merits, with Chazelle continuing to evolve his craft. First Man features some of the young filmmaker's strongest direction, particularly the awe-inspiring moon landing sequence that was done primarily in-camera with practical effects. The film itself, which told a touching story about grief and overcoming personal loss, had a case for Best Picture - Drama, and Gosling's understated (but effective) performance as Armstrong could have been in competition for Best Actor - Drama. Maybe if First Man performed better at the box office, things would have turned out differently, but it turned out to be not much of a factor.
Widows Gets Shut Out
At least First Man has a couple of nominations to celebrate. Steve McQueen's acclaimed heist movie was shut out entirely. Widows' awards prospects were always an iffy proposition, but in the months leading up to its release, it was hard to argue against its pedigree. McQueen is an award-winning filmmaker for his work on 2013's 12 Years a Slave, and the stacked cast was spearheaded by Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis. Once the reviews started to come in and Widows earned widespread praise for its technical and thematic mastery (the film goes deeper than your typical crime entry), it seemed like it could put together a campaign.
But now, Widows' chances are essentially nonexistent. Like First Man, it didn't appeal to NBR and AFI voters, and the Globes didn't go for it at all, either. This despite McQueen's sensibilities translating very well to a more mainstream realm (the standout tracking shot is intricately crafted and rich) and the cast delivered compelling performances across the board. Davis was typically excellent as the leader of the makeshift group, commanding the attention of viewers with her screen presence. Gillian Flynn's screenplay also tackled heady and complex subject matter, striking a nice balance between genre thrills and substance. For many, Widows was one of the best films of the fall, but it isn't awards voters' cup of tea.
First Reformed Shut Out
One of the movies that's gained much traction early in awards season is Paul Schrader's First Reformed, a drama centering around New York minister Toller (Ethan Hawke) dealing with questions about faith and morality. Released by indie darling A24 as a counter-programming option over the summer, First Reformed managed to leave a sizable impression. It did very well at the Gotham Awards and New York Film Critics Circle, thrusting Hawke to the forefront of the Best Actor race. First Reformed was also noted by the NBR and AFI as one of the year's best films, further solidifying its status as a legitimate contender as we build towards the Oscars.
First Reformed hit its first speed bump of the season when it earned zero Golden Globes nominations. Hawke's performance and Schrader's screenplay had picked up multiple notices up until this point, so the drama's omission is bound to raise a few eyebrows. It's very much still in the thick of things (the various guilds have yet to name their nominations), but it will still be interesting to keep an eye on First Reformed and see if it misses out with other key organizations.
Sam Elliott's A Star is Born Performance
Bradley Cooper's remake of A Star is Born has been considered the one to beat ever since it premiered at the fall festivals. It has the positive reviews, it has the box office, and it has the undeniable star power of Cooper and Lady Gaga behind it. There are few things awards voters love more than films about the entertainment industry, which is another reason why it's resonated so well. Remember, La La Land received a record-tying 14 Oscar nominations, so the expectation was A Star is Born would do quite well on the circuit. Indeed, it's done just that, scoring four wins from the NBR (including Best Director and Best Actress), a spot on on the AFI list, and five Golden Globe nominations. There will certainly be more nominations to come in the next few weeks.
It's hard to say with a serious face the juggernaut of the season has been snubbed, but the Golden Globes failed to mention Sam Elliott, who gave a poignant performance as Bobby in the film. The veteran actor has long been presumed as one of the favorites in the Best Supporting Actor category (an award he won from NBR), so it was fascinating to see the Globes bypass him. That isn't to take anything away from the five thespians who were nominated in that field, but considering all the love A Star is Born has been getting so far, it was odd Elliott couldn't come along for the ride. This doesn't seal his Oscar fate, but this is still a situation to watch closely.