2021 Golden Globes: The Biggest Surprises and Snubs
By John Boone and Philiana Ng
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The Golden Globes are known for eyebrow-raising choices in a normal year, but who could have predicted what the Hollywood Foreign Press Association would do in unprecedented times?
On Wednesday, the HFPA unveiled the nominations for the 2021 edition of their awards show, proving that the Globes are gonna Globe no matter what's going on in the world. The Crown and Schitt's Creek reign on the TV side, as expected, while Mank and The Trial of the Chicago 7 are the year's most nominated films. As always, there were just as many surprise nominees and even more surprising omissions. Below, ET runs down the biggest surprises and snubs at the 78th annual Golden Globe Awards.
Snub: Da 5 Bloods did not earn a single nomination. Which is both completely shocking (it's a frontrunner of this awards season) and not shocking in the least, considering the HFPA's spotty history on inclusivity. Sounds about white! No Best Motion Picture - Drama. No Best Director for Spike Lee. Delroy Lindo's thought-to-be-cemented spot in Best Actor instead went to The Mauritanian's Tahar Rahim, while Chadwick Boseman's spot in Best Supporting Actor went to Jared Leto for The Little Things. (The latter certainly a surprise of its own.)
Snub: Sophia Loren isn't making her grand return to Best Actress race. The legendary actress' first film following a 10-year hiatus would have earned her her first nomination from the HFPA in more than 25 years. (She won the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1995.) Alas, Loren was blanked in Best Drama Actress, but the film, The Life Ahead, did make it into Best Foreign Language Film race.
Surprise: Andra Day breaks into the Best Actress race. We may have underestimated this Lady Day, as the actress' will-she-or-won't-she turn in The United States vs. Billie Holiday did, in fact, get her a nomination from the Globes. Maybe it shouldn't come as a surprise, since she's giving the HFPA everything they love: Playing a real person, tackling drug addiction, singing -- and this is Day's first lead role, so they get to be the first voting body to anoint her. This doesn't make her a shoo-in for the Oscars, but it certainly boosts her standing in the race.
Snub: Zendaya is still not a Golden Globe nominee. Admittedly, Best Actress in a Drama was a crowded race to crack this year, especially with a movie that's proved as polarizing as Malcolm & Marie. Still, Zendaya is good enough in it to dispel any naysayers, and it is surprising that the HFPA would pass the chance to invite one of the biggest stars of today to their ceremony via a nomination of her own. (Especially after the Emmys did what the Globes wouldn't and not only nominated Zendaya for Euphoria but gave her the win.)
Surprise: The musical and comedy nominees are actually musicals and comedies. From the same voting body that hailed The Martian as one of the funniest comedies of the year comes the rare Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy race that is just that. Hamilton, Music and The Prom fill out the former half while Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and Palm Springs are, yes, bonafide comedies.
Snub: Meryl Streep got double snubbed. The reigning queen of the Globes lost out on what would have been a record-extending 33rd and 34th nomination, as she missed out on Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for both The Prom (how are you going to nominate James Corden but not Meryl Streep?!) and Let Them All Talk. Oddsmakers had Ryan Murphy's musical as Streep's better bet, however it is our personal belief that she was more than deserving for both. Instead, the HFPA threw us some curve balls by nominating Kate Hudson for Music and Rosamund Pike for I Care a Lot.
Snub: Justice for Yuh-Jung Youn in Best Supporting Actress. One of the endlessly frustrating things about the Globes nominations is that there are separate categories for dramas, musicals and comedies and limited series, but then all the supporting cast members are lumped into one race. Which leaves lots of contenders out in the cold. The most egregious omission this year is Minari's Yuh-jung, especially following the HFPA's rather egregious handling of Minari as a whole. This, we're confident, will be rectified at the Oscars.
Surprise: Emerald Fennell joins Regina King and Chloé Zhao in making history. The last female director nominated at the Globes was Ava DuVernay all the way back in 2015, so we weren't confident the HFPA would come through with nominations for both Chloé Zhao and Regina King. Not only are Zhao and King up for Best Director, but Promising Young Woman helmer Emerald Fennell is too, officially making history as the first female directors to ever be Golden Globe-nominated in a single year. Natalie Portman is surely pleased.
Snub: The Globes aren't lusting after Bridgerton like the rest of us. Netflix's biggest hit wound up empty-handed, overlooked both in Best Drama Series and in the acting categories for breakout stars Phoebe Dynevor and Rege-Jean Page. Lady Whistledown would not be pleased, we're sure. The snubs are a bit of a surprise, considering the international cast, opulent costumes and desirable love story. Better luck next year?
Snub: I May Destroy You gets destroyed. Michaela Coel's acclaimed drama about a young woman attempting to put her life back together after she is sexually assaulted was conspicuously absent from both the series and acting categories, completely shut out at the Globes. One of the undisputed best TV shows of 2020, its omission from the Globes is one of this year's most glaring oversights, while not recognizing Coel's performance is just plain stupid.
Surprise: Emily in Paris pulls off the ultimate surprise. The Globes play by their own rules and the proof was in the crème brûlée when it awarded Netflix's Sex and the City-esque comedy -- one for the series and another for its star, Lily Collins. The international locale (France), the aspirational living and the scandalous (if slightly risqué) storylines may have had something to do with it, but it's still a surprise to see the series competing against the likes of Schitt's Creek and The Flight Attendant.
Snub: Normal People switcheroo leaves Paul Mescal out in the cold. If there was anyone more primed to ride the Emmy wave, it would've been Mescal. But the HFPA had other plans, instead awarding his deserving co-star Daisy Edgar-Jones her first major acting nom over him. Thankfully he has lots to celebrate with Normal People nabbing an overall nom, but we're left scratching our heads over this glaring oversight.
Snub: Lovecraft Country stars aren't feeling the love. Though the series earned a Best Drama Series nomination, Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett were left on the outside looking in, a surprising development because all bets said that both would become first-time Globe nominees for their powerhouse performances. Instead, The Crown collected nominations in both dramatic acting categories, while Perry Mason's Matthew Rhys and Ratched's Sarah Paulson managed nods in his and hers.
Snub: Pedro Pascal is a Death Star-sized hole in Best Actor. While Baby Yoda -- excuse us, Grogu -- may have helped The Mandalorian land a spot in Best Television Series - Drama, the titular bounty hunter was MIA from the best dramatic actor race. Pascal had more than a few experts predicting he would get Globes recognition for having removed his helmet -- all the better to act without -- a number of times throughout season two, only to be blanked.
Surprise: Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist cracks the awards code. After getting overlooked at the Emmys (save for a choreography nod), leading lady Jane Levy sang and danced her way to the hearts of the HFPA with her first major acting nom in the Globes' comedy actress category. NBC's musical dramedy always stood out for its unique storytelling conceit -- a woman able to hear everyone's inner heart songs -- and Levy's earnest, heartfelt performance is recognition well-deserved.
Snub: Marielle Heller overlooked yet again. This time, it's for acting. While the television supporting categories can be particularly difficult to crack -- especially in a year with The Crown reigning supreme -- Heller's performance in The Queen's Gambit as Anya Taylor-Joy's depressive yet supportive adoptive mother was a standout. Our tranquility needs to be refurbished after this one.