In a year overflowing with bold and often brilliant new TV series, yesterday’s SAG Awards TV nominations erred too much on the side of the familiar, with Kevin Spacey as the only actor on any new series to be recognized. Whatever the faults – and/or lack of credentials – the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has, its membership has never been accused of leaning too much on the tried and true. They love shiny new things, whether that’s attractive young actresses, movie stars transitioning to television or new shows that the Golden Globes can be the first awards to give a stamp of approval to.
That love of the new was reflected throughout today’s Golden Globe nominations. The HFPA is by and large a silly organization, and their TV awards an afterthought to help fill out the ballroom and the telecast, but their nominations are a hell of a lot more interesting – for good and for bad – than what the SAG voters gave us yesterday.
The HFPA are the first organization to acknowledge the brilliance of “Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany and the first to nominate Taylor Schilling from “Orange Is the New Black.” Whether they got those nods because they are good or because they fit a certain Keri Russell/Piper Perabo/Hayden Panettiere HFPA tradition doesn’t matter, because they are on the list.
Including the two shows with “Black” in the title, the HFPA recognized eight different new ongoing series in various categories. Some were genuinely among this year’s best shows, like “Masters of Sex,” which picked up nods for drama series and for Michael Sheen. Some had famous names attached (“House of Cards,” “Ray Donovan,” “The Michael J. Fox Show”). And some are promising but seemed to be picked in an attempt to get out ahead of the curve (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”).
Now, plenty of familiar shows and actors also got recognized, like “Breaking Bad” and “Modern Family” and “Downton Abbey.” But the HFPA’s push for the new was so strong that nobody from “Homeland” got nominated, nobody from “Mad Men” got nominated (awards voters everywhere seem to have lost interest in “Mad Men” simultaneously), and nobody from “Boardwalk Empire” got nominated.
Some thoughts category by category:
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Josh Charles, “The Good Wife”
Rob Lowe, “Behind the Candelabra”
Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad”
Corey Stoll, “House of Cards”
Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”
As always, the HFPA mashes every supporting performance from every genre into the same category, so you have Lowe’s hilarious but brief “Candelabra” cameo going up against four dramatic performances. (But no Peter Dinklage, no Mandy Patinkin, and nobody from a sitcom.) The HFPA loves Jon Voight, who’s been nominated nine times previously and has won three times. Good to see Stoll (far and away the best part of “Cards” season 1) get some recognition.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Jacqueline Bisset, “Dancing on the Edge”
Janet McTeer, “White Queen”
Hayden Panettiere, “Nashville”
Monica Potter, “Parenthood”
Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”
Starz’s strategy of doing lots of foreign co-productions is certainly paying off with Golden Globe nominations, here with the first two of several nods for “Dancing” and “White Queen.” Monica Potter gets some recognition, even if it’s for the lame election storyline rather than the great cancer storyline from last year. Most disappointing: no Anna Gunn. Most surprising: no room at the inn for Dame Maggie Smith.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Matt Damon, “Behind the Candelabra”
Michael Douglas,” Behind the Candelabra”
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Dancing on the Edge”
Idris Elba, “Luther”
Al Pacino, “Phil Spector”
Like “Temple Grandin” before it, expect “Behind the Candelabra” to (deservedly) keep winning awards long past the point at which you thought it was still eligible. The most amusing thing here is the HFPA’s continued belief that “Luther” – nominated here for its THIRD season – is a miniseries.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Helena Bonham Carter, “Burton and Taylor”
Rebecca Ferguson, “White Queen”
Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Coven”
Helen Mirren, “Phil Spector”
Elisabeth Moss, “Top of the Lake”
More love to Brits, more love to Lange, and as with the SAGs yesterday, Moss gets nominated for “Lake” but not for “Mad Men.”
Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
“American Horror Story: Coven”
“Behind the Candelabra”
“Dancing on the Edge”
“Top of the Lake”
Amalgam of shows nominated elsewhere. “Candelabra” is going to win.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical
Jason Bateman, “Arrested Development”
Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”
Michael J. Fox, “The Michael J. Fox Show”
Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”
Andy Samberg, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
The surprise here is Samberg getting nominated over Robin Williams. Apparently, the HFPA only had room in their hearts for one ’80s icon returning to TV, and it was Fox. Bateman won this award during the original “Arrested” run, back in ’05.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical
Zooey Deschanel, “New Girl”
Lena Dunham, “Girls”
Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”
One of the more stable categories of the day, with four repeat nominees from a year ago and former nominee (and winner for “Sopranos”) Edie Falco edging out Poehler’s Globes co-host Tina Fey for the fifth spot. (“30 Rock” was ineligible, having aired only a few episodes in 2013.)
Best Television Series – Comedy or Musical
“The Big Bang Theory”
“Parks and Recreation”
What madness is this when two different modestly-rated Mike Schur co-creations can be nominated for a series award?
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
Michael Sheen, “Masters of Sex”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
James Spader, “The Blacklist”
So you’ve got Cranston competing against four newbies, albeit newbies who include a six-time Globe nominee (Spacey). Nice to see Sheen here (it helps to be a foreigner playing American). No Jon Hamm, and the “Ray Donovan” love continues.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama
Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”
Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”
Taylor Schilling, “Orange Is the New Black”
Kerry Washington, “Scandal”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”
Mainly, I’m impressed that the HFPA were aware that “Orphan Black” exists. Schilling winds up as the lone “Orange” nominee, and even though a Netflix rep told me yesterday that they will submit the show to the Emmys as a drama, I have to wonder if that’s still the case after the show got one nomination in two days on the tougher side of the field. Also, no Claire Danes here, which is shocking regardless of how anyone feels about the current season of “Homeland.”
Best Television Series – Drama
“The Good Wife”
“House of Cards”
“Masters of Sex”
Very happy to see “Masters” here (at the expense of “Homeland,” most likely). “Downton” gets a series nod despite no nominations elsewhere. Again, no “Mad Men,” no “Boardwalk,” no “Game of Thrones.” Big question is whether the hype surrounding the final season of “Breaking Bad” finally pushes the HFPA to vote for it here. Again, they want to be seen as cool.
What does everybody else think? It’s not worth getting angry about anything Golden Globe-related, and probably not even worth getting confused, as the HFPA is such a strange group. But what nominations pleased you? What disappointed you? And what just amused you?
Alan Sepinwall may be reached at email@example.com