The nominations for the 81st Golden Globes, announced Monday morning, brought good tidings for box-office titans “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” though some of the other contenders hoping to break through were dealt an early setback.
This year, any discussion of Golden Globe snubs and surprises ought to start with the show itself, since this once-snubbed awards ceremony has engineered a surprising comeback.
NBC dropped the 2022 edition of the show after a host of scandals involving the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group that voted for the Golden Globes, prompted an A-list boycott. Pilloried for its lack of Black members, the H.F.P.A. resolved to clean up its act and diversify its membership. And the 2023 ceremony, hosted by Jerrod Carmichael, managed to attract a respectable guest list. (Though the eventual Oscar winner Brendan Fraser, who accused the former H.F.P.A. head Philip Berk of groping him in 2003, was a notable no-show. Berk denied the accusation.)
In June, the H.F.P.A. was formally dissolved when the Golden Globes brand was bought by Eldridge Industries and Dick Clark Productions (which is part of Penske Media, owner of many Hollywood trade publications), and the remaining voting body was further reshuffled. Once an eccentric, cloistered membership of about 85 voters, it has swelled to about 300 even as some of its longest-serving and more problematic voters were expelled.
The 2024 nominations indicate that the new, expanded voting body will hew mainly to conventional wisdom, but it wouldn’t be the Golden Globes without a few quirky surprises.
Here are some of the most notable takeaways from this year’s nominations.
Female directors stage a comeback
Last year’s Golden Globes lineup was less than hospitable to female filmmakers: All six of the best-director nominees were men, and none of the movies up for best drama or best musical or comedy were directed by women. This year, Greta Gerwig (“Barbie”) and Celine Song (“Past Lives”) are on the best-director lineup — knocking out stiff competition from the likes of Todd Haynes (“May December”) and Alexander Payne (“The Holdovers”) — while Justine Triet’s “Anatomy of a Fall” joined “Past Lives” in the best-drama category. Speaking of which …
‘Past Lives’ has a rosy future
Song’s acclaimed indie drama about a Korean immigrant (Greta Lee) in a tricky love triangle was a summer hit, but the fall brought so many heavy hitters that “Past Lives” could have been swept away. Instead, the movie has Golden Globe nominations for drama, director, screenplay and lead actress in a drama. “Past Lives” even earned a nod for best film not in the English language, despite the fact that much of the movie is in English! (At least that nomination didn’t disqualify it for the top drama award, as the Globes’ once-retrograde rules used to demand.)
‘The Color Purple’ sees red
“Barbie” certainly has its fair share of songs — three of them were nominated in the best-song category — but the race for best comedy or musical snubbed this year’s actual studio musicals, “Wonka” and “The Color Purple.” The omission of “The Color Purple” is particularly notable since the lead Fantasia Barrino and the supporting actress Danielle Brooks are nominated. Adapted for the big screen from the Tony-winning stage musical, the film will need a big box-office haul this Christmas to put it back into top Oscar contention.
The Globes save room for Taylor Swift
Five years ago, the attempt to add a popular-film Oscar was met with such widespread derision that the idea was scuttled a mere month after its announcement. This recent history has not deterred the Golden Globes. Monday’s list included a new category for cinematic and box office achievement, which further burnished blockbuster nominees “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” while also securing a nomination for the perennial Globe favorite Taylor Swift (“Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour”). Don’t let the rebrand fool you: Deep down, the Golden Globes have always cared most about courting superstars.
A strong ‘Anatomy’ lesson
Though the French courtroom drama “Anatomy of a Fall” won the prestigious Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, France chose the Juliette Binoche foodie flick, “The Taste of Things,” as its official submission for the international-film Oscar. (Maybe they thought the tetchy lead character of “Anatomy of a Fall,” a German author who loathes speaking French, wouldn’t be the most ideal ambassador.) On Monday, the Golden Globes ruled in favor of “Anatomy,” handing it nominations for drama, screenplay, lead actress in a drama (Sandra Hüller), and film not in the English language. “The Taste of Things,” meanwhile, was starved of any recognition.
Is ‘May December’ a comedy or tragedy?
There are multiple ways to read the buzzy “May December,” about an actress (Natalie Portman) shadowing the tabloid figure (Julianne Moore) she’s preparing to play: The film’s clever, charged interactions between the two women had Cannes audiences tittering, though since its recent release on Netflix, many at-home viewers have found less to laugh at. Certainly, the film walks a tonal tightrope. Inspired by the story of Mary Kay LeTourneau, a married mother convicted of raping an adolescent boy, “May December” can be cutting and devastating in equal measure. Though Netflix’s decision to submit the film as a comedy left some confused on social media, the gambit appeared to pay off: In addition to nominations for the supporting performers Moore and Charles Melton, “May December” earned nods for Natalie Portman (lead actress in a comedy or musical) and best comedy or musical, a haul that may have been out of reach in the more competitive drama categories.