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Golden Globe TV Nominations: Grim, Gruesome and Glee

December 14, 2010

If you have ever seen the Golden Globe Awards, you know that there is a very clear pecking order: Yes it’s an award show that honors both motion pictures and television, but it’s painfully obvious that if you are a television star, you are seated far closer to the kitchen than to the stage. Television just doesn’t have the explosiveness of a big budget, big screen blockbuster. Your garden variety TV director isn’t going to have the cachet of a Scorcese, even if it’s the same guy!

And, that brings us to this year’s nominees. Try as you might to ignore this television season, and yes, I have tried, someone has to get listed as being worthy of an award. Personally, I don’t understand why this is true. Why can’t the people at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association occasionally make a statement like: “We’re sorry. But, this year, there just weren’t five funny TV shows, so we’re only going to nominate three.”

But we’re ready for a party. And, here they are! The Television Nominees for the 68th Annual Golden Globes! You’ll find all the nominees listed HERE: Some things are standard: HBO leads the way with 12 nominations over the 11 categories. But as we already know, this television season has sucked it hard, so here are the best of a bad bunch of bananas.

Best Television Series – Drama: Boardwalk Empire (HBO), Dexter (Showtime), The Good Wife (CBS), Mad Men (AMC), The Walking Dead (AMC). You’ll notice the severe lack of “broadcast” network dramas listed here. After all of the CSIs and Laws and Orders, really aren’t they all the same show at this point? There are endless crossovers of characters, even if they are geographically nowhere near each other. The Hollywood Foreign Press cherry picked one of the few shows from CBS that didn’t fit the format. The HFPA always sends love to programs they feel need some support, and really the standard networks need all the help they can get.

Best Television Series – Comedy or Musical: 30 Rock (NBC), The Big Bang Theory (CBS), The Big C (Showtime), Glee (Fox),  Modern Family (ABC), Nurse Jackie (Showtime). Can we be honest? Nurse Jackie is NOT a comedy. And, if you watch an episode of it, you’ll see what I mean. I know there’s no “dramedy” category, but maybe there should be? But of course all eyes are on Glee, the most musical of this group of Comedy and Musicals. It took home the Globe last year, as it took home the Emmy just a couple of months ago, and now it’s poised to win again. But it doesn’t feel like this is Glee’s time anymore. The entire show has started to erode, fans have become disillusioned and the premise that drew people to the program seems to have lost its compass. This could be nearly as fast a fall as “Lost” had, after winning the Emmy Award one year, wasn’t even nominated the following year!

One of the rules of television is that if you get a character that brings the buzz, you work that into the ground. Such is the case with Sue Sylvester, a.k.a. Jane Lynch on Glee who of course was also nominated in the Supporting Actress category for her iconic, track suit wearing, slushie tossing antagonist. The interesting thing about Lynch is that she’s only using a fraction of a percent of her immense comedy talent to perform this role, and the pity is that, because of what her character is supposed to be, doesn’t really get to use much more of it.

And that brings us to the acting nominees.

Best Actor – Drama: Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire (HBO), Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (AMC), Michael C. Hall, Dexter (Showtime), Jon Hamm, Mad Men (AMC), Hugh Laurie, House, M.D. (Fox). Time for another honest moment: Steve Buscemi is NOT a leading actor. Not to say that he isn’t an absolutely brilliant performer, but he can and does do his best work as a character actor, a supporting player that has the ability to undercut, overdo, and more or less torture and/or amuse the leads. In Boardwalk Empire, Busemi, much like Lynch, is unable to use all of the finely honed skills in the old acting toolbox, and that’s part of the reason “Boardwalk” does not pass Go.

Best Actress – Drama: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife (CBS), Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men (AMC), Piper Perabo, Covert Affairs (USA), Katey Segal, Sons of Anarchy (FX), Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer (TNT). And may I again point out the balance of Broadcast to Cable in the above two categories? But this is a clear reflection of how cable, which intently focuses on good writing, focused storytelling and memorable characters as opposed to the broadcast networks which seem to focus on the template of a concept and just duplicate that with some variations, are so different.

Best Actor – Comedy or Musical: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock (NBC), Steve Carell, The Office (NBC), Thomas Jane, Hung (HBO), Matthew Morrison, Glee (Fox), Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory (CBS). More honesty: THESE are the nominees? Where is Danny McBride, who plays Kenny Powers: the most outrageous and idiotic character on the tube since Archie Bunker, from HBO’s Eastbound and Down? Where is Jason Schwartzman who plays Jonathan Ames: freelance writer/community college instructor by night and freelance detective, also by night in HBO’s Bored to Death? If I actually thought about it for a few minutes, I know I could pick 5 guys funnier than the ones listed above.

Best Actress – Comedy or Musical: Toni Colette, United States of Tara (Showtime), Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie (Showtime), Tina Fey, 30 Rock (NBC), Laura Linney, The Big C (Showtime), Lea Michele, Glee (Fox). As I mentioned before Falco is on a “comedy” that isn’t really a comedy, but so is Toni Colette, who also lives in a “dramedy” dwelling for Tara, that lighthearted show about the woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder, brought to you by the Oscar Winning scribe of “Juno,” Diablo Cody. Granted, Colette is having a great time getting to play all these characters in one role, certainly the best acting opportunity since Scott Bakula was making Quantum Leaps on the small screen, but again, not really funny.

Perhaps the bottom line is that nobody in show business knows or understands what “comedy” is, so let’s just make it “dramatic” so it has a shot to win some awards.

I didn’t predict any winners in these categories because from what I’ve seen this year, most of the people listed don’t even deserve their nominations. But it’s always fun to watch the stars drinking and mingling in their finery, seeing the TV actors trying to kiss up to the Movie actors (and more importantly the movie actors’ agents) and Ricky Gervais is back for another round of hosting, so maybe the show will be worth viewing. It’s Sunday, January 16th at 8pm Eastern, 5 Pacific on NBC.


16 Comments leave one →
  1. December 14, 2010 2:25 pm

    The male acting categories are a thorough hot mess. I’m baffled by Laurie’s nomination. The last season of House was by far its worst and Laurie’s xeroxed performance was a large contributing factor.

  2. December 14, 2010 2:43 pm

    I’m generally annoyed at all the acting selections, but the men are a complete joke. I swear they didn’t even bother looking around for who was deserving and just threw another nom at the same guys as before. The HFPA don’t care about TV people!

  3. December 14, 2010 2:55 pm

    I noticed the significant lack of broadcast representation too, NYCPenpusher. This must have been a tough year for nominations because everything sucks so much, it’s more like ‘the least sucky of a sucky array’ than ‘things we’d like to recognise for being awesome.’

  4. December 14, 2010 3:00 pm

    It’s so odd, because I think this year is the best year in recent for performances – not necessarily the sum of the works they are from – yet, the Golden Globes have these bland, unremarkable offerings. Even the Emmys yielded edgier choices than the Golden Globes.

  5. evmaroon permalink
    December 14, 2010 3:14 pm

    Yeah, remember when the Globes had an edge? Now they’re a stick of butter.

  6. December 14, 2010 3:25 pm

    Please note: I selected photographs that had Steve Buscemi and Jane Lynch with identical expressions. It sorta sums up my feelings about this year’s crap… er, crop of nominees!

  7. December 14, 2010 3:28 pm

    OK confession time: I stopped watching Boardwalk Empire after a few episodes, and am a hardcore Mad Men fan. And while I agree that Buscemi should not be used as a series lead, and while I love John Hamm to death, Buscemi is hands down the better actor, delivering better performances than Hamm. I’d love to see Buscemi take the acting award, meaningless though it may be.

  8. December 14, 2010 3:31 pm

    Oh and I think the GG’s disdain for TV can be neatly summed up by the lack of any television writing or directing awards.

  9. December 14, 2010 4:00 pm

    @redlami – agreed on all points. Buscemi is turning that sow’s ear into a great silk purse, despite the show itself steadily declining in excitement. Whereas Hamm is surrounded by quality writing and directing – the best in the biz right now – yet his performance, while better than most is still only adequate when compared to recent iconic characters like Tony Soprano, Nate Fisher and practically everyone associated with The Wire.

  10. December 14, 2010 4:23 pm

    Yes, redlami! I guess television writing and direction just don’t matter, although as Snarky’s Machine pointed out recently, direction can make or break a TV episode just like it can a feature film!

  11. December 14, 2010 5:05 pm

    Who’s gonna be the person to say, “That chick from Coyote Fugly gets recognized and Connie Britton doesn’t?!?” I just don’t want it to be me. Damn, FNL is so good I forget that it was based on a very great film!

  12. December 14, 2010 10:50 pm

    @snarkysmachine I’ll say it, because even though it’s obvious, it just needs to be said!

    I admit I’ve only seen Piper Perabo in Coyote Ugly and not whatever TV show she’s on, but I can’t imagine for a second she holds a candle to Connie Britton. Which just makes me thing that no one on the HFPA watches Friday Night Lights.

    Also, Jennifer Love Hewitt got nominated for playing a hooker in a Lifetime movie! That kind of nod sums up the weirdness that is the Golden Globes.

  13. December 15, 2010 1:04 pm

    certainly the best acting opportunity since Scott Bakula was making Quantum Leaps on the small screen

    ha! so true. actors love “multiple personalities” because they get to show off all those chops simultaneously. I see you, Ed Norton.

    @popscribblings: I agree with that Jennifer Love Hewitt comment, too. In fact, that nomination is up there with Piper and Scott for me.

  14. December 15, 2010 1:18 pm

    I love when I can smell the “acting” wafting from the screen. Anytime an actor has to play multiple roles, particularly when they play their own twin or cousin it’s just pure pop bliss.

  15. December 15, 2010 1:24 pm

    I just watched part of A Kiss Before Dying the other day!!

  16. December 15, 2010 6:00 pm

    The Globes love to nominate young female stars, almost as if they want the glory of giving them a breakthrough push to stardom. Keri Russell immediately comes to mind, and now Piper Perabo, maybe?

    Also, this might be the most apt description of the Golden Globes I’ve ever seen:

    “The Globes are sort of the Hollywood equivalent of the New Hampshire presidential primary, which inspires a tsunami of media coverage, even though as a small state its voters represent a tiny fraction of the overall presidential voting public.”

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