Thursday’s announcement of the 2019 Golden Globe nominees shone a spotlight on both diversity and populism with best dramatic film nominations that included Marvel’s “Black Panther,” Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” and Barry Jenkins’ literary adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk.” Also nominated was “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a biopic about the closeted gay singer Freddie Mercury. Rounding out the category was the box-office favorite "A Star Is Born."
These top-category nominations by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which bestows the Golden Globes, also suggest that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, whose Oscar nominees will be announced in January, must make bold choices as well to stay relevant in a changing entertainment landscape.
Meanwhile, “A Private War,” the drama about the late Long Island-raised war correspondent Marie Colvin garnered two nominations — Rosamund Pike for best actress and Annie Lennox’s “Requiem for a Private War” for best original song.
There were several other surprises when the nominees were read by Christian Slater, Danai Gurira (a star of “Black Panther”), Leslie Mann and Terry Crews. One was the strong showing for “Vice,” Adam McKay’s satirical biopic of Dick Cheney. “Vice” led the pack with six nods, including best musical/comedy and best actor for Christian Bale. (The film is due for release Christmas Day.) Another was Melissa McCarthy’s nomination for best dramatic actress in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”, a biopic about a literary forger. The movie could easily have qualified for the musical/comedy category, but the Globes gave the actress a respectful salute by putting her in with dramatic heavyweights such as Pike and Nicole Kidman in the crime-drama “Destroyer.”
Possibly the Globes’ biggest announcement was the inauguration of a new award, inspired by the new golden age of television. When the Globes are handed out next month, they will include for the first time a career achievement award to honor the “biggest names and brightest talents” of the television industry, according to HFPA president Meher Tatna. Although she did not put a name to the award, or who its first recipient will be, Tatna suggested that it was overdue, noting that the Globes’ Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award for filmmakers was established in 1952.
As always, though, the Globes are interesting largely for what they may or may not say about the Oscars — still the most prestigious award in entertainment.
The nod for “Black Panther” is easily the most significant bellwether. As the first Marvel movie about a black superhero, and the first to feature a nearly all-black cast, it was not only a cultural landmark but also a massive hit, grossing $1.3 billion dollars and earning rave reviews for its screenplay, direction and acting. Given the vocal criticism about the Oscars’ lack of diversity (two years of #OscarsSoWhite) and track record of snobbery (no best picture nods for “The Dark Knight” and other fan favorites), the message couldn’t be clearer: If “Black Panther” doesn’t show up in the Oscars’ prestigious best picture category — which has room for 10 titles — the Academy will have some explaining to do.
Nominees in major categories
Drama: “Black Panther,” "BlacKkKlansman,” "Bohemian Rhapsody,” "If Beale Street Could Talk,” "A Star Is Born.”
Actress, Drama: Glenn Close, “The Wife”; Lady Gaga, “A Star is Born”; Nicole Kidman, “Destroyer”; Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”; Rosamund Pike, “A Private War.”
Actor, Drama: Bradley Cooper, “A Star is Born”; Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”; Lucas Hedges, “Boy Erased”; Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”; John David Washington, “BlacKkKlansman.”
Comedy or Musical: “Crazy Rich Asians,” "The Favourite,” "Green Book,” "Mary Poppins Returns,” "Vice.”
Actress, Comedy or Musical: Emily Blunt, “Mary Poppins Returns”; Olivia Colman, “The Favorite”; Elsie Fisher, “Eighth Grade”; Charlize Theron, “Tully”; Constance Wu, “Crazy Rich Asians.”
Actor, Comedy or Musical: Christian Bale, “Vice”; Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Mary Poppins Returns”; Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”; Robert Redford, “The Old Man & the Gun”; John C. Reilly, “Stan & Ollie.”
Drama: “The Americans,” "Bodyguard,” "Homecoming,” "Killing Eve,” "Pose.”
Actress, TV Series-Drama: Caitriona Balfe, “Outlander”; Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”; Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”; Julia Roberts, “Homecoming”; Keri Russell, “The Americans.”
Actor, TV Series Drama: Jason Bateman, “Ozark”; Stephan James, “Homecoming”; Richard Madden, “Bodyguard”; Billy Porter, “Pose”; Matthew Rhys, “The Americans.”
TV Series, Musical or Comedy: “Barry,” "The Good Place,” "Kidding,” "The Kominsky Method,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
Actress, TV Series, Musical or Comedy: Kristen Bell, “The Good Place”; Candice Bergen, “Murphy Brown”; Alison Brie, “GLOW”; Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”; Debra Messing, “Will & Grace.”
Actor, TV Series, Musical or Comedy: Sacha Baron Cohen, “Who Is America?”; Jim Carrey, “Kidding”; Michael Douglas, “The Kominsky Method”; Donald Glover, “Atlanta”; Bill Hader, “Barry.”