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Golden Globes 2017 TV nominees: Critic Verne Gay breaks down the snubs, surprises

Actors Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia star in

Actors Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia star in the Golden Globe-nominated NBC series "This is Us." The show was the only network series nominated in the best television series - drama category. Photo Credit: NBC / Ron Batzdorf

The Golden Globes -- always eccentric, always the zig to the Emmys zag -- nonetheless established or re-established the conventional wisdom about some of the standouts of 2016. Here’s the list of the TV nominees for the 74th annual Golden Globes, which will be awarded Jan. 8, along with a quick analysis.

Television series — drama

“The Crown” (Netflix)

“Game of Thrones” (HBO)

“Stranger Things” (Netflix)

“This Is Us” (NBC)

“Westworld” (HBO)

In the most important television award category, the Globes stumbled. “Things” doesn’t belong here -- even remotely. Meanwhile, where’s “The Americans,” or “Better Call Saul?” Showtime got shut out — another Globe misstep because “Billions” deserved placement here. But HBO is nonetheless having a good morning. “Westworld” on this list -- however flawed -- hints that a future franchise may be in the making. The Emmys will pay attention to “Westworld” too. (Why isn’t “Homeland” here? Simplest of reasons: It didn’t air in 2016.)

Actress/TV series-drama

Caitriona Balfe, “Outlander”

Claire Foy, “The Crown”

Keri Russell, “The Americans”

Winona Ryder, “Stranger Things

Evan Rachel Wood, “Westworld”

Perfectly good list, and even by GG standards, a little staid. This is a tough category, but from a snubs perspective, you’ve got to wonder why no Tatiana Maslany or Robin Wright. Possibly, or likely, because the GGs don’t like to consecrate the Emmy decisions. By winning in September, Maslany essentially was ruled out of the Globes’ 74th. The interesting choice here is Ryder, last nominated for a Globe in 1994 (for “The Age of Innocence”) and won. (She got an Oscar nod for that too.) She’s never had an Emmy -- nod or otherwise -- because she’s never starred in a TV series. For the Globes, picking her was a natural.

Actor/TV series-drama

Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”

Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”

Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”

Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”

Billy Bob Thornton, “Goliath”

The Globes jumped on “Mr. Robot” early, or at least before the Emmys, and handed it a best show Globe last year. But Jon Hamm won in this category in “Mad Men’s” last hurrah. By the way, no Kevin Spacey? That’s a major snub, and if you believe the Globes, “House of Cards” is yesterday’s news. “The Crown,” however, is today’s news.

Television series — comedy

“Atlanta” (FX)

“Black-ish” (ABC)

“Mozart in the Jungle” (Amazon)

“Transparent” (Amazon)

“Veep” (HBO)

Without question, “Atlanta” is now the “It” show for the 2017 awards seasons. An Emmy nod is assured and the Globes wanted to get first in line to celebrate this FX standout, however, and have. “Mozart” is the odd-show-out here, but that’s the Globes — odd.

Actress/television series — musical or comedy

Rachel Bloom, “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”

Sarah Jessica Parker, “Divorce”

Issa Rae, “Insecure”

Gina Rodriguez, “Jane the Virgin”

Tracee Ellis Ross, “Black-ish”

Nothing and no one wrong here. “Divorce” would appear to be the exception, except that Sarah Jessica Parker -- in her return to a TV series -- was guaranteed some Globe attention, irrespective of the show she returned in. Meanwhile, HBO commands this award category -- at the expense of Netflix, which got snubbed for “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.” Lauren Graham should have been here, too.

Actor/television series — musical or comedy

Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”

Gael Garcia Bernal, “Mozart in the Jungle”

Donald Glover, “Atlanta”

Nick Nolte, “Graves”

Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”

The Globes’ on-going support of Bernal and “Mozart” is both touching and inscrutable. But good for Bernal and “Mozart.” But what’s notable here is the obvious — “Graves?!” This may be the first Golden Globe recognition of an Epix series — and without question, the most under the radar nomination of the entire morning. “Graves” — with Nolte as a former president — as the most unknown of any series here has now been thrust into the category of the “knowns.” Maybe it’s worth knowing?

Television limited series or motion picture made for television

“American Crime” (ABC)

“The Dresser” (Starz)

“The Night Manager” (AMC)

The Night Of “(HBO)

“The People v. O.J. Simpson” (FX)

“The Dresser” (Starz) is the only movie here, but with Ian McKellen and Anthony Hopkins in the the lead roles, there’s no way it wouldn’t make this short list. Nevertheless, this apples-to-oranges category is still an oddity of both major TV awards shows (the Emmys shoehorn movies in as well). TV is increasingly moving away from standalone movies (they are now virtually nonexistent on the commercial networks) while limited series the fastest growing category in all of television. Some of the most exciting work is being done here as well — as evidenced by the fact that “Black Mirror” couldn’t even make this cut. Everything else is a standout however, while “The People v O.J. Simpson” represented TV’s shining moment this year.

Actress/limited series or motion picture made for television

Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”

Riley Keough, “The Girlfriend Experience”

Sarah Paulson, “People v. O.J. Simpson”

Charlotte Rampling, “London Spy”

Kerry Washington, “Confirmation”

One of the toughest of categories, and one of the easiest to nitpick (how, for example, to determine whether one of these is supporting of not?) Rampling is a Golden Globes newcomer, too, so maybe the voting members decided it was time to address this oversight; “Spy” did air on BBC America, so it wasn’t completely invisible to most viewers. Washington, Huffman and Paulson are Emmy regulars (only Huffman, I believe did not get an Emmy nod for “Crime,” which went to Regina King instead.) But again, this is a tough, ill-defined category.

Actor/limited series or motion picture made for television

Riz Ahmed, “The Night Of”

Bryan Cranston, “All the Way”

John Turturro, “The Night Of”

Tom Hiddleston, “Night Manager”

Courtney B. Vance, “People v. O.J. Simpson”

This is a doozy of a category, perhaps the most competitive this year, with the possible exception of the actresses’ categories in comedy and drama. Each actor here stands a good chance of winning, while Vance (the Emmy winner) stands the best chance over all. Ahmed and Turturro may cancel each other out among votes, which is a shame. Hugh Laurie (“Manager”) should have been on this list, but then he and Hiddleston would’ve done the same. Will Cranston surprise here? He very well may.

Supporting actress/limited series or motion picture made for television

Olivia Colman, “The Night Manager”

Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones”

Chrissy Metz, “This Is Us”

Mandy Moore, “This Is Us”

Thandie Newton, “Westworld”

The Globes appear to have done well by this category, too. Two nods for “This Is Us” may well anticipate exactly what the Emmys end up doing in July. But Metz and Moore may cancel each other out. Colman could be the surprise winner, but Newton is probably the favorite. This is her first Globe nod. (Which is hard to believe.)

Supporting actor/limited series or motion picture made for television

Sterling K. Brown, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”

Hugh Laurie, “The Night Manager”

John Lithgow, “The Crown”

Christian Slater, “Mr. Robot”

John Travolta, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”

Another strong category, and no obvious missteps by the Globes. Brown’s your favorite.


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