Every year the Golden Globe Awards roll into town mid-January, before anyone has time to lose enough holiday pounds to slide easily into that tux or gown. And just as construction crews have snarled the streets around the Beverly Hilton Hotel this week, Sunday’s Globes are sure to send Oscar odds-makers into the annual panic, scurrying to update their predictions the day after, if not sooner.
But that’s the movies—what about the Globes and TV? The question seems particularly apt as TV critics and reporters have swarmed Pasadena’s Langham Huntington Hotel for the Television Critics Association’s (TCA) annual winter press tour, which runs through Jan. 20.
Like any of the umpteen pre-Oscar awards ceremonies taking place—from early December’s New York Film Critics Awards through to the always-lively Indie Spirits—the Globes are routinely hailed as a crystal ball of who might take home a gold statuette at the 87th Annual Academy Awards, this year held on Feb. 22. While last year’s Globe best drama win for 12 Years a Slave was a surprise to some critics, by the time the Oscars rolled around, its best picture win was almost a foregone conclusion. Did the film’s Globe win add momentum? Maybe.
But all bets are off when it comes to the Globes as a predictor of TV’s biggest honor, the Emmy Awards, bestowed in August, more than six months from now.
Just as the Golden Globe ceremony has a reputation for being a more freewheeling, alcohol-tolerant event than the Oscars, its ruling body—the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, comprised of about 90 international members based in Southern California—has a longstanding reputation for celebrating the new. Over the years, choices made by this relatively small group (compared to some 6,000 voting Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences members) might lead a casual observer to believe the HFPA is not just international, but might also include voters from other planets.
Every year, the film contenders are all new, so it’s a level playing field. In series TV, however, with its mix of freshman and veteran series, the group’s quirky penchant for seeking out the new makes it almost impossible for handicappers to figure the Globes into the Emmy prediction equation.
True to form, this year’s TV series nominees include Showtime’s drama newcomer The Affair and three new comedies: The CW’s Jane the Virgin (with a best actress in comedy nom for star Gina Rodriguez), Amazon’s Transparent (the first-ever Globe nomination for the digital platform, with an additional nom for star Jeffrey Tambor) and HBO’s critically-acclaimed nerd fest Silicon Valley.
Actors from new series (among them How to Get Away with Murder star Viola Davis and Clive Owen, of the new Cinemax series The Knick) are in the Globes game this year.
The perceived preference for the frosh shows, particularly in comedy, may have led to last year’s double Globe win for Andy Samberg and his Fox series comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine over the previous year’s new-girl winner, HBO’s Girls. Brooklyn Nine-Nine went on to be Emmy-snubbed for even a nomination in both of those categories at last year’s Emmys, although cast member Andre Braugher netted a nomination for his role as Captain Ray Holt. Still, Samberg’s short-lived Globe triumph is leading pundits to wonder whether Jane/Gina or Transparent/Tambor might do the same, even if Emmy doesn’t end up eventually sharing the love.
But one thing’s for sure: There’s no chance for any Globe-Oscar crossover when it comes to this year’s actors.
Earlier this year, several theatrical films featuring TV stars seemed destined to become part of the awards season mix: This Is Where I Leave You (with a cast that included Globes host Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Adam Driver and Dax Shepard), The Skeleton Twins (with Saturday Night Live veterans Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, joined by Modern Family’s Emmy darling Ty Burrell) and St. Vincent, with Mike & Molly Emmy winner—and previous Oscar nominee—Melissa McCarthy (opposite Bill Murray). All of these films seemed to slip off the awards season buzz meter well before Thanksgiving.
Last year, Fey’s cohost, Amy Poehler, accepted the Golden Globe for best actress in comedy. Her veteran NBC series Parks and Recreation, which ended its six-year run last year, also was nominated. This gave the hosts plenty of fodder for laughs, joking about Poehler’s nomination during the show. Amy gushed to Tina about herself: “She looks amazing! Wow, radiant! It’s hard to believe she’s a 42-year-old mother of two!”
This year, with no recognition for This Is Where I Leave You or Parks and Rec, Fey and Poehler will not be able to direct their acerbic humor at themselves. And perhaps the best way to guess who might win TV’s Globe race might be to peer over their shoulders as they write their opening monologue. A comedy rule of thumb: The more likely the winner, the more biting the punch line.