Ray Richmond is an AwardsLine contributor.

Just when we think we’ve finally got them figured out, those wacky folks in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association continue to surprise us in the Golden Globe Awards television races. They remain as unpredictable as ever in the nominations for the 2014 awards, AwardsLine.LogoBWwith perhaps the biggest surprise being that Showtime’s Homeland — after winning the top drama series prize two years in a row — wasn’t nominated at all this time. In fact, Homeland generated precisely zero noms after having swept the series and acting categories a year ago, as did its stars and last year’s winners, Claire Danes and Damian Lewis.

Related: Golden Globes TV: Newcomers Rule Nominations As Old Favorites Fall

House of Cards 2Another unpredictable element this year is Netflix. All of the Globes drama races for 2014 have been mixed up because of the strong performances of Netflix’s streaming series House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, which are both in their first year of eligibility. Cards, which already had shown its awards season bona fides by snaring nine Primetime Emmy noms in its rookie year (winning three), landed four noms in all (for best drama as well as leads Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright and supporting player Corey Stoll). Orange landed a lead actress nomination for star Taylor Schilling.

Contending for top drama with House Of Cards is the Showtime period hour Masters Of Sex, about pioneering sexologists William Masters and Virginia Johnson. It joins three category returnees in AMC’s Breaking Bad, PBS’ Downton Abbey and CBS’ The Good Wife. Three-time victor Mad Men was again snubbed for a series nom as well as all of the acting slots.

Were this any other group, a win for Breaking Bad would be a foregone conclusion after the show exploded into such a societal phenomenon in its final campaign. Yet while Bad predictably snatched the Emmy for outstanding drama this year, the Globes have only nominated the series once (a year ago). It figures to have a tough time eclipsing both Cards and Sex.

key_art_parks_and_recreationThe race for top comedy, meanwhile, also has a pair of new category competitors — one of them downright shocking. The acclaimed freshman Fox comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine was considered a favorite. But few expected NBC’s Parks And Recreation to crash the list for the first time in its sixth season. The show joins last year’s winner, HBO’s Girls, as well as ABC’s Modern Family (its fourth nom, having won in 2012) and CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (still looking for its first win).

It would shock pretty much nobody were Girls to win a second straight trophy. However, this race looks wide open. Any of the five nominees appears capable of landing in the winner’s circle, including — and maybe especially — Parks And Rec.

Related: Golden Globe Awards Nominations – Full List


The Art of WarWhat might be most notable about the series lead drama acting races is that nine of the 10 nominees have never before won. What’s more, three of the five competing for top actress have never been nominated: Schilling for Orange Is the New Black, Kerry Washington for ABC’s Scandal, and Tatiana Maslany for BBC America’s Orphan Black. Wright, nommed for House Of Cards, was previously nominated in 1995 for Forrest Gump. Only The Good Wife’s Julianna Margulies — nominated here for a fifth consecutive time — has a Globe win to her credit, in 2010.

Predicting where voters will travel in that race is tough to gauge, just as it is among drama actors, where all five of the nominees are seeking their first triumph. This is almost shocking when you consider that the names in the race include Spacey (7 noms, zero wins), Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad (5 noms, zero wins) and James Spader for NBC’s The Blacklist (2 noms, zero wins). Their competition is a pair of stars from Showtime dramas: Liev Schreiber for Ray Donovan and Michael Sheen for Masters Of Sex.

breaking-bad-finale-walter-bryan-cranstonAfter having won three Emmys for his portrayal of Bad’s Walter White, Cranston would seem overdue to cop a Globe. But the same certainly could be said of Spacey, a two-time Oscar winner who remains Globe-less.

Lena Dunham heads the quintet of nominees for actress in a comedy or musical that also features another pair of previous Globe winners: five-time nominee Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Veep (she won in 1994 for Seinfeld) and Nurse Jackie’s Edie Falco (a 10-time nominee who’s won twice). Both Parks And Rec’s Amy Poehler and New Girl’s Zooey Deschanel are back seeking first wins on their third consecutive noms. Only Falco failed to get nominated a year ago. Coming off two consecutive Emmy wins, it might be Louis-Dreyfus’ time here as well. Then again, Poehler is a solid choice to finally earn a little love.

Don Cheadle of Showtime’s House Of Lies is back in the comedy-musical actor category looking to make it two victories in a row. But he will need to get past four-time winner and sentimental favorite Michael J. Fox, who earned his 10th Golden Globe nomination for his freshman NBC sitcom The Michael J. Fox Show. He and Cheadle are going up against Big Bang’s Jim Parsons (his third nomination to go with a lone win) as well as first-timers Jason Bateman, for Netflix’s Arrested Development, and Andy Samberg, for Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

candelabraThe longform race is almost open-and-shut for the HBO Liberace biopic Behind The Candelabra and its star Michael Douglas; both already have dominated at the Emmys. This is Douglas’ eighth nomination, having won in 1988 for Wall Street. Among movie/miniseries actresses, the favorite is probably Jessica Lange, who landed her 14th Golden Globe nomination for FX’s American Horror Story: Coven and her third in as many years for AHS. She’s won five, including for AHS in 2012.

The shakeup in 2014’s Golden Globe television nominations is on par with the race in the feature film categories, where it’s anybody’s game. One thing’s certain, the telecast promises at least a few surprises in January.