Oh, sure, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt can swear up and down they were sound asleep when the early-morning Golden Globe nominations were announced. Keep in mind they’re also award-worthy actors, and they know a recognition from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a big deal. The HFPA members have always loved gazing at stars — just last year, Nicole Kidman got a nod for the way-obscure The Destroyer — and this year’s crop is no exception. The big difference? The A-listers all delivered in popular and beloved films. In other words, they earned it. On the flip side, other aspiring nominees woke up early for naught. Here are five Golden Globes surprises on the movie side.
1. Cats Gets De-Clawed
One of many reasons why love the Golden Globes is because comedies and musicals rightfully receive their own categories. But despite all those extra slots, there was no love for the big-budgeted adaptation of Cats. The musical has already garnered, uh, less-than-purrrrfect (sorry) buzz thanks to those peculiar trailers in which the cast appeared to be wearing CGI’ed fur and whiskers. A nod for, say, stars Jennifer Hudson (who belts “Memory”), Dame Judi Dench or Rebel Wilson could have gone a long way. Instead, the HFPA seemed to confirm what we feared. Cats only received just one nod, for Taylor Swift and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, in the Best Song category. One life down, eight lives to go.
2. Sorry, Sandler
Anyone happen to catch the glowing profile of Adam Sandler on 60 Minutes on Sunday night? The Saturday Night Live alum-turned-dumb-comedy-movie-icon is all-in for his Uncut Gems awards campaign. As well he should be: His turn as a sweaty, desperate Diamond District jeweler and gambler in the pulse-pounder is remarkably self-assured and unlike anything he’s ever done. Recent nominations from the Critics’ Choice Association and the National Board of Review prove it. Alas, he was left out of Best Actor in a Drama category, which is ridiculously stacked and competitive this year. If it’s any consolation, he can commiserate with the great Robert De Niro, who was snubbed for The Irishman.
3. The Joker Is King
As if Joker weren’t already a game-changing behemoth with its $1 billion box-office gross (R-rating and grim content be damned!), it’s now an official awards player to boot. The HFPA rewarded it with three key nominations — Joaquin Phoenix for Best Actor in a Drama, Best Drama and Todd Phillips for Best Director. The latter is especially surprising, considering that Phillips was left off many prognosticators’ shortlists. (Those three Hangover movies may have factored in). He ostensibly took the nomination from Marriage Story director Noah Baumbach — and, sigh, all the female nominees. Phoenix, meanwhile, notched his sixth Golden Globe nod and previously won for Walk the Line. Time to start writing the acceptance speech.
4. That’s a Go for J.Lo
As Jennifer Lopez reminded us during her monologue on Saturday Night Live, she’s never been hotter. Now she can add “Golden Globe nominee” to her mounting list of 2019 credentials. J.Lo slithered her way into the Best Supporting Actress category for her impressive work as the dancer/swindler/mentor supreme in Hustlers — and given that all the comedy/drama performances got lumped together, this was no cheapie. In fact, favorites such as Florence Pugh (Little Women) and Zhao Shuzhen (The Farewell) were left out altogether. This is Lopez’ second nod overall . . . and first since Selena in 1997(!) Welcome back. Please wear your lucky green Versace dress to the ceremony.
5. Make a Note of Best Song
The starriest category of all? That would be Best Original Song. We’re talking Beyonce (The Lion King), Elton John (Rocketman), the aforementioned Taylor Swift (Cats) and the Frozen 2 anthem “Into the Unknown.” The fifth nominee is no slouch either, given that Cynthia Erivo (Harriet) is a Tony and Grammy winner. Alas, the Best Song nominees are never performed at the Golden Globes — blame all those pesky TV categories! — so we’ll have to settle for Queen B’s presence at a front table. Also, don’t expect the same five to repeat the feat for the Oscars, as the Academy is a little less starry-eyed. Two lives down for Cats, seven to go.
The 77th annual Golden Globes will air on NBC on Sunday, January 5
Also published on Medium.