By Terrance Turner
Feb. 3, 2021
The nominations for the Golden Globes were unveiled today, and there’s a lot of Internet chatter about surprising inclusions and some glaring omissions.
The HBO series “Insecure” was notably absent from the contenders for Best Comedy Series. Actress and writer Issa Rae was also missing from the nominees for Best Actress in a Comedy. Despite landing eight Emmy nominations, the HBO comedy was virtually shut out of Golden Globes contention.
Also shut out was the HBO drama “I May Destroy You”. The critically acclaimed British drama stars Michaela Coel as Arabella, a young woman trying to rebuild her life after being raped. Coel created, wrote, and co-directed the series, which was partially inspired by her own experience with sexual assault. Set in London, with a predominantly black cast, the series got rave reviews from critics: the New York Times said it was “one of the most stunning narrative feats not just of the year but maybe the last decade.” One writer called it the best drama series of 2020.
As MSN noted, “Lovecraft Country,” which had a predominantly Black cast including Jurnee Smollett and Michael K. Williams, and mixed edgy explorations of racism and police brutality with elements of science-fiction, magic and horror, earned a best drama series nomination from the Globes — but none for acting. Both Smollett and actor Jonathan Majors were passed over.
There were, however, some notable inclusions. The late Chadwick Boseman was nomianted for Best Actor in a Drama for playing a troubled trumpeter in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”. (Boseman died of cancer in August.) His co-star Viola Davis was also nominated for Best Actress. She is considered a frontrunner of sorts for her performance in the title role. (The film is based on a play by the late Black playwright August Wilson. He also wrote the stage play “Fences” — Davis’ work in the film version won her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2017.)
Competing with Davis in the Best Actress in a Drama category: singer Andra Day. Ms. Day is nominated for her work in the Hulu film “The United States versus Billie Holiday”, directed by Lee Daniels. Day is a double nominee: she’s also up for best original song for her tune “Tigress and Tweed”, co-written by singer-songwriter Raphael Saddiq. Also nominated in that category is Leslie Odom, Jr. He, too, is a double nominee: up for best original song (“Speak Now”, from the movie “Last Night in Miami”) and best supporting actor in a drama (for playing Sam Cooke in “Miami”).
The film’s director, actress Regina King, is nominated for best director. She is one of three female directors in that category: also in contention are Chloé Zhao for “Nomadland” and Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman.” It’s the first time that more than one woman has been a contender for Best Director. (Only one woman has won: Barbra Streisand, for “Yentl”, in 1984.) King, who won an Oscar for best supporting actress for her work in “If Beale Street Could Talk”, is only the second Black woman to be nominated for directing.
King received high praise from Odom. “I want Regina’s name called again and again,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “She has inspired me for decades in front of the camera — just this very past year, her performance in Watchmen is one of the greatest I’ve ever seen on a television series. That is not hyperbole; it was just an astounding performance, and she brought that same nose for truth and that same sensitivity and protectiveness to her work behind the camera. I’m always happy to hear that Regina King’s name is mentioned, and that’s spoken as a Regina King fan.”
UPDATE (Feb. 4, 2021): Odom, Boseman, and Davis have also been nominated for Screen Actors Guild Awards for their performances, in categories respective to their Golden Globe nods. Boseman is a double SAG nominee for best actor (“Miami”) and best supporting actor (Spike Lee’s joint “Da 5 Bloods”). Davis has also received two nominations for the NAACP Image Awards. She’s up for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture (for “Ma Rainey”) and Outstanding Actress in a TV series (“How to Get Away with Murder”). She, along with King, is vying for the night’s top prize: Entertainer of the Year.