Awards Season: Breaking down the 2019 Golden Globe nominations

Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga in  A Star Is Born  | Warner Bros.

Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born | Warner Bros.

Awards season is now officially in full swing with this morning’s announcement of nominees for the 2019 Golden Globe Awards, with the list including some shocking inclusions and unbelievable snubs. The Golden Globes is nothing if not the wackiest awards show in show business, so Reel Nine is here to try and make sense of the rather eclectic list of nominees and provide predictions of who will be taking home the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s biggest honors this year.

Best Motion Picture – Drama
Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
If Beale Street Could Talk
A Star Is Born

The surprise inclusions: Beale Street is really the only expected nominee in this category. Black Panther and BlacKkKlansman, while both excellent, haven’t really been in the conversation outside of some acting and technical awards. Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born seem better fitted for the Musical or Comedy category. Rhapsody is in particular a surprising but oh so Golden Globes inclusion, an unworthy but glitzy piece of schlock that has the wide appeal that the HFPA craves in picking their nominees.

The snubs: It’s anybody’s guess as to why First Reformed, which up until this point has been dominating this year’s critical praise, is completely absent from the nominee list. It’s a baffling decision that will surely be highlighted yet again when the film most likely receives a slew of Oscar nods later in the season. You could say the same for Widows, Steve McQueen’s crackling heist thriller that’s earned heaps of deserved critical praise but seems to be running out of steam as awards season rolls on. Also say a prayer for First Man, which seemed like a lock for awards glory earlier in the year but seems dead in the water at this point. It’s silly that the HFPA is incapable of recognizing foreign language films in this category, because Roma should absolutely be on there.

Who should win: Beale Street is easily the best film of the bunch, a moving, lyrical adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel of the same name that proves Barry Jenkins is no one hit wonder.

Who will win: A Star Is Born. It’s not all that spectacular outside of Lady Gaga’s flooring performance, but this tragic pop saga has the Golden Globes brand melodrama they love showering with praise.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Glenn Close, The Wife
Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Nicole Kidman, Destroyer
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Rosamund Pike, A Private War

The surprise inclusions: Pike is probably the biggest surprise on the list, as A Private War has been all quiet on the Western front when it comes to awards talk and its release earlier this year was rather modest. She is a worthy inclusion, giving a commanding performance as doomed war correspondent Marie Colvin and continuing her quiet rise to a regular awards season favorite. That’s not the case when it comes to Close, whose nomination for the tepidly received The Wife is proof star power alone is still a major factor for the HFPA.

The snubs: There needs to be a serious conversation in the industry about awards season completely forgetting horror is a legitimate genre, because the lack of a nomination for Toni Collette’s bravura performance in Hereditary is egregious. It’s an instantly classic bit of acting, raw and physical in a way few performers would ever dare to attempt. Where is the love for Viola Davis, probably our finest working actor who gives a flooring performance in Widows? Or for Carey Mulligan anchoring Wildlife with her stunning turn as a housewife desperate to break free from the bonds of her nuclear family lifestyle? Not to mention things are looking increasingly grim for Saorise Ronan and Margot Robbie in Mary, Queen of Scots, which is the sort of awards-hungry bit of historical fiction that would normally make a splash but is being drowned out by a jam-packed year of worthy performances.

Who should win: McCarthy is devastatingly good in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, but Gaga’s role in A Star Is Born is the sort of performance that will be remembered for decades to come. Her earth-shattering performance of “Shallow” alone earns her the win.

Who will win: The sun rises in the East, sets in the West, and Gaga gets a Golden Globe. There’s perhaps no award more predictable this year.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate
Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman

The surprise inclusions: Merry Christmas, Mr. Washington! The son of Denzel Washington surprisingly (but deservedly) finds himself on the list for his first major performance. Hedges isn’t exactly all that shocking for Boy Erased, but in the light of being left out of recent awards conversation this is a sudden resurgence.

The snubs: First Reformed gets insulted yet again with a silly omission of Ethan Hawke’s career performance, while First Man continues to announce to Houston that it has a problem with a pretty surprising snub for Ryan Gosling. He didn’t really have a shot, but Joaquin Phoenix gave one of the best performances of the year in You Were Never Really Here.

Who should win: The actor race this year is full of performances that are solid but pretty unremarkable in the scheme of things (make no mistake, acting this year belongs to women), and this award really should be Hawke’s. But since we must choose, Cooper is probably the best of the bunch here, turning his tortured country-rock crooner into a sympathetic and heartbreaking figure.

Who will win: This is more than likely Cooper’s award, but don’t be shocked if Malek lifts the Globe for his admittedly effective Freddie Mercury impression. It’s the sort of showy, headline grabbing performance that the HFPA can’t resist to highlight.

Christian Bale in  Vice  | Annapurna Pictures

Christian Bale in Vice | Annapurna Pictures

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Crazy Rich Asians
The Favourite
Green Book
Mary Poppins Returns

The surprising inclusions: The HFPA has gone Dick-crazy as they have showered Vice with the most nominations of any film this year (six in total). The Adam McKay-helmed satire of Dick Cheney’s rise to power hasn’t had the most glowing critical response on social media (it’s still under full review embargo), and many seem to agree that it will stand out as this year’s The Tourist, earning undeserved Globes recognition in the name of elevating its beloved stars.

The snubs: There was no way it would have secured the nomination, but Eighth Grade is the sort of the film that reminds you why comedy isn’t just some artless genre designed purely to provide cash-grabbing escapism. It’s hilarious, heartfelt, and one of the best films of the year, so it’s omission here is pretty glaring. Sorry to Bother Yous genius premise alone should have also landed it on this list.

Who should win: The Favourite is an astounding film, often gut-bustingly funny, deeply intelligent, and perhaps the best acted work of the year. It’s more than worthy of the heaps of praise it’s garnering this awards season.

Who will win: This one is pretty up in the air. The Favourite has the pedigree and the momentum, but Green Book is the sort of easy, safe choice that will let the old white folks in charge of the HFPA sleep easy when the night is over. Don’t count out Crazy Rich Asians, which made a box office killing this year, has the “diversity” glow that the HFPA seems eager to exploit, and is the best studio romantic comedy in ages. Vice’s pile of nominations could be a warning sign that it’s going to walk away a winner.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Emily Blunt, Mary Poppins Returns
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade
Charlize Theron, Tully
Constance Wu, Crazy Rich Asians

The surprising inclusions: Elsie Fisher getting praise for her riveting debut in Eighth Grade is a welcome delight, as is Charlize Theron’s inclusion for her portrayal of the highs and lows of motherhood in Tully. Both were in conversations for awards early in the year but quickly got pushed to the wayside as the year went on, so their inclusions here are perhaps the only truly wonderful surprises of the list.

The snubs: There’s really no complaints here as this is a top-to-bottom solid list of nominees. However, there’s a case to be made for lovely performances from Lily James and Tessa Thompson in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and Sorry to Bother You, respectively.

Who should win: Fisher is a genuine discovery in Eighth Grade, turning in one of the finest performances from a young performer in recent memory and making every moment of adolescent horror all the more believable. Olivia Colman is magnificent as The Favourite’s mad queen, giving layers to what could have been a one-note performance. Either would be a worthy winner.

Who will win: Colman is pretty much a lock for this one, though don’t be surprised if the HFPA looks to whip up a Julie Andrews repeat and give Blunt the award for her homage to that actress’s classic character.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale, Vice
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Poppins Returns
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
Robert Redford, The Old Man & the Gun
John C. Reilly, Stan & Ollie

The surprising inclusions: John C. Reilly comes out of left field for Stan & Ollie, which has seen a whisper-quiet marketing campaign and has little buzz surrounding it.

The snubs: Lakeith Stanfield’s committed, hilarious performance is the beating heart of Sorry to Bother You, and his omission is a sign that the film has been completely forgotten in the midst of awards season.

Who should win: Robert Redford is criminally charming in The Old Man & the Gun, and a win would be a nice cap to a historic career that is reportedly coming to a close.

Who will win: Viggo Mortensen’s weirdly adored performance seems to be the front-runner, though if Darkest Hour taught us anything last year, it’s that pounds of make-up and a total physical transformation may alone earn Christian Bale another Globe.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Amy Adams, Vice
Claire Foy, First Man
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

The surprising inclusions: None to be reported, other than perhaps Amy Adams riding on the coattails of the HFPA’s Vice love, though her performance seems to be the only thing critics universally enjoyed in the film. Some will consider Rachel Weisz a surprise as only one spot for The Favourite was expected, though she’s so good that it’s not really all that surprising that the HFPA wanted to include it along with Emma Stone’s equally powerful performance.

The snubs: Tilda Swinton is at peak weird in her dynamite triple performance in Suspiria, and though she was forced to compete in the crowded Best Actress category, Natalie Portman really earned a place on either list with her gutsy turn as a pop star diva in the second half of Vox Lux. Some will be surprised that Nicole Kidman didn’t earn a nomination for her role as a fiery preacher’s wife in Boy Erased.

Who should win: Regina King, a long underrated performer, forms the emotional backbone of Beale Street with her deeply human, heartbreaking turn as mother desperate to save her prospective son-in-law from prison. Though Stone and Weisz are both at their sharp-tongued best in The Favourite, providing a fascinating pair of dueling women hungry for power. Any of them would a worthy winner.

Who will win: It seems King is the likely winner, with the momentum in her favor and a likely win for Olivia Colman for The Favourite serving as a representative for that film’s top-to-bottom amazing performances.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell, Vice

The surprising inclusions: This is another pretty predictable category with no real surprises ending up on the list. Though it is worth mentioning that Sam Rockwell really isn’t in Vice as much as you would think.

The snubs: They didn’t have much of a chance in this stacked category, but Jake Gyllenhaal and Daniel Kaluuya made cases for themselves in their effective performances in Wildlife and Widows, respectively. Kaluuya is particularly at the top of his game in that film, creating a menacing enforcer who drives home the dangerous stakes of that film’s plot. Like Nicole Kidman, some will raise an eyebrow at a missing Russell Crowe as a homophobic preacher in Boy Erased. Michael B. Jordan also stakes his claim with a rousing performance in Black Panther.

Who should win: Richard E. Grant is absolutely delightful in his role as Melissa McCarthy’s partner in crime in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, turning in one of the year’s best performances and providing a sparring partner to McCarthy that’s more than up to the task.

Who will win: Grant has this one pretty much in the bag, though Mahershala Ali has a solid chance since he was the only thing actually good about Green Book and the HFPA could give Timothee Chalamet a win as an apology for overlooking his astounding performance in last year’s Call Me By Your Name.

Alfonso Cuarón directs Yalitza Aparicio in  Roma  | Netflix

Alfonso Cuarón directs Yalitza Aparicio in Roma | Netflix

Best Director – Motion Picture
Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Peter Farrelly, Green Book
Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Adam McKay, Vice

The surprising inclusions: Adam McKay? Really?

The snubs: Where do we begin? Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite. Bo Burnham for Eighth Grade. Barry Jenkins for Beale Street. Could someone remind the HFPA that women also direct? In the year that Lynne Ramsey directed You Were Never Really Here, Adam McKay?! Get real. Really the only director who solidly belongs on this list is Cuarón.

Who should win: Everything Cuarón has ever done in his career has led to Roma, which is easily the year’s most gorgeous work. Every single shot in the film is a masterful painting from one of the finest working directors in the business.

Who will win: Probably Cuarón, but Cooper has a shot even though the man has never heard of a wide angle in his life.

Just kidding, Adam McKay will win because we are on the darkest timeline.

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, The Favourite
Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
Adam McKay, Vice
Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Green Book

The surprising inclusions: Roma is an interesting choice because it’s not what you would call a dialogue-driven film, which are usually the sorts of scripts that get included here. Adam McKay, again. God.

The snubs: Bo Burnham’s script for Eighth Grade is a work of squirm-inducing brilliance, and Paul Schrader’s genius exploration of religion and climate change in First Reformed has thus far been sweeping up screenplay awards, so its omission is once again puzzling.

Who should win: Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara’s screenplay for The Favourite is filled with so many bitingly funny lines that period pieces should be mandated to follow its example for the rest of time.

Who will win: Hard to say, though the The Favourite seems to be, well, the favorite. The Green Book screenplay allows the HFPA to think racism has been solved so there’s a chance they’ll go for that.

Best Motion Picture – Animated
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

The surprising inclusions: A pretty unsurprising list, though it’s nice to see Mirai earned itself a spot.

The snubs: Nothing to report, though couldn’t we have pretended Paddington 2 was animated for the good of humanity?

Who should win: Incredibles 2 and Ralph Breaks the Internet were both seen as solid but slightly lesser sequels, and Isle of Dogs is a delight but is probably Wes Anderson’s weakest work and it reeks of the controversial cultural appropriation the HFPA is trying to avoid. Meanwhile, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has reinvigorated Marvel’s most popular superhero and has the most eye-catching animation style of any film in recent memory. Why not give the award to your friendly neighborhood cartoon?

Who will win: Who are we kidding? Pixar will be making room in the trophy case for Incredibles 2.

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
Never Look Away

The surprising inclusions: This category is a little puzzling. In a year where international cinema has a really prominent place in American critical conversation, Capernaum, Girl, and Never Look Away are all pretty under-the-radar choices.

The snubs: It’s pretty flooring that the HFPA didn’t nominate Burning. It’s one of the year’s best films, a mesmerizing potboiler from Korea that even features a starring turn from Steven Yeun, who is quite popular stateside due to his beloved role on The Walking Dead. Combine an American actor with a mystery-laden plot that seems juicy enough for Globes standards, it’s hard to imagine why it wasn’t included. Also noticeably missing is the beautiful (if a bit empty) Cold War, the Polish historical romance that’s been seen on many critics’ best-of lists this year.

Who should win: Roma is Alfonso Cuarón’s magnum opus, a startling and intimate epic whose technical achievements are matched only by its deep emotional impact. Though there’s also a case to be made for Shoplifters, this year’s Palme d’Or winner and a moving and heartbreaking piece of narrative brilliance from one of Japan’s most beloved directors, Hirokazu Kore-eda. Roma is more deserving, though a Shoplifters win would stir up little to no complaint here.

Who will win: Undoubtedly Roma, which should be nominated for the overall Best Picture as well.

Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Marco Beltrami, A Quiet Place
Alexandre Desplat, Isle of Dogs
Ludwig Göransson, Black Panther
Justin Hurwitz, First Man
Marc Shaiman, Mary Poppins Returns

The surprising inclusions: Marco Beltrami has swooped in to represent what will probably be the only awards season recognition the wildly popular A Quiet Place will receive this year outside of some probable technical nominations when the Oscars roll around.

The snubs: This was a crazily good year for scores, and the list of nominees for who could have been nominated is a mile long. The best of these omissions include Thom Yorke’s wacky soundtrack for Suspiria, Jonny Greenwood’s experimental work on You Were Never Really Here, and Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow’s haunting work on Annihilation.

Who should win: Ludwig Göransson’s score for Black Panther gave that film it’s distinct feel, though the same could be said for the sweeping melodies of Justin Hurwitz’s work on First Man.

Who will win: Likely Hurwitz since he’s become a popular awards season star, but the HFPA may be so desperate to give something to Black Panther that Göransson secures the win.

Best Original Song – Motion Picture
“All the Stars”, Kendrick Lamar & SZA, Black Panther
“Girl in the Movies”, Dolly Parton, Dumplin’
“Requiem For a Private War”, Annie Lennox, A Private War
“Revelation”, Troye Sivan, Boy Erased
“Shallow”, Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

The surprising inclusions: Despite a starring role from Jennifer Aniston, Netflix has done little to promote Dumplin’, a film about the relationship between a plus-size girl and her beauty queen mother, so it’s interesting to see it here. Though Dolly Parton is Dolly Parton, so what do we know.

The snubs: There are probably better songs on the Black Panther soundtrack, and there’s plenty of additionally worthy songs from A Star Is Born. Once noticeably absent pop star is Sia, who turned in a solidly catchy tune with Vox Lux’s “Wrapped Up”.

Who should win: “Shallow” represents one of the most stunning scenes of the year and isn’t just an instantly classic movie song, it’s one of the best pop songs in recent memory.

Who will win: Folks, it’s “Shallow’s” world and we’re just living in it.

The 2019 Golden Globe Awards will air January 6th on NBC. Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg will host, which is an absolute delight that will only be ruined when Vice wins everything and cinema is forever cancelled. Check back with Reel Nine as awards season continues for updates on the latest nominations and wins as the industry gears up for the 2098 Oscars.

Ryan Ninesling