Golden Globes: Breaking Down the Television Awards Races

Danielle Turchiano
·6-min read

Variety breaks down the 78th annual Golden Globes Awards TV nominations by category.

Drama Series
Three out of five nominees come from Netflix this year: “The Crown,” which is seeing its fourth nomination for its fourth season; “Ozark,” which picked up its first-ever series nom for its penultimate season; and newcomer “Ratched.” The other two series in the running are Disney Plus’ “The Mandalorian” and HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” which are new to the Globes. Although “The Crown” has real heat for a season that refreshed itself with the entrances of Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) and Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson), it has been celebrated so many times previously (winning in 2017) that focus should be on the freshmen.

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Musical or Comedy Series
There are no returning nominees in this race and even more notably all but one (Pop TV’s “Schitt’s Creek,” which cleaned up at the Emmys in September) are being celebrated for their first seasons. The new kids on the comedy block are Netflix’s “Emily in Paris,” HBO Max’s “The Flight Attendant,” Hulu’s “The Great” and Apple TV Plus’ “Ted Lasso.” The power of “Schitt’s” couldn’t be denied but here, too, the HFPA will likely want to award something for the first time: “Ted Lasso,” which has had everyone talking for months, seems to be the one to beat.

Limited Series/TV Movie
This is one category where, historically, the HFPA hasn’t seemed to mind following the TV Academy’s lead with nominees as well as winners. Yet, while two nominees (Hulu’s “Normal People” and Netflix’s “Unorthodox”) already had their turn at Emmys, only “Unorthodox” was nommed and it didn’t win, so no matter who is awarded here it will be for the first time. Still, the edge goes to the true newcomers (Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit,” Amazon Prime Video’s “Small Axe” and HBO’s “The Undoing”). The fact of “Small Axe” being a collection of standout films could push it to the top, but don’t count out the star power of the Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant-led “Undoing.”

Drama Actor
Veterans dominate this category, with Jason Bateman seeing his third nomination for “Ozark,” Bob Odenkirk picking up his fourth for “Better Call Saul,” 2001 Cecil B. DeMille recipient Al Pacino collecting his first for “Hunters” and Matthew Rhys getting a career third but first for “Perry Mason.” “The Crown’s” Josh O’Connor is the only first-timer here and that will likely see him overshadowed a bit by these heavyweights. With both Bateman and Odenkirk up for the penultimate seasons of their shows, it could come down to them.

Drama Actress
Olivia Colman has won every Golden Globe for which she has thus far been nominated, so her second consecutive nom for “The Crown” makes her the top contender. But that doesn’t mean this race should be called just yet. Stacked full of HFPA favorites — Jodie Comer, with her second consecutive nom for “Killing Eve”; two-time winner Laura Linney, earning her first nod for “Ozark”; one-time winner Sarah Paulson with her first nom for “Ratched” — this category may end up going to the truly fresh face: Colman’s “Crown” co-star Emma Corrin, who took the world by storm with her portrayal of Princess Diana.

Musical or Comedy Actor
Not since Alec Baldwin a decade ago has the HFPA awarded this trophy twice consecutively to the same person, so although Ramy Youssef (“Ramy”) made history in 2020 by winning, that likely hurts his chances this year. For similar reasons (he has won in this category before), “Black Monday’s” Don Cheadle seems like a longer shot to win. This leaves three first-time nominees to duke it out: “The Great’s” Nicholas Hoult, “Schitt’s Creek’s” Eugene Levy and “Ted Lasso’s” Jason Sudeikis. Overall, it may be hard to deny the power of “Ted Lasso,” also a frontrunner in the comedy series race, which will likely push Sudeikis forward.

Musical or Comedy Actress
Typically this award goes to an up-and-comer who has taken the HFPA by storm, which this year would point to Elle Fanning (“The Great”) or Jane Levy (“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”). But, although Kaley Cuoco (“The Flight Attendant”) and Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”) have been turning heads and earning laughs for years, neither has ever been nominated at the Globes before, making these noms feel long overdue. (Surprisingly, the only Globes vet in this race is “Emily in Paris’s” Lily Collins, who earned a film nomination in 2017.) If the HFPA tries to split the difference, this one will go to Cuoco.

Limited Series/TV Movie Actor
Coming off his Emmy win for playing twins in “I Know This Much Is True,” Mark Ruffalo should seem like the one to beat, but all the other men in the race are rookie nominees in their new roles, and that timeliness cannot hurt. Bryan Cranston once again proved why he’s so good at breaking bad in “Your Honor,” while Hugh Grant took his darkest-ever turn in “The Undoing.” Jeff Daniels and Ethan Hawke both portrayed real-life figures during extremely tumultuous times in history in “The Comey Rule” and “The Good Lord Bird,” respectively. It’s a category of riches that is too close to call just yet.

Limited Series/TV Movie Actress
The five women nominated in this category all delivered incredibly emotional and nuanced work, from Cate Blanchett as the real-life Phyllis Schlafly in “Mrs. America” to Daisy Edgar-Jones breathing life into a literary character in “Normal People” and Shira Haas fleeing oppression in “Unorthodox.” The extra visibility of also being nominated on the film side of the ballot for “Emma” may give “The Queen’s Gambit’s” Anya Taylor-Joy a bump, but after being nominated for five consecutive years in different categories, “The Undoing’s” Nicole Kidman seems on-track to pick up a career fifth Globe.

Supporting Actor
Two-time Globe winner Donald Sutherland is back in the conversation with “The Undoing,” while one-time winner Jim Parsons was a surprise addition to this ballot for “Hollywood.” Joining them are first-timers John Boyega (“Small Axe”), Brendan Gleeson (“The Comey Rule”) and Daniel Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”). Boyega and Gleeson each only performed in what was essentially one episode of a multi-part piece, which could see them overshadowed. If that is the case, the fact that Levy is the lone comedy actor here could make him stand out.

Supporting Actress
This category is a mix of long-time HFPA favorites such as Gillian Anderson (“The Crown”), Helena Bonham Carter (“The Crown”) and Cynthia Nixon (“Ratched”), and first-time nominees (“Ozark’s” Julia Garner and “Schitt’s Creek’s” Annie Murphy). Murphy seems at a disadvantage simply because she is the only comedy performer in the race, while Garner is hot off two consecutive Emmy wins, which may make the HFPA look to someone whom that org has yet to champion. Anderson seems the shoo-in here, as the perfect combination of all of the above, plus the sheer full-body transformation she made to portray Margaret Thatcher.

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