Jalal Haddad predicts the frontrunners and potential upsets in the Golden Globe drama race. Is ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ still the frontrunner?
For the first time in a while, the drama series race has come to a consensus across just about every voting body including the Golden Globes. Fresh off of a big year at the Emmys, The Crown, Game of Thrones, The Handmaid’s Tale, Stranger Things, and This Is Us are the five nominees at the Golden Globes. It’s a little surprising that no new fall show interested Hollywood Foreign Press voters (like The Deuce, The Good Doctor, Mindhunter) but it just goes to show how popular these five shows are.
Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale is the type of show that has Golden Globe winner written all over it. Starring former winner Elisabeth Moss and airing on one of the hottest streaming networks is enough to excite HFPA voters. The only element in its way, and it is a minor one, is the fact that it premiered last spring and that the Emmys have already had the chance to reward it first. HFPA voters clamor to be the first voting body to award a new show, but as 2017 progressed, the politics of The Handmaid’s Tale only became more relevant giving voters more and more reason to acknowledge the show as the year’s best.
The Crown won the top drama award last year and easily earned the title as the most Globes friendly TV show possibly in the history of the group. With the second season having just premiered, it will be very fresh in the minds of voters, but they rarely award the same show twice.
Stranger Things and Game of Thrones may be the two most popular dramas on the planet and have raked in Emmy awards, but that doesn’t mean HFPA voters will automatically follow suit. Over the years Game of Thrones has only won a single Golden Globe, and that was a supporting award for Peter Dinklage back in the first season. The first season of Stranger Things was nominated for two awards last year but went home empty handed. Unless voters are entirely bored with the other nominees the two sci-fi/fantasy shows will likely go home empty handed.
Of the five nominees This Is Us actually tied The Handmaid’s Tale for most drama nominations which might be an indicator of the family drama’s popularity. Sterling K. Brown and Chrissy Metz are potential spoilers in their respected categories, but after some of the overall buzz for the show has died down, it probably won’t woo voters in the top category.
Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Only twice in the past ten years has the lead actor prize not been tied with a series nominated show and for clear exceptions. Jon Hamm won for the final season of Mad Men for what was both a tremendous achievement and as a makeup for not being able to get him on screen years before during the writers strike. Last year, movie star and HFPA favorite Billy Bob Thornton won for Goliath in a category where none of the nominees were tied to a show nominated for the top award. That could be a sign of good things to come for Sterling K. Brown who is the only one of the five to be tied to one of the top series.
This is Sterling K. Brown’s second career Golden Globe nomination. He was nominated last year in the supporting category for his work on American Crime Story but lost to Hugh Laurie. This year, after a second consecutive Emmy win, Brown is deservingly being considered one of the best men working in television. His character Randall is the heart of This Is Us. A win for him would be an easy way for voters to catch up with his immense talent and honor the show as a whole. He’s the clear frontrunner to win the upcoming SAG award, and HFPA voters might find him to lovable to resist. Still there are newer, more exciting options, and the fact that he has been repeatedly rewarded by other groups turns the race into an interestingly competitive category.
Even if The Good Doctor failed to stand out to voters enough to be nominated in the drama series category, the show’s star Freddie Highmore is probably one of the most awards friendly contenders in the category. He portrays a young surgical resident with autism that has excited both audiences and critics in a way that gives him a rooting factor that might very well propel him to a surprise Golden Globe win. On top of that, Highmore is a British actor that has been working in Hollywood since he was a child and is long overdue for awards recognition.
Ozark is a show that mostly flew under the radar when it first premiered. Critics and bloggers weren’t talking about it in the way they did some of the other new shows of the year, but it was a massive success with audiences. Proof of Bateman’s wide appeal is in his SAG nomination. If Ozark was also nominated in the Drama Series category, he might be a stronger threat to win here, but no matter if he wins or loses he is still a major contender for an Emmy nomination next summer.
For a voting group that loves to celebrate new performances, the HFPA has confoundingly nominated Liev Schreiber for the fifth year in a row. Ray Donovan has never been a contender in the drama series race, making it hard to tell if voters like the show or just really really like him. Either way, performances never win the Golden Globe this far into a show’s run unless voters have a special reason. Just as confusing was the fact that Bob Odenkirk returned to the category for the third season of Better Call Saul after voters took a break from him last year. Breaking Bad was never a major player with Globes voters so it’s hard to imagine Odenkirk will have better luck.
Lead Actress in a Drama Series
The Handmaid’s Tale is the clear front runner in the drama series category which makes Elisabeth Moss the likely front runner here. On top of her performance here, Moss is the star of two other Golden Globe-nominated programs this year (Top of the Lake and The Square). Still, HFPA voters might feel a little bored with Moss after she won the Emmy, and they already awarded her a couple years ago for the first installment of Top of the Lake.
Katherine Langford is the perfect example of the young ingénue that the HFPA loves to celebrate. 13 Reasons Why is the 21 year old Australian’s first major project and was the type of pop culture sensation that is sure to dominate headlines if she actually won the award next month. On top of all that, a win for her would be the perfect introduction to the rest of the country since she has a new movie coming out early next year. Still, when 13 Reasons Why premiered, it was met with a lot of controversy for the way it portrayed suicide, and that mixed with the bias against teen dramas might prevent her from actually winning.
The other three nominees don’t seem to have the stats of typical Golden Globe winners behind them. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a previous winner, but voters clearly didn’t like The Deuce making it hard to imagine she has the passion behind her. Outlander has a massive online following, but it’s rare for an actress to win for the third season of the show especially as it tapers in nominations. At first glance Claire Foy seems like an easy choice to win the award especially since The Crown can easily be considered one of the most HFPA friendly shows of the decade. However, the TV categories have a terrible track record for actors winning two years in a row. In fact the only actress to pull that off in recent years has been Claire Danes. If Claire Foy wins it will be a testament to her performance in The Crown and possibly the fact that the show very much benefits from being the most recent show screened for voters.