The Hollywood Foreign Press likes to award a fresh face in the Lead Actress in a Television Comedy Category, but is there a clear front runner this season?
The Hollywood Foreign Press likes shiny new things when it comes to awarding a Golden Globe to a lead actress in a television comedy. If you look at the history of the award in the last 15 years, you will notice that there aren’t a lot of repeat winners. If you want to win, you better be the lead in a new show–the fresher the face, the better your chances. Last year, Rachel Brosnahan was the clear frontrunner, but there may not be someone new this season that could take this Globes by storm. There might be one controversial pick to keep your eyes on, but the drama categories might also feature some fresh faces.
An ingenue doesn’t always win, but it’s something to consider every year. Sarah Jessica Parker took home 4 Globes for her iconic role as Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City, and Tracee Ellis Ross won this just two years ago for the second season of ABC’s black-ish. In addition to Brosnahan, Gina Rodriguez, Lena Dunham and Rachel Bloom all won for their freshman seasons, but failed to score a second trophy after that.
First Time Recognition for a Veteran Performer?
Most of the new contenders in the comedy category are women who have had experience on television before, but they’ve never had recognition from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Could one of these actresses be awarded for headlining a newer, acclaimed comedy series?
Maya Rudolph comes to mind first for several reasons. She’s been on television for as long as many people can remember. Her stint on Saturday Night Live secured her place as comedy royalty, and she constantly pops . Forever was created by Master of None‘s co-creator Alan Yang, and that Aziz Ansari-fronted comedy has yet to fail in scoring a nomination for Comedy Series. Most importantly, however, is how much The Hollywood Foreign Press embraces Amazon properties. Not only did Brosnahan score a win last year, but The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel took Comedy Series in its freshman season (the first step in a long road to it winning the Emmy this past fall). Both Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle won for their first seasons as well. Mozart in the freaking Jungle! It also helps that Rudolph is coming off a Guest Actress in a Comedy nomination for The Good Place, and her performance is almost unanimously praised. People clearly want more Rudolph, and she could easily get noticed here.
We’re never going to stop talking about Roseanne, are we? The original iteration of the ABC sitcom was never really embraced by the Emmys (Laurie Metcalf’s three wins and Roseanne’s Lead Actress win in 1993 are the only wins in major categories), but the Golden Globes showed it a good amount of love. It was nominated for more awards than it won (Roseanne, John Goodman, and the Series all won in 1993), so maybe they will feel nostalgic for The Conners. The first episode was well received, and the death of the lead character seems like it will only add more weight to this rebooted series. Of the actors, it appears that Sara Gilbert’s Darlene will be leading the ensemble. She is living in her childhood home as she struggles to raise two kids and deal with her father. But does the show’s controversial history this past year automatically rule it out or will the HFPA view it as a cleansing?
Family sitcoms are a staple of ABC, but they don’t always like to reward those at the Golden Globes. Mary McCormack’s potential for a nomination for The Kids Are Alright (that spelling is going to kill me…) feels slim, but her resume is packed with television credits. If you watch any of the trailers for Kids, McCormack delivers each of her lines with an exhausted verve that reminds me a lot of Jane Kaczmarek from Malcolm in the Middle (who was nominated in this category from 2000-2003). Against her? Is anyone watching this show? It feels like it had a quiet premiere. The HFPA doesn’t usually nominate actresses in this category very often. Two years ago, Tracee Ellis Ross won for black-ish, but she failed to get nominated last year. The last actress to get nominated from an ABC sitcom before that was Courtney Cox for Cougar Town.
Coming Round a Second Time?
Jennifer Garner is no stranger to the Golden Globes since she won a statue for her breakout role of Sydney Bristow on Alias. She hasn’t been nominated since, but she might find herself in the race for HBO’s Camping. The reviews have been relatively mixed so far, and people online have been quick to label Garner’s character as “unlikable” (can we strike that description from our vocabularies for a while, please?). It is great to see Garner flex her comedic muscles again (the first image of her jumping into the frame to make the perfect Instagram snap is both hilarious and cringey), and fans of the show are quick to compliment her latest foray in television.
Hear me out. The Golden Globes can nominate some weird things. Alicia Silverstone getting in for American Woman isn’t all that crazy considering that she was nominated for Miss Match back in 2003. The tale of a woman standing up for herself in the 1970’s after she discovers her husband is cheating on her, unfortunately, has relevance in 2018. The main obstacle Silverstone has to overcome is that Woman has already been canceled by the Paramount Network. Can their love of her carry her to a nomination?
Welcome to the Party
Even though there isn’t a runaway favorite ingenue this season, there are a few contenders that could sneak in. Most are from smaller shows, but each possible nominee has a way to stake their claim in the race due to their shows being brand, spanking new.
Who wouldn’t want Tiffany Haddish at their party? The first season of The Last O.G. debuted two months after last year’s Golden Globes, and Haddish’s star continues to climb. Since breaking through in Girls Trip (which she was strangely snubbed from at the Globes last season), she has released a book (The Last Black Unicorn), two movies (Night School and The Oath), and she is currently developing her own Netflix comedy special. Nobody’s Fool, directed by Tyler Perry, will probably be a box office hit, and it is set to be released in early November. The Hollywood Foreign Press has always have a love affair with celebrities, and Haddish easily fits that description.
If the Golden Globes embraced black-ish, does that mean they watched grown-ish as well? Audiences will recognize star Yara Shahidi in the Freeform spin-off series, and she is the epitome of what the HFPA awards: she’s young and leading her own show. Would voters be excited to see Zoey Johnson learning how to live independently? Or would they rather check our her character on black-ish?
Sarayu Blue has been around for quite a while, but her performance in I Feel Bad feels like a huge breakout. NBC advertised the new sitcom (they don’t just do revivals!) heavily leading into this fall season. She was most recently seen in the comedy Blockers (on the fringe Comedy Film nominee?), so maybe that could carry her to a first time nomination?
Haven’t heard of Julia Davis? Even if her name isn’t familiar, it’s likely that you’ve seen something she has either created or been involved with. Davis enters this season with HBO’s Sally4Ever, and much like Frankie Shaw’s SMILF last year, she is responsible for creating, writing, and directing the series. Davis isn’t the title character, but her Catherine is responsible for turning Sally’s life upside down. The trailer suggests that she is a co-lead of the show. A nomination for her would be similar to Shaw or Issa Rae’s previous nominations.
I don’t imagine that the HFPA will nominate Debby Ryan for Insatiable, but she fits the definition of an ingenue. I am merely putting this possibility out there just so we can emotionally prepare ourselves for the backlash that will inevitably occur. It’s not that Ryan is bad on the Netflix series, but the show itself is a lumbering, lazy turd (the body shaming is awful too, but the writing isn’t very good either). It has faced controversy before it even aired, and then, inexplicably, it was renewed for a second season. The Golden Globes nominate whatever the heck they want (looking at you, Jamie Lee Curtis for Scream Queens nomination!), so don’t be surprised if Ryan makes the cut.
Taking a Dramatic Turn?
Maybe we shouldn’t be looking at comedic performances, because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association does look at newcomers on drama and limited series as well. In addition to Garner being awarded Lead Actress in a Drama Series, Claire Foy won as Queen Elizabeth for the first season of The Crown. Before she was a spy on The Americans, Keri Russell won for Felicity, and the Golden Globes nominated Sarah Michelle Gellar for Buffy the Vampire Slayer (albeit not for the first season). Claire Danes won for My So-Called Life before they showered her with nominations for Homeland, and even though Taraji P. Henson was already well known for her film roles, she took home a Globe for the first season of Empire.
One of the biggest debuts this entire year was Jodie Comer’s sadistic and silly turn as Villanelle in BBC’s Killing Eve. Sandra Oh can almost bank on the fact that she will be nominated for playing Eve Polastri, but Comer’s performance is equally worthy of notice. When the Emmy Awards consideration rolled around, Comer fell victim to not being a big enough star, and it didn’t make sense to campaign her in the Supporting Actress category. Awards strategists can sometimes get away with some category fraud, but Comer and Oh are co-leads. If any awards body would recognize how Comer complements Oh, the HFPA is it. It helps that the show has a real shot of getting nominated for Series as well.
Lifetime has never had an actress nominated in the Drama Series categories mainly because the network is still relatively new in terms of dramatic series content. The HFPA didn’t embrace UnREAL (the Television Academy did nominate Constance Zimmer for the freshman season), but they could surprises us with a nomination for Elizabeth Lail for You. Lifetime has always spun tales of women taken being horrified by the actions of men, but You feels like it’s hitting at an unfortunately relevant moment. The reviews have been solid.
If I may make a personal suggestion? If the HFPA wants to award a brand new talent this year, they should consider the women of Ryan Murphy’s Pose. A huge hit for FX, the ball drama has two women they could heavily consider. Mj Rodriguez is the clearer lead as Blanca, a young woman trying to secure her legacy as a breaks away from her former family. Rodriguez’s Blanca has to be tough, but her softer moments are really lovely (when a man asks her out on a date, her face registers her surprise). Indya Moore, as lovelorn Angel, is already a viewer favorite, but she might be campaigned in Supporting Actress. With this current shitstorm of an administration, Pose is a reminder that things do get better, but we need to fight for them. Both Rodriguez and Moore should be considered for their work considering that they are the perfect definition of an ingenue breaking into the business.
Is there anyone on a new show that we are forgetting? Are you going to bat for a new performer this season?