Earlier this year three limited series (The Night Of, Big Little Lies, Feud) completely dominated the limited series acting races at the Emmys having polar opposite effects on the two lead acting races at the Golden Globes.
The Night Of isn’t eligible because it aired in 2016 leaving the category wide open with possibility. Voters might choose to nominate beloved Oscar winners from the first half of the year like Geoffrey Rush and Robert De Niro even if their shows lack any sort of buzz. Or instead they might scrap any preconceived awards contenders and choose to celebrate younger actors like Evan Peters and Jack O’Connell waiting for the first major recognition of their careers.
The lead actress race on the other hand is overflowing with possibilities. With a category that can only fit five nominees HFPA voters will have to choose between their two favorite types of performances; glamorous Oscar winning movie stars and young ingénues finally given their big break.
Four of this year’s Emmy nominees are eligible at the Golden Globes but they all premiered so long ago with lackluster enthusiasm. Still movie stars turning to television are obvious awards bait, especially at the Golden Globes, keeping all four of them in the conversation.
At first glance Geoffrey Rush is everything HFPA voters gravitate towards as a well-respected Oscar winner portraying an iconic historical figure in WWII Europe. However it’s hard to tell if the recent sexual assault allegations made against him will hinder any sort of awards prospects. Ewan McGregor is by far the most charming of the recent Emmy nominees and Fargo has a strong track record at the Globes. Robert De Niro is a Hollywood legend but recently HFPA voters have proven they don’t find it necessary to nominate him for everything (they even passed him over during Silver Linings Playbook).
The Young Pope failed to resonate with American audiences but the show’s European sensibilities might make it better suited for the Hollywood Foreign Press. With three previous nominations Jude Law is clearly well-liked by HFPA voters making giving him an even stronger chance to redeem his Emmy snub.
After the mixed reactions to the return of Twin Peaks one of the biggest questions heading into awards season is if the cult classic has any chance at an Emmy comeback. Unfortunately the return of Twin Peaks is off to a rough awards week after being completely forgotten by the Writers Guild, Critics’ Choice, and AFI. One of the biggest cult shows of all time should have been an easy sell to writers and critics but maybe the votes were split between the TV and film categories? Still throughout the entire summer everyone seemed to be talking about the weird twist with Dale Cooper which is keeping Kyle MacLachlan at the front of the lead actor conversation.
At this point it should go without saying that the Hollywood Foreign Press loves British actors especially in this category. This year there are two options that might excite voters. Kit Harington is already having a big year because of Game of Thrones but this month his limited series Gunpowder premieres on HBO. The historical costume drama focuses on the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and Harington stars as his real-life ancestor. Netflix’s new western Godless just premiered and Jack O’Connell portrays an injured outlaw on the run after a change in morality. O’Connell is on the cusp of stardom after years of indie hits and even starring in Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken.
- Jack O’Connell, Godless
- Kyle MacLachlan, Twin Peaks
- Geoffrey Rush, Genius
- Ewan McGregor, Fargo
- Kit Harrington, Gunpowder
Spoilers: Jude Law, Robert De Niro
Lead Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie
After a year of unhealthy obsession there is nothing left to say about the best lineup in Emmy history. In a lot of ways the gays have fantasized so much about this category that it nearly warrants Hollywood’s very own Mt. Rushmore with Kidman, Witherspoon, Lange, and Sarandon. The only question left is whether or not all four actresses can maintain their momentum into the Golden Globes especially in a category that only has five spots instead of six.
Of the four main actresses Susan Sarandon is probably the most vulnerable. Although massively successful Feud is not as popular as Big Little Lies and of the two actresses Jessica Lange became the clear frontrunner of the two actresses. HFPA voters might also choose to instead honor her in the more open supporting actress race for her work on this season’s Ray Donovan and give younger actresses a chance at a nomination here.
Elisabeth Moss won this category a couple years ago for the first installment of Top of the Lake and has a good chance of returning for Top of the Lake: China Girl. Or voters might choose to give other actresses a chance and only nominate her in the drama category where she is the clear frontrunner for The Handmaid’s Tale (although the Golden Globes have no problem double nominating actors).
Margaret Atwood is having a standout year on television with The Handmaid’s Tale as well as the Netflix limited series Alias Grace. Centered around an Irish immigrant in 19th century Canada accused of murder the miniseries became a sleeper hit with audiences and Sarah Gordon has received a lot of praise from fans and critics alike. The Golden Globes love to reward young ingénues, especially in this category so no one should be surprised if she sneaks in.
The actress to watch out for against a slate of Oscar winners is Jessica Biel who starred in NBC Universal’s summer hit The Sinner. The Golden Globes love crime mysteries and Jessica Biel received some of the best reviews of her career as woman waking up on the beach with no recollection of the murder she just committed. On top of that Biel is a Hollywood actress who has been waiting years to break through into that higher level of awards recognition and the Hollywood Foreign Press loves to be able to take the credit for moments like that.
The limited series with the most buzz as the end of the year approaches is the Netflix western Godless. The series boasts a massive ensemble cast and it’s not clear who will be considered lead versus supporting but if any of the actresses are put into the lead race it will likely be Michelle Dockery. She has been nominated for a Golden Globe before for Downton Abbey and voters might still have enough love for the show to nominate her again.
- Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
- Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan
- Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies
- Jessica Biel, The Sinner
- Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake: China Girl
Spoilers: Susan Sarandon, Sarah Gadon