Ahhhh, fall. The holidays are right around the corner, and so are the Golden Globe Awards. What does the Hollywood Foreign Press Association like to unwrap more this season than a newly anointed star?
For the Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category, the HFPA tends to swing to the freshest face in the room. Gina Rodriguez, Rachel Bloom, Lena Dunham, and Rachel Brosnahan all benefitted from being the new, big sensation on the block, so it’s natural that we look at freshman series to fill out this category. The reigning queen of the category is Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who ended her awards avalanche with a trophy earlier this year. Even though Fleabag was in its second season, it took the world a while to catch up and Waller-Bridge felt like the new kid on the block despite, you know, having multiple shows nominated everywhere.
It felt like last year had ingenue contenders outside the Comedy Series races, and it was the first time that we explored potential youths knocking at HFPA’s door (Ben Platt is still a-rapping at the chamber door). We are going to see the same thing this year since there is some really exciting talent that could enter the race with a nomination come February 3, 2021.
On paper, it seems like Lily Collins is the one to beat for her role in the bubbly, light Emily in Paris because of its connection with HBO’s Sex and the City. Emily was created by Darren Star and his landmark saga of Carrie Bradshaw amassed 24 Globe nominations, including three Comedy Series wins and four wins for star Sarah Jessica Parker. She has the most wins behind Carol Burnett, who still holds the record with five wins. It’s interesting to see how the Primetime Emmy record for playing the same character is held by Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Veep when she never won a Globe for that role.
Collins isn’t an unknown face, but the show was widely talked about on social media before getting renewed for a second season. It’s an escapist series. As we are all stuck in our homes (or we should be stuck in our homes…seriously, guys, wear a mask and don’t leave if you can), Emily in Paris was the perfect companion because of its clothes and its romances and its charm. If the HFPA wants to give an award for a confection of a series, Collins could win (and the Schitt’s Creek mob would revolt). Carrie Bradshaw made it to Paris but she quickly found that it wasn’t for her, but Emily seems more resilient. Bonus familial connection: She’s Phil Collins’s daughter!
I sometimes wonder if Katherine Ryan could sneak in for The Duchess. The show premiered quietly in September to positive notice and it’s a short first season (only six episodes). Ryan currently has several standup specials on Netflix, so is she a familiar face that we are underestimating? Like Waller-Bridge, Ryan created The Duchess and served as the show’s writer for all its episodes. It’s an easy binge, so if you’re looking for a funny, quick show, you should check it out.
If we are going to talk about the escapism of Emily in Paris, we have to talk about the escapism of NBC’s Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Its costumes and setting aren’t as colorful, but Zoey has something that Emily does not: musical numbers! A singing Lorelei Gilmore! Alex Newell! Mary effing Steenbergen! The HFPA is a sucker for a musical (see Glee, Smash, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), and the film side will more than likely have 49 nominations for The Prom. Levy has steadily worked in television for years, but Zoey could definitely land in the Lead Actress and Comedy Series race.
One of the biggest stories out of this year’s Emmy race was the inclusion of FX’s What We Do in the Shadows. Usually the HFPA doesn’t like any other awards show’s scraps, but the Television Academy didn’t recognize any of Shadows actors in its eight nominations. Does that open up a nomination for Natasia Demetriou? The attention the show received from the Emmys only guarantees that more people will check out the show.
It Netflix’s Dash & Lily too holiday themed for the HFPA to care? It’s a winning series and everyone needs some holiday cheer at the moment, so Midori Francis could find herself in a position to get nominated. Her love interest, played by Austin Abrams, is more cynical at the start of the show and Francis’s Lily has a more open heart, especially since she loves Christmas.
Elle Fanning is the most famous person on this list, but we can’t ignore her performance on Hulu’s The Great, especially since the Television Academy ignored it so much at this year’s Emmys. This is one of Fanning’s best performances and both she and Nicholas Hoult could find themselves nominated for this bonkers retelling of Catherine the Great’s ascension. Even though the show only received two Emmy nominations, is the Hollywood Foreign Press already over it?
If we are going to look purely at statistics, we need not overlook Andy Allo for Upload. The Hollywood Foreign Press has had a love affair with Amazon Studio shows since 2014. Amazon’s crown jewel, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, isn’t eligible this season because, well, the pandemic shut down the filming of the New York City-based smash. It won two Globes for Rachel Brosnahan and took the top prize for its first season. Fleabag ended so it won’t repeat in Comedy Series or Lead Actress again. Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent were awarded two Globes for their first seasons (for Series and stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Jeffrey Tambor) and Amazon has been a presence in these categories even if they only score nominations.
Is this simply the first year that Amazon misses (damn you, Miss Rona!) or does someone like Allo (or Utopia‘s Sasha Lane) benefit from bigger series being out of the way?
Maybe the HFPA would get behind a brand new network with a new star? Josie Totah is getting a lot of positive notice for her role as Lexi in Peacock’s reboot of Saved By the Bell. Would they be charmed by a mean girl high school cheerleader? Totah is unbelievably charming on screen and off, so she could find herself with a nomination.
Of all the new comedy ingenue contenders, I think the one to beat is Maitreyi Ramakrishnan for Netflix’s Never Have I Ever. As a high school student trying to navigate the trauma of losing her father, becoming temporarily paralyzed and trying to lose her virginity to the school hottie, there is a lot to rest on Ramakrishnan’s shoulders, and she pulls it off with her charismatic turn. Is she a bit young? Maybe. Lea Michele was nominated for playing a high schooler on Glee (but she never won), and other young characters to be recognized include Dunham on Girls and Debbie Allen for Fame. The series just took Best Comedy Series at the People’s Choice Awards last week.
(Photo: Des Willie/Netflix)
Since it debuted earlier this week, The Crown has been the topic of many conversations, thanks in part to Emma Corrin’s vulnerable portrayal of Princess Diana. The public is falling in love with her all over again with many audiences living at how Prince Charles treated her despite their fairytale wedding. Corrin captures the voice and mannerisms so well that certain shots of her in costume bear a striking resemblance to the late Princess. Roller skating through Buckingham Palace and singing Andrew Lloyd Webber also get points. The only question is where is Netflix going to place Corrin? With four women to place this season (Corrin, Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter and Gillian Anderson), the studio might be wise to split them up evenly to try and assure the most nominations possible. Perhaps Colman and Corrin in Lead with Bonham Carter and Anderson duking it out in that messy-as-hell Supporting Actress category?
One of the most talked about performances of the fall comes from Jurnee Smollett in HBO’s Lovecraft Country. We have seen Smollett on our televisions since Full House, but she delivers in a way that we haven’t seen before in the sci-fi series. It’s the kind of show that you wanted to make sure you were on Twitter to experience with other viewers. Since there is such an outcry for original content, Lovecraft Country fits the bill and you can’t ignore Smollett’s performance.
I am not ready to count out the cast of HBO’s We Are Who We Are. The young cast is virtual unknowns and it comes from the heart of Luca Guadagnino. Jordan Kristine Seamón is the definition of plucking a fresh face out and giving them a chance with a big part. Her performance feels very relevant and speaks to the youth of today. Bonus points for being set in Italy and co-starring Marty Scorsese’s daughter in a supporting part.
Jennifer Lopez scored a Golden Globe nomination for portraying Selena Quintanilla in a feature film in 1997. Can a longer form series secure a nomination and catapult Christian Serratos to Lopez-style fame? The teaser trailers have been hypnotic and Serratos really looks like the Queen of Tejano Music. Even though Selena is a beloved film, there’s always room to expand on her life that a two-hour movie can’t. Reviews of the series are embargoed until the end of this month, so that reception could indicate if the show has the goods, but this feels like a shoo-in nomination.
I would really love to see Jerrika Hinton sneak in for Amazon’s Hunters. With Al Pacino as the anchored lead, it’s the perfect way for voters to ease into this ultraviolent, pulpy drama. Hinton plays a cop trying to hunt Nazis the “right way,” even though the system and the world continually stand in her way. As a queer woman of color often alone in a man’s world, Hinton is such a badass and a character you root for. The Emmys passed on Hunters in a big way, but it feels like a show that the HFPA would show interest in.
Would the HFPA go for something so new like Tiny Pretty Things? The drama series is being described as Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars, and it could push Kylie Jefferson center stage. This is her debut, so why wouldn’t the HFPA want to pull her into Hollywood with a nomination? Black Swan garnered four Globe nominations (including Supporting Actress for Mila Kunis) and Starz Flesh & Bone–about a classical dancer struggling in the New York City ballet scene–nabbed two nominations, Best Miniseries or TV Film and Lead Actress for Sarah Hay.
Definitely Not Limited
It’s no surprise that some of the best acting comes in the limited series and miniseries categories, but the HFPA should expand to at least six slots to recognize some of this work. Oscar-winning women could totally dominate this category–Nicole Kidman for The Undoing, Regina King for Watchmen, Cate Blanchett for Mrs. America, Meryl Streep for Let Them All Talk–but the flip side could also happen.
Unorthodox overperformed at this year’s Emmy Awards (eight nominations with one win), and I feel like it has a chance to do the same thing at the Golden Globes. Despite a lot of huge names competing in the Lead Actress Limited Series category, I think Shira Haas is the one to beat. The TV supporting categories are always messy, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Amit Rahav pulled out a shock as well.
Ever since Anya Taylor-Joy vowed to live deliciously in The Witch, she has been on everyone’s radar. Child stars have always focused on movie star tykes, but Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit is about a child prodigy trying to navigate addiction and a troubled past in the world of 1960s competitive chess. Since the limited series debuted soon after this year’s Emmys, will the HFPA try to honor it first before the Television Academy has a chance?
Steve McQueen’s Small Axe miniseries is rolling out on Amazon over the next few weeks and each one is fully realized and engrossing. Of the five films, Lovers Rock immediately stands out because of its lyrical, dreamy approach and the newest face belongs to Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn. Her Martha is a young woman curious about the world outside of her parents’ religious home, and she finds herself at a house party where anything seems possible. Love, danger, sex, music. It’s a hypnotic movie that could gain attention.
You want to talk about passion? If you love Hulu’s Normal People, you looooooove Normal People. During this last Emmy season, the sobfest was the little engine that could and it nabbed four nominations. The word-of-mouth on this show was insane, but Daisy Edgar-Jones was left out in the cold. Can the HFPA rectify that? If you’re going to nominate Paul Mescal (more on him later) you should nominate her as well. She delivers such a nuanced, layered turn that one shouldn’t be recognized without the other.
If Phoebe Waller-Bridge is celebrated for creating a series with pointed writing and keen observations, Michaela Coel should be considered for her ferocious limited series, I May Destroy You. Coel plays a woman who has to reassess her entire life after being sexually assaulted and she confronts it in a way that we have never seen in a series before. It’s a fresh, unique series that should not be forgotten for how it puts its character’s emotions on the line. This is a landmark series and I hope the HFPA embraces Coel.
Let’s Hear It For the Boys!
Last year was the first time we considered guys to take some ingenue slots in their respective categories. I thought that Ben Platt was going to hear his name called last season, but Ramy Youssef had other plans. That was right there in my face, but Platt blinded me with his Broadway voice. You live, you learn.
If the HFPA wanted to go with the freshest of fresh faces, they could nominate Michael Cimino for Hulu’s Love, Victor. The show is uncynical and earnest as hell, so some may be surprised with how, uh, straightforward the show is. By the end of the first season, you realize how sweet it is and that’s thanks to Cimino’s unguarded performance as a teen hoping that no one finds out that he’s gay.
Thighs. Well, that’s all that Twitter can focus on. When Normal People dropped, Mescal became the center of conversation for his sensitive, guarded portrayal of a college student dealing with his own depression. He came very close to snagging that Emmy away from Mark Ruffalo, but maybe he will campaign in short-shorts and the HFPA will swoon?
Not only does Jeremy Pope have Ryan Murphy on his side for Netflix’s Hollywood, but Pope delivered one of the most memorable performances of the year. Archie Coleman wins an Oscar at the end of the limited series, and his character is one that you root for for the entire series. Not only is he fighting for equality as a Black man but he is fighting as a queer Black man. Last year, he became only the sixth performer to get nominated for two Tony Awards in one season (for Choir Boy and Ain’t Too Proud, respectively), and Hollywood is exactly the type of show the HFPA would love to honor.
Jaeden Martell has been making a name for himself for both chapters of It, St. Vincent, and last year’s Knives Out, but his performance in AppleTV+’s Defending Jacob is his best performance to date. He’s still unfamiliar to a lot of viewers, so his performance as a kid accused of murdering a classmate might be a revelation to some. Defending Jacob might be the kind of show that cleans up at the Globes with nominations for Martell, Chris Evans and Michelle Dockery.
A great nomination would be for Lamorne Morris for his performance in Hulu’s Woke. The show manages to walk a fine line between absurdity and current events…and, you know, features talking trash cans. Morris delivers a nimble comedic performance throughout the first season that would breathe fresh air into a category that typically skewers older and with more established names. If you haven’t watched Woke, you should check it out. There’s nothing like it on TV.
Who did we miss? Should we be considering someone else in our batch of ingenue performers? Sound off below!