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Golden Globe TV Nominations Remedy The SAG Awards' Wrongs

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Dec 15, 2011 | 8:09am EST

goldenglobe_back.jpgHomeland Claire Danes Damian Lewis

The Golden Globes have come to be known as vain, fame-obsessed kid sister of The Oscars and The Emmys. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is known to nominate the most glamorous, glitzy names and properties over the truly deserving – just take a look at last year’s nominees which included The Tourist, Burlesque, Scott Caan on Hawaii Five-0, and far too many appearances by the word Glee. For the more thoughtful pre-Oscar and post-Emmys awards, we usually look to the Screen Actors’ Guild (SAG), where actors reward actors, but this year it looks like the Globes and the SAG Awards switched philosophies. This morning’s Globes TV nominations prove that where the SAGs failed, the Globes triumphed.

Now, the HFPA certainly included its usual handful of unwarranted gimme nominations like Glee for Best Comedy or Musical TV Series and Johnny Galecki of The Big Bang Theory for Best TV Actor, Comedy or Musical (though my disappointment at Galecki’s nomination is counterbalanced by my joy that they finally stopped laying accolades atJ im Parsons’ excessively and unnecessarily praise-laden feet). They also rewarded Californication’s David Duchovny for his fifth round of Hank Moody, which while entertaining isn’t exactly awards material. But they picked up just about every piece that SAG dropped – and dropped every dead weight the Actors’ Guild tipped its hat to.

We expected to see Boardwalk Empire and Breaking Bad top everyone’s award lists the year, and with good reason, but when it comes to the remaining slots in question I think I wasn’t alone in hoping that we could finally retire old horses like Dexter, Glee and The Office from the nomination ring. The Office is still lovable, but it’s no longer remarkable. We only watch Dexter because we love him like a member of our TV family – if they had started out with episodes this lackluster in Season 1, we’d still be referring to Michael C. Hall as that guy from Six Feet Under. Glee –as much as I continue to watch, filled with hope that it will someday return to its original glory – is miles from its initial, lucid form, and while both awards nominated the show in some way, at least the Globes had the sense to leave the actors out of it.

My greatest disappointment with the SAG awards was really just a lack of imagination. Not a single freshman series got its due praise. Instead we see stale nominations like Kathy Bates (Harry’s Law) and John Cryer (Two and a Half Men), and as much as I love Betty White, don’t even get me started at how out of place she is in the Best Actress category. The SAGs list looks like a recycled, regurgitated version of nominations from years passed, and with so many note-worthy and interesting shows making their debuts this season and underrated series quietly delivering some of the best performances on television (here’s looking at you, Community and Parks and Recreation), it’s quite upsetting to see the same one-note nominees in the spotlight.

Luckily, Homeland, Boss and Enlightened saw some praise when the Globes nominations hit television waves early this morning. And while I personally find American Horror Story to be schlocky and overrated, I can at least appreciate its Best Drama Series nomination and Best Supporting TV Actress nomination as an interesting and thought-provoking move. Instead of relying on the tried and true names like Hugh Laurie or Edie Falco (or – I have to mention him again – Jim Parsons), we find a few very worthy new roles in Claire Danes and Damian Lewis (Homeland), Kelsey Grammer (Boss), Laura Dern (Enlightened), and though she's not new, a much deserved nomination for one of my personal heroines, the hilarious Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation). Every single one of these actors is absolutely excelling in their respective roles and it pained me to see their lack of praise on the SAG roster. Even nominees like Madeliene Stowe (Revenge) and Zooey Deschanel (New Girl), who are folks I wouldn’t necessarily choose to hand a trophy (though I consume both shows gladly and avidly) make the predictions game a little interesting.

I’ve never been one to advocate choosing nominees in order to garner viewers for an awards show telecast, but haven’t these voting bodies noticed that their audiences are receding year after year? Perhaps choosing the most well-known, most universally beloved nominees isn’t working. Nobody wants a predictable awards show – what’s the point of watching if you could name the outcome with your eyes closed and cotton balls in your ears? The Globes may not have nominated everyone who I think deserves the attention, but they certainly offered up an interesting slate of candidates from a range of backgrounds and levels of popularity - and that, my friends, is a bit of a hopeful sign, don’t you think?

Which Globes snubs outraged you? Which nominations made you red in the face? Do you think my opinions are way off base? Sound off in the comments or send your 140 character rants my way on Twitter (@KelseaStahler).

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