Aziz Ansari, Zoe Saldana and Olivia Wilde were up bright and early at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to announce the nominees for the 2014 Golden Globes, which will be hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Jan. 12.
The awards, chosen by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, honor both film and television. It is considered the looser, funner (and drunker) awards show when compared to its Oscar and Emmy counterparts, but the nominations still had their fair share of surprises and snubs:
"Rush": While most critics praised "Rush" for being an entertaining film, few had it on their short list for the awards season contenders, yet there it was on the Golden Globes best drama list. Its cosmopolitan European setting -- the Formula 1 racing circuit in the 1970s --- likely appealed to the Hollywood Foreign Press and it certainly benefitted from having many of this year's strongest films relegated to the musical/comedy category.
"Ray Donovan" acting nominations: "Ray Donovan" is the latest dark, macho anti-hero drama, a genre, to say the least, that is getting a little overdone. Nevertheless, the Hollywood Foreign Press gave its stars Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight acting nominations, while the stars of other awards mainstays like "Mad Men" and "Downton Abbey" got snubbed.
"The White Queen" for best mini-series and acting nods: If critics were "meh" on "Ray Donovan," they were downright hostile to "The White Queen," a period drama set in medieval England. Particularly in the U.K., where the show first premiered, it was mocked for its historical inaccuracies and soapy melodrama, but managed nominations for best mini-series and for Rebecca Ferguson and Janet McTeer.
Greta Gerwig for best actress: This was a surprise -- but a good one! "Frances Ha" was a great little film (which Gerwig also co-wrote), but not one anyone approached with awards consideration in mind. But a benefit of splitting the film nominations between drama and comedy allow for performances like hers as well as Julie Delphy (for "Before Midnight") and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (for "Enough Said"), also nominated, to shine, even in films otherwise skipped over.
Oprah: "The Butler" didn't pick up a single nomination, the most surprising snub being Oprah's, as she co-starred with Forest Whitaker in the film. The Golden Globes typically love honoring the uber-famous, and Oprah surprised skeptics with her riveting performance.
"Homeland": Even as "Homeland" has struggled since its top-notch first season, it has continued to rule the awards circuit, with it and its stars still nabbing Emmy nominations and awards this year. The Hollywood Foreign Press has apparently had enough with the show's problems, with not a single nomination allotted to the show.
"30 Rock": By way of the Golden Globes eligibility period, the latter half of the final "30 Rock" season could have been included, which had Tina Fey fans hoping she would be picking up one last round of statuettes while hosting this year's show. Alas and alack, "30 Rock" was shut out, but at least Fey's co-host Amy Poehler stands a chance of winning for "Parks and Recreation."
"Mad Men:" Like "30 Rock" and "Homeland," this year's offering of "Mad Men" was weaker than its previous. But (and unlike "Homeland") it was still worthy of some nomination love, at least for the performances of Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss (who was nominated for "Top of the Lake"), who were better than ever, despite the sixth season's shortcomings.
The Oscar race tightens: "12 Years a Slave" and "American Hustle" led the awards count with seven nominations, which -- for now -- makes them the front runners in this year's particularly crowded field of Oscar contenders. Of course this is in part due to the fact the field was split into drama and musical/comedy categories, but Oscar watchers are surely noting the complete shutout of "The Butler" and the single nomination of "Saving Mr. Banks."