The Golden Globes were last night and, well, they happened, I guess. The Golden Globes is the worst of the major awards shows—little more than an excuse to get a bunch of rich, pretty, talented Hollywood people together and party with the people who are going to give them a shot at a shiny trophy. But most of the picks this year weren’t poor.
One of the problems with the Globes is that there’s a history of category misjudgment. Now, other award ceremonies have this, too, but none as prominent as at the Globes. Category misjudgment, for those unaware, is when a movie or person is nominated in a category that is … less than ideal. This year, you saw it with Get Out being nominated as a comedy/musical. At the Globes, most of the category misjudgment does come from this category—where a drama with some funny moments is added into the comedy/musical category just so it can get a nomination—and its actors are also then subjected to that category.
Here are the 7 worst examples of category misjudgment in the history of the Golden Globes.
You might remember this controversy a couple of years back. The Martian, a space drama with a few jokes, was nominated as a comedy. It’s funny, sure, but it’s quite clearly not a comedy. The HFPA—the group that gives out the Globes—actually “changed” the rules regarding dramatic comedies after the backlash surrounding The Martian. After its nomination (and ultimate win), the rule was “changed” so that dramatic movies with comedic overtones should be nominated as dramas.
“Changed” is in quotation marks because of the aforementioned Get Out nomination just two years after the “change” to the rules.
Downton Abbey (2011)
I’m not a big TV person, but even I knew that this was rubbish. Downton Abbey is a TV show that wound up running for 6 seasons (series, in the UK). After its first season was aired stateside, the Golden Globes decided to nominate it … for Best Miniseries—Television or Film. Given that it’s not a miniseries, that raised some eyebrows. Its actors were also placed in respective “miniseries” categories. Do you think the show having “series” in the UK propelled this decision? Does the HFPA not understand that is equivalent to “season”? We’ll never know.
In future years, it was nominated properly, for Best Television Series—Drama.
George Clooney (2005)
Ensembles can be tricky, because “who should be the lead?” is a question one can often ask. Is it the one with the most screen time? Is it the one whose decisions most directly impact the plot? Well, in 2005, George Clooney was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, for Syriana, a movie in which he was the leading actor in an ensemble.
The Oscars followed the Globes’ decision, also nominating him for Supporting Actor. Clooney won both awards.
Meryl Streep (2006)
You probably remember The Devil Wears Prada. Most people seem to like that movie, and remember it fondly whenever they think of it. It’s a good movie, and Meryl Streep is good in it. She is not, however, the lead. Anne Hathaway is. Guess how the Golden Globes decided to handle that situation.
Streep was put in Best Actress—Comedy/Musical, and wound up winning, because she’s Meryl Streep and she’s going to win. (That’s not entirely fair; she’s been nominated and not won many times.)
The Tourist is a spy thriller starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp—back when the latter was someone with whom you wanted to be associated. It didn’t receive a warm reception almost anywhere, except at the Globes, where it was nominated as a Best Picture—Comedy/Musical, and also got both of its stars nominated for Best Actor awards.
The first problem here is that it isn’t a comedy. The second is that rumors came out that Sony, the company distributing the movie, sent many members of the HFPA on a vacation with its stars that culminated in a concert by Cher. These are still just allegations, but given how no other awards show except the Teen Choice Awards nominated The Tourist for anything, it’s probably not unlikely.
Kate Winslet (2009)
In 2009, Kate Winslet was in two big “awards” movies: The Reader and Revolutionary Road. She was set to be nominated for both performances—and not undeserved, in my opinion. She is the lead in both movies. You can probably guess what happened. One performance, the one in The Reader, was moved to Best Supporting Actress. Winslet won for both.
She eventually got an Oscar for The Reader, too, but that ceremony placed the performance in its proper Leading Actress slot.
Orange is the New Black (Multiple Years)
Orange is the New Black, the Netflix show, has been nominated for several Golden Globes—mostly in the acting department. Two of its actors, Taylor Schilling and Uzo Aduba, have been nominated multiple times. But the Globes keep switching which category the show falls in. In 2014, Schilling was nominated in the dramatic actress category. In 2015, she was nominated in the musical/comedy category.
Meanwhile, the show went from a drama to a musical/comedy in consecutive years. One or the other, please, Golden Globes. Make up your mind.