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Arts and Entertainment

‘The Shape of Water’ and ‘Big Little Lies’ top Golden Globe nominations

  • Author: Brooks Barnes, The New York Times
  • Updated: December 11, 2017
  • Published December 11, 2017

Director Guillermo del Toro attends the premiere of “The Shape of Water” in Los Angeles, November 15. REUTERS/David McNew

Golden Globes voters nominated a wide mix of movies on Monday, pulling smaller dramas like "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" deeper into the Oscar race, throwing support to Ridley Scott's last-minute effort to erase Kevin Spacey from "All the Money in the World" and embracing diversity among the nominees.

But there were also prominent snubs. "The Big Sick," which was expected to get Globes love in the best comedy and screenplay categories, among others, was completely ignored. And among television shows, "Veep" and "Transparent" were unexpectedly not invited.

The largest number of movie nominations — seven — went to Guillermo del Toro's fantasy "The Shape of Water," including ones for best drama, director, actress (Sally Hawkins), supporting actress (Octavia Spencer) and supporting actor (Richard Jenkins.) Close behind with six apiece were "The Post," a Watergate-era drama about the struggles of Katharine Graham to lead The Washington Post, and "Three Billboards," about a mother (Frances McDormand, a nominee for best actress) who pushes local authorities to investigate her daughter's murder.

All of those films come from 20th Century Fox, which led film companies with 27 nominations, including 15 from its Fox Searchlight specialty label.

"All three come from filmmakers with something important to say — uncompromised, singular, strong, auteur voices," said Stacey Snider, Fox's movie chief. "I'm proud that we have differentiated ourselves as a place for that kind of filmmaking."

The other nominees for best drama were "Dunkirk," Christopher Nolan's World War II epic, and the gay romance "Call Me by Your Name." Voters also gave Nolan a directing nod but unexpectedly disregarded the "Call Me by Your Name" filmmaker Luca Guadagnino.

Long seen as the most unserious stop on Hollywood's awards circuit, the Golden Globes are handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of mostly freelance journalists, only 89 of whom vote. Studios see members as easy to manipulate, a reputation the group contends is long outdated. (A lawsuit in 2011 alleged payola and kickbacks. The organization settled out of court.)

And top prizes are split into dramatic and comedic categories, often in confounding ways. This time around, the satirical horror film "Get Out" was nominated in the best musical or comedy category. (Its backers at Universal submitted it there, hoping to improve its chances, creating an internet brush fire last month.) "Get Out" will compete against the P.T. Barnum musical "The Greatest Showman"; the figure-skating dark comedy "I, Tonya"; the movie-about-a-movie "The Disaster Artist"; and Greta Gerwig's coming-of-age comedic drama "Lady Bird," which drew four nominations.

But timing is everything in show business, and Academy Award voters (some 8,400) cannot help but pay attention to the Globes. The 75th Globes ceremony will be hosted by Seth Meyers and broadcast live on NBC on Jan. 7. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce Oscar nominations Jan. 23.

The Oscar race, the first in nearly 30 years without Harvey Weinstein pulling strings — has so far been a free-for-all, with "The Post," "Dunkirk," "Call Me by Your Name," "Lady Bird" and others jockeying for position.

Among television categories, HBO's "Big Little Lies" was the one to beat, taking six nominations, including for best limited series and all four of its actresses — Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman in the lead category and Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley in supporting. "Big Little Lies" helped push HBO to 12 total nominations, the most of any television network.

Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley and Reese Witherspoon in HBO’s “Big Little Lies.” Hilary Bronwyn Gayle – HBO

Netflix was second with nine, including best drama nods for "The Crown" and "Stranger Things." Other best drama candidates were the usual suspects: "Game of Thrones," "The Handmaid's Tale" and "This Is Us." Best comedy nominations went to "Will & Grace," "black-ish," "Master of None" — all expected — and two new series: "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" on Amazon (the latest from the "Gilmore Girls" creator Amy Sherman-Palladino) and "SMILF," a Showtime series that stars Frankie Shaw as a working-class single mother in Boston.

The nominations were announced by Alfre Woodard, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Bell and Sharon Stone in a pre-dawn presentation at the Beverly Hilton Hotel timed for the East Coast-based morning news shows. The press association handed out Champagne before 5 a.m. Pacific Time to toast the 75th anniversary of the awards.

— 'The Post' Makes Headlines

This movie, which looks at Graham's role in publishing the Pentagon Papers, has been trying to hang back: It won't arrive in wide release until Jan. 12. But early buzz has been strong — the National Board of Review named it the best film of the year — and Globes voters could turn it white hot with nominations in the big four categories: best drama, director (Steven Spielberg), actress (Meryl Streep) and actor (Tom Hanks).

"The Post" also picked up nominations for its screenplay, written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, and the score by John Williams.

— Recognition for 'All the Money in the World'

Because the press association gives a prize for best drama and best comedy, Hollywood often looks to directing nominees for clues about what film truly rose to the top at the Globes. Joining Spielberg, Nolan and del Toro were Martin McDonagh, who wrote and directed "Three Billboards," and Scott, who abruptly reshot portions of his kidnapping thriller "All the Money in the World" after one of its original stars, Spacey, became embroiled in a sexual misconduct scandal.

Spacey's replacement, Christopher Plummer, received a nomination for his supporting role. In a surprise, Michelle Williams, who stars in "All the Money in the World" as the desperate mother of J. Paul Getty III, who was kidnapped in 1973, was nominated alongside Streep, McDormand and Hawkins as best dramatic actress. Jessica Chastain ("Molly's Game") filled out that category.

— A Diverse List of Nominees

If you trust the handicappers at Gold Derby, an entertainment honors site, this year's Academy Award nominations could be #OscarsSoWhite all over again. The prognosticators indicate there's a possibility that only the supporting actress category would feature an actor of color: Mary J. Blige, for her sagacious matriarch in "Mudbound," a Netflix drama about racial tension in rural Mississippi in the 1940s.

She received two nominations Monday — the second for contributing lyrics to a "Mudbound" song — and was joined in the best supporting actress category by Hong Chau, a scene stealer in the social satire "Downsizing," and Octavia Spencer, a former Oscar winner who plays a brash janitor in "The Shape of Water."

Daniel Kaluuya, who helped propel "Get Out" to box office heights, was nominated for best actor in a musical or comedy. Denzel Washington got a best drama actor nod for his offbeat lawyer in "Roman J. Israel, Esq."

The press association has worked hard in recent years to jettison its reputation for oddball nominations that were interpreted more as efforts to populate its televised banquet with stars than honor the year's best performances. The list Monday contained no outright embarrassments. But there were some nods that assured pretty young faces: Ansel Elgort, an acting nominee for "Baby Driver," for instance.

Foreign film nominees were Angelina Jolie's "First They Killed My Father" (Cambodia), "A Fantastic Woman" (Chile), "In the Fade" (Germany and France") "Loveless" (Russia) and "The Square" (Sweden, Germany and France).

— Old and New Recognized in TV

Globes voters like to make agenda-setting choices with their television awards. They paid early attention to "Transparent," "Mr. Robot" and "The Crown," helping to catapult those series into the cultural firmament. But Emmys voters may have beaten them to the punch this year.

At the most recent Emmy Awards, multiple trophies went to rookie shows like "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Big Little Lies," both of which are also received numerous Globes nominations.

But Globes voters also bestowed multiple nominations on "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and "SMILF." They even found ways to throw attention toward the new ABC hit "The Good Doctor," which has received middling reviews, honoring its star, Freddie Highmore, in the best actor category. Joining him is Jason Bateman — nominated for his work in the new Netflix crime series "Ozark" — Sterling K. Brown ("This is Us"), Bob Odenkirk ("Better Call Saul") and Liev Schreiber ("Ray Donovan").

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