The 2022 Golden Globes nominations are a little more reasonable than usual

The scandal-plagued Hollywood Foreign Press Association rolls out this year's nominations, and despite a few key omissions they're... not embarrassing?

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      Look, you know how I feel about the Golden Globes. For decades, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has done its thing, bending its rules about comedies and musicals to throw nominations at whatever’s buzziest or brightest, or just invite more stars to their party.

      And in a year that’s seen the famously secretive guild weather twin scandals that led NBC to reconsider its long-standing relationship with the Globes ceremony, it’s maybe not surprising that they’re pretending everything is fine and doing business as usual. So I have to write about them again. Just remember: as with all awards that claim to evaluate art, the rules are made up and the points don’t matter.

      (And yes, I know, I’m a member in good standing and former vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association. I said what I said.)

      Anyway, the HFPA announced its nominations for the 2022 Golden Globes on Monday, and they’re about what you’d expect. Belfast, CODA, Dune, King Richard, and The Power Of The Dog are up for best motion picture, drama; Cyrano, Don’t Look Up, Licorice Pizza, tick, tick… BOOM!, and West Side Story are nominated for best motion picture, musical or comedy—a rare year in which all five nominees in that category actually qualify to be there. (It’s debatable whether Don’t Look Up is actually funny, but that’s irrelevant; as the movie with the largest number of A-listers, the HFPA had to put it somewhere.)

      On the TV side, the nominees for best drama were refreshingly international, with Netflix’s Lupin and Squid Game making the cut alongside The Morning Show, Pose, and Succession, with their stars Omar Sy and Lee Jung-jae nominated for best performance by an actor in a drama. They’ll almost certainly lose out to Succession’s Jeremy Strong, as will his co-star Brian Cox and Pose’s Billy Porter, but at least they’re in the mix.

      I’m far more interested in the actress, musical or comedy, category, where Insecure’s Issa Rae and Hacks’ Jean Smart both feel like front-runners—though The Great’s Elle Fanning, Blackish’s Tracee Ellis Ross and Smart’s own Hacks costar Hannah Einbinder can’t exactly be counted out. Hacks and The Great are both nominated for best TV series, musical or comedy, alongside Only Murders In The BuildingReservation Dogs, and Ted Lasso; given the HFPA’s track record of celebrating breakout underdogs with this prize, Reservation Dogs might be this year’s winner—and it deserves to be.

      I will be nice to the HFPA and acknowledge that this year’s nominations aren’t as risible as they might have been: sure, they nominated Lady Gaga for best actress, drama, in House Of Gucci, but not Jared Leto, whose accent and attitude were only slightly less cartoonish than hers. Maybe the HFPA should have classified Ridley Scott’s lumbering true-crime picture as a comedy, as they did with The Martian; Leto might have had a better shot at a nomination that way.

      Adam Driver, whose year included two dramas and a musical, was overlooked entirely—though his Annette costar Marion Cotillard scored a nod for best actress, musical or comedy alongside Licorice Pizza’s Alana Haim, Don’t Look Up’s Jennifer Lawrence, Cruella’s Emma Stone and West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler. Conspicuously absent from that category is Jennifer Hudson, whose performance as Aretha Franklin in Respect was not just pretty good but also exactly the sort of star turn the HFPA usually adores.

      Elsewhere, three of the best actor slots in musical/comedy went to the stars of actual musicals: Peter Dinklage, Andrew Garfield, and Anthony Ramos were all recognized (for Cyranotick, tick… BOOM!, and In The Heights, respectively), alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Don’t Look Up and Cooper Hoffman in Licorice Pizza.

      It was nice to see Mahershala Ali nominated (as best actor, drama) for his work as a dying man in Swan Song, though he and Javier Bardem (up for Being the Ricardos) are almost certain to be rolled over by the star power of fellow nominees Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power Of The Dog) Will Smith (King Richard) and Denzel Washington (The Tragedy Of Macbeth).

      And beyond Gaga, the best actress, drama, category is an interesting mix of famous people playing even more famous people (Jessica Chastain as Tammy Faye Bakker, Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball and Kristen Stewart as Diana, Princess of Wales), with a slot for Olivia Colman as a tormented academic in Maggie Gyllenhall’s delicately observed drama The Lost Daughter. Gyllenhaal was also nominated for her direction of that film, alongside Belfast’s Kenneth Branagh, The Power Of The Dog’s Jane Campion, West Side Story’s Steven Spielberg, and Dune’s Denis Villeneuve.

      The Golden Globes nominations were followed just hours later by the Critics Choice Association’s announcement of its 2022 nominations, which heavily favoured Belfast and West Side Story with 11 nominations apiece. Dune and The Power Of The Dog scored 10 each, suggesting the CCA was more in tune with the frequency of Villeneuve’s space epic than the HFPA, which offered token slots for picture, director and Hans Zimmer’s score. Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley, shut out of the Globes running completely, fared far better with the CCA, snagging eight nominations, including best picture, director, cinematography, and production design; Licorice Pizza scored eight nominations too, while King Richard and Don’t Look Up each pulled six.

      Both the Golden Globes and the Critics Choice ceremonies will be held in Los Angeles January 9, 2022. Expect a fistfight.