On the eve of the 75th anniversary of the Golden Globes, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association managed to make a little history: This is the first time a broadcast drama and broadcast comedy have been nominated in the “best” categories in 11 years.
On the drama side, that honor goes to NBC’s This Is Us. Two broadcast comedies made it onto the HFPA’s best television comedy list: ABC’s Black-ish and, perhaps more surprisingly, NBC’s well-received reboot of Will & Grace.
Taking the win in both categories is something everyone at NBC Entertainment is likely dreaming of but not expecting. And sometimes, it is truly an honor just to be nominated.
“This Is Us and Will & Grace have made this company so incredibly proud,” said Paul Telegdy, president, NBC alternative and reality group. Telegdy noted that Universal Television Studios also produces Netflix’s Master of None, an auteur-driven comedy that feels totally different from a multi-camera sitcom such as Will & Grace. Overall, the TV category is arguably more competitive than it was at the 2017 Emmy Awards because Game of Thrones, which aired a seven-episode seventh season over the summer, has reentered the race. Game of Thrones was named outstanding drama at the 2015 and 2016 Emmy Awards and then was not eligible in 2017.
Thrones will face this year’s outstanding drama Emmy winner, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which dropped in April and won’t be back until later in 2018; last year’s Globes champion, The Crown, which just returned for a sumptuous second season on Dec. 8; Netflix’s widely adored Stranger Things 2 and NBC’s mega-hit and emotional roller coaster, This Is Us.
“What I love about that TV category is that there’s no denying the box office of those shows and of that body of work,” Telegdy said. “All of these shows are things that have been savagely watched. It’s like having Gladiator, Titanic, Avatar and Lord of the Rings all in the same year. It speaks to the argument of why the Globes are a little bit special.”
The comedy nominations — which, besides the aforementioned Black-ish, Will & Grace and Master of None, also include Showtime’s SMILF and Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel — are a more eclectic bunch. And the shocker: the HFPA flat out left HBO’s Veep — which Emmy named outstanding comedy for the past three years in a row — off the list. That show’s highly decorated cast, including star Julia Louis-Dreyfus and supporting actor Tony Hale, also were nowhere to be found. But that’s also true for the cast of Game of Thrones.
The third big category, limited series, comes with a bit of a controversy: HBO’s Big Little Lies was this year’s most-nominated series with six in total. But on Dec. 8, HBO announced the Emmy winner would return for a season two. For many, that means it’s no longer a limited series — now it’s a drama.
In a statement, HBO rebutted this notion: “Big Little Lies was conceived, produced and aired as a limited series. The implication of impropriety regarding HBO’s awards submission of Big Little Lies in the limited series category is irresponsible and uninformed. The idea to continue the story came about only after the show aired. None of the cast or filmmakers had holdover contracts. Each deal had to be renegotiated, which is proof that no ongoing series was contemplated. Additionally, no source material beyond Liane Moriarty’s novel existed. The accusation that HBO was ‘gaming the system’ is baseless and undeserved.”
And in HBO’s defense, final submissions were due to the HFPA on Halloween, five weeks before the new season was announced.
Joining Big Little Lies in the best limited series or made-for-TV movie category are USA’s The Sinner, as well as Fargo and Feud: Bette and Joan from FX and Sundance TV’s Top of the Lake: China Girl — three series that continue from season to season, albeit with different casts and telling different stories.
Overall, HBO was the most-nominated network with a total of 12; followed by Netflix with nine; FX with eight, Globes host NBC with five, tying Showtime; ABC, Hulu and USA with three each; and AMC, National Geographic, Starz and Sundance TV each with one.
The festivities will be hosted by Seth Meyers, star of NBC’s Late Night, which has found new viewers via its host’s razor-sharp political barbs.
“Seth is quite adept at handling a moving news environment in which there have recently been hourly revelations inside the world of famous people,” Telegdy said. “Seth will surely come in and deflate all of it in a way that’s fun for the audience at home.”
Also this year, Oprah Winfrey, CEO of OWN, will receive the Cecil B. deMille Award in honor of her lifetime TV accomplishments and philanthropy, adding more star power to an already star-studded event.
The 75th annual Golden Globe Awards will air Sunday, Jan. 7, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on NBC, live from the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.