See which popular films were snubbed and which surprise nods happened among the 2020 Golden Globe nominations.

By Joey Nolfi
December 09, 2019 at 10:29 AM EST
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The 2020 Golden Globe nominations are in, but the Hollywood Foreign Press Association left some of the best films and performances of the year out in the cold. EW has surveyed the state of the race, so check out some of the biggest snubs and surprises among this year’s film nominees ahead.

SNUB: Best Actor (Drama) – Robert De Niro, The Irishman

Netlfix

The Irishman is undoubtedly leading the Oscar race at large, so De Niro’s absence from the Best Actor lineup is perhaps the HFPA’s most shocking misstep of nominations morning. While The Two Popes‘ Jonathan Pryce likely took De Niro’s spot, here, it’s important to remember that the HFPA’s voting base is far smaller (it’s roughly 90 journalists) than other awards bodies, and has zero crossover with the Academy. The Screen Actors Guild Awards — voted on by a group with high Oscar crossover — should put De Niro back on track when those nominations are announced later this week.

SNUB: Best Actor (Drama) – Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems

A24

Well, someone finally cut Adam Sandler‘s gems, and it was the HFPA. The budding frontrunner had amassed several strong precursor nominations in recent weeks, though the HFPA turned a cold shoulder to the Safdie brothers’ buzzy drama (which was originally submitted as a comedy, though that decision was later vetoed by the HFPA and the film competed as a drama, which likely hurt its chances here). We beg the Screen Actors Guild to continue the momentum, as we really don’t want to see Sandler follow through on his promise to make a movie that’s “so bad on purpose” if he doesn’t win the Oscar.

SURPRISE: The Two Popes of it all

Peter Mountain/Netflix

Though Fernando Meirelles’ papal drama was expected to show up in a couple of categories (Anthony McCarten’s screenplay was seen as a leading contender for a nomination, for instance), lead actor Jonathan Pryce toppling De Niro off the Best Actor list (and claiming a spot among the Best Drama nominees) felt like divine intervention from the awards season gods.

SNUB: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhoodin most major categories

Lacey Terrell/Sony Pictures

Visionary director Marielle Heller crafted one of the most beautiful, intimate movies of 2019, but the Tom Hanks-starring drama — about a cynical journalist whose life radically alters as he profiles Mister Rogers — was overshadowed by flashier titles at the box office and subsequently overlooked by HFPA voters in nearly every major category (save for Hanks in Supporting Actor).

SURPRISE: Best Director – Todd Phillips, Joker

Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros.

While Joker — particularly Joaquin Phoenix’s lead performance — was expected to take awards season by storm, it seemed less likely that director Todd Phillips (previously best known for his work on The Hangover series) would be able to break through into a crop of awards-verified contenders like Martin Scorsese, Sam Mendes, and ultimately snubbed parties like Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig. But, the film’s box office power (it has grossed over $1 billion to date) and pop cultural dominance is a testament to Phillips’ breakout as a prestige filmmaker, and the HFPA rightfully honored him for spearheading one of the biggest pop cultural phenomenons of 2019.

SNUB: Best Director – Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story and Greta Gerwig, Little Women

Wilson Webb/Columbia Pictures

The HFPA courted a bad romance with power couple Baumbach and Gerwig, whose individual films each received nominations in above-the-line categories, but the people who ushered them into being were ignored for their individual contributions. Though Baumbach’s snub is a bit more surprising given Marriage Story‘s statistical lead over Little Women in the race at large (and the fact that it scored six Globe nods, the most of any film this year), Gerwig missing out marks yet another year in which the HFPA has failed to nominate a female director — a growing trend that’s become an increasingly problematic look for the organization that has, since its inception, given only one woman, Barbra Streisand, its top directing prize.

SURPRISE: Best Supporting Actress – Annette Bening, The Report

Atsushi Nishijima/Amazon

Let’s all don our most festive decorative scarves in honor of icons playing icons! Bening has long built a reputation as an actress whose superb talents are often ignored by the Academy, and the HFPA picked up some of the slack Monday morning as the actress’ masterfully quiet turn as Senator Dianne Feinstein in Scott Z. Burns’ political thriller The Report commanded its first (and only) accolade to date on the precursor circuit.

SNUB: Best Actress (Comedy/Musical) – Constance Wu, Hustlers

STXfilms

The Globes’ insistence on splitting the acting contests into different genre-based avenues opens the field for more contenders to creep into the race, and, given Hustlers‘ overwhelming popularity at the box office (it became Jennifer Lopez’s first live-action $100 million hit earlier this year), it seemed likely that Wu — who leads Lorene Scafaria’s critically lauded crime drama as a struggling stripper who resorts to scamming rich men to make money — would follow up last year’s Crazy Rich Asians‘ nod with another notice this year, but the HFPA had other plans. Sorry to this [wo]man!

SNUB: Best Original Score – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Lucasfilm

It has been 37 years since the HFPA has nominated John Williams for a Star Wars movie, and that stretch continues with Monday’s nominations, as the five-time Oscar-winner sits out another contest despite four decades of fine-tuning one of the most iconic franchise scores of all time.

SURPRISE: Best Actress (Comedy/Musical) – Cate Blanchett, Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Wilson Webb/Annapurna Pictures

Predicting the Comedy/Musical categories is always a crapshoot, especially when, in past years, they’ve given us nominees like Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) and Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie (The Tourist). This year, Cate Blanchett’s performance in Richard Linklater’s critically panned literary adaptation Where’d You Go, Bernadette? feels like, in true HFPA fashion, a far-reaching grab to flesh out a barren category with some star wattage.

SNUB: Best Supporting Actress – Florence Pugh, Little Women and Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell

Casi Moss/A24

Gerwig’s Little Women and Lulu Wang’s The Farewell built substantial buzz ahead of the awards race, but a budding superstar like Florence Pugh (who previously flexed her might in movies like Lady Macbeth and Midsommar) and relative unknown (at least to domestic audiences) like The Farewell‘s Zhao Shuzhen likely didn’t stand a chance against more established names (the HFPA is often criticized for recognizing celebrity over raw talent) like this year’s well-deserving category nominees Laura Dern, Jennifer Lopez, Annette Bening, Kathy Bates, and Margot Robbie.

SNUB: Best Original Song – Toy Story 4‘s “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” by Randy Newman

Disney/Pixar

We only just finished bawling over the ending of Toy Story 4 when the Golden Globes gave us something else to cry about: Perennial nominee Randy Newman (20-time Oscar nominee with seven Golden Globe nods) and his standout single from the Disney-Pixar hit didn’t hit the HFPA as hard as we’d hoped, and the song was unjustifiably discarded from this year’s nominations (though Newman did score a separate nod for scoring Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story). Given Newman’s track record with the Toy Story franchise (he was nominated for his work on the series’ first two entries), this omission is, to quote Forky, “trash!”

SURPRISE: Best Original Score – Motherless Brooklyn

Glen Wilson/Warner Bros.

Williams’ slot among the Best Original Score nominees likely went to three-time Golden Globe nominee Daniel Pemberton, who registers as the only honoree for Edward Norton’s latest directorial effort Motherless Brooklyn.

SNUB: Best Screenplay – Jojo Rabbit, Little Women, 1917

Fox Searchlight

A crowded race — and, unlike the Oscars, a category not separated by original/adapted distinctions — means screenplay snubs in are to be expected from the start, but that doesn’t make the omission of fabulous scripts like Taika Waititi’s ambitious (and risky) anti-hate satire (Jojo Rabbit), Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns’ grand-scale war epic with a human heart (1917), and Greta Gerwig’s fiercely original take on a beloved classic (Little Women), among others, sting any less.

SNUB: Best Foreign Language Film: Atlantics

Celeste Sloman

Mati Diop made history as the first black woman to compete for the Cannes Palme d’Or in May, though her critically lauded ghost story’s momentum has since faded as the awards race picks up steam, and the ambitious, Netflix-released drama — about a group of Senegalese laborers whose ghosts return to haunt the women they loved and the men who wronged them — unjustly sits this year’s Foreign Language contest out.

SNUB: Best Actress (Drama) – Lupita Nyong’o, Us

Claudette Barius/Universal

Statistically, Nyong’o’s breathtaking turn in Jordan Peele’s horror hit Us didn’t exactly stand on solid ground ahead of this morning’s nominations (a New York Film Critics Circle victory and a Critics Choice nomination doesn’t mean much), but the arresting quality of the Oscar-winning performer’s work (in dual roles, mind you!) deserves far more attention than the industry has given it.

SURPRISE: Best Actor (Comedy/Musical): Roman Griffin Davis, Jojo Rabbit

Larry Horricks/Fox Seachlight

In a shocking move, the HFPA recognized Waititi’s sweeping directorial vision with only two nominations: One for Best Picture (Comedy/Musical), and the other for its young star, Roman Griffin Davis, who carries the satirical dramedy with a performative zest far beyond his years.

SNUB: Best Animated Film – I Lost My Body

Netflix’s small but hauntingly moving animated contender about a severed hand making its way across Paris to reconnect with its owner is a highly original (and poignantly heartbreaking) entry into the animated canon, but the race is often more about visibility than merit, and the project was overshadowed by mighty studio monoliths with huge box office numbers like Frozen 2, The Lion King, and Toy Story 4.

SNUB: Best Supporting Actor – Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse

A24

The Gotham Awards, Indie Spirits, and Critics Choice Awards all recognized Willem Dafoe’s delightfully brash turn as a curmudgeonly wickie in Robert Eggers’ mind-bending drama The Lighthouse, indicating a healthy foundation for which the beloved actor could break into the Oscar conversation, but as the movie’s foremost contender, Dafoe went down with the ship.

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