The Biggest Snubs and Surprises of the 2020 Golden Globe Nominations

We're breaking down the biggest jaw-droppers, from Robert De Niro and Game of Thrones snubs to a surprise nomination for the Clown Prince of Crime.

by | December 9, 2019 | Comments

Niko Tavernise/© 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

(Photo by Niko Tavernise/© 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

Joel Meares, Debbie Day, and Jaqueline Coley contributed to this report

The nominations for the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards were announced Monday morning, and while we’re pretty proud of the accuracy of most of our Golden Globe nomination predictions, there were a bunch of snubs and surprises that threw us and many industry watchers. The biggest shock among the Film nominations might be that Oscar favorite Robert De Niro, whom many considered a shoo-in for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama for his work in The Irishman, was left out in the cold. (His two co-stars, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino, earned Supporting Actor nods.) On the TV side, Game of Thrones woke up to little good news, earning just one nomination in the acting categories – this just months after winning 12 Emmys – but HBO might be placated by the success of Chernobyl, which is up for four awards. Perhaps the biggest TV snub of all though was an overall one: the major broadcast networks earned zero nominations, with cable and streaming dominating more than ever. Check out our pick of the biggest Golden Globe nomination snubs and surprises below – and let us know yours in the comments.

Film Snubs and Surprises | TV Snubs and Surprises


SNUB: Robert De Niro Misses Out for The Irishman (2019) 95%


(Photo by © Netflix)

The three main stars of Martin Scorsese’s gangster epic – Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci – were expected to score a trifecta of nominations, but in the end the film’s lead missed out. De Niro, who plays Frank “The Irishman” Sheehan in the film, has been universally praised for his subtle work as the gangster who finds his loyalties and friendships tested, but it was not enough for the HFPA to recognize him in an extraordinarily competitive field. Ford v Ferrari’s Christian Bale slipped into the top five year, pushing our De Niro as well as the heavily favored Adam Sandler for Uncut Gems.

SURPRISE: Knives Out (2019) 97% Cuts In With Three Noms

Knives Out

(Photo by Claire Folger, Lionsgate)

So this probably shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise, given it’s Certified Fresh at 96% on the Tomatometer and one of the few non-franchise films to make a dent in the box office this year, but not many people saw Knives Out garnering three nominations, putting it ahead of more favored films like Jojo Rabbit, The Farewell, and A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood. Knives Out earned nods for Best Motion – Picture Musical or Comedy, Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (for Ana de Armas), and Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (for Daniel Craig).

SNUB: Lupita Nyong’o gave Us Two Great Performances In Us (2019) 93%, But It Still Wasn’t Enough


(Photo by © Universal)

As we noted this week on our Awards Leaderboard, Lupita Nyong’o had a very good weekend, racking up four Best Actress wins and nominations for her incredible dual performance in Jordan Peele’s Us. A New York Film Critics Circle win and a nomination at the Critic’s Choice Awards has given the Oscar winner a large rush of momentum. This led some to posit she had a good chance of breaking through with the HFPA and snagging a surprise nom, but it was not in the cards this year. We still predict Nyong’o is very much in the mix for the Oscars; it’s a long season and it is just getting started.

SURPRISE: Joker (2019) 68% Director Todd Phillips Earns a Nod


(Photo by Niko Tavernise / © Warner Bros. / courtesy Everett Collection)

Joker was always going to nab a few noms – Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Actor – but director Todd Phillips was considered something of an outside shot, with husband-and-wife directors Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig expected to round out the pack, or Jojo Rabbit helmer Taika Waititi. But the HFPA chose to honor the director – and it’s hard to argue with them given audiences’ reaction to the super-dark super-villain origin story. The movie was also nominated for Best Original Score – though it was always favored in that category.  (The Best Director category has zero women directors this year, a fact that is sure to ignite debate in film and industry circles.)

SNUB: Scarlett Johansson Misses Out on a Twofer, Shut Out for Jojo Rabbit (2019) 80%

(Photo by © Fox Searchlight Pictures)

There was a real chance that Scarlett Johansson would be waking up to two bits of good news: A Best Actress nomination for her work in Marriage Story and a nod for her supporting role as a German woman hiding a Jewish girl in her basement in Jojo Rabbit. She managed to score on the first front, but surprise(ish) nominee Kathy Bates, who snuck into the Supporting Actress category for Richard Jewell, pushed out Johansson and The Farewell’s Shuzhen Zhao in the category. Watch out for Bates – she’s picking up momentum here.

SURPRISE: Debate Settled? The Lion King (2019) 52% Nominated for Best Motion Picture – Animated.

The Lion King

(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

In a peculiar surprise this morning, one film earned a nomination in an unwanted category – well kinda. The Lion King was touted on release as a photo-realistic computer-generated narrative, and it’s not even competing in the Animated Oscar category. But the HFPA seems to have thrown all that out with a surprise Best Motion Picture – Animated nomination. The Golden Globes has no Visual Effects category, meaning this was the only category in which the HFPA could honor the film – so we expect this is a Globes-only thing. Still, its inclusion is somewhat of an upset for Netflix, which was hoping to slip in with Klaus or I Lost My Body.

SURPRISE: Cate Blanchett Up For Best Actress In Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019) 50%

Wilson Webb / © Annapurna Distribution

(Photo by Wilson Webb / © Annapurna Distribution)

The oft-delayed box office disappointment Where’d You Go Bernadette? was not expected to be on the receiving end of any HFPA love this morning – and yet here we are. HFPA favorite Cate Blanchett was one of the biggest acting surprises of the day, nominated for Best Actress in a Motion – Picture Musical or Comedy for her role in the Richard Linklater film, and pushing out the more-favored Constance Wu, who was considered a chance for Hustlers.


SNUB: Julia Louis-Dreyfus Closes Out Veep 93% Run Without a Nod

Photo Credit: Lacey Terrell

(Photo by Lacey Terrell / HBO)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus hasn’t been quite as loved by the Globes as she has by the Emmys during her tenure on Veep, yet most were expecting her to earn a nomination for her final season. Alas, unlike Selina Meyer, who did get what she wanted – or at least what she thought she wanted – by the end of the series’ run, Louis-Dreyfus was squeezed out by surprise(ish) nominee Christina Applegate, who picked up a nod for Netflix’s Dead To Me. Despite its highest-scoring season on the Tomatometer since season 4 – Certified Fresh at 96% – Veep earned zero Golden Globe nominations this year.

SNUB: A Broadcast Television Shocker: Not A Single Nomination 

The Good Place (Colleen Hayes/NBC)

(Photo by Colleen Hayes/NBC)

Are the alphabet networks victims of cancel culture at the HFPA this year? Otherwise, what can account for ABC, CBS, and NBC not getting a single nomination in Monday’s Golden Globes announcement? The nomination tally stands at: Netflix 17, HBO 15, Hulu 5, Prime Video 5, FX Networks 4, Apple TV+ 3, Showtime 3, BBC America 2, USA Network 1. Either the HFPA has adopted the streaming trend with a fervor wildly greater than that of U.S. media, critics associations, and talent unions, or else the broadcast networks need to seriously reconsider the quality of product they’re producing. The truth probably involves some combination of the two. You can be sure, however, that more than one somebody is going to be pissed.

SNUB: Game of Thrones 89% Crashes and Burns

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and Kit Harington as Jon Snow / Aegon Targaryen in Game of Thrones season 8, episode 6, series finale "The Iron Throne" (Helen Sloan/HBO)

(Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO)

Looks like HFPA members felt the HBO fantasy epic’s season 8 betrayal as acutely as fans. Game of Thrones, which set an Emmy nominations record for most program nominations in a single awards year with 32 in 2019, scored only one Golden Globe nomination: for Kit Harington in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama. Season 8, which is currently Rotten at 58% on the Tomatometer, is the lowest-scoring season for the series adapted from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series.

SNUB: Russian Doll 97% Misses Out on a Comedy Slot

Russian Doll (Courtesy of Netflix)

(Photo by Netflix)

Series star Natasha Lyonne was honored with a nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy, but where is the series’ nomination in Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy? The HFPA preferred to bestow that honor on fellow Netflix series The Kominsky Method and The Politician.

SURPRISE: Was Worthy Contender Catch-22 84% More Worthy?

Catch-22 -- Episode 101 -- Yossarian and his friends train to be flyers in California before being shipped to an Army Air Force base on the Italian island of Pianosa. Nineteen perilous missions later, Yossarian’s only hope is to meet the mission quota – twenty-five – and be sent home before he’s shot down. But a new Colonel (Cathcart) takes command and immediately raises the mission quota. Yossarian realizes he has to get himself grounded or sent home by any means necessary. Scheisskopf (George Clooney), Yossarian (Christopher Abbott), and Clevinger (Pico Alexander), shown. Photo by: Philipe Antonello/Hulu

(Photo by Philipe Antonello/Hulu)

There are times when it seems the HFPA members are making decisions based on who they’d like to attend their annual party. Reese Witherspoon – check. Helen Mirren – check. George Clooney – check. Ryan Murphy – check. Russell Crowe – check. Don’t get us wrong: Certified Fresh at 84% on the Tomatometer, Catch-22 is some quality television. But…

SNUB: From the “WTF?” Files, When They See Us 97% Generally and Jharrel Jerome Specifically

When They See Us

(Photo by Netflix)

Certified Fresh at 96%, Ava DuVernay’s powerful look at the “Central Park Five” injustice is not represented at all in the Golden Globes nominations. The Netflix limited series scored two Emmys on 16 nominations back in September – one of which was for star Jharrel Jerome in the role of Korey Wise for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. It’s the kind of shameful exclusion that should have Globes officials looking inwardly and asking themselves serious questions about process. By comparison, The Loudest Voice, which did get a nod, is Rotten at 53% on the Tomatometer.

SURPRISE: Ramy Youssef for Ramy 96%

Ramy -- "Dude, Where’s My Country" - Episode 109 - Ramy (Ramy Youssef), shown. (Photo by: Hasan Amin/Hulu)

(Photo by Hasan Amin/Hulu)

At 97% on the Tomatometer for its first season, Hulu’s Ramy would have been no surprise in the comedy series category, but the HFPA handed that honor to 57%-scoring The Politician instead. Series star Ramy Youssef will have to represent with his nomination in the highly competitive Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy category against veteran heavyweights like Bill Hader, Michael Douglas, and Paul Rudd.

Film Snubs and Surprises | TV Snubs and Surprises

The Golden Globe Awards will air live on NBC, Sunday, January 5, 8pm EST/5pm PST. 

Are you as obsessed with awards as we are? Check out our Awards Leaderboard for 2019/2020.

Thumbnail image courtesy Universal, Warner Bros. Pictures, HBO

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