A changing of the guard is certainly afoot at the Golden Globes.
"Homeland," "Downton Abbey" and "Girls" are the new or relatively new belles of the ball, and past favorites like "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad" are not dominating, but hanging on with a couple prominent (and deserved) nominations each. "Mad Men," which used to own most awards ceremonies, is looking like a bit of an also-ran this year (the cast, aside from Jon Hamm, was shut out), and Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn from "Breaking Bad" were also left off the Globes roster.
Meanwhile, the ladies of "Downton Abbey" (Michelle Dockery and Maggie Smith) and "American Horror Story" (Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson) picked up a couple of nominations for those shows, and Lena Dunham and Claire Danes appear to have claimed the places in Globe voters' hearts that used to be occupied by Elisabeth Moss and the ladies of Showtime's comedies.
Every few years, the roster of awards-show favorites change, and though it certainly made a respectable showing, AMC simply doesn't own the Globes any more. And though HBO is doing fine when it comes to the awards-industrial complex, that's in large part due to its roster of TV movies and newcomer Lena Dunham.
(Not that they will, but the grand poobahs of HBO might want to ask themselves why, in recent years, the network's drama series haven't provided a ton of female roles that get wide and consistent awards recognition. "Game of Thrones" of course has wonderful actresses, but it's fantasy, it doesn't have a ton of name actors and it's an ensemble piece, thus it's probably always going to feel left out when the trinkets get passed around. Why aren't there more good dramatic roles for women on HBO, outside unfairly overlooked "Treme" and the network's TV movies? As much as I loved "Luck," the male-centric drama is somewhat indicative of the the network's post-"Sopranos" track record.)
You may well ask, why take any of this seriously? Well, I don't take these things seriously; the most important role of any awards ceremony, in my view, is to provide attractive people with a chance to dress up and look fancy on TV so that I (and the rest of Twitter) can judge their outfits.
But there is always a zeitgeist element to these kinds of things, and it's interesting to note what is -- and isn't -- the flavor of the month. Showtime is clearly ascendant, AMC is holding on but not quite as incandescent as it used to be, and HBO is still a big dog, but FX, PBS and the broadcast networks (including NBC) are doing just fine, thanks. Somehow Starz ended up in the mix, for the wrong series (Lucy Lawless should win every award for her work on "Spartacus") but never mind.
And as much as people mock the whole awards-giving process (for justifiable reasons, in many cases), I've held the following opinion for many years: Yes, nominations and awards are often political, stupid and wrong-headed, but if they provide recognition for shows and performances that truly deserve it, and if they help save shows that need the publicity and attention, then they're doing something beneficial for the entertainment community. As much as I bash the Emmys for their frequent cluelessness and obtuseness, I absolutely got choked up when Kyle Chandler won an Emmy for his work on "Friday Night Lights" a couple of years ago. Recognition of worthy work and the celebration of quality, when it happens, is never a bad thing.
Recognition of HBO's absolutely horrible "Hemingway and Gellhorn," on the other hand? It gives me heartburn and a migraine. It was quite probably the worst thing I'd seen all year (worse than "Liz and Dick" because at least "Liz and Dick" didn't think it was Art). But awards-giving bodies (and the Globes are certainly no exception) love to give HBO statues, and so "Game Change," "The Girl" and "Hamingway and Gallstone" (my pet name for the Nicole Kidman-Clive Owen monstrosity) were richly rewarded with nominations, and "The Newsroom" made a partially surprising appearance on the list as well.
There are things to mock in this list: "Magic City" getting a nomination for Danny Huston is going to be a wake-up call to most residents of Earth, who had, until now, successfully avoided the turgid Starz show; "Smash" got a nomination as best Musical or Comedy show (and I have to think this was because Globes voters thought the Ellis storylines were so bad they were funny); and I'm simply stunned that "Game of Thrones" got nothing -- no nominations for anything. Don't they know that people have been beheaded in Westeros for less?
Ah, well. It's all just a big, goofy diversion, but I look forward to seeing wealthy, attractive people get dressed up in fancy designer clothes at the Globes ceremony, I look forward to reading what my favorite fashion bloggers have to say about their outfits, and I am glad that people like Connie Britton ("Nashville"), Zooey Deschanel and Max Greenfield ("New Girl"), Amy Poehler ("Parks and Recreation") as well as Mandy Patinkin and the "Homeland" crew got to wake up to a little sliver of fun news this morning.
Sometimes a little recognition is Saul you need.