The Golden Globes are known for their unpredictability, but with so many of this year’s winners following Globe trends, 2017 had fewer surprises than usual. Still, who expected underdogs Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Isabelle Huppert to prevail on the film side? And who thought AMC’s The Night Manager would win more Globes than FX’s mighty The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story in the TV honours? Or that indie darling (and critics favourite) Moonlight would go home empty-handed, before winning the night’s final award? Or that HBO, the year’s most nominated TV network, would score a goose egg?
Here are 11 of the biggest snubs and surprises from the 2017 Golden Globes:
SURPRISE: Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
Most had tipped Natalie Portman to win her third Golden Globe for channeling the former First Lady in Jackie, but it was Isabelle Huppert who scored the best actress win for Paul Verhoeven’s divisive film Elle. Perhaps it’s not such a surprise; the HFPA loves its international stars, Huppert is an icon, and they clearly loved the sexual revenge drama, which also won best foreign language film.
SNUB AND SURPRISE: “Moonlight”
The year’s critical favourite, Moonlight went in with six nominations – second only to La La Land with seven nods. But while La La enjoyed a clean sweep, Barry Jenkins’ acclaimed indie, focusing on a young gay black man coming of age, appeared to be going home empty-handed, particularly after supporting actor frontrunner Mahershala Ali lost to Aaron Taylor-Johnson for Nocturnal Animals. But all was well at the end of the night as Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers announced Moonlight as the best picture of year – which at that point, felt like a surprise (although Oscar winner 12 Years a Slave experienced the same rollercoaster in 2014). Even producer Adele Romanski noted at the podium, “To be honest, I didn’t think this was going to happen.”
With 14 nominations, the premium cable powerhouse led all contenders going into the night. Surprisingly, the network was shut out completely – enduring losses for hot newcomers (Westworld, Insecure), veterans (Veep, Game of Thrones), and an acclaimed limited series (The Night Of) alike.
SURPRISE: “La La Land’s” clean sweep
While it was expected to be a good night for Damien Chazelle’s musical, few predicted the movie would win in every category for which it was nominated, taking home seven statues. In the musical/comedy film category it took home film, actor, and actress, in addition to awards for director, screenplay, score, and song (“City of Stars.”) It broke the record previously held by One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Midnight Express, which both won six.
SURPRISE: Tracee Ellis Ross, “Black-ish”
It’s always wise to bet on a first-time nominee in the TV acting categories, and Ross had the added benefit of noms for her series and co-star Anthony Anderson. But her win is a minor upset as many saw this category as a showdown between HBO divas Sarah Jessica Parker (a four-time Globe winner landing her first nom for Divorce) and Issa Rae (the Insecure creator-star is celebrated newbie in the mould of the previous two winners: Gina Rodriguez and Rachel Bloom).
SNUB: Courtney B. Vance and Sterling K. Brown, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
They both won Emmys for their work as rival lawyers Johnnie Cochran and Chris Darden, but the acclaimed duos fell victim to…
SURPRISE: “The Night Manager” (nearly) sweeps limited series acting categories
AMC’s limited series had the second most nominations of the year in TV categories (after O.J.), and was obviously a top contender. But few expected all three of its nominated actors to take home trophies: star Tom Hiddleston and supporting players Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman. Laurie, who has two previous Globes for House, was perhaps most surprising of all as he topped both Brown and The Crown standout John Lithgow.
SURPRISE: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, “Nocturnal Animals”
When Tom Ford’s moody thriller premiered, all the awards buzz was on co-star Michael Shannon for best supporting actor. But the Golden Globes not only chose to nominate Taylor-Johnson, he won the award over perceived frontrunner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) and a legend like Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water.) Taylor-Johnson failed to score a SAG Award nomination for his portrayal of a violent psychopath who terrorises Jake Gyllenhaal and his family, but the Globe win boosts his odds for an Oscar nod.
SNUB: Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”
The reigning Emmy winner lost his first Globe bid to Jon Hamm’s final Mad Men season last year. And this year he went down to Amazon’s Goliath star Billy Bob Thornton – the only nominee from a freshman show (always a Globes advantage), who previously pulled a big upset with his win for Fargo in 2015.
Not a big shock, as the film was a critical and financial smash, but it faced stiff competition from fellow Disney flick Moana. But in the end, the fuzzy animals of Zootopia beat out Dwayne Johnson’s god to take the top animation prize.
SNUB: “This Is Us”
NBC’s breakout hit was nominated for three Globes in two categories (drama series and supporting actress for both Mandy Moore and Chrissy Metz), and lost them all. It wasn’t the only freshman series with multiple noms shut out (Netflix’s Stranger Things lost two bids and HBO’s Westworld lost three), but it was the only one that airs on the network that also broadcasts the Globes.
By Geoff Berkshire, Jenelle Riley for Variety.