Before Ricky Gervais turns the Beverly Hilton into a repository of upset faces on Sunday night, we’ve decided to give you some help. We wanted to create the ultimate primer for winning petty bets with friends. When the camera pans to Mel Gibson quietly sobbing inside, you should be able to count up all of the endless dares and small favors from friends who didn’t even know “Episodes” was a TV show. So read carefully, dare liberally, and don’t blame us when all of these end up wrong.
Yes, we consider this a public service.—Ed.
Best Television Series – Drama
Game of Thrones
Who Should Win: Game of Thrones. To put it simply, it’s a well-done retelling of a story many had already heard. Plus, it has an unwieldy fan base, copious critical acclaim, and features a gratuitous, borderline offensive orgy in such a classy way that you won’t feel dirty about it. That should be enough reason alone.
The Snobby, Sophisticated Selection: Homeland. Showtime’s political-intrigue drama is a critics’ darling. It’s also fresh blood, which the HFPA favors, and under the radar enough to be considered a shocking choice. It’ll also give the HFPA the cred it desperately covets, because the Globes isn’t just some celebrity roast/booze-fest, people.
(Yes, it is.)
Ballsiest. Biggest Scrotum. Largest Man Area. You Get the Drift Award: Boardwalk Empire had an uneven season but managed to shock everyone and everyone’s mother by killing off one of their most loved characters, baby gangster Jimmy Darmody.—Sheila Dichoso
Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Who Should Win: “Episodes.” In many ways this show probably reflects the experience of your average Hollywood Foreign Press member who was raised with certain perceptions about Hollywood only to find a city full of sociopaths who want to get rich overnight—exploiting the victims who arrive here daily in search of fame, fortune and the love Daddy never gave them. It’s no surprise that TV shows about showbiz rarely work Stateside; most of us don’t want to know the “how” behind what we’re watching, we just want to laugh at the talking box. (Before you say it, “Entourage” doesn’t count. That was more bromantic comedy than an example of the Hollywood sausage production line.).
But Episodes ventured underneath the shiny La La Land veneer and it’s no wonder the HFPA noticed: It took two earnest BBC comedy writers from London and thrust them in the middle of the labyrinth known as the studio system in LA with Joey Tribbiani as their only guide. As Beverly and Sean Lincoln, accomplished Britcom veterans Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan were delightfully awkward as they were forced to systematically compromise their values, ethics and even marital vows all for the possibility that their Hollywood dream come true. And as a Machiavellian version of himself (we hope), Matt Le Blanc showed us that his range (among other things) extended far beyond the limits of sandwiches and how you doin’, and that we liked our Le Blanc a little le noir.
In a year when the other choices provided more of the same (good quality, mind you…just good same), Episodes felt like watching a Faustian deal deliciously unravel before our eyes. With the cliffhanger that their pilot got picked up, the HFPA and we have to wait to watch what happens when the American Dream comes true, even to a couple of foreigners, but we’re probably going to be watching through our fingers.
The Snobby, Sophisticated Selection: With powerhouse performances by a dynamic ensemble led by the incomparable Laura Dern under the direction of such visionary yet quirky auteurs as Miguel Arteta and Mike White, Enlightened is a cable diamond amongst the coal that currently sullies broadcast comedies. With the show’s hilarious contemplation on the struggles of finding fulfillment and purpose in a corporate-run world draped in a Disney aesthetic, the HFPA would find themselves the joke should they choose to ignore this future television classic…or maybe they wouldn’t. I don’t know. Even though I adore all involved, I seriously only learned of this show yesterday and I watch television for a living, so #teamjoey all the way.
Who Should Win Because They Have the Same Arguments We’re Having With Our Family: Modern Family. Sweet Baby Cheeses. One of the reasons this show is so funny is because half the show is the stupid stuff over which you get in the most useless fights with your loved ones. Competing trophy heights, whether or not to help your kids with their science project, your husband complaining that his lifetime supply of razors has run out. It’s sometimes a struggle to remember that we still love these people with whom we share a home. We’d list more examples, but it’s time to go home and find the secret cameras the show’s writers have obviously installed to record our fights for future plotlines.–Martin Moakler
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama
Claire Danes (Homeland)
Mirelle Enos (The Killing)
Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife)
Madeline Stowe (Revenge)
Callie Thorne (Necessary Roughness)
Who Should Win: Madeline Stowe, Revenge
All of my friends hate me right now, but I swear it’s not my fault. It’s not my fault they didn’t listen to me from the get-go and started watching Revenge late in the season. It’s not my fault they just discovered how completely smart, wicked and fun Revenge can be. And it’s certainly not my fault that they were hooked to the point of sleepless nights, lost weekends, and the occasional missed day of work.
No it’s not my fault—it’s Madeline Stowe’s. Her work on Revenge is a master class in icy stares and cutting, nuanced delivery. The show may have hooked us with Emily Thorne’s elaborate takedowns of her enemies, but the heart of the show, as broken as it may be, is Madeline Stowe’s Victoria Grayson. Stowe could have easily played her as the irredeemable villainess that she is, but as much as I’m not supposed to empathize with Victoria, it’s hard not to when such sadness permeates every crooked smile she flashes on screen. Just watch the scene below and tell me this isn’t one of the best performances on television.
The Snobby, Sophisticated Selection: Claire Danes, Homeland
Claire Danes has already proven to the world that she’s not Angela Chase. We don’t need to keep rewarding her for it.
Who Would Win if We Lived in a Parallel Universe Where Steve Carell Hosted the Golden Globes Instead of Ricky Gervais: Anna Torv, Fringe
Does the Hollywood Foreign Press not want to hang out with the cast of Fringe? As much as I love Madeline Stowe, if I had my way Anna Torv would be going home with this award. She’s now played 5 different versions of the same character! (Olivia, Fauxlivia, Fauxlivia pretending to be Olivia, New Olivia, and New Fauxlivia by my count.) And each one is clearly Olivia, but with different shadings that make them unique, fully realized human beings. Does she have to play a sixth Olivia to finally get some recognition?
Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy or Musical
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
David Duchovny (Californication)
Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory)
Thomas Jane (Hung)
Matt LeBlanc (Episodes)
Who Should Win: Alec Baldwin.
A lot of people are talking about Tim Tebow right now, saying his ability to overcome his slightly lady-like throwing motion to win games at the last second is the most miraculous fit of perseverance seen by an inherently limited person in years. They’re saying it’s the entertainment equivalent of Judy Dench showing up on Work It! to tell racist jokes about transgendered people in order to save the show.
But they’re wrong. Nobody in this world is doing more with less than Alec Baldwin. Here’s proof.
Check out this clip from Conan, where he readily admits that Tracy Morgan doesn’t even read his lines before he says them on camera. Alec Baldwin is in scenes with this guy all the time. And he is masterful.
Look, we know he got thrown off a plane for using his cell phone and being sort of terrible. But his performance is borderline Herculean and he doesn’t want anybody to know it. The least we can do is give Alec Baldwin a tiny, shiny globe.
The Snobby, Sophisticated Selection: Matt Leblanc, probably. Martin has said some glowing things about this show already, so I don’t want to step all over it. Truth is, this show is so very inside baseball. I don’t even really like inside baseball shows about baseball. It’s still a little devastating to know that Ted Williams may have been ornery and awful that whole time. I don’t want to experience that with TV comedy unless it’s an other-worldly experience that teaches me things about myself, like “The Office” or “Extras.”
But Hollywood? I know Hollywood is terrible. I would like it to be presented less terribly, if given the opportunity. Anyone who has ever walked by a Hollywood restaurant or club where there are “Episodes” types littered everywhere, like teeth on the ground at a carnival, would never want to be reminded of this experience on a weekly basis.
But I think Former Joey wins here, which is a little fascinating. Can’t wait until Lisa Kudrow pulls off that Grammy for a very serious folk album that she’s ironically titled “Smelly Cat.” That’s the only thing that can happen next.
The “Let’s Just Keep Embarrassing Ourselves by Giving This Show Another Award” Award: Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
This show is going to age like a jug of milk in a sauna in a meth lab.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Jeremy Irons (The Borgias)
Kelsey Grammer (Boss)
Damian Lewis (Homeland)
Who Should Win: Steve Buscemi or Bryan Cranston. This is a two-person category that can only be ruined by voters outthinking themselves.
The Snobby, Sophisticated Choice: …Probably somebody else! Ruin accomplished! There’s buzz that Kelsey Grammar, who was in a schlocky, low-budget, straight-to-DVD Michael Moore parody film just three years ago, might win this category. That’s fine. Steve Buscemi was in “Billy Madison,” anyway. But Cranston deserves this. He’s been transcendent for years now. Give him some due. He wasn’t even Globe nominated the year he won his first Emmy.
Number of Pages You Have to Go Through on Google Image Search Until You Find a Guy Named Jeremy Ironing When You Search for “Jeremy Irons:” 73. That took much longer than I anticipated.—Ben Collins
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Laura Dern (Enlightened)
Tina Fey (30 Rock)
Laura Linney (The Big C)
Amy Poehler (Parks & Recreation)
Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
Who Should Win: Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recreation”)
“Leslie Knope 2012″ should be the motto for every Parks and Rec. fan—whether it’s for City Council or Golden Globe. As mentioned in our 2011 end-of-year review of the show, Ms. Poehler has had a breakthrough season filled with campaigns, relationships, and hijinks that no one other than she could play with such heart and conviction. The character of Leslie Knope has evolved past the shadow of Michael Scott and “The Office” gang and has really pushed the show to new levels, making Thursday nights on NBC something to talk about once again. With her superb reviews, and critical recognition for the show in the past (with, not to mention, 5 Emmy nominations in the same category) I’m thinking her first GG nomination will be enough to have Amy bring home the Golden statue.
The Snobby, Sophisticated Selection: Laura Dern (“Enlightened”)
This one was a toss up. Both Tina Fey, and Laura Linney could easily be in this category because of their past recognition. But since “30 Rock” hasn’t been on TV since last spring and “The Big C” got canceled this past year, that Laura Dern and her critical darling “Enlightened” (which I’m not even going to pretend I have seen) deserve the coveted Snobby, Sophisticated Selection.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Laura Dern. I mean, “Jurassic Park?: Come on! Pay cable’s “comedramas”—the ones that are better than average dramedies—about a broken women turning their lives around in an extreme way? Love them! But to say that Laura Dern is the best comedic performance out of this extremely talented group of women? Nope.
Then again, Edie Falco was up for a GG just last year for her dramatic role in sister Showtime “comedrama” (we’re going to make this work, damnit) “Nurse Jackie,” so don’t count the Dern out.
The “Best New Artist Effect” Selection: Zooey Deschanel (“New Girl”)
I hate to bring another crappy awards show into the mix, but since Zooey is also in the band She & Him, I feel like it’s valid. The Grammys tend to have this problem with the “Best New Artist” category, where they nominate artists that have been around for plenty of years, but have just come into the mainstream, hence making them a “Best New Artist” nominee for the random, old record execs who tend to vote for the Grammys and heard them on the radio a couple times on KROQ. In recent years, you’ve heard this from Bon Iver, Florence + the Machine, Kings of Leon, etc.
Unfortunately, Zooey is in that category. Now that she is on a network television show, and now that she has hit the true mainstream, her overly Zooey, awkward, hipsteresque “cuteness” that we have seen in many movies and guest stints on TV over the years has taken over the minds of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and turned it a bit mushy. I’ll admit the nomination is completely valid (although, she wouldn’t make my top 5). She makes that show what it is, and people watch it. For her to win? Not so valid.—Gabe Pasillas
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Jessica Lange (American Horror Story)
Kelly MacDonald (Boardwalk Empire)
Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey)
Sofia Vergara (Modern Family)
Evan Rachel Wood (Mildred Pierce)
Who Should Win: Downton Abbey is this destructive force that will tear down entire awards shows, one Spanish flu at a time. There’s really no reason to assume Maggie Smith wouldn’t stop that. She’s the best actress on any TV, even if most of the TVs watching this aren’t in this country.
The Snobby, Sophisticated Choice: For some reason, there have been grumblings that American Horror Story’s Jessica Lange might win this instead. If that’s true, we’ll have to change “snobby, sophisticated choice” to something much, much different next year.
The First Time Anyone Has Ever Said “I’m Just Happy to Be Nominated Amongst These Performances” And Meant It Award: Sofia Vergara.—Ben Collins
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
Paul Giamatti (Too Big to Fail)
Guy Pearce (Mildred Pierce)
Tim Robbins (Cinema Verite)
Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)
Who Should Win: Tim Robbins
Ironically enough, if I were choosing candidates based on which film was the snobby, sophisticated selection, Cinema Verite would far and away take the cake on that front. Everything about this film wreaks of esoteric, erudite plushness and film school art-house edification. But since we are basing our selection on the actor himself and not the film, Tim Robbins remains duly justified as my no. 1 pick for Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries, Series, or Motion Picture made for Television.
“Cinema Verite,” an HBO drama about the making of “An American Family” tells the behind-the-scenes story of how America’s first reality-TV series came to fruition, and the drama that ensued between the Louds and the show’s creator. It would be a shameless, film-snob ploy for me to pick Tim Robbins based on the fact that this made for TV movie documents the very show that changed the face of TV forever, anointed a new breed of celebrity, and paved the way for modern reality TV shows like “Jersey Shore,” “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” “The Osbornes,” etc.
But there are no ploys here. Tim Robbins deserves the award for best actor because he truly nails the part of Bill Loud. His style, his mannerisms, the tone of his voice, the accent, gestures and physical expression are a dead ringer for the famous 1970s TV father figure. Bottom line: Tim Robbins is a genius character actor, and he deserves this award for mastering the art of “acting” the part of another human being.
The Snobby, Sophisticated Selection: Paul Giamatti
This made-for-TV film is an edgy, “Smartest Guy in the Room”-flavored drama chronicling the financial meltdown of 2008 (and centering on Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson), and it couldn’t possibly have a more intimidating line-up of incendiary, character-driven lead male actors James Woods, William Hurt, John Heard, Billy Crudup, Bill Pulllman, Tony Shalhoub, Topher Grace, and Ed Asner. How Paul Giamatti got nominated amidst this fiercely talented crew of equally-eligible co-horts is sheer dumb luck in my book. And I would die a salty, crusty death a thousand times over if I ever saw Paul Giamatti play anything other than the same overstimulated, highly-characterized, borderline xenophobic version of himself that is endemic to 99% of his character roles. But that being said, in the age of Occupy Wall Street, the collapse of the Eurozone, and the highest unemployment rate for young people in the history of this country, somehow this movie strikes a relevant, highly-focused chord with American audiences. It therefore deserves credit and attention where it is due (even if it’s in the unruly form of awarding Paul Giamatti with the award for best supporting actor).
The “Wait, That Guy From Modern Family Isn’t Actually Gay?” Award: Eric Stonestreet.
Somehow winning a Golden Globe just doesn’t do him justice. Something more along the lines of the Nobel Prize would be more fitting.—Brooke Citron