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Top Ten: Strange Golden Globe Musical Snubs

Glenn here with a tuesday top ten on a topic dear to my heart, and Nathaniel's too. We both have a strange fondness for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual Golden Globe Awards. Beyond the gif-ready celebrities-getting-drunk setting and the organisation’s occasional flurries of bonkers brilliance (too many to list), I think I like most of all that their splitting of films between drama and musical/comedy means so many very worthy films get big awards and nominations that they otherwise wouldn’t have. The general rule of thumb is that musicals have a much easier time getting a nomination because there are far fewer of them and, thus, stick out more. Sure, Burlesque, Across the Universe, Nine, and Mamma Mia are recent examples of none too acclaimed musicals landing big time best picture nominations.

Forgotten Awards Trivia: The Globes didn't consider "Dancer in the Dark" a musical (???) and Björk's awards show bird fetish didn't begin with the Oscar swan dress. Note that owl purse!

But what about those that didn’t? There’s more than you’d think!

11 with an Asterisk
Given the somewhat lax definition of “musical” by the HFPA – Ray? Coal Miner’s Daughter? Walk the Line? The Rose? – it’s a surprise that Robert Altman’s classic Nashville and Lars von Trier’s masterpiece Dancer in the Dark weren’t classified as such. The former because, well, it’s also pretty funny, right? The latter because it was a true, honest to god MUSICAL in the tradition sense. Altman’s ode to country garnered a whopping 11 nominations (including multiple for the now defunct “Best Acting Debut” category) and Dancer in the Dark snagged one for Bjork’s performance. Still, it’s about as dramatic as you can possibly get so we’ll let it slide.


10. Xanadu (1980)
Nominated instead: Airplane!, The Coal Miner’s Daughter (won), Fame, The Idolmaker, Melvin & Howard
Oh sure, laugh! Yes, this infamous movie was scorned upon release, but so was Burlesque and they had no trouble nominating that fabulosity twenty years later. Given the universal acclaim for, if nothing else, its soundtrack you’d think it could have at least gotten an original song citation for the title track. No, it’s not great art but who’s ever heard of Taylor Hackford’s The Idolmaker since?

Nine more increasingly acclaimed and tuneful snubbees after the jump

9. Purple Rain (1984)
Nominated instead: Beverly Hills Cop, Ghostbusters, Micki + Maude, Romancing the Stone (won), Splash
Okay, again, not a film of any great art per se, but Prince’s first big screen outing is arguably one of the greatest rock musicals ever made and given The Purple One’s ubiquity at the time its lack of a nomination outside of original song (for “When Dove’s Cry”) is a surprise. Never mind though, for Purple Rain remains the greatest album ever recorded. Ahem.

8. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
Nominated instead: Bridget Jones’ Diary, Gosford Park, Legally Blonde, Moulin Rouge! (won), Shrek
Now, we know the HFPA at leasT saw the film because writer-director-star John Cameron Mitchell received a much-deserved nomination in the acting category. Why oh why then did they pass it over – this fantastically energetic, sexually funky rock musical! – for Shrek or (and I say this as a huge fan) Legally Blonde? There’s little sense to that and I’m surprised Mitchell didn’t show up to the ceremony in full Hedwig costume and start snatching wigs left and right as a consequence. I’m disappointed, actually.

Rocky Horror, a wild and an untamed thing!

7. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Nominated instead: Funny Lady, The Return of the Pink Panther, Shampoo, The Sunshine Boys (won), Tommy
What fresh hell is this line up from 1975? Yikes! I’m very much aware that the film’s reputation is one that has grown exponentially over the years and that it was savaged upon release, but… well, do we need to go to the Burlesque well once more? It’s status as one of the original midnight movies (the cultural phenomenon that everybody cinephile should have their research hats on for) and a cult pop icon will mean it remains on the cinematic tongue far longer than any of the 1975 nominees. Tommy? Really?

6. A Prairie Home Companion (2006)
Nominated instead: Borat, The Devil Wears Prada, Dreamgirls (won), Little Miss Sunshine, Thank You for Smoking
Given the much publicised “Altman’s final film!” element as well as a cast to make the starf***ing HFPA salivate, they chose to not go with this wonderful nostalgia trip. No, not even Queen Meryl could convince them to ditch the lone dud in Jason Reitman’s young career, which is a shame. Meryl and Lily Tomlin’s familial duet has more emotion and tenderness in it than one could possibly imagine and, ya know what, the Globes nominated Prêt-à-Porter so what gives?

5. South Park: Bigger Longer, and Uncut (1999)
Nominated instead: Analyze This, Being John Malkovich, Man on the Moon, Notting Hill, Toy Story 2 (won)
Before the HFPA bowed to Academy statistical pressure and gave animated films their own category, cartoons would frequently be nominated and occasionally even win. Rather than this hilarious musical comedy they nominated a flippantly racist romcom (Notting Hill) and a comedy refuge for passed their prime mugging actors (Analyze This), which gives the Academy the upper hand in this instance. See also: no nomination for The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).

Without You I'm Nothing - Sandra Bernhard from LoLo on Vimeo.


4. Without You I’m Nothing (1990)
Nominated instead: Dick Tracy, Ghost, Green Card (won), Home Alone, Pretty Woman
I tried to describe this film to a friend other night and it went thusly: “So, it’s a Sandra Bernhard stand-up film, but it’s been adapted into a movie, and, like, Sandra Bernhard plays Sandra Bernhard performing her stand-up routine. But it’s a film.” Needless to say, my friend didn’t quite get it. Then I mentioned Sandra performs a pastie-enhanced rendition of Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” and I think I sold it.

3. Anything with the word Muppet in it!
Not nominated: The Muppet Movie (1979), The Great Muppet Caper (1981), The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), The Muppets (2011)
It felt like a legitimate surprise when the Golden Globe’s failed to nominate The Muppets last year. It shouldn’t have been, however, since the HFPA have not once nominated any of the Muppet movies for Best Picture! In fact, the 1979 original lays claim to the only nomination for the entire franchise (“The Rainbow Connection” for original song)! They average much better with the Academy, usually garnering a song nomination apiece, with last year’s “reboot” taking home the franchise’s first statue. Note they also failed to nominate Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, a travesty all its own.

2. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
Nominated instead: N/A.
This particular oversight is made all the more baffling and absurd since the category, in only its third year of existence, decided to award no film at all! A perfectly acceptable roster of all musical nominees (let alone straight comedies!) could have been made out of this Howard Hawks’ Monroe/Russel starrer, Calamity Jane, The Band Wagon, Lili, and Kiss Me, Kate, but they chose to abstain instead. The HFPA must prefer brunettes.

1. All That Jazz (1979)
Nominated instead: Being There, Breaking Away, Hair, The Rose, 10
Consider this: the Golden Globes, in 1979, did not nominate either The Muppets Movie or All That Jazz. Maybe I’m just biased – Bob Fosse’s Palme d’Or winner is my favourite film of all time – but this is crazy bananas! But, you know, they had Hair to nominate instead! The second of Fosse’s films (after Cabaret, of course) to come an unofficial second in the Oscar race, All That Jazz’s lone Globe nomination was for best actor (that’d be Roy Scheider). Isn’t that just startling? To think, of the two musical spin-offs of Fellini’s 8 ½, Rob Marshall’s Nine is the one with a best picture nomination from the Globes! Wonders will never cease…

All That Jazz: 9 Oscar Nods (4 Wins); 1 Globe Nomination... WTF?

On to 2012. Will they nominate Les Misérables? How about, er, Sparkle and Rock of Ages? I have a suspicion I won’t be updating this list next year.

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Reader Comments (27)

considering Xanadu was such a flop at their time and even won Razzies i'm not surprised about the snub

the 79 snubs are indeed bizarre

November 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commentereduardo

How did Green Card beat Dick Tracy and Ghost? And why the hell is Ghost even in this category? The gods must be crazy.

November 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I agree 1990 was the year of a terrible snub, but my choice of snub would most certainly be Postcards from the Edge. Talk about a travesty!

November 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

Hair?!? HAIR?!? The Globes nominated HAIR instead of All That Jazz?!?!?

I would laugh, except it ISN'T EVEN REMOTELY FUNNY.

I mean, the Globes nominate some crazy shit, but that right there is indefensible (as is Green Card beating Pretty Woman and Ghost - which is not really a comedy? - but that's a whole other can of worms).

November 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Ooh, I totally disagree with dropping "Thank You for Smoking" from its respective year. I think it's easily the equal of "Juno." It might not be subtle, but it's funny as hell and has a great set of performances. Aaron Eckhart has never been better.

But swapping out "Borat" for "A Prarie Home Companion"? Now we're talking.

November 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz N.

Also, I think a special mention is in order for 2010, surely an all-time low in this category:

The Kids Are All Right (decent)
Burlesque (passable)
Red (bad)
The Tourist (awful)
Alice in Wonderland (an atrocity)

You could swap out this entire lineup and get a better category (although I know people disagree on "Kids"):

The Runaways
Please Give
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Easy A
Nowhere Boy
Made in Dagenham
Four Lions

And that's not even including the foreign or animated films.

November 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz N.

I had no idea we shared a love of the same movie - All That Jazz has been my favourite movie for at least 20 years. Air Erotica is one of the best musical sequences ever captured on film!

November 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfilmboymichael

I would also like to add that in 1968, Julie Andrews' unjustly scourged Star! was wrongly left out of a field that included Funny Girl, The Odd Couple, Finian's Rainbow, and the winner Oliver! But Yours, Mine and Ours being included over Star!?!!??!! I need another Tums.

November 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I am also going to defend "Thank You For Smoking" probably my personal favorite of Reitman's movies. It's been years since I've seen that movie and there are still scenes that I remember, the writing is that good, that smart. "Dad, are my morals flexible?" Dreamgirls is without a doubt the one to be replaced in that set.

November 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commentershawshank

The snub of Bjork for song and best actress nomination for the Oscar was really tragic

November 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

Thank you for the Without You I'm Nothing mention. I actually just watched -- and loved -- it the other night. (Sandra Bernhard is a gonzo-dish.)

November 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Huh. 2001 was a really decent year (at least for me). I could see why Hedwig didn't make the cut though.

Moulin Rouge - enough said.
Shrek - This is when Shrek was new, fresh and fun. How things changed.
Bridget Jones' Diary - Same as Shrek.
Gosford Park - So British. Made for noms.
Legally Blonde - just so enjoyable. I can't really defend this one. I have no problem with this nomination.

I don't think Hedwig really had as much as a fanbase, hype, commercial success or attention as any of these films so i can easily see it slipping through the cracks unnoticed.
Don't get me wrong. I love Hedwig. My favorite song is Wicked Little Town (Reprise), but like i said, i could see why the nom just wasn't there.

November 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck

The snubs for 'Made in Dagenham' were made all the worse by the fact that, as Liz N. noted, the actual Comedy/Musical nominees were so dreadful. Sally Hawkins should have won her second Globe.

November 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

xanadu was rightly scorned upon release and has not improved over the years (and neither will burlesque)

you may as well complain can't stop the music was unjustly snubbed

plus the idolmaker was a pretty good film...and it had marcia from 'the brady bunch' in it!

November 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpar3182

You forgot A Hard Day's Night ((1964). Another pretty shocking omission: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971).

Would you count This Is Spinal Tap and A Mighty Wind as musicals? Because neither of them were nominated.

November 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEdwin

I agree about Hedwig, I can't believe it was passed over. It was the first year that I started becoming interested in the award season at all when I was about 13 years old and had never heard of the film until I saw it in your Film Bitch Awards, I believe? Since then I've tried to show it to as many friends and fellow movie buffs as possible, or at least those who I knew would be interested in a damn good musical. So thanks!

November 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

I didn't necessarily "forget" anything - although I wish I'd seen "Phantom of the Paradise" before doing the list.

Obviously I was having a bit of fun with the XANADU inclusion. I do love it dearly, but can obviously see why it wasn't nominated. Many of the other suggestions made in the comments? Well, I simply don't like them as much as the ones I did include.

Derreck, for what it's worth, I didn't like SHREK at the time.

Denny, I know, right? HAIR? Christ almighty...

November 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

denny: "Hair" is great so I don't see the problem at all that they nominated this particular movie. They should have done and they did it! Great for them. :)

November 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSomeone

I would even say that HAIR is one of the greatest musicals of all time but some people were always biased against it because it was "made too late" ("it should have been made 10 years earlier"!). Yeah, maybe, but who cares about it now? If it was made 10 years earlier or later?
This film is actually ABOUT SOMETHING! What isn't particularly often when musicals are considered. Yeah, sure, ALL THAT JAZZ is also great (and is also ABOUT SOMETHING) but it doesn't mean that they should not have nominated HAIR.

November 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSomeone

FINALLY a post where I can talk about the fact that Ghost was nominated as a comedy - WHAT?! I've always been baffled by that. I'm sure they did it to guarantee noms (Best picture, Demi, Patrick ... Whoopi was in either way), but like, how were they accepted into the comedy categories? Ghost is such a drama it's not even funny (no pun intended ... that came out wrong lol). Like, I don't laugh once. Okay, maybe at Whoopi once or twice, but it's almost a feel bad movie for me (as much as I love it) because even though they avenge his death, he's still dead. Idk, kinda depressing the whole way through. Not a comedy in the least. Maybe they thought it was a musical? Unchained Melody with the pottery/sex choreography. There we go.

I was kind of surprised Bette Midler didn't get nominated in actress musical/comedy for Hocus Pocus. There are others I'm forgetting right now.

November 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

I always thought it was weird that Tim Burton's Batman was also considered a comedy by the Globes (as seen in the Jack Nicholson nomination). I guess you could argue that Nicholson's performance was mostly comedic, but the movie as a whole? Nah.

November 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz N.

I always thought of the Globes as old fashioned movie starf**kers. They have to get the ratings from middle America. So, they want traditional movie stars, the Johnny Depps and Angelinas. But they don't want anything that isn't a MOVIE star (ergo, no Prince or Bjork) or is too non-traditional, aka, "potentially offensive" for middle America (ergo, no South Park guys or anyone LGBT-related, such as JCM).

In their defense, every now and then, they do throw a nomination to little seen work that arguably should have been Oscar-nominated: Kidman in Birth, La Binoche in Blue, John Goodman in Barton Fink, etc.

On a side note ... I doubt Sally Hawkins (love her!) will ever be invited back to the Golden Globes. After stammering for what seemed to be an indeterminate amount of time in shock upon winning her GG, she then gave a lackluster speech. When the cameras panned to Meryl Streep giving her the "gurl, you need to pull it together and get on with it, it's just a Golden Globe" hand gesture from the audience, things were not good for SH.

November 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

No matter how much silliness the Golden Globes are accused of, no matter how absurd some of their choices, they have my eternal loyalty for nomming Jennifer Jones for The Towering Inferno. A courageous and classic nomination.

November 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Someone, I ADORE Hair the musical. But Hair the film? No. It's just so god-awful DULL, which is the worst possible sin a film version of that material could commit. And its nomination is doubly confusing looking at the omission of All That Jazz, which is just superb on every level.

November 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

"But they don't want anything that isn't a MOVIE star (ergo, no Prince or Bjork)"

Charlie, except they DID nominated Bjork for Best Actress and Prince has won a Golden Globe.

I'm with Denny on "Hair". What a boring film it is. I just can't with "Hair".

The "Ghost" citation is indeed bizarre. Maybe another list of the top ten most bizarre categorisation is on the horizon?

Philip, Midler wasn't nominated for "Ruthless People"! She was, however, nominated for her stand-up film "Divine Madness" which I don't quite understand, but I guess she was playing the persona of "The Divine Miss M" so it counts as not a documentary?

November 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

Glenn -- but shouldn't that have meant that SANDRA BERNHARDT won a nomination for without you i'm nothing too?

November 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

I don't think Meryl Streep was complaining when Prairie wasn't nominated when Devil Wears Prada was.

Dreamgirls only won due to Prada and Borat (this was when nobody in America knew who Sacha Baron Cohen was) splitting the vote. Meryl Streep and Sacha Baron Cohen both won Golden Globes for their perfomances.

January 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJez

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