Golden Globes May Be Loopy, But They’re Still Cool to Win

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is known for eccentric picks with its Golden Globe Awards, but Sunday’s batch of winners still managed to surprise many industry types. A random poll of attendees at the HBO and NBC post-Globes parties at the Beverly Hilton revealed several prediction sheets covered with X-outs.

USA Network walked out of the event with a glittering pair, a Globe for best drama for Mr. Robot, and Christian Slater taking best supporting actor in a drama for his role in that moody hacker series. Amazon too won a pair, with Mozart in the Jungle winning best comedy and its star, Gael Garcia Bernal, getting best actor in a comedy.

“The HFPA is always all over the place,” said one TV vet. “This time, even more so.”

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that many people will start catching up on Mozart today; Amazon stablemate Transparent was expected by many to repeat in that comedy race. Few interviewed in the casual poll were genuinely familiar with the series; one producer, who actually won in a different category on the night, said he’d read the book but never seen the series.

“My friends and I had to look it up,” said an HBO party attendee. “It was like, what’s that show?”

Mozart’s international flair surely appealed to the overseas voters.

Same goes, to a different degree, for Mr. Robot, a dark departure from USA’s former blue-sky originals. As the parties wore on and the champagne flowed, the name morphed between a Styx song and a Will Smith film among attendees. One partyer said the HFPA likes to award lesser known shows to appear edgy and in the know. By that credo, she said, HBO’s Game of Thrones stood no chance. “They want to be idiosyncratic,” she said. “They want to be able to say, we were onto this, before a show gets popular.”

Others were equally surprised by Rachel Bloom winning best comedy actress, a hat tip to The CW for its ratings-deficient Crazy Ex-Girlfriend series that may help it earn a renewal. “Julia Louis-Dreyfus always wins,” said one attendee of the Veep star.

But HBO snagged but one trophy, with Oscar Isaac saluted in the miniseries Show Me a Hero. Netflix, the leading nominee with eight, did not win. Also getting single Globes were Showtime, Fox, AMC, FX, PBS and The CW.  The Revenant cleaned up on the movies side.

One actor on an NBC series, scarfing down lo mein at the HBO party, saluted the HFPA for picking Taraji P. Henson for best actress in a drama for her role as Cookie Lyon on Fox’s Empire. (Fittingly, Henson handed out cookies—a lot of them—en route to the stage.) Empire’s writing this season has been subpar, he believes, and Henson “has carried the show.”

With a mere 11 TV awards, one can’t read too much into Golden Globe winners and busts. But coming home with one sure beats the alternative. Said the vet producer, “The Globes are arbitrary, but they’re still the second biggest awards.”

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.