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Biggest Snubs in the History of the Golden Globes

By Jennifer Hassan in Entertainment and Novelty
| February 14, 2021 5:23 am PDT
Actors Snubbed at the Golden Globes

No awards ceremony in history has ever gotten things exactly right. The Golden Globes are no exception, as you will see by my list of significant snubs here.

Now that sportsbooks have begun to offer Golden Globes betting, interest in the awards show has increased. Keep in mind that what one person considers a standout performance, however, may not be in keeping with the opinions of the Hollywood Foreign Press.

Here are what I consider the biggest Golden Globes snubs we’ve ever seen.

Robert De Niro in The Irishman

There are certain legacy actors who get nominated even for lackluster roles. We just love to see the likes of Pacino and De Niro and Clooney getting nominated simply because we adore them so much, and they were good enough to star in a recent production so we can bestow awards upon them.

In this instance, however, the opposite is true.

Yes, The Irishman did garner some nominations, but De Niro, who deserved one, did not. This three-and-a-half-hour film, which concerns Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters, shows the progression of De Niro’s character from innocent laborer to top mob assassin and helpmeet to Hoffa.

It is a testament to De Niro’s performance that not one reviewer felt the lengthy film was even a moment too long. De Niro’s role was that of a reticent right-hand man, but you always got the feeling he was a tightly-coiled spring, ready to take care of business at a moment’s notice.

De Niro did brilliant justice to Scorsese’s epic, but the Hollywood Foreign Press clearly did not agree.

Adam Sandler

If Adam Sander had just completed one of his wearingly infantile comedy roles, I would not consider the lack of a Golden Globes win to be a “snub.” Rather, I’d applaud his absence from the winners’ circle and even the nominees’ circle. His comedy has all of the depth and quality of a fifth-grade fart joke.

But his recent role in Uncut Gems was a different animal entirely. As a New York Jewish jeweler who has a mistress, an addiction to gambling, and a robust belief in juggling large debt and staying afloat with some very fast-talking, he shone.

Sandler was a perfect choice to play Howard Ratner, a man who is living on such an edge that his fortunes shift from minute to minute.

One moment he has an NBA star on a shopping spree in his jewelry store, and the next, he is being roughed up by a debt collector’s goons. Soon after, he is forced, naked, into the trunk of his Mercedes by thugs, and he gets out, changes into a tracksuit, and walks indoors to watch his daughter’s high school play.

He even oohs and aahs at appropriate moments during the girl’s play, able to pay close attention even though his life was in danger just ten minutes prior.

I never thought I’d say this, but Sandler was great in this role, utterly believable, very impressive. You start to feel like you are watching Sandler living his actual life as if this were a work of non-fiction. He’s that believable.

Yes, he deserved a nomination and a win as Ratner. This snub was, I’ll admit, very surprising.

Lupita Nyong’o

Look, horror movies are not to everyone’s taste (thank God). But there is no denying that the movie Us made a great deal of money at the box office and was a clear fan favorite.

In Us, Lupita Nyong’o plays a wife and mother in a scenario in which evil killers mimic the exact bodies and facial features of Nyong’o and her on-screen family.

Us is directed by the very active Jordan Peele. The premise is unique, the cast talented, and Nyong’o stood out as a very believable and terrified mother. She has been recognized for her talent by the New York Film Critics organization.

However, the Hollywood Foreign Press—who award the Golden Globes—did not choose to include Nyong’o among the nominees for Best Female Actress in a Drama. Fans were peeved, but Hollywood insiders were truly shocked that Nyong’o was not even given a nomination.

Nominees in the category in the same year were Saoirse Ronan for Little Women, Charlize Theron for Bombshell, Renee Zellweger for Judy, Cynthia Erivo for Harriet, and Scarlett Johansson for Marriage Story.

Zellweger won for her role as Judy Garland in Judy, and no theatergoer in the world can deny that Zellweger’s performance was a tour de force. However, it is the lack of even a nomination for Nyong’o that is the ultimate snub.

The Entire Cast of Cats

Compare the following stats. The movie Us, described above, cost $20 million to make and brought in more than $255 million in box office sales.

Cats, on the other hand, cost $100 million to make and made $75 million at the box office. The movie was a solid loser (and an expensive one), even though it debuted just before Christmas when everyone and their mother are going to the movies.

The fact that Us cost one-fifth to produce attests to the fact that stellar effects and superstar singers don’t guarantee a hit.

The film did garner one nomination for best song, but there was no acknowledgment of the film in any other category. Ouch.

Sometimes there are films that simply corral a large group of superstar actors, and you go into the theater expecting to see the best movie of your life. But hiring by the numbers doesn’t create instant chemistry or impact.

Yes, ignoring Cats was a snub. It was not, however, surprising.

Zendaya in Euphoria

The subject matter in high-school drama Euphoria is tough to watch. Even in the most lighthearted teen movies, the angst is real and relatable. But this is no lighthearted teen rom-com.

Euphoria is a story of a young high schooler (Freshman? Sophomore?) who wants to numb out the world and all of its miseries and anxieties and scrutiny and just general pain. As do most teens, I suspect. I certainly felt that way.

Fortunately, however, I didn’t have drug pushers encouraging me to try the latest thing. Many teens today do, however, have access to such social pain medication.

Zendaya is perfect for the role of a moderately disenfranchised teen (she still has friends and is invited to social occasions) who engages in scary transactions with an elementary-school dope dealer.

If she had the kind of life that a homeless teen in Syria had, or a young man living in South Central Los Angeles would experience, then we could explain away the downward spiral. We’d say, “Extraordinary circumstances, extraordinary means.”

But her situation is not so abnormal, not so different from our kids’ friends, our neighbors, our coworkers. That’s what makes the story so disturbing–its normality, the way it looks fine on the outside.

Zendaya captures more than the essence of just such a kid. A normal kid, feeling overwhelmed and taking relief where she finds it. It could happen to anyone, and we are her, and our kids are her, and she deserved the award.

Shia LeBeouf in Honey Boy

Overlooking Shia for his role in Honey Boy is an oversight that can only be described as “heinous.”

Honey Boy is a true tale about LeBeouf’s own father, and I want to call it a pantomime, but it isn’t. This feels like one of the truest movies ever made. But Shia’s father, now he—he is a pantomime character. Sadly, it isn’t funny when Punch is actually punching a child.

LeBeouf’s dad was a rodeo clown, a felon, a crack smoker, and an all-around personification of human desperation. LeBeouf plays this man as if he is the character, and also as if playing that man is killing him all over again.

This is the kind of film that breaks your heart, even as you can’t bring yourself to turn it off. The performances are ideal, perfect in every way.

George McKay in 1917

“Who?” You ask. “Exactly!” I reply. George McKay was the lead actor in a thrilling ode to the bravery of soldiers during World War I.

Now, the movie itself did receive a fair share of acknowledgment at the Golden Globes. But McKay, who was the focal point of the action, received exactly zero nods.

It has been noted in VarietyHollywood Reporter, and other industry rags that the Hollywood Foreign Press love to bestow their honors upon actors who are already celebrities. Thus, the unknown McKay was left in the cold.

The film did receive the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama, and Sam Mendes took home the award for Best Director – Motion Picture. Furthermore, Thomas Newman was nominated for Best Original Score – Motion Picture. But the actor around whom all this work revolved? Nothing, nada, bubkes. 

Rhea Perlman in Cheers

This is not a recent snub, lets go back to a time when Cheers was the biggest hit in primetime television. Yes, the show mainly revolved around the life of Sam, the bartender, and the cast of regulars who would belly up to the bar. But it was the actress Carla, played by Perlman, who got the laughs.

Perlman was nominated for a Golden Globe multiple times for her work on the show but never received the award. However, her coworker, Shelley Long, did take home a win despite not having one-third the screen presence of Perlman.

The Happy Days Cast

Everyone watched Happy Days when it ran for 11 seasons. Everyone.

I defy you to find someone over the age of 35 living in the US who doesn’t know the name Fonzie or Chachi. But did this show ever get its due at a Golden Globes ceremony? It did not.

In the entire 11 years’ run, Happy Days received two nominations but no wins.

In Closing

The Golden Globes winners are decided by the Hollywood Foreign Press, and the HFP is composed of human beings. Thus, there will be idiosyncrasies, error, and probably—behind the scenes—a great deal of arguing about who will take home the win. That’s why we see so many upsets at the Golden Globes.

Nonetheless, all we can do is tune in or tune out, depending on our mood and how our favorite shows and actors are treated.

But, the show goes on.



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