Golden Globes 2016: Biggest upsets and underdogs

Dec 10, 2015 at 4:43 p.m. ET
Image: WENN

The 2016 Golden Globes nominations were announced Thursday, and you know what that means — it's time to talk about who got a nod, who should have gotten a nod and who we never expected to get a nod. In other words, there are some serious upsets and underdogs this year.


1. The Martian

Hey, we are not here to argue the merit of The Martian getting multiple nominations. However, it is a bit odd that, according to the foreign press voters, The Martian is a comedy. We'll be scratching our heads over that one for a while. Still, hooray for a great film snagging nominations for Best Director – Motion Picture (Ridley Scott); Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical; Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (Matt Damon).


2. Narcos

This Netflix show about a Colombian drug lord and star Wagner Moura managed to sneak into the Best Television Series – Drama and Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama categories which, let's be honest, no one really expected. In fact, it basically bested House of Cards and last year's winner Kevin Spacey.

3. Female creatives

In the Best Director – Motion Picture category this year, we saw Todd Haynes, Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu, Tom McCarthy, George Miller and Ridley Scott all earn nominations. In the Best Screenplay – Motion Picture category, Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, Aaron Sorkin, Quentin Tarantino, Emma Donoghue, Charles Randolph and Adam McKay earned nods. Did you notice anything? If your answer is that in these two major creative categories there is only one nomination for a female, you'd be right.

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4. Johnny Depp

Although stars of Depp's status have long curried favor with the foreign press, Depp was glaringly missing from this year's nominations. Not only did he not score an expected nomination for his role as Whitey Bulger in Black Mass, but the film was essentially shut out.

5. Bridge of Spies

While Bridge of Spies technically wasn't entirely snubbed — Mark Rylance received a nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture — it was expected to earn Steven Spielberg a nomination for Best Director and failed to do so.

6. Charlotte Rampling

In full disclosure, we're big fans of Charlotte Rampling around here. Her work in 2015 on Broadchurch and 45 Years alone make her deserving of a major award for her mantel. Alas, despite a banner year (and the rumors of a nod for 45 Years), Rampling didn't nab one nomination.


7. Spotlight

Let us be very clear — while Spotlight is getting tons of coverage for the two nominations it did get, we want to talk about the ones it didn't (but should have). Like a nod for Michael Keaton, a big winner during last year's award season, for starters. Rachel McAdams certainly did enough to earn one as well, along with Mark Ruffalo. The silver lining with the latter is that although he didn't get his expected nomination for Spotlight, he did receive an unexpected one (Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy) for Infinitely Polar Bear.

8. Mad Men

Welp, there goes that. There had been talk that this celebrated series would receive several nods for its swan-song season, but leading man Jon Hamm was the only nomination for the show — he's up for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Drama. And his win isn't even a sure thing, so it looks like Mad Men may fade from the collective viewing consciously much more quietly than it entered.

9. Michael Caine

Beloved actor Michael Caine was but one of many snubs of veteran stars in this year's Golden Globes nods, and it might be the most irksome. His performance as a retired composer in hiding at a Swiss Alps spa with Harvey Keitel in Youth was splendid.

10. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

We're gonna need a minute, you guys, because it is a travesty Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt didn't receive more Golden Globes love. Ellie Kemper is comedy gold as the titular Kimmy, newcomer Tituss Burgess is the cranky, Pinot-drinking BFF we all want, Carol Kane is spot-on as a spendthrift landlord, Jane Krakowski slays as Kimmy's Real Housewife-esque employer — the list goes on and on.


1. Eva Green


Yes! Eva Green should absolutely be on the list of contenders for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama for her role in Penny Dreadful. Having said that, to say the competition is fierce would be an understatement. She is up against Catriona Balfe, Outlander; Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder; Taraji P. Henson, Empire; and Robin Wright, House of Cards — all heavy hitters.

2. Rachel Bloom

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom earned a surprise nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy, thanks to her quirky turn as charming-yet-stalker-y heroine Rebecca Bunch. But as adorable as she is, it doesn't bode well that Bloom will be competing in a stacked category, including Scream Queens' Jamie Lee Curtis, Veep's Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Grace and Frankie's Lily Tomlin and Jane the Virgin's Gina Rodriguez (Bloom's fellow CW fan favorite).

3. Amy Schumer

If it was up to us, we'd give Amy Schumer all the awards, so naturally, we were pretty overjoyed to see her land in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical category for Trainwreck. Here's the thing, though: she's up against her new BFF J. Law, along with Melissa McCarthy, Maggie Smith and Lily Tomlin. Gulp.

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4. Aziz Ansari

We love Aziz. You love Aziz. Everyone loves Aziz. Him being nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical for Master of None is, well, masterful. Unfortunately, he's got veteran stars Patrick Stewart (Blunt Talk) and Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent) to contend with.

5. Brie Larson


It's no wonder Brie Larson has been dubbed the new "it girl" — she's had a phenomenal year, including starring alongside Schumer in the summer box-office hit Trainwreck. It's her role in Room, however, that really has people buzzing, and which earned her a nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama. You know who else is in that category? Cate Blanchett for Carol, Rooney Mara for Carol, Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn and Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl. That's a whole lotta talent squeezed into one category.

6. Ben Mendelsohn

Let us preface this by saying Bloodline's Ben Mendelsohn is absolutely brilliant, and we sincerely hope he comes up a winner in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-series or Motion Picture made for Television category. And, really, he could be the dark horse here. The snag? He'll be competing against The Good Wife's Alan Cumming, Wolf Hall's Damian Lewis, Outlander's Tobias Menzies and Mr. Robot's Christian Slater.

7. Paul Dano

So young, so talented! In a category stacked with veteran actors like Idris Elba, Mark Rylance, Michael Shannon and Sylvester Stallone, Dano is basically the fresh blood. While he may not be expected to take home the trophy, though, his turn as The Beach Boys' singer Brian Wilson might just be compelling enough to pull off this upset for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture.

8. Lady Gaga


We're loving Lady Gaga right now. Have you seen her speech during Yale's Emotion Revolution? This girl is on fire! The foreign press obviously agrees, since Gaga scored her first acting nod for American Horror Story: Hotel. As much as we'd love to see Mother Monster add an acting trophy to her collection, though, it would mean she'd need to beat out Kirsten Dunst (Fargo), Sarah Hay (Flesh and Bone), Queen Latifah (Bessie) and — perhaps the trickiest — Felicity Huffman (American Crime) in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television category.