Pretty much every A-lister from the worlds of TV (from Sarah Paulson to John Travolta) and cinema (Meryl Streep to Amy Adams) turned up for this year's #GoldenGlobes, a ceremony which, while typically star-studded, also chose some typically unexpected winners, seemingly pulled out of a hat.
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On the TV side, it wasn't much of a surprise that the brilliant The People vs OJ Simpson cleaned up, but what was surprising was that the beast known as #GameofThrones, after an Emmy sweep and a sixth season widely considered a winner, failed to take home a single gong. #Westworld, HBO's other big hope, also scored a surprise loss in the category it was hotly tipped to win, meaning the channel got zero wins at a major TV awards for the first time in basically forever.
So, at the risk of getting all dramatic about this (and let's face it — #HBO can't win everything), what happened? Are we witnessing a Game of Thrones backlash or an anti-HBO bias? Were both series overrated, or other winners simply more deserving? Let's run through those possibilities briefly and attempt to explain this seemingly inexplicable rejection of two hugely popular television series.
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Westworld had a great first season which built as it went on, and it was, arguably, HBO's first proper hit — the kind of show people fiendishly pirate all over the world — since Game of Thrones itself. It was nominated in three categories at the Globes (Drama, Actress, and Supporting Actress), and while the former two were both dominated by Netflix's historical epic The Crown, Thandie Newton could and should have had Best Supporting Actress on lock for her scene-stealing role as Maeve.
In the end, the Globes decided to give that award to Tracee Ellis Ross for Black-ish. Ross is perfectly good in a pretty decent sitcom (it's no Veep or Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but hey, that's a high bar), but more deserving of the win than Newton? Now that's funny. Whatever, though. These things happen once in a while.
Except they happened all night long, because Game of Thrones got frozen out in the cold somewhere north of the Wall. In Best Drama, it was beaten by The Crown. Both series had some superb episodes and the odd filler, so maybe that's fair, but Thrones had two of its best-ever episodes, and two of the year's best, period, with The Battle Of The Bastards and The Winds Of Winter. More than just brilliant television, both dominated pop culture for weeks. Ramsay Bolton getting fed to his own dogs has become everybody's fantasy method of killing that one colleague they can't stand.
So that snub feels weirdly timed, to say the least, for a series which is firing on all cylinders and has now reached the upper echelons of some of the best TV ever made. Thrones had just one more nomination, which in itself is surprising, and Lena Headey lost out for Supporting Actress, this time to the buzzy miniseries The Night Manager.
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I don't believe there's some weird, sudden anti-HBO agenda among the Globes voters, and I don't reckon the complete lack of gold has anything to do with the quality of Westworld or Game of Thrones. But the idea that the Globes perhaps actively try to differentiate themselves from the Emmys (where Game of Thrones won three in September, including Best Drama and Best Director) doesn't seem too hard to believe. The Oscars, for instance, didn't nominate Elle for Best Foreign Film — the Globes did, and then gave it the win. They like to play up their uniqueness.
Perhaps Game of Thrones just got unlucky this year, in going against big hitters like The Crown. Still, for the biggest phenomenon on TV, a show which (unlike, say, The Walking Dead) is not just popular but also supremely great, this feels like a stab in the back with a shard of dragonglass.
Do you think Game Of Thrones and Westworld got cheated at the Globes, or did HBO really not deserve a single win?