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Golden Globes 2021: The contenders to watch

Text: Buro 24/7


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It's that time again...

This year’s Golden Globes show is, even more than any other year, dogged by controversy: there’s renewed criticism over murky corruption rumours (this time tied to much-mocked, but twice-nominated Emily in Paris) and widespread criticism over the habitual snubbing of Black artists (Michaela Coel’s critically acclaimed I May Destroy You wasn’t nominated for anything). And that’s not to mention the secretive group of 87 international journalists who make up the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Yet the Globes remain a time-honoured, influential tradition and there is, in amongst the contention, a number of well-deserved nominations for film and TV alike this year. Before the big day, we’ve rounded up our very own frontrunners – add them to your must-watch list, pronto.

HOW CAN I WATCH THIS YEAR?

Broadcasting later than usual this year due to the pandemic, the Golden Globes will air on 28th February – or from 5am until 9am on 1st March, if you’re staying up to watch in the Middle East. Catch the pre-match commentary on goldenglobes.com and the show itself on NBC, through cable, on-air TV, the NBC.com website or the NBC app.

BEST GOLDEN GLOBES 2021 NOMINATED MOVIES

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

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Carey Mulligan is slated to win Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama) for the superb Promising Young Woman (also nominated for a slew of other awards) and rightly so: she shines as the wickedly smart Cassie, determined to get her revenge on the not-so ‘nice guys’. Written, produced and directed by Emerald Fennel (yes, that Emerald Fennel from The Crown, who also worked on series two of Killing Eve), this is a modern, peppy take on the #MeToo thriller. Available to pre-order here.

PALM SPRINGS

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After nearly a year of on-and-off lockdowns, you’d be forgiven for vetoing a Groundhog Day-style film without giving it a second thought. But hear us out, because Palm Springs, a twice-nominated science fiction rom com about two strangers who meet at a California wedding and get stuck in a time loop, is worth watching again and again. Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti are excellent as main characters Nyles and Sarah in this surprisingly heartfelt and moving film about the way we add value to our lives. Stream here.

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM

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Viola Davis pretty much steals the show in everything she touches, so it’s no surprise that she is on her best form in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, a retelling of the story of influential ‘Mother of the Blues’ Ma Rainey in 1920s Chicago. Up for two Globes, this is a wonderfully spirited take on the Blues scene, with an excellent performance from Chadwick Boseman as plucky horn player Levee Green adding yet more star quality to an already swinging film. Stream here.

NOMADLAND

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Tipped to win for Best Director and even Best Motion Picture (Drama) – and, when the time comes around, an Oscar – is the jaw-dropping Nomadland, starring Academy Award winner Frances McDormand, who also produced the film. A take on the neo-Western drama, the story centres around Fern, who leaves her home to travel around America after losing her job and her husband. Exploring hardship, relationships and what it means to call a place your home, this will touch you long after the final credits. Stream here.

JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH

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Nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, Daniel Kaluuya (who you’ll know from Get Out, Black Panther, Queen & Slim and a host of other hits) is mesmerising as the lead in Judas and the Black Messiah, a biographical drama about Fred Hampton. Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in late-Sixties Chicago, Hampton was betrayed by William O’Neal, an FBI informant, played by Lakeith Stanfield. This is a passionate, fiercely forthright film, with the two main characters giving equally barnstorming performances that bounce off each other to can’t-look-away effect. A ten out of ten. (Scheduled to be in cinemas, but as of yet there's no UK digital release date).

GOLDEN GLOBES 2021 NOMINATED TV SHOWS

This list comes with a small caveat: if you haven’t seen the best-known nominees like Schitt’s Creek, The Crown and The Queen’s Gambit (in which case, where have you been throughout lockdown, if not on your sofa?!) get yourself in front of a screen, ASAP. You’ve got some catching up to do…For everyone else, here’s our breakdown of the slightly more under-the-radar options.

SMALL AXE

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Steve McQueen’s British-Caribbean history anthology, starring John Boyega, Letitia Wright and Malachi Kirby, has two nominations – just five minutes in front of Small Axe will show you why. Spread across five films which each tell distinct stories about the lives of London-living, West Indian immigrants between the Sixties and the Eighties, it’s received almost unanimous praise across the board for its gleaming cast and lively, faithful representation of untold stories. Stream here.

THE UNDOING

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We highly advise you not to miss Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant opposite each other in The Undoing, HBO’s series about a glossy, New York therapist and her philandering, possibly murdering husband. Grant is in typically brilliant form as the hapless, witty, but ultimately very suspect Jonathan, while Kidman gives great coat (and untouchable Manhattanite vibes) as Grace. If you liked Big Little Lies, you’ll be instantly drawn to this – and with a healthy four nominations, you can be sure you’re in for a treat. Stream here.

OZARK

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Already on its third season, you might expect Ozark to have lost a little of its sheen – a regular pitfall for successful shows after two series. But Jason Bateman and Laura Linney have kept the action going manfully in the third instalment of this dark thriller, which follows a family’s move to the Ozark and murky descent into the world of money laundering and organised crime. This year, like The Undoing, it’s received four nominations – for Best Television Series (Drama) and one each for Linney, Bateman and supporting actress Julia Garner – a surefire sign that Ozark has yet to lose any of its magic. Stream here.

HOLLYWOOD

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For unadulterated glamour and glitter, you can’t beat Hollywood, the Ryan Murphy show that focuses on the lure and fantasy of 1940s Tinseltown. While it may not break any boundaries, it’s a colourful romp with a top-tier cast, including Samara Weaving, Patti LuPone and Laura Harrier, while Jim Parsons has earned a well-deserved nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Television Film for his role as talent agent Henry Willson. Looking to switch on Netflix for a little easy watching? This is a great bet. Stream here.

UNORTHODOX

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The hype around this four-part, German-American drama is real: if you’ve yet to see it, bookmark two evenings to binge watch, immediately. Inspired by Deborah Feldman’s 2021 autobiography, it follows the story of Esty, a 19-year-old Jewish woman living unhappily in an arranged marriage among an ultra-Orthodox community in Williamsburg – before she escapes to Berlin, and her estranged mother. The series, which is the first on Netflix to be primarily in Yiddish, has collected widespread critical and viewer acclaim – and has two Globes nominations. Stream here.

First published on Buro247.com