Golden Globes 2021: who will win – and who should win – the TV categories

Ah, the Golden Globes. The much-mocked yet still influential show must go on, despite a pandemic delay, renewed scrutiny on its ethics, and widespread criticism of snubs for black performers (none of the four black-led ensemble films were nominated for best picture, nor was Michaela Coel’s critically beloved I May Destroy You nominated for anything). The Globes are known to be unpredictable and left-field – a strange ritual in which Hollywood kicks off awards season with trophies granted by an insular group of 87 international journalists known as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). This year’s TV nominees run the gamut – controversial nods to Netflix’s ambient TV hit Emily in Paris, predictable tips to the final season of Schitt’s Creek, and a host of streaming gems in between. With mega-hit favorites such as The Queen’s Gambit and The Crown, it’s shaping up to be a Netflix evening, but Globes being the Globes, it’s anyone’s game.

Best actress in a TV series – musical or comedy

Nominated: Lily Collins, Emily in Paris; Kaley Cuoco, The Flight Attendant; Elle Fanning, The Great; Jane Levy, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist; Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek

This category could go in any direction (save maybe Lily Collins for Emily in Paris). The prize should go to Elle Fanning as young Catherine the Great of Russia, whose calibration of The Great’s arch, absurdist tone is sharp as a needle. Kaley Cuoco’s shift from comedy ensemble on the The Big Bang Theory to anchor of HBO Max’s psychological romp The Flight Attendant could nab the network star her first Golden Globe. But given the sweeping love for Schitt’s Creek at last year’s Emmys, it seems a safe bet that O’Hara will take home the prize for her final season as Moira Rose, the mid-Atlantic-accented socialite stranded in middle-of-nowhere Canada.

Will win: Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek

Should win: Elle Fanning, The Great

Best actor in a TV series – musical or comedy

Nominated: Don Cheadle, Black Monday; Nicholas Hoult, The Great; Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek; Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso; Ramy Youssef, Ramy

This year’s slate is a mixed bag–, featuring stars of new shows –Nicholas Hoult for his zany turn as Emperor Peter in The Great and Jason Sudeikis for Ted Lasso – as well as the Hollywood veterans Don Cheadle and the Schitt’s Creek star Eugene Levy, and last year’s surprise winner, Ramy Youssef. The Globes, being the Globes, probably won’t fall as uniformly for Schitt’s Creek as the Emmys, which granted the show a full buffet of comedy awards in 2020, so odds are in favor of Sudeikis’s midwestern-sweet, endearing portrayal of a Kansas football coach turned English football manager.

Will win: Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso

Should win: Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso

Best television series – musical or comedy

The nomination of Emily in Paris, Netflix’s fizzy comfort comedy about a beret-wearing American abroad from Darren Star, creator of Sex and the City, raised some eyebrows (including one of its own writers’), especially in light of the Globes’ egregious snub of Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You (although it should be noted that the two are different categories, comedy series v limited series. It should also be noted that, according to the Los Angeles Times, Emily in Paris’s studio, Paramount, treated HFPA members to a tour of the set and two nights at a five-star Paris hotel). Anyway, the Paris nomination makes this a more scrutinized category, and while voters could sway toward Ted Lasso’s sweetness or the swan song of the beloved Schitt’s Creek, odds are probably in favor of HBO Max’s escapist caper The Flight Attendant, somehow both frantic and fun and anchored by a career-best turn from Cuoco.

Will win: The Flight Attendant

Should win: The Great

Best actress in a limited series or TV movie

Nominated: Cate Blanchett, Mrs America; Daisy Edgar-Jones, Normal People; Shira Haas, Unorthodox; Nicole Kidman, The Undoing; Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit

This is a stacked category of veteran stars (Nicole! Cate!) and impressive new talent, playing a slate of braced, inscrutable female characters. There’s an argument to be made for the kaleidoscope of vulnerability and heat Daisy Edgar-Jones brought to Normal People’s hyper-closeup, extended scenes of intimacy. And there’s always a case for Cate Blanchett, who delivers yet another fantastic performance as the 70s anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly in Mrs America. But there’s almost no way they’ll beat out Anya Taylor-Joy’s magnetic, star-cementing performance as the orphan turned chess champion Beth Harmon in The Queen’s Gambit, a role and global hit that is catnip for the Globes.

Will win: Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit

Should win: Cate Blanchett, Mrs America

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