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Despite Golden Globes snubs, Game of Thrones & Watchmen show up big for Critics' Choice noms

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Dec 9, 2019, 4:36 PM EST

They may not be getting much love from the Golden Globes, but HBO’s two biggest genre series are at least ending the year with a bang among TV critics. Both Game of Thrones and Watchmen are up for multiple nominations for the 2020 Critics’ Choice Awards, with at least one show or the other hitting every major category — including best drama series, best actor, and best actress.

Soaring above all the lingering fan division over the way its controversial final season ended things, Game of Thrones joins Watchmen as two of the eight shows up for best drama series. In fact, with the exception of NBC’s The Good Place (which landed a trio of actors in the awards’ comedy categories), GoT and Watchmen pretty much stand out this year as the only genre entries — at least on the TV side.

Jon Snow may have gotten the worst series-ending fate of any of GoT’s surviving characters, but at least he’s appreciated for it. Kit Harington made the list of nominees for best actor in a drama series, while Regina King showed up among the best actress nominee list as Watchmen’s Angela Abar. And in case you’re wondering: nope, Emilia Clarke didn’t make it onto the best actress list for her tragic Season 8 portrayal of the Mother of Dragons. 

The hits keep coming for GoT and Watchmen farther down the nominees list. To probably no one’s surprise, four-time Emmy winner Peter Dinklage earned a spot on the best supporting drama actor list, joined this year by Tim Blake Nelson, who makes his time both behind the mask and outside it count as Watchmen’s Wade "Looking Glass" Tillman. Both shows field nominees in the best supporting drama actress category as well: Gwendoline Christie for her heroic and heart-tugging turn as Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones; and Jean Smart as the cool and competent agent Laurie Blake on Watchmen.

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Over on the movie side of things, the surprises are fewer: Joker earned a nod for best picture, as well as best actor for Joaquin Phoenix’s riveting portrayal of Arthur Fleck (JoJo Rabbit and Parasite also made the best picture list), while Us star Lupita Nyong’o’s creeepy performance was enough to earn her a spot on the list of best actress nominees — even if the movie didn't get much love this year from the Golden Globes. Joker’s Lawrence Sher also made the cut for best cinematography; while Mark Friedberg and Kris Moran got a nod for best production design.

Best visual effects nominations were of course genre-heavy, with Avengers: Endgame, Ad Astra, and The Lion King all making the grade; while Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home shared a pair of spots on the best action movie list. Only four films were entered in this year’s best sci-fi movie category, but you’ve probably heard of all of them: Ad Astra, Avengers: Endgame, Midsommar, and Us.

Scarlett Johansson got a best supporting actress nod for Jojo Rabbit; and Bong Joon-ho earned a best director nod for Parasite. Parasite also earned a nomination for best original screenplay; along with Rian Johnson’s Knives Out.

While The Good Place was left out of TV’s best comedy series category, three of the show’s stars showed up as Critics’ Choice nominees in their respective actor categories: Ted Danson for best comedy actor as the not-so-devlish demon Michael; William Jackson Harper as the eternally neurotic Chidi Anagonye, and D’Arcy Carden as Janet — not a human, but definitely one of the funniest afterlife assistants anywhere.

Finally, the best animated TV series race will be interesting just for the sheer quality of all the contenders — as well as for the strong showing from Netflix. This year’s list is a neat mix of veterans and newcomers, with four of the six nominees hailing straight from the red-letter streaming giants: Big Mouth, BoJack Horseman, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power all made the cut, along with perennial favorite The Simpsons (Fox), and Amazon’s surreal Undone featuring voice work from Rosa Salazar and Bob Odenkirk. 

With so much variation between the nominee lists for this year’s Golden Globes and now the Critics’ Choice Award, the rollout of more big lists in the lead-up to next year’s awards season is sure to make for an interesting follow  — all the way up until we know who walked away with all the hardware. The 2020 Critics’ Choice Awards will be broadcast live at The CW on Jan. 12.

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