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The biggest genre surprises and snubs from the 2021 Golden Globe nominations

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Feb 3, 2021, 11:18 AM EST

This year's Golden Globe nominees were always going to be a little weird. In a year when dozens of major films were pushed to future release dates and dozens more were shuffled off to video-on-demand and streaming releases due to the ongoing pandemic, it was a little tricky to track the conversation around the biggest titles. Still, going into Wednesday's nominations, a few things seemed certain, even among the somewhat thin selection of genre movies and shows that always have to fight against the prestige releases for nominations during awards season. Now that we know what the nominations actually look like versus what we thought they'd look like, it's time to talk about the uncertain, from the pleasant surprises to the unpleasant ones. 

Here are our picks for the biggest surprises and snubs among genre movies and shows in this year's Golden Globe nominations. 

Surprise: La Llorona for Best Foreign Language Film — Horror cinema has, with a few key exceptions, always had to fight for space in awards season, so it's nice when any title gets to slip into the field, and this year the horror gem that managed to crack the Golden Globes is Jayro Bustamente's politically charged take on the La Llorona legend. We've known for a few months that Guatemala planned to submit the film as its entry for Best International Film at the Oscars this year, and now that level of attention and the immense critical acclaimed heaped on the film have landed it a Globes nod. 

Snub: Cristin Milioti for Palm Springs — Though it couldn't have possibly been planned, time loop comedy Palm Springs felt like the perfect movie for 2020, a film that arrived at just the right time to deliver a beautifully orchestrated film about finding meaning in the same-ness of daily life, and for the most part the Hollywood Foreign Press agreed with critics and audiences on that score. The film got its expected nod for Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy, and snagged an acting nod for star Andy Samberg. Even among the celebration, though, something was missing: A nomination for co-star Cristin Milioti, who carried just as much, if not more, of the film as Samberg did and who ultimately steered the movie into its final emotional turn. 

Snub: The Boys — Though it's been around for a couple of years now, 2020 really felt like the breakout year for Amazon's superhero satire series The Boys, particularly as it turned its darkly comic lens even more into the political climate of the United States and pulled no punches with an insane Season 2 finale. It was perhaps a long shot for a Globes win, but more than a few pundits thought it at least had a shot at a nod for Best Television Series, perhaps even in the Drama category. Sadly, it seems those hopes were false, perhaps because no one was sure if it deserved to contend for Drama or Comedy honors. 

Surprise: Ratched — It might be a bit of a stretch to called Ratched a genre series, but Evan Romansky and Ryan Murphy's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest prequel skirts the line between thriller and outright horror enough that we're going to count it here, in part because we didn't expect to be talking about in connection with the Globes at all. The series arrived on Netflix in September to mixed reviews despite the always compelling Sarah Paulson at the center of its narrative, and it didn't seem like a major awards contender. Still, Paulson's presence and Netflix's ongoing goodwill with awards organizations seems to have put it over the top. 

Snub: The cast of Lovecraft Country — With its mix of horror and incisive commentary on the history of racism in America, HBO's Lovecraft Country became one of the most buzzed-about and acclaimed new series of 2020, and now it's getting the awards love to back that up...some of it, anyway. The series got its expected nomination for Best Television Series - Drama on Wednesday morning, but it was still snubbed in the acting categories, leaving stars Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett without Globe nods for their powerful, versatile work on the genre-bending series.

Snub: What We Do in the Shadows for Everything — What We Do in the Shadows could have been an amusing novelty series, a flash in the pan inspired by a beloved cult film that didn't offer anything lasting. Instead, the FX mockumentary series has become one of the most consistently delightful and surprising shows on television over the course of two seasons, and in Season 2 it managed to infuse some real narrative complexity into its already winning blend of comedy and supernatural fantasy. Sadly, none of that translated to love from the Globes, as both the series itself and its cast — including Matt Berry, who was a favorite for an acting nod this year — were left waiting in their coffins for nominations that never came. 

Snub: Pedro Pascal for The Mandalorian — It's easy to chalk The Mandalorian's popularity up to the sheer presence of new live-action Star Wars stories at the push of a button, and certainly the might of the franchise has something to do with its success. But what's sometimes lost in conversations about the show is just how much Pedro Pascal contributes to its effectiveness, which is why he spent so much time in interviews for Season 2 talking about getting out into the armor more so he could imbue the title character with more of his own physicality and presence. This is a show whose two main characters are a cute green puppet and a guy who almost never takes his shiny, eyeless helmet off, and yet it still carries tremendous emotional stakes every single week. A lot of that is thanks to Pascal, and while it was nice to see the show pick up a Best Television Series - Drama nomination, it was a little disheartening to see Mando himself left out of the love.