Make or break: the Golden Globes nominee list has rewarded the showmen | Golden Globes 2023

So the Golden Globes have announced their nominations for the make-or-break ceremony in January 2023, featuring much awards love for Avatar: The Way of Water, Elvis, Top Gun: Maverick and Tár. This is the one that will either ensure the Globes’ survival or consign them to untelevised irrelevance and slow death.

After last year’s row over the lack of diversity and preponderance of kickbacks among the Globes’ notoriously corruptible voting body, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, NBC refused to put the 2022 ceremony on the air. They agreed to this year’s coverage after the HFPA finally committed to more diverse voters and an oversight committee. Whether or not they wish to show it again will depend on how this year’s event goes.

The still somewhat disgraced Will Smith has received no nomination for his civil war drama Emancipation – so he’s not coming. Tom Cruise’s box office champ Top Gun: Maverick is nominated for best picture (drama), but Cruise returned his three Globes last year in protest over the racial exclusion scandal. So he might boycott the event if he considers the HFPA still haven’t reformed themselves sufficiently. And most pertinently of all, Brendan Fraser – who has received a nomination for his widely admired performance in the Darren Aronofsky drama The Whale – has already announced that he will not attend, having alleged he was assaulted by a former HFPA president, Philip Berk, who has denied it, but was later expelled after calling Black Lives Matter a “racist hate movement”.

This is another middleweight, middling list for the Globes: and Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry might well feel themselves slighted for being shut out of the nominations for their much liked drama Causeway. And Billy Eichner, who has been famously disappointed at the box office reception for his pioneering gay romcom Bros, will not be happy at the film’s non-appearance in the best picture (musical or comedy) section.

It is a Globes that has rewarded the showmen – and show-women to some degree, although this is another all-male director list. The all-conquering box-office smash Top Gun: Maverick picks up a best film nomination and James Cameron’s mighty monolith Avatar: The Way of Water also comes in with best film in the drama section and a director nod for its creator. Baz Luhrmann detonated another sequin explosion with Elvis, his musical biopic of the king of rock’n’roll, scoring best director and best actor for the lip-curling star, Austin Butler. Steven Spielberg’s wonderful autobiographical portrait of the artist as a young man, The Fabelmans, gets a nod for best picture and best director and a best actress for Michelle Williams playing the eccentric mother.

In the best director section, Martin McDonagh – who has long been a player in awards season – gets a nod for his Synge-ian black comedy The Banshees of Inisherin, and Colin Farrell gets a best actor (musical or comedy) nomination for his turn as the dopey dairyman whose best friend cancels their bromance, although his co-star Brendan Gleeson must content himself with a best supporting actor nomination (although his contribution is surely equal to Farrell’s) alongside Barry Keoghan. Kerry Condon very deservedly gets a best supporting actress for the same film.

The lavishly swooned-over hipster multiverse fantasy comedy Everything Everywhere All at Once has evidently hit the spot with the HFPA electorate, snagging a best director nomination for his directors, the Daniels (Kwan and Scheinert), but I can’t be sure that they will pick up silverware on the night, although this film’s much-loved Michelle Yeoh could convert her nomination for best actress.

As far as acting star turns go, my prediction is that the HFPA will cleanse themselves with an award for Brendan Fraser for The Whale, although his rival nominee, our very own Bill Nighy, may well pinch it for his wonderful performance in Living. Cate Blanchett will surely win best actress (drama) for her toweringly crazed and magnificent performance as the tormented orchestra conductor in Tár (although it’s sad not to see a best director nod for that film’s auteur, Todd Field). In the comedy field, I think the night will belong to Colin Farrell and Michelle Yeoh (although the HFPA might well like Emma Thompson’s very witty and beguiling turn in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande as the retired headteacher who pays for sex.) No real left-field or bold choices, but the Globes are hoping that the mainstream is their route back to acceptance.