Culture Clips: Tis the Season … for Awards

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Forget the snowball fights so picturesquely common this time of year. In 2019—at least at Netflix’s movie headquarters—they’ll be pelting each other with Golden Globes.

OK, so perhaps we’re being a bit premature. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association hasn’t handed out any actual statuettes just yet, just the nominations. But one thing’s for sure: The foreign press seriously loves its Netflix. The streaming network earned a slightly staggering 34 Golden Globe nominations in film and television—17 for its movies alone. Its devastating Marriage Story led all movie contenders with six noms, while Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman pocketed another five. The Two Popes snagged four. Those three films accounted for three of the five contenders in the Best Drama category. Eddie Murphy’s Dolemite Is My Name collected another couple for Netflix in the Golden Globes’ comedy or musical categories.

And we haven’t even talked about Netflix’s annual assault on television. While the service’s lauded miniseries When They See Us was ignored by the Foreign Press, The Crown and Unbelievable both scored plenty of nods. (The Kominsky Method and The Politician also did well for Netflix.) Other streaming services were well represented, too, with Amazon’s Fleabag and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel taking in some marvelous noms, and Apple TV+’s The Morning Show nabbing three of its own.

So if Netflix scored 17 nominations for television alone, what did that leave for, y’know, traditional broadcast TV? Nothing. Nada. Zip. The Golden Globes didn’t offer a single nod to the big five networks (ABC, CBS, CW, Fox and NBC). “It’s shocking and weird that NBC will still telecast the Globes even though voters decided that the network’s programs aren’t worthy to compete,” TV analyst Tom O’Neil of told the Associated Press.

You can find a full list of the nominees here, but you can be sure plenty of names were missing from the roster. Even though The Irishman packed in five nominations from the Globes, star Robert DeNiro wasn’t one of them. (Some speculate that the Foreign Press is still miffed at some comments DeNiro made about them.) Greta Gerwig’s Little Women landed just a single nom. And after the Globes were widely panned for shutting Gerwig out of the directing category, the awards “doubled down” (in the words of The New York Times), locking Gerwig out of both directing and screenplay noms. Some pundits, noting the general dearth of XX chromosomes in the awards pool this year, are alleging an “ominous backlash” against the push for more female representation in these awards derbies.

It should be noted that both Little Women and DeNiro got snubbed by the Screen Actors Guild too, which came out just today. Considered a way more accurate predictor of the all-important Oscars than the weird-and-finicky Globes, the SAG awards voting body didn’t nominate Little Women in a single category. But it also didn’t go quite as gaga for Marriage Story as the Globes, either. For its “Ensemble Cast” roster of nominees (essentially its version of Best Picture), it included Bombshell, Jojo Rabbit, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Parasite and The Irishman. No Marriage Story, No Two Popes, no 1917. And sadly, no A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (though Tom Hanks did pick up a nod as Best Supporting Actor for his role as Mister Rogers).

Speaking of honorees of various stripes, a whopping 25 movies were selected to go into the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. Included in the luminary list are Disney classics such as Old Yeller and Sleeping Beauty, Oliver Stone’s Oscar-winning Platoon, and two movies about musicians: Purple Rain (a semi-biopic about, and starring, Prince) and Amadeus (about Mozart, naturally).

And while we’re on the subject of awards and musicians, Lizzo was just named Time’s Entertainer of the Year. While the artist has been making music for more than a decade, she says that the times just caught up with her. She tells Time:

I’ve been doing positive music for a long-a—time. Then the culture changed. There were a lot of things that weren’t popular but existed, like body positivity, which at first was a form of protest for fat bodies and black women and has now become a trendy, commercialized thing. Now I’ve seen it reach the mainstream. Suddenly I’m mainstream!

But while Lizzo’s “sudden” success may be a sign of the times, perhaps Merriam-Webster’s selection for its word of the year is even more telling. It picked the word they, a word that, like Lizzo, has been around for a while. But it got the nod because it’s become a trendy pronoun for people who describe themselves as non-binary, those who are thus uncomfortable with singular pronouns such as “he” or “she.”

(Speaking of which, non-binary characters are even migrating to animated kids’ shows, with Netflix’s She-Ra serving as example A-1.)

We’ve talked about lots of awards and honors this time out, but here’s one thing that won’t be getting any: That controversial Peloton commercial.

Yeah, we mentioned the now-infamous ad—the one where the husband buys his wife a Peloton stationary bike for Christmas—last week, but the controversy is the gift that keeps on giving … for our Culture Clips, anyway. Folks from the Twitterverse had so many thoughts about this ad, with a few suggesting that the Peloton-riding woman should be rescued from her husband. (“I’d ask that woman in the Peloton commercial to blink twice if she needs help, but her husband already botoxed her eyelids for her birthday,” wrote one wit.) Spoofs (some profane) are beginning to proliferate online as well. The Atlantic said that Peloton doesn’t even really know who buys their bikes or why, and the actor who plays the husband says that he’s “grappling with the negative emotions.” But the seemingly terrified woman in the commercial is doing just fine, thanks—parlaying her newfound fame into another commercial, this one for Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin.

Why, the only thing in pop culture that might be generating more talk than Peloton just might be … Baby Yoda? Who, clearly, should be in the running for an award him/her/it/theyself for being the cutest little alien critter ever. Why, Baby Yoda is so popular that even cats are trying to mimic it.

Finally, while I’ve openly confessed to being, um, less-than-enthusiastic about Hallmark Christmas movies on Plugged In’s podcast (yes, we have a podcast), there’s no question that Christmas movies are kinda popular. Why? Lots of reasons, according to The Conversation, but a biggie is that they act as “a barometer of how we might want to live and how we might see and measure ourselves” (according to Christopher Deacy in his book Christmas as Religion.) But they also promote family time, too.

Wow. Maybe we should give Christmas movies an award or something.