Showtime hit HBO where they live; on the awards show circuit. The network took the big drama prize at the Golden Globes with the freshman drama Homeland and in the process stunned their long time pay cable rival HBO whose Boardwalk Empire was considered a favorite and walked away shut out of all the top categories last night.
Even more surprising for both Showtime and HBO was little brother Starz pulling out a win in one of the big drama categories. While Damian Lewis of Showtime’s Homeland and Steve Buscemi of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire were considered the favorites for Best Actor in a Drama Series, the award went to Kelsey Grammer for the rookie Starz drama Boss.
In the Best Actress competition Claire Danes‘ win for her stunning lead turn in Showtime’s Homeland dealt a blow to the major networks beating out Julianna Margulies for The Good Wife. A Margulies win was the best chance the nets had of breaking into the major drama categories.
The surprises kept coming in the Best Actor in a Comedy category where Showtime struck awards gold for the first time. Matt LeBlanc’s bracing self-satirizing turn in Showtime’s Episodes beat out perennial winner Alec Baldwin as well as Big Bang Theory star Johnny Galecki and Hung star Thomas Jane.
HBO wasn’t completely shut out of the major awards last night though as Laura Dern upset favorite Tina Fey for Best Actress in a Comedy Series and Kate Winslet took home Best Actress in a Mini-series or Movie. However, the Mini-Series or Movie category, a category that HBO has owned for the past decade, was another loss for the cable giant as the upstart English series Downton Abbey was the winner.
Another English series upset the HBO apple-cart in the Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Movie category. Idris Elba was the surprise choice over William Hurt in HBO’s Too Big to Fail which was shut out. Also shut out was Cinema Verite, the HBO drama about a 1970’s PBS mini-series starring big names such as James Gandolfini, Tim Robbins and Diane Lane.
Despite the surprises, there was a little predictability in the TV categories at the Golden Globe Awards. Modern Family won Best Comedy, something the show will likely do for many years to come considering it’s only in its third season. The fact that the series deserves to dominate this category makes it easier to forgive how predictable the award was this year and will likely be for years to come.
Downton Abbey has the potential for a dominant run as well. The first edition of this masterpiece of English drama was the runaway best in the mini-series or movie category and the second edition, just recently underway, will undoubtedly lead the competition toward the 2013 awards season.
By no means is HBO finished in the awards race though; the network has weathered the loss of signature awards season entries like The Sopranos, Sex in the City and Six Feet Under in the past. The future looks bright in fact for the longtime pay cable champs. Boardwalk Empire is beginning its sophomore run, the Dustin Hoffman drama Luck looks like a future contender and the network will have more than 10 months to push their Julianne Moore/Sarah Palin movie Game Change in the Mini-Series and movie category.
Showtime however, is not going away. Season two of Homeland is set to be as exciting as the first and while Episodes hasn’t been a ratings winner for the network the show is returning for a second season giving Matt LeBlanc the chance to repeat his Golden Globe win from this year. And then there is Showtime’s newest contender House of Lies. The Don Cheadle led series has all of the markings of potential awards contender, especially for Cheadle’s wildly entertaining lead performance.
Finally, we must survey the landscape of network TV. Aside from Modern Family the networks were ignored in the major categories as they were at the Emmy’s. The drama category is an especially barren wasteland where only CBS’s The Good Wife was a contender. Things can change and the networks have the opportunity to find a new series that blows the doors off of the awards season but for now, the networks are also-rans.
What did you think of last night’s Golden Globes?