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5 surprising snubs from the Golden Globe nominations

A look at the films and TV shows that didn't make the cut for the 2014 awards

For all their flaws — and there are many, many flaws — the Golden Globes, which announced this year's nominees on Thursday, remain an important force in Hollywood. (Read a full list of the nominees here.) Yes, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has disproportionate power and dubious ethical standards. Yes, they have a long history of nominating garbage. Yes, they continue to make choices that stifle the creativity of filmmakers.

But from a pure marketing perspective, it's simple: The Golden Globes are important because people pay attention to them, and that makes them a useful platform for attracting viewers to films and TV shows they might not otherwise watch. Just as important: They're fun to watch. It's a boozy, casual variation on the Oscars with a much better host (Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, doing double duty again).

So let's take the Golden Globes for what they are, and take note of the major snubs this year — snubs that might actually affect how a film or TV performs in the months to come. For better or worse, the Golden Globes matter:

1. Homeland

For the past two years, Showtime's flagship drama has dominated the Golden Globes, with back-to-back trophies for Best TV Drama. But like many critics, the HFPA noticed Homeland's dramatic decline in quality since its first season. One year after Homeland swept the Golden Globes with wins for Best Actress (Claire Danes), Best Actor (Damian Lewis), and Best TV Drama, the series failed to earn a single nomination in any category. In its place, the HPFA favored Homeland's sister show Masters of Sex, which earned nominations for both Best TV Drama and Best Actor (Michael Sheen).

2. The Butler

Lee Daniels' The Butler, which was the first of the so-called "prestige pictures" to hit theaters in 2013. It was widely regarded as an early frontrunner in the Best Picture race. But since then, the chatter has largely turned towards 12 Years a Slave and Gravity. A surprisingly strong showing in yesterday's SAG nominations — Best Ensemble, along with individual nods for Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfery — briefly sparked a conversation about The Butler's chances of an awards-show resurgence. Alas, it turned up empty at the Golden Globes.

3. Mad Men

Like Homeland, the once-proud Mad Men has fallen out of favor on the awards show circuit. After losing Best Drama to Breaking Bad at the Emmys earlier this year, Mad Men — which once earned three consecutive trophies for Best TV Drama — didn't earn a single nomination (though Elisabeth Moss got a nod for her lead performance in Sundance Channel's Top of The Lake). We'll see if it can rebound with its frustratingly split "final season" next year.

4. Saving Mr. Banks

It's a very, very crowded Best Picture race this year, and a few expected contenders are going to be pushed out of the running. At the Golden Globes, that meant Saving Mr. Banks — a crowd-pleasing drama about Walt Disney's attempt to convince P.L. Travers to turn Mary Poppins into a feature film. While it was left out in the cold, the film could plausibly have fit into either the Best Drama or the Best Musical Comedy categories (another sign that the Golden Globes' categories make no sense). Saving Mr. Banks did score a Best Actress nomination for Emma Thompson, but the HFPA favored Tom Hanks' performance in Captain Phillips, which has clearly taken the lead in the "Oscar bait starring Tom Hanks" race.

5. Actual musicals or comedies

As always, the biggest takeaway from the nominations list: The HFPA needs to revamp its categories, stat. Best Comedy or Musical is a nonsensical distinction that has previously led to nominations for garbage like Burlesque and The Tourist. This year's list of nominees for Best Musical or Comedy: American Hustle, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, and The Wolf of Wall Street. Those are all fine movies — but none of them are either a musical or a comedy. If the HFPA isn't going to use its divided category to honor the likes of otherwise overlooked films like The World's End, why do they even bother doing it?

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