Lee Daniels’ blockbuster drama The Butler had been racking up lots of awards recognition leading up to today’s Golden Globe nominations, but the film was dealt a significant blow when it didn’t receive any recognition from the Hollywood Foreign Press.
The film itself and its stars, Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, were all considered strong contenders for nominations. Winfrey in particular has long been considered a lock for a nomination and the frontrunner for the best supporting actress Academy Award.
Although other predominately black films from this past year like 12 Years a Slave and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom did get nominations, their commercial performance pales in comparison to The Butler, as does their crossover appeal.
So what went wrong?
The Golden Globes’ voting body is made up of foreign writers and critics and there is a chance that The Butler‘s very American cast and storyline may not have resonated with them. The film was also released much earlier in the year than some of its competitors, so it may not have been as fresh in some voters’ minds.
Interestingly, for the most part, the top acting notices for people of color in film were almost all non-American blacks (Idris Elba for Mandela, Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips, Lupita N’yongo for 12 Years a Slave, for example), while African-Americans were largely overlooked.
Fruitvale Station, a smaller film with a predominately African-American cast which was considered more of a longshot, also went empty handed at the Globe noms.
Still, fans of The Butler, shouldn’t be stressed. The Golden Globes, while highly rated and touted, are rarely an accurate predictor of Hollywood’s highest honor — the Academy Awards. A far better barometer of that voting body are the Screen Actors’ Guild Awards, and The Butler scored several major nominations from them.
Stay tuned to theGrio for more awards season coverage as it unfolds.