30 Times The Golden Globes Were So Wrong They Were Right

Photo: Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock.
The Golden Globes are notorious for being strange, inscrutable, and a blast to watch. Who is actually a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press? Why do these awards get their own show? Did Burlesque really get a nomination in exchange for paid trips to Las Vegas?

If you've been paying attention, however, you'll notice there's real value in this renegade awards night. Yeah, yeah, we love watching the stars get drunk, too. But that's not what we're talking about. It's the fact that they often offer a refreshing take on who really deserves to bask in the spotlight each year.

There was a time when it was assumed that the Globes made their decisions based on which stars they wanted at their party (like the VMAs and Teen Choice Awards still do). Maybe that's a factor in the somewhat less-conventional choices they've made. More important is the fact that they divide movies into Drama and Musical/Comedy, allowing for recognition of movies that aren't about war and death (ahem, Oscars). They also just don't seem to get caught in ruts the way the Emmys do, and instead have recognized teen dramas, streaming platforms, and supernatural-themed shows over stodgy old favorites.

Could we see awards given to the likes of Deadpool, Stranger Things, and Issa Rae this year? Judging this track record of surprising, but smart, choices, we just might.

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Photo: United Artists/REX/Shutterstock.
Marilyn Monroe, Some Like It Hot (1960)

By now, we all recognize that a woman can be both a sex symbol and a talented actress, but that certainly wasn't the case during Monroe's heyday. She finally received awards-show acclaim for 1956's Bus Stop, for which she got BAFTA and Globe nods. In 1960, she won the Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her role as unlucky-in-love ukulele player Sugar Kowalczyk in Some Like It Hot. She never received an Oscar in her lifetime.
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Photo: Columbia/REX/Shutterstock.
Ghostbusters (1985)

Not many movies, past or present, have managed to balance big-budget special effects and action with brilliant comedy. It's the performances of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Sigourney Weaver, and Ernie Hudson that have kept it at the top of all-time comedy lists for decades.

While it was nominated for Visual Effects and Original Song Oscars, it was the Globes who had the wisdom to nominate it for Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and Murray for Best Actor Musical or Comedy.
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Photo: Universal Pictures/REX/Shutterstock.
Back to the Future (1986)

A clever sci-fi concept, a teen heartthrob star, all the 1950s nostalgia boomers love, laughs, and action — no one questioned this movie's quality in 1985, and that opinion remains to this day. Amazingly, even the Academy managed to nominate Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale for their original screenplay (and the movie won for sound effects).

Only the Globes were smart enough to nominate it for Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and Michael J. Fox for Best Actor Musical or Comedy, in addition to Best Screenplay and Best Original Song ("The Power of Love").
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Photo: Carsey-Werner/Wind Dancer Prod/REX/Shutterstock.
Roseanne (1989)

The HFP nominated the working-class sitcom for Best Comedy Series, Best Actress (Roseanne Barr), and Best Actor (John Goodman) in its first season. The Emmys gave a nod to Goodman later that year, but didn't nominate Barr until 1992, and never nominated the series for Best Comedy.
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Photo: 20th Century Fox/REX/Shutterstock.
Home Alone (1991)

Despite its place in our hearts, the John Hughes movie received mixed reviews when it came out, so we understand why it didn't get much Oscar love overall. But Macaulay Culkin gave one of the best performances of that year, and he absolutely deserved to be listed among his much older peers in the Globes category of Best Actor Musical or Comedy. One could even argue that he was more nuanced than winner Gerard Depardieu was in Green Card.
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Photo: Touchstone Pictures/REX/Shutterstock.
Pretty Woman (1991)

Stuffier awards shows like to ignore the value of a frothy, visually pleasing, heartwarming fairytale like this. "Big mistake." Thank goodness the Hollywood Foreign Press know a good fashion montage starring a prostitute when they see one. It was nominated for Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, Best Actor Musical or Comedy (Richard Gere), and Best Supporting Actor (Hector Elizondo), and Julia Roberts won Best Actress Musical or Comedy.
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Photo: Paramount/REX/Shutterstock.
Ghost (1991)

This was a good year for movies with a lasting impact. Though we now look back on Ghost as a bit cheesy, it can still make us cry buckets. The movie racked up nominations from both the Academy and the HFP. Whoopi Goldberg won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar and Globe, and the film won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar. What the Globes were able to do that the Oscars couldn't was give nods to Ghost's stars: Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. (We'll have to check if the Academy of Erotic Pottery Makers ever gave them an award, too.)
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Twin Peaks (1991)

Before the era of dark-and-twisty cable dramas, David Lynch brought Twin Peaks to ABC. The weird, wild mystery of who killed Laura Palmer earned 14 Emmy nominations, but only one win for costume design and editing. The HFP, on the other hand, wisely handed it Globes for Best Drama Series, Best Actor in a TV Drama (Kyle MacLachlin), and Best Supporting Actress (Piper Laurie, with Sherlyn Fenn also nominated).
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock.
Beauty and the Beast (1992)

After the Little Mermaid paved the way for a new generation of Disney films to be admired by adults as much as children, this one swept up an impressive number of accolades. Though it had six Oscar nominations, it won only Best Original Song ("Beauty and the Beast," with "Be Our Guest" and "Belle" also nominated) and Original Score.

In addition to taking home song and score Globes, Beauty and the Beast also became the first animated movie to win Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Crossing fingers this year's live adaptation can do the same.
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Photo: SNAP/REX/Shutterstock.
Mrs. Doubtfire (1994)

In the year of Schindler's List, there wasn't much room for this silly, heartwarming comedy at the Oscars. Thank goodness the Globes were there to award it Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and Best Actor to Robin Williams.
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Photo: Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock.
The X-Files (1994)

For its very first, groundbreaking season, the Fox series took home the Globe for Best Drama series. It got an Emmy that year too — for graphic design. The TV Academy woke up the next year and began to nominate it for bigger things.
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock.
Claire Danes, My So-Called Life (1995)

Before it was the poster child of gone-too-soon cult favorites, there was one group of viewers who loved this ABC teen drama while it was on the air, and they gave Claire Danes the Best Actress in a Drama Globe. She earned an Emmy nod later that year, after the show had already been canceled.
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Photo: Columbia/REX/Shutterstock.
Sense and Sensibility (1996)

Should a movie based on a Jane Austen novel, adapted by another woman (Emma Thompson), and about women figuring out the best way to live in a world structured to make them dependent on men beat out such macho competitors as Braveheart and Apollo 13?

Hell, yes. Sense and Sensibility took home two Globes, for Best Drama and Adapted Screenplay (with actress, director, and score nods). Thompson went on to win the Oscar for her screenplay, too.
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Photo: MARK J. TERRILL/AP/REX/Shutterstock.
Keri Russell, Felicity (1999)

Before it was cool for grownups to like teen shows, the Golden Globes did. This WB series was nominated for Best Drama Series, and Russell won for Best Actress in a TV Drama Series, beating the likes of Gillian Anderson and Julianna Margulies. The Emmys never met a WB or CW show it couldn't ignore.
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Photo: Melinda Sue Gordon/Paramount/REX/Shutterstock.
Jim Carrey, The Truman Show (1999)

Carrey put aside his broad comedic chops to play this early, extreme version of a reality-TV star, and was widely met with critical acclaim. He won the Globe for Best Actor in a Drama, while the Academy skipped right over him without so much as a nomination. Sure, it was a crowded field that year. But, c'mon, The Truman Show was pure gold.
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Photo: 20th Century Fox Television/REX/Shutterstock.
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2001)

A show about teens and vampires airing on the WB and UPN was never going to get a serious look from those haughty Academy members. But this one time, in the middle of the series' run, Gellar had a shot at Best Actress in a Drama Series.
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Photo: Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock.
Jennifer Garner, Alias (2002)

Maybe you remember the wigs, cat suits and Krav Maga. But Garner also had her share of heavy, dramatic scenes on the drama. The HFP recognized this from day one, awarding her with Best Actress in a TV Drama Series (she beat the likes of Edie Falco and Lauren Graham). The series went on to get plenty of Emmy nominations throughout its run, but never a major win.
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock.
Brokeback Mountain (2006)

Awards shows do love a good western — and Ang Lee's gay cowboy movie didn't just check off a number of boxes for voters and critics, it was well deserving of the praise.

Among its seven Globe nominations, the movie took home Best Picture Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Original Song. Somehow, at the Oscars — though Brokeback had all the major nods, and wins for director, score, and song — Crash (ugh) went home with Best Picture.
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Photo: J. Vespa/Getty Images.
The Office (U.K. version) (2004)

Ricky Gervais' series had come and gone in the U.K., most of the U.S. had never heard of him or his show. Yet he managed to win Best TV Comedy and Best Actor in a TV Comedy Series in 2003. You have this win to thank for the existence of the U.S. version, and for Gervais' gigs as host of the show.
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Photo: Scott Garfield/ABC-TV/REX/Shutterstock.
Grey's Anatomy (2006)

While the series eventually became an Emmy favorite in the acting categories, the Globes were the first to give it hardware. Sandra Oh won Best Supporting Actress in 2006, and the show took home Best TV Drama in 2007.
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Photo: Barry Wetcher/20th Century Fox/REX/Shutterstock.
Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada (2007)

Of course, Meryl Streep won the Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy and was nominated for an Oscar (even though Anne Hathaway was the real lead): She's Meryl Freaking Streep.

But it was a delightful surprise to see then-little-known Emily Blunt get a Best Supporting Actress nomination, making everyone take a second look at just how good she was in her part.
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Jon Hamm, Mad Men (2008)

For almost the entirety of Mad Men's run, Hamm was called the "Susan Lucci" of the Primetime Emmys, nominated year after year without a win until 2015. Never forget, though, that the Golden Globes gave Don Draper his due just after the first season. The series won Best Drama that year, too.
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Anna Paquin, True Blood (2009)

You can rank mind-reading waitresses who date vampires just behind vampire-slaying cheerleaders in the list of characters we don't normally expect to rack up statuettes.

Maybe Paquin's Oscar pedigree, or the show's home on HBO, helped the HFP to notice her excellent performance amid the show's supernatural nuttiness and give her the Best Actress in a TV Drama Award.
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Photo: Paul Drinkwater/NBC-TV/REX/Shutterstock.
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation (2014)

Poehler seemed happy enough to see her friends beat her for the Best Actress in a TV Comedy award six out of six times she was nominated. The fact that she beat them for the Golden Globe one of those years must help alleviate the sting a little.
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Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin (2015)

While her telenovela-inspired CW show continues to fly under Emmys' radar, Rodriguez proved herself a worthy star with her beautiful speech after her surprise win for Best Actress in a TV Comedy. "This award is so much more than myself. It represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes." Sniff.
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Photo: George Pimentel/Getty Images.
Transparent (2015)

Who was expecting an Amazon series to win awards back in 2015? Wins for the series and for Jeffrey Tambor that year felt like part of the zeitgeist — for streaming shows, and for trans acceptance. These Globes paved the way for Emmy wins later on.
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Photo: Amazon Studios/American Zoetrope/REX/Shutterstock.
Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle (2016)

This little Amazon show about classical musicians went largely unnoticed for over a year until the HFP shocked everyone and handed over Globes for Best TV Comedy and Best Actor in a TV Comedy. Many of us took to binging this one right after its win and were thankful for the heads up.
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Photo: Courtesy of Starz.
Outlander (2016)

If this historical epic aired on HBO, you just know it would be an Emmy favorite. At least the Golden Globes have had the sense to tune in. The series, Caitriona Balfe, and Tobias Menzies all got nods last year. Sadly, only Balfe is nominated in 2017.
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Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2016)

TV critics and fans weren't surprised by Bloom's win for Best Actress in a TV Comedy last year. But given its low ratings, it was clear that others were completely unaware of her charm until she took the stage. This win was possibly what gave the CW the confidence to grant the series a second season.
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Photo: Kevin Winters/Getty Images.
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation, & Will Smith, Concussion (2016)

In the year of #OscarsSoWhite, at least the HFP recognized the stunning performances of these two Black actors. They rendered null any argument by the Academy that there just weren't performances out there worthy of their nods.
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