13 Reasons Why is a cultural force. The story tackles issues that so many teens face, but is rarely talked about in the greater media — particularly "prestige" media, whose stories revolve around adults.
The Selena Gomez-produced drama, based on the Jay Asher book of the same name, focused on the realities of teenage depression and how it can lead to suicide. It's just as much of a portrait of real-life warning signs as it is entertainment, a difficult line for the show to straddle. Indeed, it received a slew of criticism from mental health organizations, but fans found themselves able to relate to Hannah Baker, portrayed by Katherine Langford, because her story is painfully real.
Langford was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Drama Television Series. It's the only Golden Globe award that 13 Reasons Why was nominated for. Langford's performance was dazzling, but the show as a whole seems to have been disregarded by the awards committees at large. It's a phenomenon we noticed earlier this year when the show was shut out of the Emmy Awards.
At the time, Morgan Baila wrote that there may be two reasons for its snub: "a number of teen suicides have allegedly been linked to the fictional series" and "the show is confirmed for a second season," meaning that judges are hesitant to honor a controversial show that is still in its nascent form.
Is this still the case with the Golden Globes? It's arguably one of the biggest nights for Hollywood and TV — and certainly it's booziest. If there was a place for 13 Reasons Why to receive its due, it would be here, with Netflix basking in the glow of receiving noms in several categories.
Ultimately, it could come down to Netflix not campaigning for the show. It could also be that teen girls' interests are often not taken as seriously as adults'. In 2014, Hazel Cills wrote for Rookie Mag that "when you applaud or critique a young girl’s taste based on how well or badly it aligns with yours, you are suggesting that your taste = THE RIGHT TASTE, because you are the one IN THE KNOW." In other words, by placing the tastes and interests of teen girls below other, more "refined" culture, you're deifying your own taste, which is, well, kind of stuck-up. (Full disclosure: I contributed to Rookie Mag).
In any case, Langford has some stiff competition in her category, being nominated alongside Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid's Tale and Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Deuce. It's a bit of comfort for fans of 13 Reasons Why who are incensed that it hasn't collected more awards.
The Golden Globes will air on NBC, at 8pm EST on Jan. 7, 2018.