If you’re looking for predictions, look no further. No, not here, as in this article, but there, on Indiewire’s official 2015 Golden Globes predictions page. There you’ll find who’s likely to score nods from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association bright and early Thursday morning. Here, Indiewire’s Awards Editor Peter Knegt and TV Critic Ben Travers draw your attention to some performers who may not make it to the Beverly Hilton’s January soiree, but are just as deserving—if not more—of your attention. If you see their name called on Thursday, all the better. If not, don’t discount some of the best performances of 2014.
Aden Young – “Rectify”
The second season of Ray McKinnon’s starkly beautiful drama “Rectify” showcased more than just gorgeous cinematography and intricately paced plots. It reintroduced us to Aden Young, an actor we first met in Season 1 as a man trying to adjust to life outside four closely-placed walls. The first six episodes studied Young’s Daniel Holden from a short distance, but a space between audience and character nonetheless. We watched, learned, and grew to understand the wrongly-convicted ex-con.
Season 2 brought us even closer. Daniel decided he wasn’t going to spend his life waiting to be imprisoned again and instead began making decisions more impulsively, based off his immediate desires. Young captures the subtle change with a surprising command, digging deep into Daniel’s psyche rather than treading cautiously through it. If before we saw the calm, contrasting image of a man impossible of killing, Young brought out the character’s ferocity in Season 2. We can’t wait to see what happens next year.
Amy Landecker – “Transparent”
Our fingers are seriously crossed that Jill Soloway’s brilliant Amazon Prime series “Transparent” is all over the Golden Globe nominations. The series itself and its lead Jeffrey Tambor seem like the most likely ways that might happen, but the show’s entire cast is so good, not least of all Amy Landecker as the eldest Pfefferman sibling. She handled her character’s arc—which in just 10 episodes includes both a divorce and a mid-life coming out—with a brilliant mix of heart, vulnerability and comic timing. As far as we’re concerned, she’s actually the series’ MVP, which says a lot given how good everyone is (I’d be all for the entire cast getting nominated). But she’ll be competing in the Globes’ Supporting Actress category, which is open to all forms of television—comedy, drama or TV movie/miniseries—meaning Landecker’s competition is pretty extensive.
Richard Jenkins – “Olive Kitteridge”
It’s kind of surprising given how fantastic it was that more people didn’t talk about HBO’s miniseries “Olive Kitteridge” when it aired last month. Directed by Lisa Cholodenko, it was definitely one of the best things to air on TV in 2014, though admittedly a bit more of a slow burn than a lot of viewers might be used to. But hopefully Globe voters consider it anyway, because it would be a downright tragedy if it and its lead actress Frances McDormand don’t get nominated. And while that seems like a strong possibility (here’s hoping they win too), it seems less likely that Richard Jenkins makes the cut of the very competitive race for Best Supporting Actor. As McDormand’s titular character’s long suffering husband, Jenkins gives some of the best work of his career here, but he’ll likely be overshadowed by his co-star Bill Murray. The Globes love to nominate stars, and while Murray is great in “Kitteridge,” it’s really not much more than a cameo. Jenkins is front and center for at least half of the series, and his unique chemistry with McDormand is one of the best things about “Kitteridge.”
Ann Dowd – “The Leftovers”
And like that, Ann Dowd was everywhere. Though certainly not short of work before, Dowd’s career got a boost from her unsettling role in the indie hit “Compliance,” the 2012 true story of a prank phone call taken to the worst possible extreme. From there, the veteran thespian popped up in everything from “Side Effects” to “True Detective” to “The Drop.” Yet even her roles in higher profile pieces paled in comparison to her stunning turn in “The Leftovers”—and not just because she dressed in all white.
For Damon Lindelof’s adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s novel of the same name, Dowd found something unique in what would quickly become the series’ most frightening villain. As the leader of a quickly-growing cult whose mission was to antagonize Average Joe citizens in order to remind them of an inexplicable tragedy three years earlier, Dowd played Patti as no one else could. Clever? Sure. Calculating? You bet. Master plan in mind? Like you wouldn’t believe. But beyond all that, Dowd found an impossible balance between empathy, fear, and utter madness. Patti never became a cartoon, despite conducting evils that could have been comical had they not been so effectively unnerving. Dowd left a mark on a show packed with perfect performances, and for them and for herself she deserves the attention of us all.
Rob Lowe – “Parks and Recreation”
If you’re looking for the longest of long shots, here it is. Not only has Rob Lowe never been nominated for his dynamic, endlessly energetic role as Chris Traeger on “Parks and Recreation,” but he only appeared in four eligible episodes before leaving the show in early 2014. While the Globes have favored him more than the TV Academy (five Globes nods to only one shout-out from Emmy), Lowe’s comedic efforts on the oft-ignored “Parks” is likely to go down as one of the most criminally-unheralded performances of all time. It’s hard to imagine a better one that received zero nominations, a fact especially frustrating because Lowe himself has earned the respect of his peers time and time again. Why not for this? I may never know, but I’ll also always keep the torch alight for the unparalleled Chris Traeger.
Anna Faris – “Mom”
“Mom” was shutout of the Globes in its first time out, but given the Emmy win for Allison Janney after that fact, one suspects at the very least Janney will make up for that this year. But here’s hoping her co-star Anna Faris joins her. The comedy actress category continues to be a gloriously stacked one, but we really hope they find room for Faris in there. Alongside Janney, she rose above often sub-par material to make “Mom” one of the most entertaining comedy series on network television and—gasp—one that has made us a weekly viewer of CBS for the first time since ever (okay, since our childhood obsession with “Murphy Brown,” but shh…) What’s more is that Faris has been horribly underrated her entire career (we personally think her work in Gregg Araki’s “Smiley Face” is absolute genius), and it would be nice to see her finally get some sort of recognition.
Jonathan Groff – “Looking”
We suspect very few bones will be thrown the way of HBO’s “Looking,” though the Globes definitely have a history of thinking more outside the box than the Emmys. And if they do, it would certainly be warranted, as “Looking” was also one of our favorite new series of the past year. And that had a lot to do with its lead actor Jonathan Groff. In just eight episodes, Groff takes protagonist Patrick and, with the help of some very tight writing, develops him into one of television’s most complex characters, an extraordinarily imperfect antihero we aren’t sure we should be rooting for. How voters can (and likely will) check the box next to Jim Parsons in “The Big Bang Theory” and not even think about Groff is beyond us.
Emily Mortimer – “The Newsroom”
When Emily Mortimer first signed on for “The Newsroom,” she was asked to drop her native accent in favor of an American one. Wisely, they later rewrote the character to incorporate Mortimer’s British tongue, in part because the versatile thespian struggled with combining Aaron Sorkin’s long-winded monologues with an alien accent. This “failure,” if you can even call it that, is the only one on Mortimer’s pristine acting reel to date.
As MacKenzie McHale, a veteran EP who covered Iraq from the war zone and as well as a Cambridge graduate, Mortimer has humanized a character it would be easier to play straight. “War correspondant? Truth seeker? Impeccable morals? Got it.” That would be the easy response, but it would also be entirely incorrect. Mac spent most of Season 1 transitioning back into American society and Season 2 doing her best to right a ship on the brink of disaster. Season 3, though, found her with a take-no-bull approach to her job and personal life, a quality both intrinsic to the character throughout the series and refreshingly effecting in the new year. Women get a bad rap on “The Newsroom,” but any so-called “failures” cannot be ascribed to Mortimer.
Terry Crews – “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
Terry Crews is so good on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” it’s actually hard for the show to keep up with his many talents. Don’t get me wrong. The sophomore FOX comedy has had a fine Season 2, incorporating their all-around talented cast effectively. Still, when Crews’ Sgt. Terry Jeffords was guilted into participating in a dance contest, the results were less impressive than this. Why? I can only imagine because it would have taken too long to explain why a married police officer and father of two could perform such elaborate, physically specific dance moves.
Still, when Crews is given the chance to flex, he most certainly takes advantage. In what was easily the highlight of the series if not TV comedy as a whole, Crews was asked to act like a seven-year-old boy in order to teach a lesson to his fellow police officers. Never mind the reasoning. Just enjoy the results.
Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson – “Broad City”
We’re cheating a bit here, but we couldn’t decide between the broads of “Broad City” so we’re vouching for them both. Because really, that show is such an incredible two hander—both in performance and behind the scenes—that picking Ilana Glazer over Abbi Jacobson or vice versa would feel very wrong (though here’s hoping Golden Globe voters at least pick one of them, though that sadly seems unlikely). Their glorious blend of physical and stoner comedy makes for one of the best things on television right now as far as we’re concerned, and there are not too many Globe nominations which would theoretically make us happier.