By Alan Carter
Special to TelevisionWeek
Historically, when it comes to Golden Globes voting in the drama category, huge ratings mean nothing.
If this were the People’s Choice Awards or even the Emmys, ABC’s “Lost,” one of the fall’s biggest hits, would likely be favored to win. But NBC’s ratings juggernaut “ER” lost seven times, including once to a then-upstart “Party of Five.” “The West Wing” has won only once in five tries and wasn’t nominated this time around. Lower-rated and lower-profile cable fare such as FX’s “Nip/Tuck” and HBO’s “Deadwood” did make the cut.
The voters in the drama category seem to be, well, fickle. In the past 10 years, eight different shows have won, and only one show, “The X-Files,” has won twice in a row. Last year’s winner, “24,” has a chance of duplicating that feat. Globe voters clearly love the show; it’s been nominated each of the past four years.
Howard Gordon, one of the series’ executive producers, said “24” has a good chance to repeat because, he said, “The story line we had dealing with biological weapons was the centerpiece of our season, and the story has international relevance.”
Still, Mr. Gordon is hedging his bets. “We’d love to defend our title and win,” he said. “The nomination is a great validation for us. But we are also fans of all the shows we are up against. We know how strong the category is this year.”
He’s right. The HBO mob drama “The Sopranos” is coming off one of its most acclaimed seasons. The show is nominated for the fifth time (it won in 2000). The season’s emotional high point, the whacking of Drea de Matteo’s character Adriana, reminded critics and viewers how the show can make you laugh and cry and scare the hell out of you all at the same time.
Not to be outdone, the cutups at “Nip/Tuck,” the lauded plastic surgery drama, pulled out all the stops this season, showcasing series lead Julian McMahon as the guy you love to hate to love, the very un-Christian Dr. Christian Troy. It won’t hurt that Mr. McMahon is from Australia; the Hollywood Foreign Press Association occasionally likes to reward its colleagues from abroad.
The fact that the Troy character spent more time operating in the bedroom than in the operating room won’t hurt either. Globe voters don’t mind sex or violence, as evidenced by recent winners in this category, “The Shield” and “Six Feet Under.”
When it comes to edgy, the HBO Western “Deadwood” is in a category all its own. Some critics found the harsh and coarse language a little, well, #$*!%@-up. But Globe voters might go for the show if only to see how a clip from it would play on network TV. They might also want to make it up to David Milch, the show’s respected creator and showrunner, for honoring his “NYPD Blue” only one once in five tries.
A well-regarded cast, including Timothy Olyphant, Molly Parker, Powers Boothe, Brad Dourif and best actor nominee Ian McShane, also boosts the chances of a win for “Deadwood.” Ensemble dramas usually have the edge in the Globes over shows with just one or two leads.
That brings us back to “Lost,” which despite being the obvious choice for a group that shuns the obvious, cannot be overlooked. It’s the new kid on the block and has a big ensemble, and that flashy plane crash-one of the most harrowing ever put on TV or film-certainly played well with Globe voters. The chaotic and sometimes grisly aftermath of the crash will be seared in viewers’ minds for years to come.
And the show stars, among others, Matthew Fox, who got his start on previous Globe winner “Party of Five.” This award could be “Lost’s” to lose.