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2021 Golden Globes: Gillian Anderson (The Crown) rules as Iron Lady


Emmy winner Gillian Anderson scored her sixth career Golden Globe nomination this year for her acclaimed performance as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in “The Crown.” It’s been 14 years since Anderson was last nominated at the Globes (for “Bleak House” in 2007). Prior to that she reaped four consecutive nominations for playing the iconic FBI Agent Dana Scully on Fox’s classic sci-fi drama “The X-Files” from 1996 to 1999, winning her only Globe for that role in 1997.

Netflix’s flagship drama “The Crown” was created by Oscar, Emmy and Tony-nominated writer Peter Morgan. The series’s current cast debuted in 2019 for its third season, with Oscar and Emmy winner Olivia Colman replacing Emmy winner Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, Tobias Menzies stepping in for Matt Smith as Prince Phillip, Helena Bonham Carter replacing Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret, and a raft of new characters joining the fold like Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles and Erin Doherty as Princess Anne. The fourth season, which premiered last November to glowing reviews stateside (it has an impressive 97% freshness rating at Rotten Tomatoes), introduced relative newcomer Emma Corrin as Diana and Anderson as Thatcher.

SEE 2021 Golden Globes nominations list: Nominees for 78th annual ceremony

In taking on the role of the UK’s first female PM, who is depicted as somewhat of an adversary to the Queen, Anderson drives much of the political drama for the season, which is set between 1979 and 1990. Critics have been unanimous in their raves for Anderson’s performance and the actress has now claimed a major trifecta, also garnering nominations at the SAG Awards and the Critics Choice Awards.

At the Globes, Anderson competes against her “Crown” co-star Bonham Carter as well as Emmy winners Julia Garner (“Ozark”), Annie Murphy (“Schitt’s Creek”) and Cynthia Nixon (“Ratched”) in the catch-all Best TV Supporting Actress category. Of this group, Garner is a first-time nominee, finally breaking through at the Globes after winning at the last two Emmys. Similarly, Murphy is a Globe debutante after her Emmy win last year. Nixon is on her sixth Globe nomination but has yet to win a trophy, while Bonham Carter is the Globe veteran of the group, with an impressive nine nominations to her name, though like Nixon she’s still waiting for her first win.

With strong reviews and strong odds, can Anderson actually win that long overdue Globe bookend? The HFPA has already awarded two actors from “The Crown” (Foy and Colman), but the show is not invincible; John Lithgow, who won a truckload of awards for playing PM Winston Churchill in the show’s first season, surprisingly lost the Globe to Hugh Laurie for “The Night Manager” four years ago.

Also challenging Anderson is that all five actresses hail from shows that are also nominated in their respective best series races, The Globes have shown time and time again that their winners usually hail from best program nominees, so that puts all of these contenders on equal footing in that regard. But it might be a disadvantage for Anderson that there are two performances from “The Crown” vying for this prize: both women might steal votes away from each other among the relatively tiny HFPA voting pool of around 90 international journalists.

However, ‘The Crown” seems to be on a roll everywhere you look this year. It has six Globe noms this year for Best Drama Series, lead actresses Colman and Corrin, lead actor O’Connor and supporting actresses Anderson and Bonham Carter. That’s up from three nominations in 2017, two in 2018 and four last year, and makes it the most nominated TV program this year. It cleaned up at the SAG Awards too with five nominations. Not bad for a show in its fourth season.

Anderson was also more front-and-center during the show’s fourth season than her co-star in this category, so perhaps vote-splitting won’t be a problem. If we also assume that the HFPA aren’t head-over-heels for “Schitt’s Creek” like their Emmy counterparts were (this is their first time nominating that show at all), and they aren’t as passionate about “Ratched” or “Ozark” (which both received fewer nominations than “The Crown”), maybe it is safe to bet on Anderson to triumph on Golden Globe night.

This article is a part of Gold Derby’s “Golden Globes nominee profile” series spotlighting the 2021 contenders in film and TV.

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