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Military Movies Almost Shut Out in 2021 Golden Globes Nominations

Chadwick Boseman stars in Spike Lee's movie "Da 5 Bloods." (Netflix)

The fallout from the 2020 pandemic continues, as the 78th annual Golden Globes nominations were just announced about a month after the ceremony's originally scheduled date.

Military-themed movies were nearly shut out of the awards, including a few titles and performances that had seemed like sure nominees and possible winners.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association gives out the awards, which are traditionally considered a warmup and possible predictor for the Oscars. The ceremony is usually a raucous event with dinner and drinks at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, but this year's show will be held remotely with hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey appearing live from Los Angeles and New York City, respectively, on Feb. 28.

Nominations for military-themed movies are thin on the ground, but here are the performances and films recognized by the group.

'Hillbilly Elegy'

Glenn Close certainly gave her all in a performance as future Marine J.D. Vance's beloved Mamaw in the movie based on his best-selling memoir. Vance's time in the Corps didn't play as big a role in the movie as it did in the book, but the film makes clear that it was his grandmother who motivated him to better his life.

Close is nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture.

'The Mauritanian'

The COVID-19 pandemic caused so many delays with release dates that the eligibility window has been extended to include movies that haven't even been released yet. "The Mauritanian" will open in theaters on Feb. 19, but the HFPA members have already seen it and decided to honor it with a couple of nominations.

"The Mauritanian" is based on the real-life story of Guantanamo detainee Mohamedou Ould Salahi, an accused terrorist who spent years in custody without charges. Tahir Rahim plays Salahi in a much buzzed-about performance, and Jodie Foster comes out of near-retirement to play the attorney who takes up his cause.

Related: 10 Military Movies to See in 2021

Rahim is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama, and Foster is nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture.

'The Trial of the Chicago 7'

Is a movie about the fallout from the 1968 Democratic Convention protests against the Vietnam War a military movie? You can argue that both ways. Aaron Sorkin's movie about the notorious real-life trial of eight anti-war leaders (one case was later declared a mistrial and dropped) has a lot of say about freedom of speech and the right to protest. The writer of "A Few Good Men" still loves a good courtroom scene.

The film got seven nominations, including for Best Motion Picture-Drama. Sacha Baron Cohen's performance as Abbie Hoffman was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture. Baron Cohen is a double nominee, also nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical for his return performance as the legendary Kazakh journalist in "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm."

Sorkin is nominated for Best Director-Motion Picture and Best Screenplay-Motion Picture. The film even picked up a fifth nomination for Best Original Song-Motion Picture for Celeste and Daniel Pemberton's tune "Hear My Voice.

Granted, that's not a shutout, but we've got two movies that explicitly set out to criticize U.S. foreign policy and one that arguably downplays military service as a key element of its hero's character.

What got snubbed by the Golden Globes?

'Da 5 Bloods'

Spike Lee's drama about Vietnam War veterans who reunite for a visit to their old battleground is one of his finest movies and features a shattering performance from Delroy Lindo as a soldier who's never processed the guilt and anger he feels from his war service.

Chadwick Boseman is incandescent in flashback scenes as the commanding officer who was killed in the war. His death has hung over the four men's lives for decades, and the truth about his demise is devastating.

"Da 5 Bloods" seemed like a lock for Best Motion Picture-Drama and Best Screenplay-Motion Picture. Add in Lindo for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama and Boseman for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture, and you're looking at a minimum of four. Terence Blanchard's musical score also seemed a possible nominee if momentum was in the movie's favor.

What happened? Maybe it's a Netflix issue. "Da 5 Bloods" is a Netflix movie. So is "Mank," David Fincher's movie about the making of "Citizen Kane, which earned the most nominations with a total of six. "The Trial of the Chicago 7" is also a Netflix movie.

Boseman seems likely to win a posthumous Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama for his role in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," a movie released by, wait for it, Netflix.

Maybe the Oscars will clean up this mess and give the movie the recognition it deserves.

Related: Here Are the 10 Best Military Movies of 2020

'The Outpost'

Rod Lurie's movie about the 2009 Battle of Kamdesh at Combat Outpost Keating might have been a legitimate theatrical hit if theaters had been open in 2020, and that box office might have given it some awards season momentum.

Army Staff Sgts. Ty Carter and Clint Romesha both received the Medal of Honor for their heroism during the battle, and West Point graduate Lurie made a movie that both understood the stakes of the battle and effectively conveyed them to a non-military audience.

Caleb Landry Jones gave an awards-worthy performance as Ty Carter, and "The Outpost" could have been a legitimate dark horse contender in the Best Picture, Director and Screenplay categories.

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks had a double shutout this year. His performance as a Civil War veteran determined to reunite a lost girl with her family in Paul Greengrass' "News of the World" seems like the exact kind of steady and old-school movie star performance that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association loves. Nope, no nomination there.

Apple released Hanks' World War II passion project "Greyhound," a movie about a captain leading his first mission across the Atlantic and dodging U-boats as he delivers American troops to the front in Europe. It's a short and very entertaining action picture, focused on the mission. Hanks wrote the screenplay, and the organization loves nominating people for jobs they don't normally have. If they passed on Hanks as lead actor for "News of the World," a screenplay nomination for "Greyhound" wouldn't have been a big surprise.

A TV Surprise

"Hunters," Amazon's over-the-top series about a fictional band of Nazi hunters in 1970s America, wasn't on anyone's list of potential awards contenders. That didn't stop the HFPA from recognizing Al Pacino's outrageous turn as Meyer Offerman for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series-Drama. "Hunters" is slated for a second season even though production has been postponed by the pandemic.

Related: 'Hunters' Confronts America's Post-War Nazi Secrets and Gets Pretty Wild

Oscar nominations will be announced March 15 in advance of an April 25 ceremony. Here's hoping they recognize some of these deserving movies.

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