Apple’s debut lineup of original TV shows may have originally been panned by critics, but there’s been little doubt that they’re a hit with many typical viewers, and now it looks like Apple’s crown jewel, The Morning Show, has just begun receiving its first award nominations, and there are some pretty big ones here.
Both of the leads, Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, have been nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series in the drama category, an award for which they’ll ironically be competing with each other, as well as other contenders Olivia Colman (The Crown, Netflix), Jodie Comer (Killing Eve BBC America), and Nicole Kidman (Big Little Lies, HBO).
In addition, The Morning Show has also been nominated for Best Television Series in the drama category, competing against HBO’s Big Little Lies, Netflix’s The Crown, BBC America’s Killing Eve, and HBO’s Succession.
While it’s not nearly as big of a deal as a Golden Globe, Billy Crudup has also been nominated for a Critics’ Choice award as Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Cory Ellison in The Morning Show. In that category, he’ll be up against Asante Blackk and Justin Hartley, both of NBC’s This Is Us, Asia Kate Dillon of Showtime’s Billions, Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones (HBO), Delroy Lindo of The Good Fight (CBS All Access), and Tim Blake Nelson from HBO’s Watchmen.
Apple’s History of Awards
To be clear, these aren’t the first nominations Apple has received for original video content — Apple’s Carpool Karaoke has won Emmy Awards for Outstanding Short Form Variety Series two years in a row, and even before that, Apple won an Emmy in 2014 for “Most Outstanding Commercial of the Year” for its Christmas-themed “Misunderstood” iPhone 5s ad.
What makes these a big deal, however, is that they’re the first nominations that Apple is receiving since making its massive play for original content. Apple is spending billions of dollars on original shows for Apple TV+, not only on the productions themselves but also on their stars, and Apple has made it clear that it aims to win Oscars and Emmys for its efforts, which are crucial to ensuring that the power brokers in Hollywood take the company’s entry into the business seriously.
Winning Golden Globe awards would be sweet vindication for Apple, which has already been encountering a lot of negative reviews of its shows. Apple has dismissed many of those as coming from critics who feel it has no business being in the entertainment industry and may be hoping to see its efforts fail, but at the same time it also faces an uphill struggle, both from rival streaming services like Netflix as well as those who look upon streaming services with a jaundiced eye as being somehow inferior to traditional network television.
When those reviews came in, I didn’t know what show they were watching. I thought they were nuts. I thought there were a lot of Apple haters who just wanted Apple to fail. The reviews felt like an attack on Apple.Mimi Leder, executive producer, The Morning Show
That said, critics have been coming around as The Morning Show has progressed. In fact, Stuart Heritage of The Guardian, who originally panned the show, has completely reversed course, to the point of actually apologizing for his first impressions. After getting a chance to pre-screen the last episode of season 1 (which we mere mortals won’t be able to see until Apple releases it on Dec. 20), Heritage called it “one of the most impressive season finales of the decade” adding that he’s “desperate for everyone to watch it.” He also adds that Jennifer Aniston has been a “revelation” in her transformation into a “truly incredible dramatic actor” and that Billy Crudup’s character of Cory Ellison “may well be the single best television character of the year.”
That said, however, while Apple’s nominations are certainly a big deal — as the saying goes, it’s an honour just to be nominated — and critics are coming around to the quality of its shows, it’s still up against some pretty heavy hitters from rival streaming services like Netflix, which as Variety puts it, has “ruled” the Golden Globe nominations this year with shows like The Crown and Unbelievable, and also has a massive head start on Apple on the big screen, with The Irishman, and Marriage Story both being nominated. Meanwhile, Apple is still struggling to get its first feature film out the door, after running into some bad luck with The Banker.
Apple may still have a leg up here, however, since The Morning Show is classic Golden Globe fare in terms of its style and subject matter, and Golden Globe voters also frequently reward new shows and stars. Either way, we’ll have to wait until early next year to find out — the Golden Globes television awards ceremony will be held on January 5, 2020.