The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced its nominations for the 2020 Golden Globe Awards on Monday, and they included several nods for films and TV series based on books. Here are the highlights:

The Martin Scorsese-directed gangland thriller The Irishman received five nominations, including for Best Motion Picture – Drama. It’s based on the 2004 nonfiction book I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran and Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa by Charles Brandt. Scorsese is up for Best Director – Motion Picture, and it would be his fourth Golden Globe if he wins. Al Pacino, who pays notorious labor leader Hoffa, and Joe Pesci are both up for Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in Any Motion Picture. It’s the 18th Globe nom for Pacino, who’s won four in the past. Steven Zaillian, meanwhile, is up for Best Screenplay – Motion Picture; he won the same award for Schindler’s List, his 1993 adaptation of Thomas Keneally’s 1982 book.


The World War II comedy/drama Jojo Rabbit is up for two awards, including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The Taika Waititi-directed film is based on the decidedly un-comedic 2008 novel Caging Skies by Christin Leunens—which, in many ways, it barely resembles. (You can read Kirkus’ Screener column here, which compares the book and film.) Child actor Roman Griffin Davis received a nom for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical; he plays the titular role of Johannes “Jojo” Betzler—his first and, thus far, only acting credit.

Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig’s film of the Louisa May Alcott classic Little Women received two nods—although, to many observers’ surprise, Best Director – Motion Picture was not among them. Instead, the film received nominations for Saoirse Ronan for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama and composer Alexandre Desplat for Best Original Score – Motion Picture. Ronan, who previously worked with Gerwig on the acclaimed Lady Bird, plays Jo March in the adaptation. Watch for Kirkus’ upcoming Screener column; the movie will be released on Dec. 25.

Christian Bale was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama for his role as real-life British automobile racer Ken Miles in the hit historical sports drama Ford v. Ferrari. The movie is based on A.J. Baime’s 2009 nonfiction book, Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans, which Kirkus’ reviewer called “the ultimate speed-read.” Both focus on the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans car endurance race in the 1960s. Cate Blanchett received a Best Performance by an Actress nomination in the same category, for her turn as the title role in Where’d You Go, Bernadette, a rather gentle adaptation of Maria Semple’s 2012 novel. (It was the subject of Kirkus’ Screener column in August.)

On the TV side, HBO’s second season of Big Little Lies, based on the 2014 novel by Liane Moriarty, got a nod for Best TV Series – Drama. Nicole Kidman, who plays Celeste Wright, received one for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, and Meryl Streep also got a nod for her supporting turn as Celeste’s former mother-in-law. Kidman will compete with Jodie Comer, who was nominated for her role as Russian assassin Villanelle in the BBC America show Killing Eve, based on a series of novels by Luke Jennings. Kit Harington, who played Jon Snow in HBO’s George R.R. Martin adaptation Game of Thrones, is up for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama.

In the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television, Michelle Williams received a nomination for her portrayal of the real-life actress and dancer Gwen Verdon in the FX miniseries Fosse/Verdon. The miniseries was based on Sam Wasson’s 2013 biography Fosse, about Verdon’s longtime lover, the choreographer and director Bob Fosse. Sam Rockwell received a nod for his performance as Fosse, as well, as did Christopher Abbott for his performance as John Yossarian in the Hulu miniseries adaptation of Joseph Heller’s 1961 satire Catch-22. (You can read Kirkus’ Screener column about Catch-22 here.) 

David Rapp is the senior Indie editor.