The Martian movie poster

Another controversial year! No one thought The Martian was funny except maybe the New York Times critic, but it did have a lot of humor in it, and when Fox submitted it in the Comedy or Musical category the HFPA went along with it. In her review for the TImes, Manohla Dargis wrote, “This is the third of Ridley Scott’s films set beyond the dark side of the Moon. Hands down it’s also the funniest, loosest and most optimistic of the group, at once an ode to far-out adventuring and to terra-firma home, a sweeping, old-fashioned entertainment and a plaintive portrait of solitude as both a creative necessity and a danger.” So, who’s to argue: the HFPA bylaws require a 2/3 supermajority of the eligibility committee to overturn a category in which a film is submitted by a studio.

In any event, it was a terrific film, and the second Golden Globe winner directed by Scott where he came away empty-handed. For 20th Century Fox it was a very good year. Not only did it win both Best Picture Comedy or Musical and Best Picture Drama, it also had three nominees among the five comedy or musicals. The Revenant was the Best Picture Drama winner, and it also won the Oscar. The Martian, however, was their box office champ. It grossed over $600 million and was the year’s ninth biggest performer. 

Based on a self-published novel that became a literary sensation, it was enthusiastically endorsed by the scientific community. The plot was simple. During a manned mission to Mars, a spaceship is threatened by a fierce storm. The crew regretfully take off leaving behind astronaut Mark Watney, who is presumed dead. But he has survived and, using his ingenuity, he finds a way to signal Earth that he is alive, and a team of international scientists works tirelessly to bring "the Martian" home. Matt Damon played the Martian and was ably supported by an all-star cast which included Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Donald Glover, Aksel Hennie, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

The other Golden Globe nominees for Best Musical or Comedy were Joy, Spy, The Big Short and Trainwreck. Besides Damon, the other nominees for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy were Al Pacino for Danny Collins, Mark Ruffalo for Infinitely Polar Bear and both Christian Bale and Steve Carell for The Big Short. Jennifer Lawrence was Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for Joy. Her fellow nominees were Lily Tomlin for Grandma, Melissa McCarthy for Spy, Maggie Smith for The Lady in the Van, and Amy Schumer for Trainwreck.

No comedy actors or actresses were nominated in the supporting category.