Golden Globes: Here’s how ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ and Gael Garcia Bernal pulled off those jawdroppers

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Sunday night, “Mozart in the Jungle” shocked many awards pundits by winning two Golden Globe Awards — Best TV Comedy Series and Best TV Comedy Actor for Gael Garcia Bernal — giving it a bigger career haul than the likes of “Modern Family” (1 Globe), “The Office” (1), “The Big Bang Theory” (1), “Orange is the New Black” (0), “Veep” (0) and “Will & Grace” (0). So, how did Amazon’s quirky comedy pull off these double jawdroppers?

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The answer is surprisingly simple: Put a shiny new toy in front of the faces of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association voters, and they just can’t help but play with it.

This year’s comedy lineup was full of also-rans and reruns from other awards shows like “Orange is the New Black,” “Silicon Valley” and “Veep,” making “Mozart in the Jungle” a fresh choice they could anoint as their own, as they did for “Transparent” last year. (While first-season comedy “Casual” was also in the running, none of its actors were nominated, indicating weak overall support.)

The past three winners in this category — “Transparent,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Girls” — were all hip new shows when they prevailed for the top prize. It’s true that “Mozart” officially won for its second season, however the first run of episodes that premiered December 23, 2014 came out after the Golden Globes announced their nominees that year, so essentially this was the first time they were able to consider the show.

One other thing to remember, the full title of the category is “Best Television Series — Musical or Comedy.” That “Musical” designation is key because, just like two-time Globe winner “Glee,” “Mozart in the Jungle” incorporates music into the show. For whatever reason, HFPA members get weak in the knees when music is included, especially when it’s the kind of high-brow, symphonic music you see in every episode of “Mozart.”

As for Best TV Comedy Actor, the Golden Globes regularly give this trophy to the star of a new show, including the last five in a row: Matt LeBlanc (“Episodes”), Don Cheadle (“House of Lies”), Andy Samberg (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), Jeffrey Tambor (“Transparent”) and now Bernal.

It also helps if the star’s show is nominated for Best Comedy Series, as all of the above were but Cheadle. That suggests the other first-time nominees this year — Aziz Ansari, Rob Lowe, Patrick Stewart — were out of the running because their shows — “Master of None,” “The Grinder,” “Blunt Talk” — were all snubbed.

The fact that Bernal is Mexican-born also gave him the edge with members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who love to trumpet global stars for their media outlets across the world. When all of this is taken into consideration, Bernal and “Mozart” simply couldn’t lose.

The HFPA has a rich history of being the first outlet to put new shows on the awards map, but the Emmys are hit-and-miss with picking up Globe favorites. Case in point, last year the Globes feted “Transparent” for comedy and “The Affair” for drama, and the Emmys then followed suit by nominating “Transparent” but snubbing “The Affair.” How will the Emmys treat “Mozart in the Jungle” later this year? Time will tell.

Related: Our Golden Globes review has Ricky Gervais stumbling

We now move on to the SAG Awards next. Make your predictions beginning with Best TV Comedy Actress to the right or at the bottom of this post.

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Photo Credit: Jim Smeal/REX Shutterstock

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