The Hollywood Foreign Press Association awarded accolades to Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman and Tom Hiddleston for the BBC’s The Night Manager, while Claire Foy was celebrated for her turn in Netflix’s The Crown, which also won Best TV Drama. Aaron Taylor-Johnson surprised audiences by picking up the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama award for his performance in Nocturnal Animals.
So, yes, well done us. But aside from Taylor-Johnson’s unexpected win, all of these awards are for TV, not film, and so they don’t necessarily hint at Oscars glory for UK talent this year.
The US’s interest in British television has grown and grown in in the last few years. British TV exports to the US rose 10 per cent to more than $800m in 2014. Downton Abbey became American network PBS’s highest-rated series in history, and Call The Midwife has also been popular on the network. BBC America has scored high ratings with Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Broadchurch, while The Night Manager and Tom Hardy’s Taboo are successful BBC co-productions with AMC and FX respectively.
Meanwhile, the growth of streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon means British programming is more easily finding an international audience. US Netflix has hosted a number of British shows including Happy Valley, Peaky Blinders, The Fall, Luther, Lovesick, and Netflix originals like The Crown, while Amazon has found American audiences for Fleabag and Ripper Street – the latter was cancelled until Amazon helped fund its recommission.
So it is true that more British television is reaching a wider American audience than ever before – and scooping up more awards as a result.
But in terms of the film industry, Brits like Taylor-Johnson winning at the Golden Globes says nothing at all. As Mark Kermode wrote back in 2011, “In truth, the movie industries of Britain and America are inextricably intertwined […] Sadly, there’s little that’s newsworthy about that arrangement.”