This year Nick Robinson starred in the coming-of-age teen dramedy “Love, Simon,” which premiered at Mardi Gras Film Festival on February 27 and was released by 20th Century Fox in the United States on March 16. Robinson is mostly known for playing Ryder Scanlan in ABC Family’s “Melissa and Joey” (2010-2015) and Zach Mitchell in “Jurassic World” (2015), so he’s already a familiar face in the industry. Will Hollywood Foreign Press Association voters give him love for his breakthrough performance in “Love, Simon” by nominating him for Best Musical/Comedy Actor at the 2019 Golden Globes?
In the movie, which was directed by Greg Berlanti (“Dawson’s Creek,” “Everwood,” the “Arrow-verse”), written by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger (“This Is Us”) and based on Becky Albertalli’s novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,” Robinson plays the title character, Simon Spier, a high school senior who is still in the closet to his family and friends. When he finds out about an anonymous student, known by the pseudonym “Blue,” who outs himself on a school gossip blog, Simon creates a fake email account and starts communicating with him as “Jacques.” After falling in love with him, Simon spends the movie searching for “Blue,” which turns out to be more difficult and emotionally draining than he had initially thought.
For his performance, Robinson received acclaim from many film critics. Johnny Oleksinski (New York Post) noted that thanks to his “perfectly sensitive performance,” “the stakes are high.” He added that “even when the 22-year-old relative newcomer is simply standing around, he seems to be teetering on the verge of sobbing.” Brian Truitt (USA Today) called Robinson the film’s “emotional rock” who “navigates excitement, happiness, sadness, guilt and anger equally well.” And Kimber Myers (The Playlist) said, “He’s entirely believable in both his vulnerability and his excitement, sharing Simon’s fears and joys with the audience, so we feel them, too.”
Despite his past credits, “Love, Simon” is deemed to be Robinson’s breakthrough role. HFPA voters love to be the first ones to recognize such breakthrough performers, like Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me By Your Name”) and on the TV side Katherine Langford (“13 Reasons Why”), who both snagged bids this year but didn’t end up winning in their respective categories. Robinson has yet to be nominated at any industry award, so the HFPA could very well be the first group to recognize him.
Unlike several other industry awards, the HFPA embraces younger performers who aren’t even always in Best Picture nominees. Just this year they nominated Ansel Elgort (“Baby Driver”) in the Best Musical/ Comedy Actor category, which would be Robinson’s category at next year’s ceremony. Hailee Steinfeld (“The Edge of Seventeen,” 2017) in Best Musical/ Comedy Actress and Shailene Woodley (“The Descendants,” 2012) in Best Supporting Actress are two other of many recent young performers nominated by the HFPA.
On both the TV and movie side, HFPA voters seem to be very welcoming of LGBTQ+ storylines. Recent examples include “Call Me By Your Name” (3 nominations, 2018), “Moonlight” (6 nominations, winner for Best Motion Picture Drama, 2017) on the movie side and “Glee” (10 nominations, 4 wins, 2010-2012), “Will & Grace” (29 nominations, 1998-present) for TV.
Will Robinson be the next young breakthrough performer to be recognized by the HFPA? Let us know what you think down in the comments section.