The Mandalorian is the first-ever live-action Star Wars TV show, and it’s freaking great. Game of Thrones alum Pedro Pascal plays the title character, a bounty hunter who has an attack of conscience when asked to deliver up the adorable Baby Yoda to a criminal. He spends the rest of the excellent first season on the run with his new sidekick. The show keeps things simple and straightforward, which gives it a headlong energy that’s incredibly refreshing as more shows embrace boundless sprawl.
The Mandalorian also takes risks, like having its star wear a helmet for all but a few seconds of an episode late in the season. Conventional wisdom says that you don’t cover up your actors’ faces, even if it would make sense to do so — that’s why no one on Game of Thrones ever wore a helmet in battle despite that being common practice in the Middle Ages. But The Mandalorian proved that you can get attached to a character without having to see their face. In the age of social distancing and face-masks, that could mean a lot.
But it won’t earn you any awards. Variety reports that The Mandalorian has inspired the Golden Globe Awards to rethink their policy regarding masked actors, and their policy is basically that they don’t like them. “[V]oice-only performances are not eligible in any acting category,” announced the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the 85-strong group of journalists who give out the Golden Globes.
Now, because Pascal did show his face for that one brief moment in The Mandalorian season 1, he was eligible to get a Golden Globe for acting — I mean, he wasn’t nominated, but he could have been. But had he never taken off the mask, he would have been disqualified, even though that was Pascal acting under the suit the whole time (well, most of the time) and providing the voice. This rule also excludes all voice actors working on animated shows.
And I think that’s pretty bulls**t. A good performance is a good performance, regardless of whether we see the actors’ face. And while awards shows like the Emmys have separate categories for voice-over performances, it doesn’t look like the Golden Globes do, so this is just a big blind spot.
I think it’s really cool that The Mandalorian was willing to cover up the face of its main character for the sake of the story. That risk should be rewarded, not excluded. Although I don’t imagine Pascal is complaining too much; this is Star Wars money he’s earning. And if other shows want to follow in The Mandalorian’s footsteps and cover up one of their actors’ faces, all they have to do is flash it once to get around this rule.
The second season of The Mandalorian comes out in October.