The important thing to remember when you’re trying to predict the Golden Globes is that there are only about 90 voters. So you’ll never need more than 45 votes to win a Globe, and in many categories you can probably do it with only about 25 or 30.
With so few voters, surprises can be plentiful — more often in the TV categories than in the film categories, although the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association have been known to cross up the prognosticators in both places. This year, “La La Land” looks to be the safest bet to take home lots of statuettes, though “Moonlight” and “Manchester by the Sea” shouldn’t go to the afterparties empty-handed, either.
In fact, the Globes tradition has always been to spread the wealth. My first draft of these predictions had “La La Land” winning six awards – but no film has even won four since 2010’s “The Social Network,” and the only two films ever to win six at the Globes are “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Midnight Express” in the 1970s. So I adjusted, slightly. I now have “La La Land” winning five, which would still be unprecedented in recent years.
On the TV side, who knows? Because the Globes take place in the middle of the television season, HFPA voters relish the opportunity to be the first on board with new shows. And they’re much less inclined to celebrate the same series year after year: Since 2000, the Globes have had repeat winners for drama and comedy series only three times in each category, while the Emmys have gone back-to-back eight times in drama and nine times in comedy.
With that in mind, here are my guesses as to what’ll happen onstage at the Beverly Hilton on Sunday.
MOTION PICTURE CATEGORIES
Best Motion Picture – Drama
“Hell or High Water”
“Manchester by the Sea”
While HFPA members were reportedly fond of “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Lion,” this one looks to be a contest between two critical favorites, Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester by the Sea” and Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight.” When there’s a film in the running that is a clear favorite of critics’ groups — “Boyhood” and “The Social Network” being two recent examples — Globes voters tend to follow suit. For that reason, I’ll go against most prognosticators and say the HFPA will pick the terrific indie film that has won the most critics awards over the terrific indie film that would narrowly get my vote.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Joel Edgerton, “Loving”
Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington, “Fences”
While Andrew Garfield could be a surprise pick, this seems to be a race between two performances that couldn’t be more dissimilar: Casey Affleck’s subtle, quiet one in “Manchester” and Denzel Washington’s thunderous one in “Fences.” My gut says they’ll be impressed and charmed by Denzel, but my head says they’ll follow the lead of most critics and go with Casey.
Prediction: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Amy Adams, “Arrival”
Jessica Chastain, “Miss Sloane”
To my mind, there’s a real wild card in this category: Isabelle Huppert, the legendary French actress who’s never before been nominated for a Globe despite a celebrated film career of more than 40 years. Will Globe voters, who represent international outlets, take the opportunity to reward one of the foremost international stars? I think they just might, although in the end Natalie Portman’s uncanny performance as an iconic First Lady may just be undeniable.
Prediction: Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
“20th Century Women”
“Florence Foster Jenkins”
“La La Land”
This one was a no-brainer before the first nominating ballot was cast. “20th Century Women” is inventive and touching, “Deadpool” is a delicious surprise, “Florence Foster Jenkins” is thoroughly entertaining and “Sing Street” is utterly charming — but the dazzling musical “La La Land” is the kind of movie for which this category was designed.
Prediction: “La La Land”
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Colin Farrell, “The Lobster”
Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
Hugh Grant, “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Jonah Hill, “War Dogs”
Ryan Reynolds, “Deadpool”
Ryan Gosling is a singing, dancing movie star at the heart of an irresistible song-and-dance spectacle. But if voters are determined to spread the wealth, they might go for Hugh Grant (overdue) or Ryan Reynolds (hot) instead.
Prediction: Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Annette Bening, “20th Century Women”
Lily Collins, “Rules Don’t Apply”
Hailee Steinfeld, “The Edge of Seventeen”
Emma Stone, “La La Land”
Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”
If “La La Land” wins for musical or comedy, and Ryan Gosling wins for musical/comedy actor, could Emma Stone possibly not win in this category? Don’t bet on it — Annette Bening and Meryl Streep are certifiable legends doing great work, but Stone is the glorious heart of her movie.
Prediction: Emma Stone, “La La Land”
Best Supporting Actor in Any Motion Picture
Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”
Simon Helberg, “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Dev Patel, “Lion”
Aaron Taylor Johnson, “Nocturnal Animals”
Mahershala Ali is only in the first third of “Moonlight,” but he brings such enormous heart to the film that he has been winning one critics’ award after another. His streak isn’t about to stop at the Globes, Jeff Bridges and Dev Patel notwithstanding.
Prediction: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Best Supporting Actress in Any Motion Picture
Viola Davis, “Fences”
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”
Viola Davis and Michelle Williams both have enormous impact in two wrenching dramas — Davis with so much screen time she almost qualifies as lead, Williams with only a handful of scenes. They’re the two front runners here, and Davis is such a force of nature for so much of “Fences” that voters will find it hard to deny her.
Prediction: Viola Davis, “Fences”
Best Director – Motion Picture
Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
Tom Ford, “Nocturnal Animals”
Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”
The Best Director winner usually comes from the drama side, and I’m really not comfortable with how many “La La Land” wins I’m predicting. But Damien Chazelle’s achievement in creating a wondrous modern musical so singular that it should overpower the subtler accomplishments of Jenkins and Lonergan. (Mel Gibson is the real joker in this deck, with an over-the-top movie and a narrative of redemption that some voters just might love.)
Prediction: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
Tom Ford, “Nocturnal Animals”
Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”
Taylor Sheridan, “Hell or High Water”
HFPA voters love Tom Ford and “Nocturnal Animals.” A vote for “Hell or High Water” could be a timely endorsement of a grim state-of-the-union message. But this is probably between “La La Land,” “Moonlight” and “Manchester by the Sea.” You can almost flip a coin, but I’m guessing that the writing award goes to the accomplished playwright.
Prediction: Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”
Best Motion Picture – Animated
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“My Life as a Zucchini”
While “Kubo and the Two Strings” is easily Lakia’s best shot at winning its first Golden Globe, “Zootopia” is Disney/Pixar’s shot at winning its ninth in the category’s 11-year existence. And Disney has the advantage of a timely story of tolerance and co-existence trumping fear-mongering.
Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
If they vote for “Elle,” the Globes can show that they’re bolder than the Academy by going for a transgressive film that didn’t even make the Oscar shortlist. If they vote for “Toni Erdmann,” they can celebrate a crowd-pleasing film seven weeks before the Academy will probably do the same thing. In the end, though, “Elle” is probably just too disturbing and divisive.
Prediction: “Toni Erdmann”
Best Original Score – Motion Picture
“La La Land”
My instinct is that they’ll give both music awards to “La La Land,” but I’m going to chicken out here and say that just enough voters will focus on Justin Hurwitz’s songs over his score. “Moonlight” is an adventurous alternative, but “Arrival” might have just the right touch of drama to attract voters who don’t want to give “La La Land” too much.
Best Original Song – Motion Picture
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” from “Trolls”
“City of Stars” from “La La Land”
“Faith” from “Sing”
“Gold” from “Gold”
“How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana”
Justin Timberlake, Stevie Wonder, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Iggy Pop (!) are all nominated in this category, and in a normal year I could see any of them winning. (Well, Iggy would probably always be a longshot for “Gold.”) But the centerpiece song from “La La Land” can’t really lose, can it?
Prediction: “City of Stars” from “La La Land”
Best Television Series – Drama
“Game of Thrones”
“This Is Us”
Last year’s winner, “Mr. Robot,” wasn’t even nominated this year. “Game of Thrones” has never won in this category at the Globes, but its two consecutive Emmy wins could make it seem like old hat to the HFPA. The race between four new shows — “The Crown,” “Stranger Things,” “This Is Us” and “Westworld” — could go any way, but the classy look of “The Crown” may tip the scales.
Prediction: “The Crown”
Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama
Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”
Billy Bob Thornton, “Goliath”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
Jon Hamm won a valedictory Globe last year for the final season of “Mad Men,” which put Rami Malek one year behind schedule to get his Globe for “Mr. Robot,” which was named best drama series. Voters will probably make good this year, in a category where it’s not unusual to win on the second or third nomination — although since the “Mr. Robot” heat has cooled off a bit, watch out for Billy Bob Thornton or Bob Odenkirk.
Prediction: Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”
Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama
Caitriona Balfe, “Outlander”
Claire Foy, “The Crown”
Keri Russell, “The Americans”
Winona Ryder, “Stranger Things”
Evan Rachel Wood, “Westworld”
Foy, Ryder and Wood have the hot new shows; Balfe and Russell have the returning shows that haven’t yet gotten their just desserts. I can imagine almost every one of them winning, but I suspect that “The Crown” has the momentum to put Foy over the top.
Prediction: Claire Foy, “The Crown”
Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
“Mozart in the Jungle”
Since 2000, 13 different series have won in this category, and nothing has repeated since “Glee” in 2009 and 2010. That’s not good news for last year’s surprise winner, “Mozart in the Jungle” — but it’s very good news for “Atlanta,” which came along at the right time to grab momentum just as Globes voting was about to begin.
Best Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”
Gael Garcia Bernal, “Mozart in the Jungle”
Donald Glover, “Atlanta”
Nick Nolte, “Graves”
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”
Sorry, Messrs. Tambor and Garcia Bernal: Globes voters haven’t given us a repeat winner in the category this decade. The last five winners have taken the trophy during their shows’ first seasons, and Donald Glover is the ideal candidate to continue that streak.
Prediction: Donald Glover, “Atlanta”
Best Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Rachel Bloom, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Sarah Jessica Parker, “Divorce”
Issa Rae, “Insecure”
Gina Rodriguez, “Jane the Virgin”
Tracee Ellis Ross, “Black-ish”
Rachel Bloom is the epitome of a musical/comedy actress. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is TV’s reigning queen of comedy. “Black-ish” is overdue. But with six nominees to further split the vote and make the winning total even smaller, this could well be a category where voters go for the newest and freshest — which, in this case, means Issa Rae and “Insecure.”
Prediction: Issa Rae, “Insecure”
Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
“The Night Manager”
“The Night Of”
“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
Yes, the Globes like to be first. And yes, “The People v. O.J. Simpson” has already won just about every award there is to win. But no, neither of those things matter. It was the television event of the year, and it’s going to win here, too.
Prediction: “The People v. O.J. Simpson”
Best Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Riz Ahmed, “The Night Of”
Bryan Cranston, “All the Way”
John Turturro, “The Night Of”
Tom Hiddleston, “The Night Manager”
Courtney B. Vance, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
Here’s a category where the fact that “The People v. O.J. Simpson” has already won so much might hurt it a little — maybe, just maybe, voters might want to award Tom Hiddleston for “The Night Manager,” or one of the two nominees from “The Night Of.” Let’s go out on a limb and say they do just that.
Prediction: Tom Hiddleston, “The Night Manager”
Best Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”
Riley Keough, “The Girlfriend Experience”
Sarah Paulson, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
Charlotte Rampling, “London Spy”
Kerry Washington, “Confirmation”
You can go back and re-read everything I wrote about why “O.J.” was going to win in the the limited-series category. It applies to Sarah Paulson here, too.
Prediction: Sarah Paulson, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Sterling K. Brown, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”
Hugh Laurie, “The Night Manager”
John Lithgow, “The Crown”
Christian Slater, “Mr. Robot”
John Travolta, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”
Three actors from miniseries are going up against two from series — and while Sterling K. Brown and Hugh Laurie would probably be duking it out if this were a miniseries-only category, John Lithgow had a bigger platform with “The Crown,” and will likely repeat his Critics’ Choice win.
Prediction: John Lithgow, “The Crown”
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Olivia Colman, “The Night Manager”
Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones”
Chrissy Metz, “This Is Us”
Mandy Moore, “This Is Us”
Thandie Newton, “Westworld”
Viewers were divided on “Westworld,” but Thandie Newton was enough of a standout to make this the easy category in which to reward that big, brazen HBO newcomer. Chrissy Metz might have had a better shot without competition from her “This Is Us” castmate Mandy Moore.
Prediction: Thandie Newton, “Westworld”