The key to this year's Golden Globes may lie in when the 80-odd members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association cast their ballots. The voting opened on Feb. 10 and ran for two weeks, through Feb. 23 -- but toward the end of that period, the HFPA found itself under fire after stories charging the organization with corruption appeared in the Los Angeles and New York Times.
If voters were waiting for the final couple of days to cast their ballots, some might be inclined to tone down the usual Globes idiosyncrasies and show that they can make smart choices. But if they'd already voted before the stories broke, then voters were probably less worried about how their awards would be perceived, and more concerned with spreading the wealth and keeping all the studios who shower them with access (and gifts) happy in this strangest of all awards seasons.
If history is any indication, the Globes will want to share the love rather than doting on any one movie or show: Last year, they gave awards to seven different films in the 14 film categories, and to eight different television shows in the 11 TV categories. The year when "La La Land" won seven different Globes was an anomaly then and remains one now -- although if they did want to pile it on, they could give lots of awards to Sacha Baron Cohen, who's nominated for acting in "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm" and "The Trial of the Chicago 7" and also for producing the comedy-movie nominee "Borat."
While it sometimes appears as if Globe voters are aware of how their choices are perceived, they can also toss that out the window, as they did two years ago when "Bohemian Rhapsody" was named Best Motion Picture - Drama over "Black Panther," "BlacKkKlansman," "If Beale Street Could Talk" and "A Star Is Born."
Throw in the fact that the pandemic has meant that the members haven't been able to hit the party circuit and drop clues as to their leanings -- hell, they haven't been able to talk as much to each other about those leanings -- and you have a year in which a group that's often difficult to predict is even more so. But we'll give it a shot anyway.
BEST MOTION PICTURE - DRAMA
"Promising Young Woman"
"The Trial of The Chicago 7"
"Mank" had the most nominations, while "Promising Young Woman" had the most surprising nominations. But unless the latter film scores a real upset, which is possible, this is probably a race between "The Trial of the Chicago 7" and "Nomadland." "Chicago 7" is likely the film that the voters liked the best, but "Nomadland" is the one the critics tell them they should vote for, and the one that might win them more credibility points. And except for that crazy time they voted for "Bohemian Rhapsody," in recent years they've often gone for the darker, less mainstream film.
Predicted winner: "Nomadland"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE - DRAMA
Viola Davis, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"
Andra Day, "The United States vs. Billie Holiday"
Vanessa Kirby, "Pieces of a Woman"
Frances McDormand, "Nomadland"
Carey Mulligan, "Promising Young Woman"
In a very strong category, this probably comes down to Viola Davis, Frances McDormand or Carey Mulligan -- although Andra Day may be an upset waiting to happen. Mulligan is the only one who hasn't won a Globe in the past four years, and she feels as if she'd be the boldest choice, though McDormand would be an unassailable option. And in a year in which the HFPA has come under fire for not nominating enough Black actors (though it's more glaring in the television categories), the chance to affect the optics by giving the award to Davis (or Day) could be irresistible among the voters who care what outsiders think of their choices. The question is, how many of them care?
Predicted winner: Carey Mulligan, "Promising Young Woman"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE - DRAMA
Riz Ahmed, "Sound of Metal"
Chadwick Boseman, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"
Anthony Hopkins, "The Father"
Gary Oldman, "Mank"
Tahar Rahim, "The Mauritanian"
There was a time when you'd wonder if voters would want to give this award to somebody who could respond by doing press conferences and posing for selfies -- somebody like, say, Anthony Hopkins or even Riz Ahmed. But the late Chadwick Boseman is undeniable in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," and it's hard to imagine that they won't want to celebrate him even if he's no longer around to be nice to them.
Predicted winner: Chadwick Boseman, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"
BEST MOTION PICTURE - MUSICAL OR COMEDY
"Borat Subsequent Moviefilm"
The fact that one of the nominees is "Hamilton," the filmed record of a Broadway show, is an oddity and a sign of what a strange year it was, with full-scale musical adaptations of "West Side Story" and "In the Heights" being pushed to 2021. There's no real precedent for a filmed stage show being nominated in the category, much less winning -- and yet it has a chance to do so, because "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm" is likely to win one or two acting awards, and voters may not want to pile on too many plaudits. If that happens, "Palm Springs" could surprise here, too.
Predicted winner: "Hamilton"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE - MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Maria Bakalova, "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm"
Kate Hudson, "Music"
Michelle Pfeiffer, "French Exit"
Rosamund Pike, "I Care A Lot"
Anya Taylor-Joy, "Emma"
They wouldn't dare give it to Kate Hudson in a movie whose nominations caused Globes voters more embarrassment than anything else this year. And they'll have another chance to honor Anya Taylor-Joy in the TV categories. Unless Michelle Pfeiffer's stardom comes into play, this will give the HFPA a chance to be the first to crown a newcomer who will no doubt be hugely appreciative.
Predicted winner: Maria Bakalova, "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE - MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Sacha Baron Cohen, "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm"
James Corden, "The Prom"
Lin-Manuel Miranda, "Hamilton"
Dev Patel, "The Personal History of David Copperfield"
Andy Samberg, "Palm Springs"
Voters liked Andy Samberg enough to give him a nomination for "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" back in 2013, so you can't write him off. But this is probably between Sacha Baron Cohen, mastermind of the year's hottest hot-button comedy, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the decade's hottest musical. When Baron Cohen won for the first "Borat" back in 2006, it came as something of a surprise. This time, it won't be.
Predicted winner: Sacha Baron Cohen, "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN ANY MOTION PICTURE
Glenn Close, "Hillbilly Elegy"
Olivia Colman, "The Father"
Jodie Foster, "The Mauritanian"
Amanda Seyfried, "Mank"
Helena Zengel, "News of the World"
"Mank" received more Golden Globe nominations than any other film this year, but this is the only category in which it's favored to win. Olivia Colman could easily take this to give one award to "The Father," the HFPA does love "The Mauritanian" actress Jodie Foster and they could even pull a surprise by giving it to 12-year-old Helena Zengel from "News of the World." But only one film in the last decade has led the field in Globe nominations yet gone home empty-handed ("Carol," which deserved better), so Amanda Seyfried should deliver a win for "Mank."
Predicted winner: Amanda Seyfried, "Mank"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN ANY MOTION PICTURE
Sacha Baron Cohen, "The Trial of The Chicago 7"
Daniel Kaluuya, "Judas and the Black Messiah"
Jared Leto, "The Little Things"
Bill Murray, "On the Rocks"
Leslie Odom Jr., "One Night in Miami"
How much of a Sacha Baron Cohen love-fest could this show become? A big one, if he gets this in addition to one or two for "Borat." But this is also a category in which "Judas and the Black Messiah" and "One Night in Miami" could well be recognized, and Globe voters will likely opt to go with Daniel Kaluuya (for "Judas") or Leslie Odom Jr. (for "Miami") instead of Baron Cohen. Kaluuya has the bigger, bolder role in a very late-breaking movie, but Odom gets extra points for doing his own singing as Sam Cooke, and "One Night in Miami" had plenty of time to register with voters.
Predicted winner: Leslie Odom Jr., "One Night in Miami"
BEST MOTION PICTURE - ANIMATED
"The Croods: A New Age"
"Over the Moon"
When a Pixar film goes into this race as the favorite, as "Soul" does, it has almost never lost. Sure, the company that won six of the first seven awards handed out in the category hasn't won for three years, with "Incredibles 2" losing to the favored "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" in 2019 and "Toy Story 4" being beaten by "Missing Link" in what seemed to be a wide-open race last year. But while Cartoon Saloon's "Wolfwalkers" has a remote chance at an upset, it's hard not to think that Pixar will land its ninth win here.
Predicted winner: "Soul"
BEST MOTION PICTURE - FOREIGN LANGUAGE
"Another Round" (Denmark)
"La Llorona" (Guatemala/France)
"The Life Ahead" (Italy)
"Two of Us" (France / USA)
The Globes took some flak for rules that made "Minari" ineligible in the best-picture categories, restricting it to the foreign-language category instead. And while the fact that it could have been in the best-picture conversation might make it the obvious choice here, voters ignored it in several other categories in which it was eligible: director, supporting actress, screenplay, score ... So maybe its support isn't strong enough, and this award will go the way it's gone in eight of the last 10 years -- to a film that's also in the running for the international Oscar. That would probably mean Thomas Vinterberg's "Another Round." Then again, do they want to get even more flak over "Minari"?
Predicted winner: "Minari"
BEST DIRECTOR - MOTION PICTURE
Emerald Fennell, "Promising Young Woman"
David Fincher, "Mank"
Regina King, "One Night in Miami..."
Aaron Sorkin, "The Trial of The Chicago 7"
Chloé Zhao, "Nomadland"
If the Best Motion Picture - Drama award goes to "Nomadland," Chloé Zhao is probably a shoo-in for this award -- and even if it doesn't, she's still the favorite. The directing prize has matched up with one of the best-picture awards about half the time over the past decade, as this award has gone to a string of daring auteurs: Alfonso Cuaron, Richard Linklater, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Damien Chazelle, Guillermo del Toro and Sam Mendes have taken home the last seven. Zhao and David Fincher fit that description more than any of the other nominees. And when you consider that Globe voters nominated three women in the category this year after only nominating seven in their first 77 years of existence, you have to figure they realize it's time to recognize a female director. Of course, they could also do that by voting for Regina King, a favorite of the group even if her movie didn't land a best-picture nomination.
Predicted winner: Chloé Zhao, "Nomadland"
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE - MOTION PICTURE
Alexandre Desplat, "The Midnight Sky"
Ludwig Goransson, "Tenet"
James Newton Howard, "News of the World"
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, "Mank"
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste, "Soul"
In a category full of strong and substantial scores, it'd be hard to fault in any of these winning. But one of the nominees may get a boost because it feels like something new: "Soul," in which Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' underscore works together with the jazz music written by Jon Batiste and performed onscreen by the film's characters. Only one animated film has won in this category since the golden age of Disney musicals in the 1980s and '90s, but that was for "Soul" director Pete Docter's "Up" in 2009, and it wouldn't be a surprise if a Docter/Pixar film does it again.
Predicted winner: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste, "Soul"
BEST ORIGINAL SONG - MOTION PICTURE
"Fight for You" from "Judas and the Black Messiah"
"Hear My Voice" from "The Trial of The Chicago 7"
"Io sì (Seen)" from "The Life Ahead"
"Speak Now" from "One Night in Miami..."
"Tigress & Tweed" from "The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Diane Warren has only been nominated for a paltry six Golden Globes, as opposed to 11 Oscars -- and unlike the Oscars, no song not in English, as her nominated "Io Si (Seen)" is, has ever won the Globe in this category. The other four songs are all R&B-tinged, coming from H.E.R. ("Fight for You"), Celeste ("Hear My Voice") and two actors also nominated for songwriting, Leslie Odom Jr. ("Speak Now") and Andra Day ("Tigress & Tweed"). The acting nominations might give those two a leg up, with the acoustic-to-anthemic "Speak Now" being the more straightforward and accessible song but "Tigress & Tweed" being the more daring choice. If Odom gets his Globe in the supporting-actor category, Day could get hers here.
Predicted winner: "Tigress & Tweed" from "The United States vs. Billie Holiday"
BEST TELEVISION SERIES - DRAMA
"The Crown" hasn't won in this category since its first season in 2016, losing once to "The Handmaid's Tale" and once to "Succession" in its second and third seasons. But with an influx of new characters (Princess Diana, Margaret Thatcher), Season 4 felt fresh enough to lead all shows with six Globes nominations and to put itself in good position for its second win. Its competitors include "The Mandalorian" and "Ozark," nominated for the first time in the category for their second and third seasons, respectively, plus new shows "Lovecraft Country" and "Ratched." While "Lovecraft" and "Mandalorian" can't be counted out, "The Crown" feels like the once and future queen.
Predicted winner: "The Crown"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES - DRAMA
Olivia Colman, "The Crown"
Jodie Comer, "Killing Eve"
Emma Corrin, "The Crown"
Laura Linney, "Ozark"
Sarah Paulson, "Ratched"
This could come down to "The Crown" vs. "The Crown," and to the Queen vs. the People's Princess. Olivia Colman won last year for playing Queen Elizabeth II, to match the 2016 Globe that Claire Foy won for the same role. But Emma Corrin was the most notable new addition to the cast this year as Diana, Princess of Wales, which makes her the category's only first-time nominee and perhaps its likeliest winner. But as more than a few characters on "Ozark" know, don't underestimate Laura Linney's Wendy Byrde.
Predicted winner: Emma Corrin, "The Crown"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES - DRAMA
Jason Bateman, "Ozark"
Josh O'Connor, "The Crown"
Bob Odenkirk, "Better Call Saul"
Al Pacino, "Hunters"
Matthew Rhys, "Perry Mason"
Can this be another win for "The Crown," too? Yeah, it can, because the Princess Diana story needs a Prince Charles. But with a group of voters who like to spread things out, it might be wise to look elsewhere in this category -- maybe to the legendary Al Pacino because Globe voters like to be perverse sometimes, but more likely to Matthew Rhys for the well-received reboot of "Perry Mason." Don't they owe him for two years ago, when "The Americans" won the drama-series Globe but Rhys lost to Richard Madden?
Predicted winner: Matthew Rhys, "Perry Mason"
BEST TELEVISION SERIES - MUSICAL OR COMEDY
"Emily in Paris"
"The Flight Attendant"
September's Emmy Awards established that it's very satisfying and a lot of fun to give a bunch of awards to the final season of "Schitt's Creek." But do Globes voters want to do now what the Emmys did five months ago? That's not the usual approach for an organization that likes to reward television programs before the Emmys and other awards shows have a chance to get to them -- although, to be fair, they went against their instincts last year to join the "let's throw all the awards we can at Phoebe Waller-Bridge and 'Fleabag'" parade. But while it's certainly possible that "Schitt's Creek" could get yet another fulsome sendoff, it might be likelier that in the marquee TV-comedy category, the Globes picks a newer hot show to champion, with "Ted Lasso" having a slight edge over "The Great."
Predicted winner: "Ted Lasso"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES - MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Lily Collins, "Emily in Paris"
Kaley Cuoco, "The Flight Attendant"
Elle Fanning, "The Great"
Jane Levy, "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist"
Catherine O'Hara, "Schitt's Creek"
Even if they don't give "Schitt's Creek" the comedy-series award, the Globes have to give it something. And who doesn't want to bestow a trophy on Catherine O'Hara? Nobody, that's who. Sorry, Elle Fanning and Kaley Cuoco.
Predicted winner: Catherine O'Hara, "Schitt's Creek"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES - MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Don Cheadle, "Black Monday"
Nicholas Hoult, "The Great"
Eugene Levy, "Schitt's Creek"
Jason Sudeikis, "Ted Lasso"
Ramy Youssef, "Ramy"
Yes, Eugene Levy could help make this another "Schitt's" storm. And yes, Nicholas Hoult deserves and could get attention for his delightfully imperious stupidity in "The Great." But they, and six-time nominee Don Cheadle, and 2019 winner Ramy Youssef, will likely take a backseat to Jason Sudeikis, the star and one of the architects of "Ted Lasso."
Predicted winner: Jason Sudeikis, "Ted Lasso"
BEST TELEVISION LIMITED SERIES, ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
"The Queen's Gambit"
"The Queen's Gambit" is the clear favorite here; it came along late enough in the year to miss the Emmys, it became a sensation and the critics liked it, too. If it has a serious challenger, it's probably Steve McQueen's "Small Axe," a five-film anthology that comes from a celebrated, serious filmmaker ("12 Years a Slave") and deals with one of the year's most essential subjects, race relations. "Small Axe," which won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award even though it's not a film, could feel like the most important of the nominees -- not that Globes voters usually make decisions based on importance.
Predicted winner: "The Queen's Gambit"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES, ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR A MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Cate Blanchett, "Mrs. America"
Daisy Edgar-Jones, "Normal People"
Shira Haas, "Unorthodox"
Nicole Kidman, "The Undoing"
Anya Taylor-Joy, "The Queen's Gambit"
The category consists of two formidable stars and three up-and-comers -- and in general, the Globes feel good about themselves if they can celebrate the latter while making sure that the former still show up at their soirees. While Shira Haas and Daisy Edgar-Jones would have been tempting choices if the voting had taken place last spring, Anya Taylor-Joy is the hot new star of the last six months.
Predicted winner: Anya Taylor-Joy, "The Queen's Gambit"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES, ANTHOLOGY SERIES OR A MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Bryan Cranston, "Your Honor"
Jeff Daniels, "The Comey Rule"
Hugh Grant, "The Undoing"
Ethan Hawke, "The Good Lord Bird"
Mark Ruffalo, "I Know This Much Is True"
Mark Ruffalo won the Emmy for playing two roles in "I Know This Much Is True," Hugh Grant delivered the latest in a string of strong recent performances in "The Undoing" and Ethan Hawke created and produced "The Good Lord Bird" as well as starred in it. Those three might well be in a close race for the award, though it could hurt Ruffalo that he's already won the Emmy. Between Grant and Hawke, the latter's show got more positive reviews and might feel more substantial.
Predicted winner: Ethan Hawke, "The Good Lord Bird"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SUPPORTING ROLE
Gillian Anderson, "The Crown"
Helena Bonham Carter, "The Crown"
Julia Garner, "Ozark"
Annie Murphy, "Schitt's Creek"
Cynthia Nixon, "Ratched"
It's been 23 years since Gillian Anderson won a Golden Globe for "The X-Files," but playing Margaret Thatcher was enough to win Meryl Streep a Globe for "The Iron Lady" and it ought to be enough to win Anderson one for "The Crown." Her castmate Helena Bonham Carter might conceivably split the "Crown" vote, in which case Julia Garner or Annie Murphy or Cynthia Nixon could sneak in. (This is a very unpredictable category.)
Predicted winner: Gillian Anderson, "The Crown"
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SUPPORTING ROLE
John Boyega, "Small Axe"
Brendan Gleeson, "The Comey Rule"
Daniel Levy, "Schitt's Creek"
Jim Parsons, "Hollywood"
Donald Sutherland, "The Undoing"
Voters could well make a point by embracing Brendan Gleeson's Donald Trump in "The Comey Rule," or reward "Schitt's Creek" actor and co-creator Dan Levy. But if you're only going to nominate two Black actors in the eight television categories, you really ought to give at least one of them an award. Fortunately, John Boyega is richly deserving in the one installment of "Small Axe" in which he appears -- and apparently, if you're the lead in one out of five parts of a limited series, that makes you a supporting actor.
Predicted winner: John Boyega, "Small Axe"