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Golden Globes 2017 Movie Predictions: ‘La La Land,’ ‘Moonlight’ Should Dominate

But ”Fences,“ ”Lion,“ ”Manchester by the Sea“ and Mel Gibson’s ”Hacksaw Ridge“ could also show some muscle

Golden Globes nominations aren’t as easy to predict as they used to be. And they’re usually not as easy to mock, either.

For the last few years, the 90-odd voters in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association have by and large made respectable decisions when it comes time to choose the best films and performances of the year. They’ve shrugged off their past tendencies to do anything to lure celebrities to their awards ceremony, and reduced the number of baffling choices — though it didn’t look good last year when they allowed 20th Century Fox to submit “The Martian” as a comedy, for which the Globes were criticized even by the film’s director, Ridley Scott.

But “The Martian” was a good movie that deserved nominations, and one assumes that most of this year’s Golden Globes nominees will be as well. And with some crowded categories and a small pool of voters, these races could come down to a couple of votes.

Just in case you’re wondering, it’s virtually impossible to imagine that this won’t be a racially diverse Globes class of 2017.

Best Motion Picture – Drama
The surest bets in the Globes’ marquee category are probably “Moonlight” and “Lion,” with Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge” an apparent favorite as well. Voters won’t want to overlook the critical favorite “Manchester by the Sea,” but what gets the fifth spot?

It could be “Fences,” “Loving,” “Hidden Figures,” Silence,” “Sully” or a longshot like “Miss Sloane” — but we’re guessing that the timely indie “Hell or High Water” is well-liked enough to make the cut.

Predicted nominees: “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hell or High Water,” “Lion,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “Moonlight”

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
The battle here is to see which four films will get to lose to “La La Land.” The HFPA is said to have loved “Deadpool,” so that’ll sneak in. So will “20th Century Women” and probably “Florence Foster Jenkins,” though it’s not hard to find anecdotal evidence that many voters weren’t in love with the latter film. The fifth slot could easily be Warren Beatty’s “Rules Don’t Apply” or the Coen brothers’ “Hail, Caesar!” or “The Edge of Seventeen” or even “War Dogs.”

But voters could also look smart — and add another musical to their “musical or comedy” slate — if they remembered John Carney’s winning “Sing Street.”

Predicted nominees: “Deadpool,” “Florence Foster Jenkins,” “La La Land,” “Sing Street,” “20th Century Women”

Best Director
Now things get sticky. Even though his film might not land a Best Motion Picture – Drama nomination, Martin Scorsese could well end up here for “Silence,” and so could Clint Eastwood for “Sully” or Denzel Washington for “Fences.” Damien Chazelle should be a lock for “La La Land,” ditto Barry Jenkins for “Moonlight.”

Predicted nominees: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”; Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge”; Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”; Martin Scorsese, “Silence”; Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
There’s no way Denzel Washington doesn’t get in for “Fences,” and there shouldn’t be any way Casey Affleck doesn’t get in for “Manchester by the Sea.” Andrew Garfield could split his vote between “Silence” and “Hacksaw Ridge,” except that the HFPA seems likely to gravitate toward the latter.

And then you’ve got Tom Hanks for “Sully,” Joel Edgerton for “Loving,” Jake Gyllenhaal for “Nocturnal Animals” and not a lot of others. “Nocturnal” might be a little challenging for voters, so we’ll go for Hanks and Edgerton.

Predicted nominees: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”; Joel Edgerton, “Loving”; Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”; Tom Hanks, “Sully”; Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
With two formidable competitors, Emma Stone and Annette Bening, shifted to the musical-or-comedy category, a brutal actress race becomes a little calmer. Isabelle Huppert for “Elle” and Natalie Portman for “Jackie” are probably locks and Ruth Negga for “Loving” close to one.

Unless there’s a surprise like the universally adored Jennifer Lawrence for “Passengers,” the final two slots should be between to Jessica Chastain for “Miss Sloane,” Taraji P. Henson for “Hidden Figures” and Amy Adams for “Arrival.” And voters apparently like Chastain’s and Henson’s movies better than Adams’.

Predicted nominees: Jessica Chastain, “Miss Sloane”; Taraji P. Henson, “Hidden Figures”; Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”; Ruth Negga, “Loving”; Natalie Portman, “Jackie”

Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Voters won’t resist making the Globes a family affair by nominating Mr. Annette Bening, Warren Beatty, for “Rules Don’t Apply.” They won’t miss an opportunity to invite George Clooney to the party for “Hail, Caesar!,” and they’ll do the same for Ryan Reynolds in “Deadpool.”

And then maybe Bryan Cranston is the late-breaking “Why Him?” or Clooney’s co-star Alden Ehrenreich for stealing “Hail, Caesar!” or even Billy Bob Thornton for “Bad Santa 2.” But we hear they really liked “War Dogs,” so we think Jonah Hill gets in here.

Predicted nominees: Warren Beatty, “Rules Don’t Apply”; George Clooney, “Hail, Caesar!”; Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”; Jonah Hill, “War Dogs”; Ryan Reynolds, “Deadpool”

Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Yes, Emma Stone will almost certainly win. Yes, Meryl Streep will almost certainly get her umpteenth Globe nomination for “Florence Foster Jenkins,” despite a modicum of HFPA resistance. No, Annette Bening will not just be Warren’s +1 on Globes night.

The final two slots could go to Hailee Steinfeld (“The Edge of Seventeen”), Kate Beckinsale (“Love & Friendship”), Lily Collins (“Rules Don’t Apply”), Renee Zellweger (“Bridget Jones’s Baby”) or Sally Field (“Hello, My Name Is Doris”). We think they’ll go for the ingénues.

Predicted nominees: Annette Bening, “20th Century Women”; Lily Collins, “Rules Don’t Apply”; Hailee Steinfeld, “The Edge of Seventeen”; Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”; Emma Stone, “La La Land”

Best Supporting Actor
An unsettled race may have Jeff Bridges and Mahershala Ali as frontrunners for “Hell or High Water” and “Moonlight,” respectively. But Dev Patel is a real threat for “Lion” and Lucas Hedges should get in if “Manchester by the Sea” isn’t too tough for voters.

Other threats: Liam Neeson and Issei Ogata in “Silence,” Kevin Costner in “Hidden Figures,” Ben Foster in “Hell or High Water” and Michael Shannon in “Nocturnal Animals,” who may just be too much of a scene-stealer to ignore.

Predicted nominees: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”; Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”; Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”; Dev Patel, “Lion”; Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

Best Supporting Actress
The four likeliest nominees are Viola Davis for “Fences” (the odds-on favorite to win), Naomie Harris for “Moonlight,” Nicole Kidman for “Lion” and Michelle Williams for “Manchester by the Sea.” Greta Gerwig (“20th Century Women”) will have to fend off Felicity Jones (“A Monster Calls”), Janelle Monae (“Hidden Figures”) and her castmate Elle Fanning for the fifth slot, but she should do just that.

Predicted nominees: Viola Davis, “Fences”; Greta Gerwig, “20th Century Women”; Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”; Nicole Kidman, “Lion”; Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Screenplay
With the exception of “La La Land,” these nominees should be drawn from the ranks of the top dramas. “Moonlight,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “Fences,” “Silence,” “Lion,” “Jackie” and “Loving” are all in the mix.

Predicted nominees: “Fences,” “La La Land,” “Loving,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “Moonlight”

Best Original Score
Globes voters aren’t as particular as Oscar voters when it comes to scores that make use of songs, so “La La Land” should be home free here. Other acclaimed scores from 2016 include “Jackie,” “Silence,” “Arrival,” “Lion,” “Moonlight” and “Nocturnal Animals” – it’s just a question of how adventurous the voters want to get.

We suspect they’ll be pretty adventurous, though not without leaving room for John Williams (“The BFG”).

Predicted nominees: “The BFG,” “Jackie,” “La La Land,” “Lion,” “Moonlight”

Best Original Song
It’s rarely been easier to fill your ballroom with stars than it is this year in the song category, where Justin Timberlake (“Can’t Stop the Feeling!”), Stevie Wonder (“Faith”), Pharrell Williams (“I See a Victory”), Alicia Keys (“Back to Life”) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (“How Far I’ll Go”) are all in the running. (So were Sting, Tori Amos, Trent Reznor and Common — but they wrote songs for documentaries, which the Globes disqualify.)

You also have to leave room for one or two songs from “La La Land,” and maybe for the crucial title song from “Rules Don’t Apply,” which means more to its movie than anything else in contention.

Predicted nominees: “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from “Trolls”; “City of Stars” from “La La Land”; “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana”; “I See a Victory” from “Hidden Figures”; “The Rules Don’t Apply” from “Rules Don’t Apply”

Best Foreign Language Film
Sony Pictures Classics has four contenders, and they should get at least two and probably three nominations: “Toni Erdmann” because it’s the most critically-acclaimed foreign film of the year, “Land of Mine” because it grabs audiences and “Julieta” because everybody loves Pedro Almodovar.

“Neruda” is a good bet for a nod as well – and while the stylishly kinky “The Handmaiden,” which wasn’t submitted to the Oscars, could sneak in here, so could the relentlessly crowd-pleasing Swedish film “A Man Called Ove.”

Predicted nominees: “The Handmaiden,” “Julieta,” “Land of Mine,” “Neruda,” “Toni Erdmann”

Best Animated Feature Film
Disney and Pixar have three contenders, with “Zootopia” a lock and “Moana” a strong contenders. But Laika’s “Kubo and the Two Strings” is also a lock – and if voters want to spread the love, they’ll potentially go for Illumination’s “Sing,” DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls” and maybe even Sony’s crude “Sausage Party.”

Among the plethora of smaller films competing, the Swiss stop-motion film “My Life as a Zucchini” has a real shot, as do the Japanese films “Your Name” and “Miss Hokusai.”

Predicted nominees: “Kubo and the Two Strings,” “My Life as a Zucchini,” “Sausage Party,” “Sing,” “Zootopia”