Golden Globes Nominations Predictions: In a Weird, Frustrating Year, No Film Will Dominate

“One Night in Miami,” “Nomadland,” “Da 5 Bloods” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7” are among the films liable to get the most love from isolated Globes voters

Last Updated: February 2, 2021 @ 9:24 AM

AWARDS BEAT

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a sociable group — its roughly 90 members meet for press conferences and screenings in Los Angeles, take junket trips together to movie sets around the world, attend countless receptions over the course of awards season and then celebrate at a crowded awards show surrounded by so many parties that the Los Angeles fire marshal must have nightmares for months. But they haven’t been able to do any of those things during the pandemic, which makes it much harder to predict what we’ll see when nominations for the 78th annual Golden Globe Awards are announced on Wednesday.

After a rough year in which the members met only virtually, and in which their president, Lorenzo Soria, died at the age of 68, the kind of post-screening chatter that gave some sense of what the voters were thinking has been absent. But here are our best guesses as to what we’ll see from a group who always try to spread the love among studios and who are aware of how their choices will be perceived within the industry.

If these turn out to be accurate, it’ll be a very evenly distributed year at the Globes, with only one film receiving five nominations (“One Night in Miami”) and eight different movies receiving either three or four.

BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Voters can’t ignore “Nomadland,” the most critically acclaimed film of 2020. They won’t want to ignore a pair of period pieces from about 50 years ago, Aaron Sorkin’s drama “The Trial of the Chicago 7” or Regina King’s “One Night in Miami.” “News of the World” is one of the only big-scale studio movies in the running and will likely be rewarded for carrying the torch for the theatrical experience and for providing a hopeful message in a troubled time. (Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” which could have benefited from its scale and boldness, just never got much awards traction.)

That leaves one open slot, which could go to three different Netflix movies, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Mank” or “Da 5 Bloods.” Or it could go to “The Father,” “Promising Young Woman,” “Judas and the Black Messiah” or even “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” which drew mixed reviews but was apparently embraced by the HFPA. “Promising Young Woman” would be the boldest choice — but the members are also Spike Lee fans, which may be the difference.

Predicted nominees:
“Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix)
“News of the World” (Universal)
“Nomadland” (Searchlight)
“One Night in Miami” (Amazon)
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)

Watch out for: “The Father,” “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Mank,” “Promising Young Woman”

hamilton lin manuel miranda leslie odom jr.

“Hamilton” / Disney+

BEST MOTION PICTURE – MUSICAL OR COMEDY
The Disney+ filmed version of “Hamilton” isn’t eligible for the Oscars but is in the running for Golden Globes, and it’s hard to imagine that voters won’t celebrate it. The question is whether they’ll do the same for the other full-on musical in the running, Ryan Murphy’s “The Prom” — and while they haven’t nominated more than one musical in this category in any year since 2007, when “Sweeney Todd,” “Across the Universe” and “Hairspray” all made the cut, “The Prom” is probably entertaining enough to make it a pair this year.

On the comedy side of the musical-or-comedy equation, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” became enough of a sensation to earn its spot. Other contenders include “French Exit,” “Palm Springs,” “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” “The King of Staten Island,” “Wild Mountain Thyme,” “Emma.” and “On the Rocks” — but Radha Blank’s “The Forty-Year-Old Version” could be a sleeper here as well, and so could a real wild-card, Will Ferrell’s “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.” (HFPA has lots of voters from Europe, where Eurovision is very big!)

Remember, this is the category that found the HFPA voting for offbeat choices like “Spy,” “Deadpool” and “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” — if they’re going to give us a big surprise, it may well be here.

Predicted nominees:
“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
“Hamilton”
“The Personal History of David Copperfield”
“The Prom”
“Wild Mountain Thyme”

Watch out for: “Emma.,” “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,” “The Forty-Year-Old Version,” “French Exit,” “Palm Springs”

BEST MOTION PICTURE – ANIMATED
It feels as if there are four locks in this category: Pixar’s “Soul” and “Onward,” Cartoon Saloon’s “Wolfwalkers” and Netflix’s “Over the Moon.” Plenty of independent animated films are competing for the final slot, but the HFPA likes to show love to the major companies in this category, which may give Universal and DreamWorks Animation’s “The Croods: A New Age” the advantage. (The first “Croods” movie was nominated in 2013, so there’s history here, too.)

Predicted nominees:
“The Croods: A New Age”
“Onward”
“Over the Moon”
“Soul”
“Wolfwalkers”

Watch out for: “Earwig and the Witch,” “No. 7 Cherry Lane,” “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon,” “Trolls World Tour,” “The Willoughbys”

Minari

“Minari” / A24

BEST MOTION PICTURE – FOREIGN LANGUAGE
A record 93 films qualified for the Oscars in this category, but that’s nothing compared to the 139 who met the Globes’ eligibility rules, which do not restrict the field to one entry per country. More often than not, that means the Globes nominate at least one movie that isn’t eligible for the Oscars – and that’ll certainly be the case this year, because “Minari” was deemed ineligible for the Globes’ English-only Best Motion Picture categories.

Others from a rich selection of films that are in the running for Globes but not Oscars include the controversial French film “Cuties,” Werner Herzog’s “Family Romance, LLC,” Heidi Ewing’s “I Carry You With Me,” Edoardo Ponti’s Sophia Loren vehicle “The Life Ahead,” Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “The Truth” and Deepa Mehta’s “Funny Boy” (which the Oscars determined was more than 50% English, which ought to disqualify it from the Globes, too).

Of the Oscar contenders, Thomas Vinterberg’s “Another Round” is pretty much a sure thing, and Mexico’s “I’m No Longer Here,” Greece’s “Apples,” the Czech Republic’s “Charlatan,” Russia’s “Dear Comrades!” and Bosnia & Herzegovina’s “Quo Vadis, Aida?” are all clear contenders. One of the Oscar frontrunners, the Romanian documentary “Collective,” isn’t eligible because the Globes don’t allow docs to compete.

Predicted nominees:
“Another Round”
“Apples”
“I’m No Longer Here”
“The Life Ahead”
“Minari”

Watch out for: “Charlatan,” “Dear Comrades!,” “I Carry You With Me,” “Quo Vadis, Aida?,” “The Truth”

BEST ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
There appears to be a strong Top 7 in this category: Chadwick Boseman in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Anthony Hopkins in “The Father,” Gary Oldman in “Mank,” Delroy Lindo in “Da 5 Bloods,” Riz Ahmed in “Sound of Metal,” Tom Hanks in “News of the World” and Steven Yeun in “Minari.” The question is, which two are going to fall out? If Hanks may be too predictably good (a terrible reason to be overlooked, but it is what it is), that may mean that it’ll come down to a choice between Ahmed and Yeun — and while “Sound of Metal” could be tough going for some voters, it probably has more heat at the moment.

Predicted nominees:
Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal”
Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Anthony Hopkins, “The Father”
Delroy Lindo, “Da 5 Bloods”
Gary Oldman, “Mank”

Watch out for: George Clooney, “The Midnight Sky,” Tom Hanks, “News of the World,” Mads Mikkelsen, “Another Round,” Tahar Rahim, “The Mauritanian,” John David Washington, “Malcolm and Marie”

“Promising Young Woman” / Focus Features

BEST ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
There’s no denying Frances McDormand in “Nomadland” or Viola Davis in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” and nobody with more late momentum than Carey Mulligan in “Promising Young Woman.” Sophia Loren is a legend in international cinema, which might well secure her a spot over Vanessa Kirby in “Pieces of a Woman.” And if there’s room for a late-breaking relative newcomer, it may come down to Zendaya in “Malcolm and Marie” and Andra Day in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” a battle that could be won by the actress who also had to sing like Billie Holiday.

The much-loved Amy Adams would be a shock if she got in for the much-derided “Hillbilly Elegy,” and the indie neophyte Sidney Flanigan would be a delicious surprise if the HFPA turned out to have seen and responded to “Never Rarely Sometimes Always.”

Predicted nominees:
Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Andra Day, “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”
Sophia Loren, “The Life Ahead”
Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”
Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”

Watch out for: Amy Adams, “Hillbilly Elegy,” Sidney Flanigan, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” Julia Garner, “The Assistant,” Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman,” Zendaya, “Malcolm and Marie”

BEST ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – MUSICAL OR COMEDY
The acting races in the musical/comedy categories are thin, with Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat”) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton”) standing above everyone else in lead actor. But Dev Patel should get in because of the scale and ambition of “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” and the HFPA does like “Palm Springs” star Andy Samberg enough to have given him an award for “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” in 2013.

It’s quite possible that “Hamilton” will get a second nomination in this category for Leslie Odom Jr., even though voters have a couple of other places where they can recognize him. And it’s possible that Jamie Dornan can land a nomination for the well-liked “Wild Mountain Thyme,” or even Pete Davidson for the vaguely autobiographical “The King of Staten Island.” But we’ll go out on a limb and say that voters want to give “Eurovision Song Contest” something, and they’ll do it in this category by recognizing Will Ferrell.

Predicted nominees:
Sacha Baron Cohen, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Will Ferrell, “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”
Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton”
Dev Patel, “The Personal History of David Copperfield”
Andy Samberg, “Palm Springs”

Watch out for: James Corden, “The Prom,” Pete Davidson, “The King of Staten Island,” Jamie Dornan, “Wild Mountain Thyme,” Leslie Odom Jr., “Hamilton,” Keanu Reeves, “Bill and Ted Face the Music”

borat subsequent moviefilm New York Film Critics Circle maria bakalova

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” / Amazon Studios

BEST ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Globe voters are certainly in the habit of nominating Meryl Streep, and “The Prom” gives them reason enough to do it again. They used to be in the habit of nominating Michelle Pfeiffer, who landed six nominations and one win between 1988 and 1993, but only a single nom in the last 27 years – a drought they can and probably will rectify by recognizing her for “French Exit.” And they always love to single out newcomers, which they’ll no doubt do with Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova for “Borat.”

Rashida Jones and Cristin Milioti are definitely in the mix for “On the Rocks” and “Palm Springs,” respectively, as is Kristen Stewart for “Happiest Season,” Rosamund Pike for “I Care a Lot” and even Rachel McAdams for “Eurovision Song Contest.” (Remember, the musical/comedy categories are where the off-the-wall choices usually come from.) But there’s a lot of HFPA for affection for “Wild Mountain Thyme,” which will help Emily Blunt, and the love for Anya Taylor-Joy in “The Queen’s Gambit” (for which she’ll definitely be nominated in the TV categories) may well spill over and get her a nod for “Emma.”

Predicted nominees:
Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Emily Blunt, “Wild Mountain Thyme”
Michelle Pfeiffer, “French Exit”
Meryl Streep, “The Prom”
Anya Taylor-Joy, “Emma.”

Watch out for: Rashida Jones, “On the Rocks,” Rachel McAdams, “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,” Cristin Milioti, “Palm Springs,” Rosamund Pike, “I Care a Lot,” Kristen Stewart, “Happiest Season”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
How many “Trial of the Chicago 7” and “One Night in Miami” nominees can you fit in one category? That’s a big question in supporting actor, which figures at bare minimum to recognize Sacha Baron Cohen from the former movie and Leslie Odom Jr. from the latter. But it could also include Frank Langella, Mark Rylance and Yahya Abdul-Mateen for “C7,” and Kingsley Ben-Adir for “Miami.”

Still, the contenders from outside those two films won’t all be pushed aside. Paul Raci is on a roll with critics’ awards for “Sound of Metal,” Daniel Kaluuya is a late-breaking standout in “Judas and the Black Messiah” and Bill Murray is Bill Murray in “On the Rocks.” David Strathairn is so perfectly subtle in “Nomadland” that voters might not notice him acting, and Chadwick Boseman’s certain nomination for “Ma Rainey” may render his possible one for “Da 5 Bloods” superfluous.

Predicted nominees:
Sacha Baron Cohen, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”
Bill Murray, “On the Rocks”
Leslie Odom Jr., “One Night in Miami”
Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal”

Watch out for: Yahya Abdul-Mateen, “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Chadwick Boseman, “Da 5 Bloods,” Frank Langella, “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Mark Rylance, “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” David Strathairn, “Nomadland”

News of the World Helena Zengel Tom Hanks

“News of the World” / Universal Pictures

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Colman and Yuh-Jung Youn are likely nominees from “Mank,” “The Father” and “Minari,” respectively, and history would suggest that the final two slots could go to longtime HFPA favorites Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”) and Ellen Burstyn (“Pieces of a Woman”). But the wild card here is 12-year-old German actress Helena Zengel from “News of the World,” because the only thing the Globes love more than saluting an old friend is anointing a rising star.

If they do nominate Zengel, at who will they push out to do it? Between Burstyn and Close, it may just be that the savage reviews for “Hillbilly Elegy” will be the undoing of its legendary co-star.

Predicted nominees:
Ellen Burstyn, “Pieces of a Woman”
Olivia Colman, “The Father”
Amanda Seyfried, “Mank”
Yuh-Jung Youn, “Minari”
Helena Zengel, “News of the World”

Watch out for: Candice Bergen, “Let Them All Talk,” Glenn Close, “Hillbilly Elegy,” Jodie Foster, “The Mauritanian,” Nicole Kidman, “The Prom,” Saoirse Ronan, “Ammonite”

BEST DIRECTOR
The three films that seem to be the likeliest drama nominees – “Nomadland,” “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “One Night in Miami” – also seem to be likely tickets to a directing nomination for Chloe Zhao, Aaron Sorkin and Regina King. From there, things get muddier: It’s hard to imagine David Fincher not being recognized for the vision that went into “Mank,” but if it’s not nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama, the odds say he won’t be nominated for director. On the other hand, Fincher is one of only three people in the last decade to be nominated for director when his eligible film wasn’t nominated for picture. It happened for him with 2014’s “Gone Girl,” and it could easily happen again with “Mank.”

Paul Greengrass (“News of the World” is an HFPA favorite, and so is Spike Lee (“Da 5 Bloods”). Lee Isaac Chung (“Minari”) could do what Bong Joon Ho did last year and Alfonso Cuaron did the year before, landing a directing nomination for a film that had to compete in the foreign-language category.

Predicted nominees:
David Fincher, “Mank”
Regina King, “One Night in Miami”
Spike Lee, “Da 5 Bloods”
Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland”

Watch out for: Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari,” George Clooney, “The Midnight Sky,” Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman,” Paul Greengrass, “News of the World,” Florian Zeller, “The Father”

Mank

BEST SCREENPLAY
The screenplay category looks a lot like picture and director, because lots of the top films are built around snappy dialogue. (The exception: “Nomadland,” which feels improvised.) Between Gary Oldman’s biting lines in “Mank” and everybody’s in “Chicago 7” and “One Night in Miami,” there are plenty of words to relish here, even without considering Emerald Fennell’s subversive “Promising Young Woman” or August Wilson’s scorching monologues in “Ma Rainey” (adapted by Ruben Santiago-Hudson). And “Malcolm and Marie,” which is nothing but words, could surprise here.

Predicted nominees:
Jack Fincher, “Mank”
Kemp Powers, “One Night in Miami”
Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton, “The Father”
Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland”

Watch out for: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Malcolm and Marie,” Minari,” “Promising Young Woman,” “Soul”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Trent Reznor and Atticus Finch could end up with nominations in this category for both “Mank” and “Soul,” with the latter shared with jazz musician Jon Batiste. James Newton Howard will almost certainly land one for the acoustic-based score to “News of the World.” Terence Blanchard went bold and expansive for “Da 5 Bloods,” and perennial nominee Alexandre Desplat delivers one of his grandest scores in “The Midnight Sky.” And at an awards show without sound and VFX categories, Ludwig Goransson’s score is the best shot for some Globes recognition for “Tenet.”

Predicted nominees:
“Da 5 Bloods”
“The Midnight Sky”
“News of the World”
“Soul”
“Tenet”

Watch out for: “Emma.,” “The Life Ahead,” “Mank,” “Minari,” “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Leslie Odom Jr. stars in One Night in Miami

“One Night in Miami” / Amazon Studios

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
It used to be that Globes voters would automatically go for the songs with the most famous writers, which this year might mean “Just Sing” from “Trolls World Tour” (Justin Timberlake), “Carried Me With You” from “Onward” (Brandi Carlile) and “Fight for You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah” (H.E.R.). But this year they’re just as likely to go for songs written and sung by the movie’s actors, including Leslie Odom Jr.’s “Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami,” Andra Day’s “Tigress & Tweed” from “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” and maybe even “Wuhan Flu,” co-written and sung by Sasha Baron Cohen in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.”

The ubiquitous Diane Warren should receive her sixth Globe nomination for “Io Si” from “The Life Ahead.”
(Additional songs by John Legend, Janelle Monae, Mary J. Blige and Taylor Swift, all of which could have been Globe favorites, aren’t eligible because they’re from documentaries.)

Predicted nominees:
“Husavik” from “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”
“Io Si (Seen)” from “The Life Ahead”
“Just Sing” from “Trolls World Tour”
“Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami”
“Tigress & Tweed” from “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”

Watch out for: “Carried Me With You” from “Onward,” “Everybody Cries” from “The Outpost,” “Fight for You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Rain Song” from “Minari,” “Wuhan Flu” from “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”