The Golden Globe Awards movie nomination list didn’t arrive without controversy — yes, Greta Gerwig and/or Marielle Heller absolutely should have been nominated for Best Director for Little Women and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, respectively. Yet it’s still difficult to argue against any of the specific honorees in the big categories. There are no left-field choices, no nominees who got cited because of sheer star power a la Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp in The Tourist all those years ago. Heck, the 88 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association even (pretty much) ignored the epic fail that is Cats.
This wind-up is all to say that it’s as complicated as ever to read the Golden Globes tea leaves. But that’s not going to stop me from breaking down and predicting in all 14 movie categories ahead of the Sunday, January 5 ceremony. (Also check out or TV predictions here.) Let’s do this! And let’s also forget that I called an A Star Is Born sweep last year.
Best Picture, Drama
The Two Popes
Will Win: 1917
Should Win: Marriage Story
I’m not 100 percent convinced The Irishman has this locked up — especially if members chose to watch the sprawling 209-minute mob epic from the comfort of a couch. The thrilling World War I drama 1917, meanwhile, is exceptionally well-crafted and has the built-in bonus of an overseas setting. But I’m still rooting for Marriage Story, which reaches an emotional crescendo without the help of any expensive special effects.
Best Picture, Comedy
Dolemite Is My Name
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Will Win: Jojo Rabbit
Should Win: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Oy, Jojo Rabbit. Though the whimsical Holocaust-set satire isn’t exactly a laugh riot (not even with Rebel Wilson doing her Rebel Wilson thing), it is a winsome crowd-pleaser that took the coveted Audience Award at the recent Toronto International Film Festival. That means no gold for Quentin Tarantino’s melancholic ode to California dreaming.
Bong Joon Ho, Parasite
Sam Mendes, 1917
Todd Phillips, Joker
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Will win: Bong Joon Ho
Should win: Sam Mendes
This pick will make more sense if you’ve seen all five movies. Parasite is not only a hip choice, it’s also a brilliant directorial marvel that captures the rocky divide between the haves and the have-nots. And yet it’s impossible to not be awe-struck by the one-shot masterpiece that is 1917. I still don’t know how Mendes pulled it off — and don’t want to know.
Best Actress, Drama
Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renee Zellweger, Judy
Will win: Renee Zellweger
Should win: Renee Zellweger
Welcome to the Renee-aissance! Zellweger is a ruby red shoe-in to take this one thanks to her humanistic and deeply sympathetic portrayal of Judy Garland in her third act of life. The “Over the Rainbow” scene alone sealed it.
Best Actress, Comedy
Ana de Armas, Knives Out
Awkwafina, The Farewell
Cate Blanchett, Where’d You Go Bernadette
Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart
Emma Thompson, Late Night
Will win: Awkwafina
Should win: Awkwafina
In just a few years, Nora Lum from Queens has evolved from rapper to comedy scene-stealer to fine dramatic actress. She’s set to take the crown for her performance as a first-generation Chinese-American woman who struggles with love and loss while caring for her beloved grandma.
Best Actor, Drama
Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari
Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes
Put on a happy face: Phoenix is a sure bet and riding high on a $1 billion grossing smash in which he physically transformed his body to play the mentally unstable titular character. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to re-watch Driver pouring out his heart while singing “Being Alive” in the closing moments of Marriage Story.
Best Actor, Comedy
Daniel Craig, Knives Out
Roman Griffin Davis, Jojo Rabbit
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Taron Egerton, Rocketman
Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name
Jeez, these Best Actor fields are crowded. My gut says to go with Murphy, the 1980s comedy king currently in the midst of an epic comeback befitting his scrappy character in Dolemite. I can picture the standing ovation. Still, don’t discount Egerton, who did it all as Elton John in Rocketman. One note: Rami Malek won last year for portraying Freddie Mercury despite lip-syncing. Egerton supplied his own vocals.
Best Supporting Actress
Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Annette Bening, The Report
Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers
Margot Robbie, Bombshell
Will win: Laura Dern
Should win: Jennifer Lopez
Dern is poised to pull a Regina King and Allison Janney and sweep through the awards season all the way to the Oscars. That’s what happens when you play a high-priced L.A. divorce attorney who’s equal parts savage and sincere. She hustles; just like Lopez. Only J.Lo has the sentimental edge because she also does the splits while slithering on a pole.
Best Supporting Actor
Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Will win: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Should win: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Can it be? Pitt hasn’t won a Golden Globe since 1996, when he triumphed in 12 Monkeys, thanked the makers of Kaopectate and took then-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow as his date. He’s poised to grace the stage again, this time for keeping it cool as an aging stuntman. It’s really a co-lead performance with DiCaprio, but we’ll let that slide.
Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Bong Joo-Ho and Han Jin Won, Parasite
Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
Will win: Noah Baumbach
Should win: Noah Baumbach
This category combines both original and adapted works, so we’ll see an altered group of nominees for the Oscars. I’m giving the edge to Baumbach for crafting a heart-wrenching, dialogue-heavy story based on his own experience with ex Jennifer Jason Leigh. Also, I refuse to believe that Marriage Story will be completely shut-out.
Best Motion Picture, Animated
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
The Lion King
Toy Story 4
Will win: Frozen 2
Should win: Toy Story 4
The Lion King for the win … in 1995! Though, come to think of it, most of these choices are also-rans. Frozen 2 gets the nod, if only because it’s the most recent release and a box-office behemoth. Special nod to the fantastic plastic in Toy Story 4 who embarked on yet another inspired adventure.
Best Motion Picture, Foreign Language
Pain and Glory
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Will win: Parasite
Should win: Parasite
In these unstable and divided times, it’s heartwarming to know that there is one universal certainty: Parasite — a searing and acclaimed social thriller from South Korean director Bong Joo Ho and no actor you’ve ever heard of (not yet, anyway) — is your Bingo free space/done deal/sure thing.
Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat, Little Women
Hildur Gudnadottir, Joker
Randy Newman, Marriage Story
Thomas Newman, 1917
Daniel Pemberton, Motherless Brooklyn
Will win: 1917
Should win: 1917
Come Oscar time, prepare for loads of love for 1917 in the behind-the-scenes categories. Start with the pulse-pounding and operatic score, which admittedly threatens to overwhelm the story in parts but serves as the unique film’s editing through-line.
Best Original Song
“Beautiful Ghosts,” Cats
“I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” Rocketman
“Into the Unknown,” Frozen 2
“Spirit,” The Lion King
“Stand Up,” Harriet
Will win: “Into the Unknown”
Should win: “Beautiful Ghosts”
When in doubt, go with a catchy Frozen anthem. Is it better than “Beautiful Ghosts”? I guess. But you must admit that the idea of Taylor Swift and Andrew Lloyd Webber winning for Cats would make for an unforgettable Memory.
The 77th annual Golden Globe Awards will air on NBC Sunday, January 5, at 8 p.m. ET.
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