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Golden Globes 2017: Who Will Win and Who Should Win in All 14 Movie Categories!

Let’s start with the easy predictions for the 74th annual Golden Globe Awards. There’s a 99 percent chance host Jimmy Fallon will sing in the first 20 minutes, and then the camera will cut to Justin Timberlake. Nominee Meryl Streep, also the Cecil B. DeMille Award winner, will get a primo seat. And at least one of the winners will take the stage and breathlessly exclaim, “I was not expecting this!!!!” (Lie). But who exactly will take home those trophies — and do they really deserve it? More pressing: Can 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association really affect how thousands of Academy members will mark their Oscar ballots next month? Us Weekly film critic Mara Reinstein attempts to break down all 14 categories ahead of the January 8 ceremony (NBC, 8 p.m.). Place your bets and pass the popcorn. (Watch the contenders in the video above). 

David Wenham, Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel
David Wenham, Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel in ‘Lion.’

Best Picture, Drama

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water


Manchester by the Sea


Will Win: Lion

Should Win: Manchester by the Sea

My brain says the poignant Moonlight will take it. My heart says to go with Manchester by the Sea, the complex, emotionally draining gem. (Indeed, if this award were titled, “Best Gut-Wrenching Tearjerker that Makes You Grateful for Fresh Oxygen,” Manchester would win in a landslide.) But I’m going with my gut and selecting Lion. The Weinstein Company–backed true tale spans three decades and two continents — and it ends with the ultimate crowd-pleasing exclamation point. That’s the kind of material the Hollywood Foreign Press devours. Just note that a win is not necessarily an Oscar precursor: The Revenant won last year (not Spotlight) and Boyhood took it in 2015 (not Birdman).

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in ‘La La Land.’

Best Picture, Comedy or Musical

20th Century Women


Florence Foster Jenkins

La La Land

Sing Street

Will Win: La La Land

Should Win: La La Land

If you’ve entered a Golden Globes pool and didn’t put moolah on La La Land for this category, I have to seriously question your desire to win. Though all the nominees have their considerable charm (stream Sing Street, for reals!), this modern ode to vintage musicals is a magical piece of cinema that will be treasured for years. Only the most heartless curmudgeon would vote against it. 

Casey Affleck
Casey Affleck in ‘Manchester by the Sea.’

Best Actor, Drama

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Joel Edgerton, Loving

Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge

Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Denzel Washington, Fences

Will Win: Casey Affleck

Should Win: Casey Affleck

So far in this young competition season, Casey Affleck has done everything right. Show a lighter side on Saturday Night Light? Done. Dutifully attend every awards ceremony? Done. He also happens to turn in a heartbreaking, revelatory performance as a broken Bostonian. Runner-up honors go to the always-outstanding Denzel Washington. 

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman in ‘Jackie.’

Best Actress, Drama

Amy Adams, Arrival

Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane

Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Ruth Negga, Loving

Natalie Portman, Jackie

Will Win: Natalie Portman

Should Win: Amy Adams

What does Amy Adams have to do to win a friggin’ gold trophy?! In her latest acting showcase, she’s brilliant enough to save the whole darn world. And that’s not enough to beat Natalie Portman, who owns the screen playing former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. It’s a Camelot thing. 

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Best Actor, Comedy

Colin Farrell, The Lobster

Ryan Gosling, La La Land

Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins

Jonah Hill, War Dogs

Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool

Will Win: Ryan Gosling

Should Win: Ryan Reynolds

That Ryan Gosling sure has a bright future in this business. Not only can the man sing, tap dance, play piano and act, he also has the power to burn a hole through the heart with just one powerful stare. (Or maybe that’s just me?). If we’re talking pure comedy chops, however, the other Canadian named Ryan gets the edge. Nobody delivered more yuks per minute last year than Reynolds’ snarky comic book hero.

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in ‘La La Land.’

Best Actress, 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

Will Win: Emma Stone

Should Win: Emma Stone

When Emma Stone, portraying a Hollywood starlet daring to dream big, walks into an audition room late in La La Land, she is a cute movie star. When she walks out, she is a revelation. That’s how much Stone capitalizes on her showstopping, “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going”–esque moment. Too bad she can’t share the award with Annette Bening, who plays a headstrong single mom in one of the most authentic performances of her career. 

Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham
Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham in ‘Hell or High Water.’

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water

Simon Helberg, Florence Foster Jenkins

Dev Patel, Lion

Aaron Taylor Johnson, Nocturnal Animals

Will Win: Jeff Bridges

Should Win: Mahershala Ali

This is the trickiest category to predict because all five nominees could easily make a case for winning. (Well, except Simon Helberg, who got Kevin Costner’s spot for Hidden Figures.) But Jeff Bridges, a renowned Hollywood legend, is grizzled to perfection playing a wise Texas Ranger. Look for Mahershala Ali — Moonlight‘s doomed father figure — to pull ahead come Oscar time.

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in ‘Fences.’

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis, Fences

Naomie Harris, Moonlight

Nicole Kidman, Lion

Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Will Win: Viola Davis

Should Win: Viola Davis

With much respect to Naomie Harris, Nicole Kidman, Octavia Spencer and Michelle Williams, this is not a contest. The trophy engraving for Davis started right around the time she filmed the scene in which her put-upon character finally stands up to her domineering husband (Denzel Washington). Cliché alert: It’s an acting master class.


Best Animated Feature Film

Kubo and the Two Strings


My Life as a Zucchini



Will win: Zootopia

Should win: Zootopia

All excellent choices. In fact, in most years, the gorgeous Disney musical Moana would be the shoo-in. But not even Lin-Manuel Miranda’s clever songs can stack up against the only film on this list to feature adorable talking animals and a whip-smart (and scary-relevant) story about societal prejudice. It gets the vote.

Sandra Huller and Peter Simonischek
Sandra Huller and Peter Simonischek in ‘Toni Erdmann.’

Best Foreign Language Film




The Salesman

Toni Erdmann

Will win: Toni Erdmann

Should win: Toni Erdmann

I’m using this space as a public service announcement for Toni Erdmann. Don’t be dismayed by the run time (162 minutes) or the subtitles (it’s in German). This sublime tragicomedy — about a corporate-minded woman whose prankster dad upends her life — journeys to the most hilarious and unexpected places. See it.

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Best Director

Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals

Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge

Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Will Win: Damien Chazelle

Should Win: Damien Chazelle

Last January: The controversial Mel Gibson will never be nominated for a Golden Globe. Hello, that’s right up there with the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series and Donald Trump being elected President of the United States! This January: Anything is possible!!! Gibson showed off his considerable talents directing the blood-and-guts-drenched World War II epic. He’s a solid contender. Still, it’s difficult not to reward Damien Chazelle, the wunderkind who reinvigorated a beloved genre.  

Best Screenplay

Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals

Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water

Will Win: Kenneth Lonergan

Should Win: Kenneth Lonergan

Take away the beautiful music and the gorgeous cinematography, and La La Land doesn’t quite hold up on story alone. (Even Stone and Gosling’s sparkling chemistry plays a factor in the movie’s excellence.) The same can’t be said for Kenneth Lonergan’s nuanced original screenplay. The narrative plays out effortlessly on the screen, and yet every word matters.

Related: Jimmy Fallon Promises 'Fun, Joyous' Show as Golden Globes Host and Teases Celebrity Cameos

Best Original Score


La La Land



Hidden Figures

Will Win: La La Land

Should Win: La La Land

Justin Hurwitz’s lovely La La Land score isn’t just background music in a movie — it’s a powerful driving force. It makes Stone and Gosling float on air on a date in a museum and then takes them down to Earth in a dingy apartment. And his seven-minute epilogue is so wondrous that it doesn’t even need visuals. 

Best Original Song

“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls

“City of Stars,” La La Land

“Faith,” Sing

“Gold,” Gold

“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana

Will Win: “City of Stars”

Should Win: “Can’t Stop the Feeling”

Automatic eye roll at the HPFA for failing to nominate the best movie song of the year, “Audition” from La La Land. Anyhoo, let’s give this one to “City of Stars,” only because the best musical of the year needs to be recognized for its music. That said, JT’s peppy summer anthem was, yes, unstoppable.

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