Awards season is ramping up, and actors are dreaming of winning some hardware at this year’s various ceremonies. The first fête is the Golden Globes, where the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) will reward the best in movies and TV with little statuettes.
The 74th Golden Globe Awards ceremony airs on Sunday, Jan. 8, starting at 6 p.m. ET with red-carpet coverage. 2016 was a strange year in entertainment, with many more flops than successes at the cinema, but TV bursting at the seams with high-quality, engrossing work.
Musical film La La Land, starring Canada’s own Ryan Gosling (who’s also nominated for his performance in the movie), leads the Golden Globe nominations with seven. Runner-up Moonlight, which screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and earned rave reviews across the board, is the second-most nominated production with six.
READ MORE: Who’s presenting at this year’s Golden Globes ceremony? [via ET Canada]
In the TV categories, The People vs. O.J. Simpson continued its award-show dominance with five nominations, including acting nominations for series stars Sarah Paulson, Courtney B. Vance, Sterling K. Brown and John Travolta. The TV categories were also filled with more recent shows not eligible for September’s Emmy Awards, including The Night Of, Westworld, Atlanta, This Is Us and Insecure.
Late-night host Jimmy Fallon will be hosting the Globes ceremony for the first time this year, taking over from acerbic comedian Ricky Gervais. The HFPA votes and selects the winners.
Here are our picks for winners in the major categories, each with a short explanation below the choice.
**DISCLAIMER: Please don’t email with rage if you lose your office pool. Feel free, however, to disparage me on Twitter.**
Best Motion Picture, Drama
Hell or High Water
** WINNER: Manchester By the Sea
Why: This heart-wrenching tale has been getting buzz for months now, so it’s likely it’ll take the top prize. The only movie poised to steal it is Moonlight — though few people outside of the film-buff circle have seen it — which is a stellar film about love and loss, wholly visceral and raw. The whispers of bad press against Manchester leading man Casey Affleck could hurt the film’s chances, but judging from past examples, that usually doesn’t impact the winner. Hell or High Water and Lion, while both great, are too under-the-radar. Mel Gibson’s film, Hacksaw Ridge, may stand a better chance of victory if he weren’t the director. Hollywood isn’t ready to forgive him yet, in spite of rave reviews.
(Always remember that the Golden Globes feature some of the strangest and most unexpected winners, so for Gibson to win, it might actually fit the script.)
Best Motion Picture, Musical, or Comedy
20th Century Women
Florence Foster Jenkins
** WINNER: La La Land
Why: There’s nothing Hollywood loves more than a movie about itself. Well that, and La La Land is filled to the brim with music, singing and dancing. Starring eternal cuties Gosling and Emma Stone, what’s not to love? While it’s fun to contemplate the alternate universe where Deadpool wins, we can’t linger too long because it ain’t gonna happen. The other movies don’t even register on the odds list.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
** WINNER: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Denzel Washington, Fences
Joel Edgerton, Loving
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Why: The aforementioned personal allegations against Affleck are the only things keeping the Best Actor Globe off of his mantle, but since there are mere days until the ceremony, it’s pretty much his. His only competition in this category is Washington for yet another award-worthy performance in Fences. Dark horse Edgerton was spectacular in Loving (and barely recognizable), but the film’s uneven reviews may have hurt him out of the gate. Garfield and Mortensen, while always great, are taking a back seat in this year’s race.
Best Performance By an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Amy Adams, Arrival
Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
** WINNER: Natalie Portman, Jackie
Why: There’s no doubt that the HFPA is leaning towards Portman for the win because a) she’s playing a very famous figure, who hasn’t been portrayed on the big screen ever in this manner, b) Jackie O’s accent is a challenge even for the most seasoned thespian and c) this is Jackie O we’re talking about. While some might argue that both Negga and Huppert delivered outstanding performances, they just don’t have that prime-time oomph. In that light, Adams or Chastain may swoop in for the victory, but we’re going to put our money on Portman.
Best Performance By an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
** WINNER: Emma Stone, La La Land
Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen
Lily Collins, Rules Don’t Apply
Why: She’s charismatic, she’s sweet, she’s just so damn charming. It feels impossible for Stone to lose, even against dozens-of-nominations acting legend Streep (who’s being awarded with the Cecil B. DeMille award at this year’s ceremony). Stone truly wins us over in La La Land as she tries to make it big as an actress, and in one scene in particular she brought an entire audience to tears with just her own voice. We can’t wait for her slightly awkward-yet-adorable acceptance speech.
WATCH: Jimmy Fallon gives preview of what’s to come at the 2017 Golden Globes [via ET Canada]
Best Performance By an Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical, or Comedy
** WINNER: Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
Colin Farrell, The Lobster
Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool
Jonah Hill, War Dogs
Why: Just like his costar Stone, Gosling is a shoo-in here. Also like Stone, Gosling is catnip for moviegoers, and for him to lose this contest would be a shock. In La La Land, his character is an aspiring jazz pianist trying to realize his dream of opening a jazz club, and Gosling coasts through the film with his trademark charming ease. He sings, dances, and makes it look like he could roll out of bed and master the tango if you asked him to. Interesting side note: that’s actually Gosling playing the piano throughout the movie.
Best Performance By an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
** WINNER: Viola Davis, Fences
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Why: Another category stacked with insane levels of talent, it’s a toughie. We’re going out on a limb and saying it’ll be Davis, who’s turned in multiple terrific performances (on TV and in movies) over the last few years. Watching even one clip from Fences, it’s pretty clear how intensely Davis seized this role. As for her competition, Kidman, Spencer and Harris are all great in their films, and Williams masters her Bostonian accent in Manchester, but none of them have the full-force gravitas of Davis.
Best Performance By an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
** WINNER: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Dev Patel, Lion
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Simon Helberg, Florence Foster Jenkins
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals
Why: This is the category where Moonlight will be honoured, after Ali’s staggering performance in the film. It’s too bad it won’t win in the other major categories, but at least it’ll get some accolades here. There’s the possibility of a surprise with Patel and Bridges nipping at Ali’s heels, and Helberg and Shannon probably don’t pose much of a threat.
WATCH: Jimmy Fallon weighs in on Ryan Reynolds/Ryan Gosling Golden Globes face-off [via ET Canada]
Best Director, Motion Picture
** WINNER: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Why: Oh, the potential for Globes gimmickry here. Imagine the audience reaction if Gibson won? After years of ostracization in Hollywood, suddenly he’s back in their good graces? It’s totally something that could happen. Tom Ford would also make for a good winner, and guaranteed he’d be well-dressed. But we think this one is going to go to Chazelle, who’s been so heaped upon with praise for this movie we can barely see him anymore.
Best Screenplay, Motion Picture
** WINNER: Manchester by the Sea
La La Land
Hell or High Water
Why: There is a slight possibility that Moonlight could nab this one as well, as it’s a poignant storytelling film. But Kenneth Lonergan, who only emerges to pen a film every several years, makes Manchester more of a hot commodity, so he’s probably going to take the prize.
Best Television Series, Drama
Game of Thrones
** WINNER: The Crown
This Is Us
Why: Replete with costumes, fanfare and theatrical acting (don’t forget the British accents!), The Crown is the shoo-in here. Game of Thrones won’t be winning this top prize until it bows a few years from now, Stranger Things was too transient to win and Westworld is a touch too niche to defeat the opposing shows. The only remote competition is This Is Us, whose heavy dramatization and tendency to induce crying has triggered quite the loyal audience. It’s possible it could take the award in its inaugural season, but The Crown is just so polished, so intact as a presentation, that it’s hard to see any other show overtaking it.
Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy
** WINNER: Atlanta
Mozart in the Jungle
Why: This is a no-brainer winner. No other shows in the category offer what Atlanta does: humour, heart, reality, all nicely put together in a dysfunctional package. Atlanta is a melange of fresh faces and original storylines, and the HFPA will be all over it.
Best Performance By an Actor in a Television Series, Drama
** WINNER: Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Billy Bob Thornton, Goliath
Liev Schrieber, Ray Donovan
Why: As much as we want it to be Odenkirk for Better Call Saul (honestly, Jimmy/Saul is one of the best characters on TV), the show just doesn’t have the devoted following it deserves. This category feels strangely empty, with no Jon Hamm for Mad Men or Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad, and it’s devoid of any Game of Thrones nominees. This year, it’ll be a toss-up between Malek (who won last year for his riveting Mr. Robot performance) and outlier Thornton, who’s been earning rave reviews for his work on little-watched Goliath.
Best Performance By an Actress in a Television Series, Drama
Winona Ryder, Stranger Things
** WINNER: Claire Foy, The Crown
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
Keri Russell, The Americans
Why: Another category stacked with talent, this one is Foy’s to lose. The only way the “Queen” isn’t going to win is if nostalgia takes over and Ryder benefits from her ’80s and ’90s appeal. Sure, she was fine in Stranger Things, but her work is nothing close to Foy’s total embodiment of Queen Elizabeth II. Wood is a dark horse with her work on Westworld, which is easily the buzziest show at the moment, so there’s a slight chance that she’ll win as well. Balfe or Russell, both great in their respective roles, would be shocking upsets.
Best Performance By an Actor in a Television Series, Musical, or Comedy
** WINNER: Donald Glover, Atlanta
Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Nick Nolte, Graves
Why: Atlanta is fresh, fun and hilarious, and it’s only in its first season. Glover doesn’t only star in the series, he’s the creator, and he contributes to the writing. His fingerprints are all over it, and he deserves to win for Atlanta‘s totally new vibe. Tambor has won in 2015 for Transparent, but the show grew a tad wayward last season, so don’t look for him to win again this year. Last year’s victor, Bernal, was a surprise to all, so don’t expect a repeat.
Best Performance By an Actress in a Television Series, Musical, or Comedy
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
** WINNER: Issa Rae, Insecure
Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish
Sarah Jessica Parker, Divorce
Why: Two women on this list have already won this exact category: Bloom (last year) and Rodriguez (2015), who each took home the statue in their roles’ inaugural years. If the Globes are aiming for consistency, then Rae will win for her performance in Insecure. Though the show is underwatched, Rae is a new kid on the block and that tends to be the Globes’ style. However, TV juggernaut SJP could swoop in and take one trophy for old times’ sake.
Best Performance By an Actor in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television
** WINNER: Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
John Turturro, The Night Of
Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
Bryan Cranston, All the Way
Why: This category is all Vance. Ahmed might be the lone surprise winner (he’s currently in the #1 film in the world, Rogue One), but Vance so embodies lawyer Johnnie Cochran in People vs. O.J. Simpson it’s actually scary. It would be a shocker if the trophy went to anybody else.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television
Olivia Colman, The Night Manager
Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Mandy Moore, This Is Us
** WINNER: Thandie Newton, Westworld
Why: We can omit Colman and Headey despite great performances, since both shows haven’t fared well in terms of awards, which leaves us with two This Is Us contenders and Newton in Westworld. Moore is lacking the gravitas to win (at the moment), and can’t take over Metz, who is the heart of the drama. Between Metz and Newton, it’s a slight edge for Newton, as she’s the more notable face, and has appeared in numerous other productions. There’s nothing stopping Metz from scooping up a Globe in the future, too.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television
** WINNER: Sterling K. Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
John Travolta, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
John Lithgow, The Crown
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
Why: This category is stacked, and is a tough call. Slater won last year for his performance in Mr. Robot, so given the show’s lower audience numbers this season, he most likely won’t win again. Laurie, while great in The Night Manager, is too under the radar at the moment. Lithgow is a revelation as Winston Churchill in The Crown, and is barely recognizable. Travolta avoided camp entirely in his scarily accurate portrayal of lawyer Robert Shapiro, but we think it’s going to go to the stellar Brown, who’s riding a career high at the moment (his show, This Is Us, is also one of the favourite new shows out there). Lithgow’s transformative work could be the winner in the end, especially if his costar Claire Foy doesn’t take home the Best Actress award.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
** WINNER: Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Kerry Washington, Confirmation
Riley Keough, The Girlfriend Experience
Charlotte Rampling, London Sky
Why: Paulson has emerged over the last couple of years as a TV tour-de-force. With decades of experience under her belt, her recent roles on American Horror Story have displayed her magnetism, charisma and outright awesomeness. She transferred her skills to The People vs. O.J. Simpson perfectly, and fully inhabited the role of Marcia Clark. The lawyer, who was seen relatively unfavourably by the media, was shown in an entirely new light. (In a lovely gesture, Paulson even brought Clark to the Emmys in September.)
Best Television Limited Series
** WINNER: The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
The Night Manager
The Night Of
Why: Aside from being a gripping true-crime deep dive in its own right, The People vs. O.J. Simpson features some of the best TV acting of the year. Even more fascinating is the glut of Simpson content on television in 2016 didn’t harm the show — everyone knew the outcome of the court case, but it didn’t impact the desire to watch. In many cases, casting of real-life people is a challenge (the Cuba Gooding Jr.-as-Simpson choice is a good example of what not to do), but on the whole, this series is a master class in finding the right combination of people to push the project to the next level.
For more information about this year’s Golden Globes, visit the awards’ official site.
With files from The Canadian Press