Split categories allow voters to spread the wealth, but who prevails when Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, and Bong Joon Ho compete?
What will happen at the Golden Globes? Part of the fun of this ceremony is that you never quite know: A tipsy actor might make a speech too colourful for network censors, or an award could go to the person everyone least suspects. That can make predicting the results of today's show a bit difficult, especially since the Globes are voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, an eccentric collection of about 90 journalists. Sometimes, those voters will pick the contender with the most Oscar buzz, but just as often, they'll go their own unique way.
This year's film competitions offer no shortage of places where the Globes can make their mark. Despite the opportunity to spread the wealth in separate categories for best drama and best comedy or musical, there are still plenty of close contests in which a victor at the Globes could accrue the edge needed to convince some on-the-fence Oscar voters. As your Carpetbagger always says, it never hurts to be seen winning, and below, I've picked the people and movies I expect to do just that.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renée Zellweger, Judy
One of the night's few mortal locks, Zellweger came on strong early this season with her passionate performance as Judy Garland, and she has never given up her place as the best-actress front-runner. Though Johansson is the only nominee who's also fronting one of the best-drama contenders, this is Zellweger's to lose — and she won't.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari
Ricky Gervais' most shocking jokes as Globes host
Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes
Driver couldn't be having a better year: Alongside recent star turns in The Report and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, he has delivered one of his most moving performances in Marriage Story, which scored more Golden Globe nominations than any other film. If he weren't up against Phoenix, he'd win this in a walk, but Phoenix, a six-time nominee who won a Golden Globe for Walk the Line, likely has the edge for his more talked-about, transformational performance.
Best Motion Picture, Drama
The Two Popes
If the Hollywood Foreign Press Association picks Martin Scorsese's The Irishman or Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story, everyone will simply nod and say, "That seems about right." Which is why I think it may not happen! After all, this is the voting body that swerved from last year's perfectly respectable best-drama choice, A Star Is Born, and selected Bohemian Rhapsody instead. It wouldn't be a Globes ceremony without a big victory that comes out of left field, and I think Joker could provide the shock of the night.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Awkwafina, The Farewell
Cate Blanchett, Where'd You Go, Bernadette?
Ana de Armas, Knives Out
Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart
Emma Thompson, Late Night
The Globes always pay heed to where the Oscar wind is blowing, and since Awkwafina is the only contender in this eccentric category with any real chance at earning an Academy Award nomination, that could give her an advantage. Still, her odds have dwindled since she was snubbed by the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and that could open the door for an up-and-comer like de Armas, the Knives Out lead, to prevail instead.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or 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
Could this category give us the most delicious upset? My brain is telling me that DiCaprio should take the award easily: He's an 11-time Globe nominee who has won three times before, and the Hollywood foreign press counts on his star wattage to keep their lights on every year. That said, Rocketman star Egerton has campaigned much more extensively than his reticent competitors, and though he's hindered by the fact that his performance as Elton John comes in the shadow of Rami Malek's Globe-winning Bohemian Rhapsody turn just last year, I can't underestimate Egerton's willingness to press the flesh. DiCaprio is probably safe, but oh man: If he loses, that reaction-shot GIF is going to be brutal.
Best Motion Picture, Comedy
Dolemite Is My Name
Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood
His screenplays for Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained earned Quentin Tarantino a pair of Oscars and a pair of Golden Globes, but he has never taken the top award from either voting body. The Globes will rectify that by giving Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood the best-comedy trophy. Will the Oscars follow suit?
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Annette Bening, The Report
Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers
Margot Robbie, Bombshell
Dern is considered the Oscar front-runner, but if there's any ceremony she might lose at, it's this one: The Globes love a surprise supporting-actress winner, and a vote for Lopez would give them plenty of superstar flash. I also wonder whether Dern, who is on the Oscars' Board of Governors, might be so associated with that group that the Hollywood Foreign Press will feel permission to go a different way. Then again, she is a four-time Globe winner who served as Miss Golden Globe at age 15. Expect a photo finish.
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood
Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood
Pitt has never won an Oscar for acting, but the Globes haven't proved as hard to impress: He triumphed in this category back in 1996 for Twelve Monkeys, and Monday, he'll win again.
Bong Joon Ho, Parasite
Sam Mendes, 1917
Todd Phillips, Joker
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood
This will be a true clash of the titans, as Scorsese and Tarantino face the surging Bong. Scorsese has won this Golden Globe three times before, while Tarantino would be picking up his first award in the category. On paper, both of them would be a safer bet than the man I'm putting my chips on: Bong, who I increasingly think will win the best-director Oscar, too.
Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Bong Joon Ho and Jin Won Han, Parasite
Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood
Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
Baumbach was denied a best-director nomination in part because Marriage Story is considered more of a scripting accomplishment. Here, then, is the perfect category for Globe voters to make it up to him, though he'll face formidable competition from two-time winner Tarantino.
Best Foreign-Language Film
Pain and Glory
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
It's way past time for the Golden Globes to open their top drama and comedy-musical categories to films made outside the English language, but in the meantime, this will be an easy win for Parasite.
Best Animated Feature Film
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
The Lion King
Toy Story 4
This Globe almost always goes to a Pixar film, and though Incredibles 2 lost last year to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse, Toy Story 4 should have an easier road to victory. Meanwhile, let's enjoy the delicious shade of the Golden Globes nominating the photorealistic remake of The Lion King for this category, despite the fact that Disney has positioned it as a live-action movie for awards purposes.
Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat, Little Women
Hildur Gudnadottir, Joker
Randy Newman, Marriage Story
Thomas Newman, 1917
Daniel Pemberton, Motherless Brooklyn
If you're related to competing cousins Randy and Thomas Newman, filling out your Golden Globes pool could prove awfully fraught. The latter Newman is better situated thanks to a war movie that makes more pervasive use of his music, but I think the Globes are down to clown and will go for Gudnadottir's Joker score instead.
Best Original Song
Beautiful Ghosts (Cats) — Taylor Swift and Andrew Lloyd Webber
I'm Gonna Love Me Again (Rocketman) — Elton John and Bernie Taupin
Into the Unknown (Frozen 2) — Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez
Spirit (The Lion King) — Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Timothy McKenzie and Ilya Salmanzadeh
Stand Up (Harriet) — Joshuah Brian Campbell and Cynthia Erivo
You've got two of the music world's biggest stars going to head-to-head here in Swift and Beyoncé, and they're up against another mammoth song from the Frozen franchise. Still, the Globes love legacy acts — don't forget that Let It Go from the original Frozen lost to a U2 song you'd be pressed to name. For that reason, I think they'll be inclined to reward the new song 72-year-old John wrote with Bernie Taupin for Rocketman.
Written by: Kyle Buchanan
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