Who Should Win at the Golden Globes This Weekend?

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Photo: Netflix, Claire Folger/Amazon Studios

The Golden Globes, the world’s only awards show put on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, are this Sunday! Though they’re a major stop on the awards circuit, the Globes often enjoy going their own way, which makes it a treat to try and predict exactly which way the HFPA voters are leaning. Below, you’ll find Kyle Buchanan (movies) and Jen Chaney’s (TV) best attempts at guessing who the lucky winners will be, as well as who would be taking home the trophies if we were the ones running the show.

MOVIES

Best Motion Picture, Drama
Moonlight
Manchester by the Sea
Lion
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water

Oscar pundits commonly assume that the current top tier of Best Picture contenders is limited to Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, and La La Land, and with the latter off competing in its own comedy/musical category at the Golden Globes, this gives either Moonlight and Manchester room to assert itself as an alternative to the supposed Best Picture front-runner. I expect this race to be close, since Moonlight and Manchester will both be picking up awards in some of the Globes’ other drama categories. In the end, though, I’d give a slight edge to Moonlight, which has run a smooth, superlative campaign this season.

Should Win: Moonlight
Will Win: Moonlight

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Denzel Washington, Fences
Joel Edgerton, Loving
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Though the Best Actor race still feels like a clash between Casey Affleck and Denzel Washington, Affleck is on a real winner’s streak with critics groups and early awards-season organizations that Washington hasn’t quite been able to penetrate. For that reason, then, I expect Affleck to prevail here, too.

Should Win: Denzel Washington, Fences
Will Win: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Ruth Negga, Loving
Amy Adams, Arrival
Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane

Since 2008, Amy Adams has been nominated for a Golden Globe almost every year, and she won twice for American Hustle and Big Eyes (aw, remember Big Eyes?) … albeit in the comedy/musical category. Natalie Portman has two Golden Globe wins under her belt, too, for darker entries like Black Swan and Closer, and her acclaimed Jackie performance is more in line with those victories. Put your money on Portman, though critics’ favorite Isabelle Huppert has a dark-horse shot with this international voting body.

Should Win: Natalie Portman, Jackie
Will Win: Natalie Portman, Jackie

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
La La Land
20th Century Women
Sing Street
Florence Foster Jenkins
Deadpool

There’s no way this won’t go to Damien Chazelle’s sunny California musical La La Land, the rare song-and-dance entry that can actually win in this category and may triumph at the Oscars, too.

Should Win: 20th Century Women
Will Win: La La Land

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Emma Stone, La La Land
Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
Lily Collins, Rules Don’t Apply
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen

Annette Bening is utterly fab in the wonderful 20th Century Women, but the film has stayed at a low simmer this awards season, and Bening missed her shot at a Screen Actors Guild nomination. She’ll pose no threat to Emma Stone, whose main Best Actress rival at the Oscars, Natalie Portman, will also pick up hardware at the Globes.

Should Win: Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
Will Win: Emma Stone, La La Land

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool
Colin Farrell, The Lobster
Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
Jonah Hill, War Dogs

Listen, the easy pick here is Ryan Gosling in La La Land … after all, they’re already checking that film’s boxes in so many other categories. Still, the Globes have a tendency to throw in one startling win per ceremony, and I suspect it could happen here, given how hard Ryan Reynolds has campaigned for his comic-book smash Deadpool. Will they be able to resist his charm offensive? I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict an upset for the R-rated, quippy assassin.

Should Win: Colin Farrell, The Lobster
Will Win: Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Dev Patel, Lion
Simon Helberg, Florence Foster Jenkins
Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals

Moonlight’s sensitive father figure Mahershala Ali has been sweeping this prize all season, and the HFPA ought to tumble for him, too.

Should Win: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Will Win: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures

Five-time Globe nominee Viola Davis is guaranteed a win for her powerhouse Fences performance, which everyone expects to win the Oscar.

Should Win: Viola Davis, Fences
Will Win: Viola Davis, Fences

Best Director, Motion Picture
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals

While I’ve started envisioning an Oscar scenario where Barry Jenkins triumphs in Best Director even as La La Land takes Best Picture, I suspect the Globes aren’t quite there yet: They’ll give it to Chazelle for his well-choreographed crowd-pleaser.

Should Win: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Will Win: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Best Screenplay, Motion Picture
Manchester by the Sea
La La Land
Moonlight
Hell or High Water
Nocturnal Animals

Manchester by the Sea is the least flashy of this year’s top Oscar contenders, but that stripped-down approach suits its screenplay, and ensures that Kenneth Lonergan’s scripting remains front-of-mind in this category.

Should Win: Manchester by the Sea
Will Win: Manchester by the Sea

Best Motion Picture, Animated
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life As a Zucchini
Sing
Zootopia

Disney’s subversively witty blockbuster Zootopia is the front-runner here: There’s a chance the studio’s own Moana could score, too, but Zootopia’s expert dissection of prejudice feels resonant all over again in a post-Trump world.

Should Win: Zootopia
Will Win: Zootopia

Best Motion Picture, Foreign Language
Divines, France
Elle, France
Neruda, Chile
The Salesman, Iran/France
Toni Erdmann, Germany

This race will come down to the spiky, provocative rape dramedy Elle and the sprawling, acclaimed father-daughter comedy Toni Erdmann. If the HFPA wants to pick the movie with the best Oscar shot, that will mean a vote for Toni Erdmann, since Elle was left off the Academy’s foreign-language short list.

Should Win: Elle
Will Win: Toni Erdmann

Best Original Score, Motion Picture
Arrival
Lion
La La Land
Moonlight
Hidden Figures

This one is going to go to the musical, duh.

Should Win: La La Land
Will Win: La La Land

Best Original Song, Motion Picture
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls
“City of Stars,” La La Land
“Faith,” Sing
“Gold,” Gold
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana

The Globes love a celebrity, and could reward Justin Timberlake’s Trolls ditty or Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Moana song just to get some star wattage on the stage. Still, with La La Land picking up so many other awards, it would be glaring if they missed out here.

Should Win: “City of Stars,” La La Land
Will Win: “City of Stars,” La La Land

TV

Best Television Series - Drama
The Crown
Game of Thrones
Stranger Things
This Is Us
Westworld

For the past two years, the HFPA has rewarded shows coming off strong first seasons: The Affair and Mr. Robot. Four out of this year’s five nominees are new shows, so I think it’s safe to assume one of those will triumph. (Sorry, Game of Thrones.) The question is which one?

I’m focused primarily on Stranger Things, The Crown, and This is Us, and I’m predicting that Stranger Things will win. As tempting as it is to think that Globe voters will go for a prestige-rich series like The Crown, their tendency, more often than not, has been to veer toward the edgy and/or dark. Mr. Robot, The Affair, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, Nip/Tuck: These are all shows that have won best drama. Stranger Things sits in the sci-fi/horror genre, which makes it a bit more of a long shot. But it fits more easily in that unconventional company than The Crown or This Is Us.

Should Win: Since The Americans wasn’t included, honestly? Game of Thrones.
Will Win: Stranger Things

Best Television Series - Comedy
Atlanta
Black-ish
Mozart in the Jungle
Transparent
Veep

Veep has won the best comedy Emmy for two straight years, but has never won the Globe. On the heels of an election year, it would seem uniquely positioned to do so. But Globe voters have an even greater tendency to honor new or underdog series in this category than they do in best drama. Which is why I honestly can’t see this going in any direction that doesn’t involve Atlanta.

Should Win: For me, this is a straight tie between Veep and Atlanta
Will Win: Atlanta

Best Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
American Crime
The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
The Dresser
The Night Manager
The Night Of

Is it possible to imagine anything other than People vs. O.J. winning here? Sure. But is it going to happen? Doubtful.

Should Win: The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Will Win: The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Best Actor in a Television Series - Drama
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Billy Bob Thornton, Goliath

Malek didn’t win this one last year because it was Jon Hamm’s time to take a final bow for being Don Draper. Having been overlooked, there’s a good chance he could step up and take the Globe this year. But the consensus from the Globe prediction set is that Thornton will win this thing, and past history at this awards show supports that. Voters gravitate toward industry veterans and, especially, movie stars who now work in TV. Kevin Spacey, Steve Buscemi, Gabriel Byrne, and Martin Sheen are previous examples. As great as Thornton is, it also helps that Goliath is the least widely known series in this group. “Under the radar” tends to translate into “likelier to win a Globe.”

Should Win: Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Will Win: Billy Bob Thornton, Goliath

Best Actress in a Television Series - Drama
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
Claire Foy, The Queen
Keri Russell, The Americans
Winona Ryder, Stranger Things
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld

The Hollywood Foreign Press loves established Hollywood stars. Its members also gravitate toward new, buzzy TV shows. For these reasons, my gut — or possibly my Free Winona T-shirt — is telling me this one’s going to Ryder. If the voters have a deeper love for The Crown and Westworld than I’m anticipating, I could be very wrong on this. But Ryder winning her first high-profile trophy in decades would be such a great return-to-glory moment, I suspect the desire to watch that happen will prevail.

Should Win: Keri Russell, The Americans
Will Win: Winona Ryder, Stranger Things

Best Actor in a Television Series - Comedy
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Gael García Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
Donald Glover, Atlanta
Nick Nolte, Graves
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Based on the factors I mentioned above — the Globes’ admiration of movie stars and fresh-out-of-the-oven television — all signs should point to Nolte in this category. If he wins, there will be a lot of “Whaaa? What is GRAVES?” on Twitter. But I honestly wouldn’t be that surprised. Having said that, I still believe they will go Glover here, not only because he’s very good on Atlanta, but because his vision is braided into every moment of the series he created.

Should Win: Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent, or Donald Glover, Atlanta
Will Win: Donald Glover, Atlanta

Best Actress in a Television Series - Comedy
Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Sarah Jessica Parker, Divorce
Issa Rae, Insecure
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

This is a stacked category that, ultimately, comes down to two people: Sarah Jessica Parker and Issa Rae, whose shows aired back-to-back on HBO. The Golden Globes has a history of showing affection for Parker; they gave her the trophy in this category four times for her portrayal of Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City. There’s definitely some loyalty and love there.

But there’s also a recent history of giving this award to fresh voices. Last year’s winner was Bloom; the year before that it was Rodriguez. Issa Rae would be the most obvious choice from that perspective. (There’s also a case to be made for Louis-Dreyfus who, despite all her Emmys for Veep, hasn’t gotten a single Globe for becoming Selina Meyer.)

Bottom line: I’m not sure what the hell is going to happen. But I’ll go with Issa Rae with the expectation that the Globes will go for three newcomers in a row.

Should Win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Will Win: Issa Rae, Insecure

Best Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Riz Ahmed, The Night Of
Bryan Cranston, All the Way
Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
John Turturro, The Night Of
Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Having both actors from The Night Of in this category makes it even more competitive than it was during the Emmys. (Night Of missed the qualification period for the 2016 TV industry trophy show.) But Vance is so damn powerful as Johnnie Cochran that I don’t think he can be overcome, especially if votes for the Night Of nominees cancel each other out.

Should Win: Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Will Win: Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Best Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Riley Keough, The Girlfriend Experience
Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Charlotte Rampling, London Spy
Kerry Washington, Confirmation

Theoretically, someone other than Sarah Paulson could win in this category. But that won’t happen.

Should Win: Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Will Win: Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Sterling K. Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager
John Lithgow, The Crown
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
John Travolta, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Brown locked this one down at the Emmys. But at the Emmys, he wasn’t competing against Lithgow’s extraordinary performance as Winston Churchill. I’ve been uncertain about whether The Crown will win in other categories, but I feel pretty confident it’s got this one in its pocket.

Should Win: John Lithgow, The Crown
Will Win: John Lithgow, The Crown

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Olivia Colman, The Night Manager
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Mandy Moore, This Is Us
Thandie Newton, Westworld

This is a hard one. The prevailing wisdom is that Newton will win for Westworld, and since she and Evan Rachel Wood brought the most heat to what was an often chilly sci-fi drama, that makes sense. I also wonder about Headey; this is her first nomination for Game of Thrones, a show that the Globes has rewarded just once, for Peter Dinklage’s performance, during the show’s history. This could be a chance to compensate for that. Still, I’m going to say that Newton walks away with the victory. 

Should Win: Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Will Win: Thandie Newton, Westworld

2017 Golden Globes Predictions for Film and TV