This weekend, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (and, against all odds, Ricky Gervais) are back to honor the "best" in film and television from the past year at the Golden Globe Awards.
Perhaps more than the norm, predicting who ends up on that stage come Sunday night is rather tough. There's a few assurances like Christopher Plummer, Jean Dujardin and Michelle Williams. But then there's also a few intense showdowns, particularly in the dramatic best actor and actress races.
So here's Indiewire's rundown of each and every category with regard to both who will and who should take home a Globe in the film categories:
BEST PICTURE: DRAMA
The Ides of March
Who Will Win: With "The Artist" over in the comedy or musical category, this is a big opportunity for a few other films to score a high-profile top prize. It seems "The Descendants" is the most likely to succeed in this regard, though "Hugo" and potentially even "The Help" are potential spoilers.
Who Should Win: There's really no great film among these six (at least from this Oscar prognositicator's point of view), though Bennett Miller's clever, affecting "Moneyball" is perhaps the best among them. Though where's "Drive," "Melancholia" and "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"?
BEST PICTURE: COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Midnight in Paris
My Week With Marilyn
Who Will Win: It's hard to see anything beating "The Artist" here.
Who Should Win: It's unfortunate that it's up against an arguable "musical or comedy" like "The Artist," because the well-deserving "Bridesmaids" would have been a shoo-in otherwise. A rare raunchy comedy that also has exceptional insight and warmth, "Bridesmaids" was the best comedy of 2011.
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
George Clooney, The Ides of March
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Who Will Win: Even if "Hugo" loses to "The Descendants" in the best drama category, it seems Martin Scorsese has a good shot at taking this prize. His main competition is, of course, Michel Hazanavicius. But the Globes love to honor big names and Marty certainly trumps Michel in that regard.
Who Should Win: Scorsese. If only for having the guts to spend $150 million on a 3-D ode to film restoration.
BEST ACTOR: DRAMA
George Clooney, The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio, J.Edgar
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Who Will Win: In perhaps the sexiest best actor lineup ever it seems to be down to old pals George Clooney and Brad Pitt, both of whom already have multiple Golden Globes (as noted, the HFPA loves them a hot movie star). The edge here goes to Clooney (who has a whopping four nominations going into the night), though Pitt certainly stands a good chance. Knowing the Globes, maybe they'll simply give them a tie.
Who Should Win: The least famous of them all (for now), Michael Fassbender.
BEST ACTRESS: DRAMA
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin
Who Will Win: An extremely tough call between two other pals, Meryl Streep and Viola Davis. The edge goes to Streep, though the Oscars could very well result in the reverse.
Who Should Win: Tilda Swinton. Completing a hat trick of remarkable depictions of mothers (or mother figures), Swinton's work in "We Need To Talk About Kevin" is simply astounding.
BEST ACTRESS: COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Jodie Foster, Carnage
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Kristin Wiig, Bridesmaids
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
Kate Winslet, Carnage
Who Will Win: Michelle Williams, hands down.
Who Should Win: Williams have a phenomenal impersonation of Marilyn Monroe, but Kristin Wiig deserves considerable credit for being the heart and soul of "Bridesmaids."
BEST ACTOR: COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Brendan Gleeson, The Guard
Joseph Gordon Levitt, 50/50
Ryan Gosling, Crazy Stupid Love
Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris
Who Will Win: Jean Dujardin will get his first opportunity to charm America's pants off with a speech here. And if Clooney and Pitt end up cancelling themselves out at the Oscars, he could be doing it again then.
Who Should Win: Even if you're not a fan of "The Artist," it's hard to deny the appeal of Dujardin's performance.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Who Will Win: Very tough call, with Bejo, Chastain and Spencer all good possibilities. While Spencer won the Critics Choice Award, it's easy to see her and Chastain cancelling each other out here and the Globes giving "The Artist" a considerable sweep with another win here for Bejo.
Who Should Win: Jessica Chastain. And not just because she was great in "Take Shelter" and "The Tree of Life," too. But because her work in "The Help" (along with the work of all her co-stars including Octavia Spencer, who I almost suggested instead) transcended a mediocre screenplay to bring considerable dimension to characters that were quite one-note on the page.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Who Will Win: Christopher Plummer. While all the other acting races are murky three-way contests, Plummer seems all but assured this award and an Oscar. Albert Brooks is his main competition (perhaps more here than on Oscar night), but expect Plummer to walk away with this one.
Who Should Win: Plummer. Everyone nominated in this category is on top of their game, but Plummer brought such an authenticity and tenderness to his role in "Beginners." It's nice to see what is likely going to be seen as a "career award" given to someone who actually deserved it for the winning performance.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
"A Separation" (Iran)
The Flowers Of War" (China)
"The Kid With The Bike" (Belgium)
"In The Land Of Blood and Honey" (USA)
"The Skin I Live In" (Spain)
Who Will Win: Can the Academy resist getting Angelina Jolie on stage? That's the main question when considering this award, which otherwise would seem a safe bet for Oscar frontrunner "A Separation."
Who Should Win: Undoubtedly "A Separation."
The Ides of March
Midnight in Paris
Who WIll Win: "The Descendants," though "Midnight in Paris" and "The Artist" both have good shots as well.
Who Should Win: "Moneyball."
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Ludovic Bource – "The Artist"
Abel Korzeniowski – "W.E."
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"
Howard Shore – "Hugo"
John Williams – "War Horse"
Who Will Win: Two for two for Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross? Probably not, with "The Artist" in contention.
Who Should Win: Reznor & Ross.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
The Adventures of Tintin
Puss In Boots
Who Will Win: "The Adventures of Tintin" sneaks past Rango here so the HFPA can get Spielberg up on stage.
Who Should Win: "Rango."
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
"Hello Hello" – "Gnomeo & Juliet – Elton John
"Lay Your Head Down" – "Albert Nobbs" – Sinead O'Connor and Glenn Close
"The Living Proof" – "The Help" – Mary J. Blige
"The Keeper" – "Machine Gun Preacher" – Chris Cornell
"Masterpiece" – "W.E." – Madonna
Who Will Win: With the odd exclusion of all things "Muppets" here, the Globes could use this opportunity to give Madonna some more recognition (she's won an acting Globe for "Evita," but never one for her songwriting despite multiple nominations).
Who Should Win: Frankly, I have no idea.