Best Drama Series
The Emmys may have been able to ignore the ratings behemoth that is “Empire,” but the Golden Globes can’t do it. The Hollywood Foreign Press’ love for new hit shows is well known, which brings us to last year’s winner, “The Affair.” The last winner to repeat with a nod won again — “Homeland,” in 2013 — but then failed to gain a nomination the following year. Others like “Mad Men” and “Boardwalk Empire” were able to stay in the race after winning, but a lot of the luster has worn off Showtime’s drama, and the HFPA may prefer more fresh faces. “Better Call Saul” and “Mr. Robot” are strong contenders here, with “Narcos” and “UnREAL” fighting for a spot, too.
As for the veterans, “House of Cards” has been nominated for both of its seasons so far, “Downton Abbey” is riding a three-year hot streak and “Game of Thrones” is fresh off an Emmys’ win. But, as always, our love for “The Leftovers” as the second year miracle nominee is all we’re hoping for on nominations’ day.
“Better Call Saul”
“Game of Thrones”
“House of Cards”
Wishful Thinking: “The Leftovers”
Likely Winner: “Game of Thrones”
Best Comedy Series
With stellar reviews pouring in for “Transparent” Season 2, last year’s winning series should be a lock for another strong run at the Golden Globes. It will likely be joined again by “Veep” (an Emmy winner for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2015) and “Orange is the New Black” (still considered a comedy by the HFPA, even after switching categories at the Emmys). But the final two slots are hotly contested, with Netflix series “Master of None” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” getting a slight edge thanks to relevancy and awards favorites, respectably (not to mention the crazy good reviews earned by both shows).
We also can’t count out other newcomers like “The Grinder,” a well-reviewed broadcast comedy from a network the HFPA has honored in the past, “Casual,” which will get a huge push from Hulu, and “The Last Man on Earth,” a show with the added bonus of airing a season-and-a-half during the qualifying year. And then there’s “You’re the Worst,” FX Networks’ critical darling that broached the taboo topic of depression for an incredible Season 2. It’s a long shot for a nod, but we’ll be pulling for it all the way.
“Master of None”
“Orange is the New Black”
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Spoiler: “The Grinder”
Wishful Thinking: “You’re the Worst”
Likely Winner: “Transparent”
Best TV Movie/Limited Series
Last year’s TV Movie/Limited Series race may have been the most exciting of the lot. The Golden Globes matched up “Fargo” vs. “True Detective” in a one-on-one showdown many other shows avoided, due to category-jumping or eligibility rules. The same match-up could happen again, though the dismal reviews “True Detective” saw may outweigh the star power its nomination would bring to the ceremony (and there are other categories to lure the same talent). “Fargo” shouldn’t face the same problem, with its stellar reviews, cast and buzz leading the FX drama to a possible repeat. HBO will try to push “Bessie” and “Show Me a Hero” to stop it, while FX may score another nod of its own with “American Horror Story: Hotel” (though the HFPA doesn’t love Ryan Murphy’s anthology series as much as the TV Academy does). Fighting for the last spot are ABC’s “American Crime,” also sporting one heckuva cast, and “Wolf Hall” from PBS. “Luther” could sneak in there as well, but our bet is on one of the broadcast shows to pull it out.
“American Horror Story: Hotel”
“Show Me a Hero”
Spoiler: “Wolf Hall”
Wishful Thinking: “Luther”
Likely Winner: “Fargo”
Best Drama Actor
After finally taking home his first Emmy for “Mad Men,” Jon Hamm (and AMC) has an eye on a second Golden Globe. He won his first for the debut season way back in 2008 and scored a handful of nominations since, but he’s been kept out of the race since 2013. Can he reemerge for the final season, or will he be tossed aside in favor of more first-year favorites like Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”), Terrence Howard (“Empire”), Sam Heughan (“Outlander”) or Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”)? Last year’s winner, Kevin Spacey, should be in the mix as well, with perennial nominee Liev Schrieber from one of the HFPA’s favorite networks also threatening. (If we had our say, of course, Justin Theroux would snag a nod for his powerful, subtle and textured work on “The Leftovers.”)
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
Terrence Howard, “Empire”
Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
Spoiler: Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
Wishful Thinking: Justin Theroux, “The Leftovers”
Likely Winner: Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”
Best Drama Actress
Much like this year’s Emmys, it seems this race is already down to two candidates: Viola Davis on “How to Get Away With Murder” (who won at the Emmys) and Taraji P. Hensen on “Empire.” Davis lost to Ruth Wilson last year — who’s again a threat to mix up the race in 2016 — making Hensen the early favorite for what remains a freshman series to the HFPA (“Empire” premiered in January). But she’ll have to beat out fellow first timers first, as Krysten Ritter (“Marvel’s Jessica Jones”), Melissa Benoist (“Supergirl”), Caitriona Balfe (“Outlander”), Shiri Appleby (“UnREAL”) and Alexa Davalos (“The Man in the High Castle”), all of whom could contend for a nod.
Viola Davis, “How To Get Away With Murder”
Taraji P. Hensen, “Empire”
Krysten Ritter, “Marvel’s Jessica Jones”
Ruth Wilson, “The Affair”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”
Spoiler: Claire Danes, “Homeland”
Wishful Thinking: Shiri Appleby, “UnREAL”
Likely Winner: Tarji P. Hensen, “Empire”
Best Comedy Actor
A slew of new contenders will make it difficult for Louis C.K. (“Louie”), Don Cheadle (“House of Lies”) and William H. Macy (“Shameless”) to again earn nominations in this competitive field, let alone past favorites like Matt LeBlanc (“Episodes”) and Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”). In their way are Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”), Tommy Dewey (“Casaul”), Billy Eichner (“Difficult People”), Rob Lowe (“The Grinder”) and Patrick Stewart (“Blunt Talk”). While seeing Eichner at the Globes would be one heckuva treat, all five slots likely won’t go to newcomers, especially with last year’s winner, Jeffrey Tambor, still a formidable threat to win.
Aziz Ansari, “Master of None”
Will Forte, “Last Man on Earth”
Rob Lowe, “The Grinder”
Patrick Stewart, “Blunt Talk”
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”
Spoiler: Billy Eichner, “Difficult People”
Wishful Thinking: Chris Geere, “You’re the Worst”
Likely Winner: Aziz Ansari, “Master of None”
Best Comedy Actress
Netflix is ready to make quite the showing this year in general, but they may utterly dominate the Best Comedy Actress field. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin look to land spots as co-leads for “Grace and Frankie,” and Ellie Kemper might make a run for the win if she gets in for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Then, of course, there’s the “Wet Hot American Summer” clan, where Elizabeth Banks would most likely be considered a lead (if anyone is). If the HFPA loves “Master of None” as much as some are predicting, Noel Wells could even sneak into the race. Of course, she’d have to beat out Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”), Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recreation”) and Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”) to do it. So…good luck?
Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation”
Gina Rodriguez, “Jane The Virgin”
Lily Tomlin, “Grace & Frankie”
Spoiler: Constance Wu, “Fresh Off the Boat”
Wishful Thinking: Aya Cash, “You’re the Worst”
Likely Winner: Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Best Actor in a Limited Series/Miniseries
HBO, always the awards giant, should dominate this category. With impressive performances from Oscar Isaac in “Show Me a Hero,” David Oyelowo in “Nightingale” and Colin Farrell in “True Detective,” the premium cable network could nab three of five spots with ease. Patrick Wilson is also a heavy favorite for “Fargo,” and FX would love to play spoiler to HBO’s advantage. That leaves one spot for a few more names, with Mark Rylance (“Wolf Hall”), Idris Elba (“Luther”) and Timothy Hutton (“American Crime”) being the top picks.
Colin Farrell, “True Detective”
Oscar Isaac, “Show Me a Hero”
David Oyelowo, “Nightingale”
Mark Rylance, “Wolf Hall”
Patrick Wilson, “Fargo”
Spoiler: Timothy Hutton, “American Crime”
Wishful Thinking: Idris Elba, “Luther”
Likely Winner: Oscar Isaac, “Show Me a Hero”
Best Actress in a Limited Series/Miniseries
Two of Indiewire’s favorite performances could and should face off in what’s otherwise a pretty tame field. Kirsten Dunst is in the middle of a landmark performance on “Fargo,” and Rachel McAdams was one of the few highlights to come out of “True Detective” Season 2. Both should be expecting phone calls Thursday morning, but so should at least one utterly undeserving contender: Lady Gaga is too big a ratings draw for the HFPA to ignore her, even if what she’s done on “American Horror Story: Hotel” would be considered fine, at best. Other, more worthy contenders include Queen Latifah for HBO’s “Bessie,” Felicity Huffman for “American Crime” and Saiorse Ronan for “Stockholm, Pennsylvania.” Oh, and then somewhere in between your Dunsts and Gagas is Nicole Kidman’s performance in “Grace of Monaco.” If that makes a surprise splash at the Globes — as it did at the Emmys — Lifetime should be feeling pretty proud of its pickup.
Kirsten Dunst, “Fargo”
Lady Gaga, “American Horror Story”
Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”
Queen Latifah, “Bessie”
Rachel McAdams, “True Detective”
Spoiler: Nicole Kidman, “Grace of Monaco”
Wishful Thinking: That Lady Gaga is excluded from the race.
Likely Winner: Kirsten Dunst, “Fargo”
Best Supporting Actor
The supporting acting categories cover comedy, drama, miniseries and limited series, making for an extremely wide range of candidates and thus two difficult predictions. A few names should feel fairly safe, though. Ted Danson is television royalty, and his role on “Fargo” has been top tier. Jonathan Banks is well-liked within the industry and delivered a knockout episode on “Better Call Saul.” Everyone else…well, it’s going to get interesting. Peter Dinklage has the weight of HBO and “Game of Thrones” fans behind him. Tituss Burgess is the hot hand in comedy right now, earning raves for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Damian Lewis is a familiar favorite at the HFPA, making the former “Band of Brothers” and “Homeland” nominee a healthy contender for “Wolf Hall.” Tony Hale (“Veep”) is coming off an Emmy win in the supporting category, and then there’s T.J. Miller, a fan favorite from “Silicon Valley” who is somehow hitting all the right notes with voters.
Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”
Tituss Burgess, “Kimmy Schmidt”
Ted Danson, “Fargo”
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
T.J. Miller, “Silicon Valley”
Spoiler: Damian Lewis, “Wolf Hall”
Wishful Thinking: Christopher Eccleston, “The Leftovers”
Likely Winner: Ted Danson, “Fargo”
Best Supporting Actress
A stacked category if we’ve ever seen one, you could take 10 guesses as to who makes the final five and still not get all of the final nominees. A few that aren’t listed below but are certainly top-level contenders include Mo’Nique for “Bessie,” Catherine Keener for “Show Me a Hero,” Claire Foy for “Wolf Hall,” Emilia Clarke for “Game of Thrones” and Christina Hendricks for “Mad Men.” And that doesn’t even include dark horses like Amy Brenneman (“The Leftovers”), Jane Krakowski (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), Anna Chlumsky (“Veep”) or anyone from “American Horror Story: Hotel.” Get ready for a few surprises come Thursday.
Uzo Aduba, “Orange is the New Black”
Lena Headley, “Game of Thrones”
Allison Janney, “Mom”
Jean Smart, “Fargo”
Julie Walters, “Indian Summer”
Spoiler: Regina King, “American Crime”
Wishful Thinking: Holly Taylor, “The Americans”
Likely Winner: Lena Headley, “Game of Thrones”
Nominations for the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards will be announced Thursday, December 10 at 8am. The ceremony will air January 10 at 8pm on NBC.
[Editor’s Note: The above article was greatly enriched by Indiewire Contributing Editor Peter Knegt.]