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Golden Globes TV Predictions: Who Will Win After an Unprecedented Awards Race?

"The Crown" eyes a historic return to the winners' circle while first-timers like "Ted Lasso" and "The Queen's Gambit" hope to start 2021 strong.

Golden Globes Predictions 2021 Ted Lasso The Crown

“Ted Lasso,” “The Crown,” and “Small Axe”

Courtesy of Apple TV+ / Sophie Mutevelian and Netflix / Will Robson-Scott and Amazon Studios

In what may feel late to average viewers at home and oddly early to awards insiders, it’s nearly time for the Golden Globes! Airing nearly two months after its typical early January date, the HFPA’s 78th annual ceremony was pushed back along with the rest of the awards calendar in order to accomodate releases delayed by the global pandemic. That being said, the Oscars won’t be held until April 25 and the nominations won’t be announced until March 15.

But those are concerns for the film world. Here, we’re predicting the TV winners, and hoo boy are they as tricky as ever. Even though new TV continued to roll out throughout the year, the 2021 class of Golden Globe nominees still reflects an upended release schedule. Neither of last year’s big winners (“Succession” and “Fleabag”) are eligible in 2021, and plenty of repeatedly sidelined series found their way into the running. (“Ozark” earned its first nod for Best Drama Series, and “Schitt’s Creek” earned its first nominations ever.)

What does that mean for the winners? We’ll find out Sunday, February 28, starting at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you of the less-than-encouraging circumstances surrounding this year’s ceremony. If you want to know the winners without directly supporting the HFPA, you can always read them right here on IndieWire, and if you want to see the best of the show, well, we’ll cover that, too.

Now then, on with the predictions:

Best Drama Series

The Crown
“Lovecraft Country”
“The Mandalorian”

Will Win: “The Crown”
Could Win: “The Mandalorian”
Should Win: “Ozark”

Unlike the Emmys, the Golden Globes are loath to give the same show their top honor. In the 58 years since the Best Drama Series category came about, only seven programs have won more than once. (“Mad Men” and “The X-Files” won three times, while the others won only twice.) Still, I think “The Crown” is going to be the eighth. “Lovecraft Country” doesn’t have enough love outside of this category, “Ratched” doesn’t have enough love, period, and “Ozark” didn’t feel the HFPA’s full embrace until this year, when there were fewer shows to choose from. (Last year’s winner, “Succession,” did not air a new season in 2020 due to pandemic production delays.) So that leaves two: “The Crown,” which won for its first season (of course) in 2016 (before landing six more nominations) and “The Mandalorian,” which is nominated for its first and only Golden Globe here, in its second season, after the Disney+ original became a worldwide sensation. But with only one nomination to “The Crown’s” six (six!), not even the next “Game of Thrones” should sway the HFPA from its longtime favorite drama.

Best Actress in a Drama Series

Olivia Colman, “The Crown”
Jodie Comer, “Killing Eve”
Emma Corrin, “The Crown”
Laura Linney, “Ozark”
Sarah Paulson, “Ratched”

Will Win: Emma Corrin, “The Crown”
Could Win: Olivia Colman, “The Crown”
Should Win: Laura Linney, “Ozark”

Typically, Best Drama Series winners also snag an acting win (when “Succession” won, so did Brian Cox, “The Handmaid’s Tale” and Elisabeth Moss, “The Crown” Season 1 and Claire Foy, etc.) and “The Crown’s” thespian acknowledgement is likely to come here. While the surprisingly strong showing for “Ratched” could spell good things for Sarah Paulson, and Laura Linney is certainly deserving for “Ozark,” watch for Emma Corrin to top last year’s champ, Olivia Colman, as the cool new kid on the block. Vote splitting could be an issue, but the voting body is so small, it seems like they’ll be able to focus on a favorite.

Best Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
Josh O’Connor, “The Crown”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Al Pacino, “Hunters”
Matthew Rhys, “Perry Mason”

Will Win: Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
Could Win: Josh O’Connor, “The Crown”
Should Win: Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”

If Josh O’Connor wins here, get ready for a “Crown” sweep. The man playing Prince Charles had a good year, between his Netflix role and a gleeful turn in “Emma.,” but he wasn’t nominated last year and it’s a bit of a stretch to call him this show’s lead. Jason Bateman, meanwhile, is the definitive lead (as well as executive producer and director) of “Ozark,” and he’s the series’ only nominee prior to this year. (He’s been nominated for all three seasons of “Ozark.”) As much as I’d love to see Bob Odenkirk finally get his due for an exquisite performance in “Better Call Saul,” that, “Hunters,” and “Perry Mason” don’t seem to have enough love or buzz to beat out Bateman.

The Great -- Episode 105 - The Great is a genre bending, anti-historical ride through 18th Century Russia following the wildly comic rise of Catherine the Nothing to Catherine the Great. Catherine (Elle Fanning) and Peter (Nicholas Hoult), shown. (Photo by: Ollie Upton/Hulu)

Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult in “The Great”


Best Comedy Series

“Emily in Paris”
“The Flight Attendant”
“The Great”
“Schitt’s Creek”
Ted Lasso

Will Win: “Ted Lasso”
Could Win: “The Great” or “Schitt’s Creek” or “The Flight Attendant”
Should Win: “Ted Lasso”

Just about any guess is a good one in the Comedy category, but let me walk you through my thinking. “Emily in Paris” is out. Sorry, but all hell would break loose if the Netflix series that its own writer campaigned against won the top slot. “The Flight Attendant” could capitalize on being the buzzy, late-arriving original, if not for “Ted Lasso,” which seems to have trumped the HBO Max black comedy with an onslaught of kindness. Apple TV+ has the breakout show of 2020’s second half. That’s usually what the HFPA looks for, especially with comedies, even if it has to stretch the meaning of “breakout” (like with “The Kominsky Method” and “Mozart in the Jungle”). “The Great” feels a bit like those shows (overlooked yet hitting all the HFPA’s buttons), and its three nominations to “Ted’s” two could mean it’s the Globes’ actual favorite newbie. The one flaw: Hulu’s hourlong comedy may have come out too long ago to still be the voters’ passion pick. (But if Elle Fanning wins Best Actress, watch out.)

That leaves Emmy darling “Schitt’s Creek.” Many consider it the favorite here, filling the same role “Fleabag” did when its second season stormed the Emmys and followed suit at the Globes. But that was a Season 2. “Schitt’s Creek” is up for Season 6. In the last 25 years, the oldest comedy to win Best Series at the Globes is “Sex and the City” Season 4, and that’s only after it won for Seasons 2 and 3. “Schitt’s Creek” was never nominated until this year. Did the HFPA members just not watch it until it ended? Were they holding off for a full series binge? Or did they simply give in to peer pressure and nominate the Pop TV hit, without any real enthusiasm for it? Come Sunday, we’ll find out.

Best Actress in a Comedy Series

Kaley Cuoco, “The Flight Attendant”
Lily Collins, “Emily in Paris”
Elle Fanning, “The Great”
Jane Levy, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”
Catherine O’Hara, “Schitt’s Creek”

Will Win: Kaley Cuoco, “The Flight Attendant”
Could Win: Catherine O’Hara, “Schitt’s Creek” or Elle Fanning, “The Great”
Should Win: Jane Levy, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”

Many of the questions about Comedy Series apply here: Does the HFPA really love “Schitt’s Creek” (or at least feel bad about overlooking Catherine O’Hara until now, her first nomination)? Are they gaga over “The Great,” and thus eager to crown Elle Fanning? Perhaps Jane Levy’s multifaceted turn on broadcast TV will play spoiler, but I have to believe Kaley Cuoco will be rewarded for her own varied turn in “The Flight Attendant.”

Best Actor in a Comedy Series

Don Cheadle, “Black Monday”
Nicholas Hoult, “The Great”
Eugene Levy, “Schitt’s Creek”
Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”
Ramy Youssef, “Ramy”

Will Win: Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”
Could Win: Nicholas Hoult, “The Great”
Should Win: Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”

After Michael Douglas’ win for playing Sandy Kominsky in “The Kominsky Method” and Ramy Youssef’s win for playing Ramy Hassan in “Ramy,” the HFPA is legally required to fulfill the rule of threes and select an actor whose character name appears in the show title. Technically, that means Don Cheadle could win, but only if you pronounce “Black Monday” as “Black Moe-nday,” given he plays Mo Monroe in the Showtime comedy. Youssef could win again, but that feels like a cheat. Nicholas Hoult could screw things up and win for “The Great,” even though his character is most certainly not great, nor known as The Great. (He is not playing Catherine.) So that leaves the obvious and correct choice: Jason Sudeikis, for playing Ted Lasso in “Ted Lasso.”


Anya Taylor-Joy in “The Queen’s Gambit”

Phil Bray / Netflix

Best Limited Series

“Normal People”
“The Queen’s Gambit”
“Small Axe”
“The Undoing”

Will Win: “The Queen’s Gambit”
Could Win: “The Undoing”
Should Win: “Normal People”

When the Golden Globes get a chance to play kingmaker, they rarely pass it up, and this category only has two contenders already nominated at the Emmys. “Unorthodox” and “Normal People” could have been HFPA favorites in another year, when both came out a bit later, but I have to believe this is a three-way race between the newer, buzzier contenders. A “Small Axe” win would be huge for Amazon, as the studio tries to emphasize the anthology series’ (rightful) placement in TV categories, but I’m not sure it can contend with the huge audiences for “The Undoing” and “The Queen’s Gambit.” (It only really has to win over the majority of 87 voters, but popularity still plays a factor at the Globes.) With that in mind, I’m going with the more respected of the two, “The Queen’s Gambit.”

Best Actress in a Limited Series

Cate Blanchett, “Mrs. America”
Daisy Edgar-Jones, “Normal People”
Shira Haas, “Unorthodox”
Nicole Kidman, “The Undoing”
Anya Taylor-Joy, “The Queen’s Gambit”

Will Win: Anya Taylor-Joy, “The Queen’s Gambit”
Could Win: Shira Haas, “Unorthodox”
Should Win: Anya Taylor-Joy, “The Queen’s Gambit”

It’s odd to look at this category and think, “Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett don’t really have a shot, huh?” Perhaps the HFPA’s passion for “The Undoing” could buoy the Aussie actor’s odds at a fifth(!) Globe, but the story here is with the breakouts. Shira Haas lit Netflix afire in early 2020 with “Unorthodox,” shortly before Daisy Edgar-Jones took the torch during the spring and summer months with “Normal People.” But the most recent TV “it” person is Anya Taylor-Joy, who’s also a double-nominee thanks to “Emma.” Look for her to win here and help kick off a lengthy awards run for “The Queen’s Gambit.”

Best Actor in a Limited Series

Bryan Cranston, “Your Honor”
Jeff Daniels, “The Comey Rule”
Ethan Hawke, “The Good Lord Bird”
Hugh Grant, “The Undoing”
Mark Ruffalo, “I Know This Much Is True”

Will Win: Hugh Grant, “The Undoing”
Could Win: Mark Ruffalo, “I Know This Much Is True”
Should Win: Ethan Hawke, “The Good Lord Bird”

Another tough category, this one may come down to who the HFPA wants to see give their virtual acceptance speech. Mark Ruffalo has yet to win a Golden Globe, and his preceding Emmy win for “I Know This Much Is True” certainly sets him up for success here, but HBO’s limited series was tough to get through, came out a while back, and Ruffalo’s advocacy-focused speeches are great, important, and well-said… if not exactly ratings draws. Ethan Hawke would certainly be more memorable, especially if he channels a bit of John Brown, as would long-time Globes favorite Bryan Cranston, but I’m thinking this is where the HFPA honors “The Undoing,” which landed three nominations total. Hugh Grant earned across-the-board acclaim, even when the rest of the show did not, and he’s already made himself the awards circuit MVP. Give him the mic! Make him talk about “Paddington 3”!

Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series

Gillian Anderson, “The Crown”
Helena Bonham Carter, “The Crown”
Julia Garner, “Ozark”
Annie Murphy, “Schitt’s Creek”
Cynthia Nixon, “Ratched”

Will Win: Gillian Anderson, “The Crown”
Could Win: Helena Bonham Carter, “The Crown”
Should Win: Gillian Anderson, “The Crown”

If you believe “Schitt’s Creek” skyrocketed to fame on the back of Netflix, then all five nominees in this categories stem from the streaming giant. So who’s got the edge? After Helena Bonham Carter lost for the eighth time last year, she remains the most overdue for a Golden Globe, and she could pull it off in 2021. That being said, an actor from her own show could steal her thunder, as Gillian Anderson’s impeccable turn as Margaret Thatcher dominated the fourth season. Annie Murphy could start another “Schitt’s Creek” sweep, and Cynthia Nixon could be the way the HFPA chooses to recognize “Ratched,” but the group’s love of the “Crown” is likely to extend here, as well.

Best Supporting Actor in a TV Series

John Boyega, “Small Axe”
Brendan Gleeson, “The Comey Rule”
Dan Levy, “Schitt’s Creek”
Jim Parsons, “Hollywood”
Donald Sutherland, “The Undoing”

Will Win: Brendan Gleeson, “The Comey Rule”
Could Win: John Boyega, “Small Axe”
Should Win: John Boyega, “Small Axe”

Listen, this is a particularly strange category. John Boyega is the star of one film in Amazon Prime Video’s film anthology series, “Small Axe.” Brendan Gleeson is really only in one episode of “The Comey Rule,” but there are only two episodes total (and he’s playing the most notorious character, Donald Trump). And Dan Levy is the co-creator, executive producer, writer, and director of “Schitt’s Creek” (who arguably had more screentime than any of the top four characters in the final season). Donald Sutherland and Jim Parsons are really the only two traditional supporting actors here, and they’re in the worst two series. So where does that leave us? I’m betting on another somewhat unexpected Showtime winner and going with Gleeson. But Boyega would certainly be a boon for “Small Axe,” as it readies a long awards run toward the Emmys.

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