Golden Globes Film Predictions for the Weirdest Year Ever: Bold Picks in Every Category

There's a real danger that it's going to be #GoldenGlobesSoWhite this year. Expect surprises.
"The Trial of Chicago 7"
Niko Tavernise/NETFLIX © 2020

This year’s pandemic-delayed awards are tougher to call than usual, but the Golden Globes are always crazy to predict. This year, as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association prepares for a live-virtual version on February 28, its 87 members have a lot to deal with. They are mourning the death of their leader, Italian journalist Lorenzo Soria, who was posthumously quoted in a recent Los Angeles Times expose about the various ways the wealthy organization is wined, dined, and influenced while paying various members handsomely. “I have no choice,” one source said he told them. “They call me every day for more money.”

So who knows what mood the HFPA are in?

The group of aging foreign correspondents, none of whom are Black, has also been deservedly criticized for being tone deaf and not inclusive — several 2021 categories are glaringly white, including Best Motion Picture Drama, Comedy/Musical Actress, and Supporting Actress.

That’s one reason voters will likely try to avoid the catastrophe of #GoldenGlobesSoWhite. They came close last year, when Awkwafina (“The Farewell”) marked the single person of color to win a top film award, for Musical/Comedy Best Actress. “Hustlers” star Jennifer Lopez lost to eventual Supporting Actress Oscar-winner Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”), “1917” director Sam Mendes (“1917”) beat “Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho (who collected the Globe for best foreign-language film), and Elton John and Bernie Taupin (“Rocketman”) won best Song over Beyoncé (“The Lion King”).

This year, none of the potential Oscar best-picture contenders that feature Black casts received Best Motion Picture Drama nominations, including Regina King’s “One Night in Miami” (Amazon) with three other Globe nods, and “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.) and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” with two. Shockingly, Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” was shut out altogether.

Another factor making the awards tough to call is the year-long lockdown. The HFPA are more in touch with each other (via frequent Zoom hangs) than the rest of the Hollywood community. And while they are unlikely to vote wins for eyebrow-raising Musical/Comedy nominees like Sia’s “Music” (Metascore: 23), starring Globe-nominated Kate Hudson, or musical holiday fantasy “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (Metascore: 69), they will certainly deliver some surprises.

Best Motion Picture — Drama

“The Father″
“Promising Young Woman”
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Will Win: “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Could Win: “Nomadland”
Should Win: “Nomadland”

The two Netflix dramas competing in this category, David Fincher’s slice of old Hollywood “Mank” and Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” his 1968 portrait of the protests outside the Democratic National Convention and their aftermath, lead the field with six and five nominations, respectively, including both script and director nominations, a feat repeated by “Nomadland” (Searchlight) and “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features). Advantage: timely and entertaining political courtroom drama “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” which has steadily grown in popularity since its October release.

It’s a close race for the win, though, with Oscar-frontrunner “Nomadland” more likely to win Best Director for Chloé Zhao.

Carey Mulligan in "Promising Young Woman"
Carey Mulligan in “Promising Young Woman”Focus Features

Best Actress — Drama

Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)
Andra Day (“United States vs. Billie Holiday”)
Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”)
Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”)
Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”)

Will Win: Carey Mulligan
Could Win: Viola Davis
Should Win: Frances McDormand

Veteran chameleons Davis and McDormand are seeking a return to the winners’ circle, while Mulligan (“An Education”) would be winning her first Globe on her second nomination. The HFPA gave “Promising Young Woman” four nods. If Chadwick Boseman turns out to be the big win for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Davis could lose out for her brassy, oversized jazz singer. But “Ma Rainey” didn’t land Screenplay and Director slots, while “Promising Young Woman” did.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”YouTube/screenshot

Best Actor — Drama

Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”)
Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)
Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”)
Gary Oldman (“Mank”)
Tahar Rahim (“The Mauritanian”)

Will Win: Chadwick Boseman
Could Win: Anthony Hopkins
Should Win:  Chadwick Boseman

This one is tough to call. Will the powerful and dramatic narrative of Boseman delivering his career-best performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” while knowing he was dying of cancer, carry the day? The voters could easily reward Anthony Hopkins’ moving tour-de-force portrait of a man fighting against the dying of the light in “The Father.” The HFPA may tilt to Boseman in a year when they cannot afford too many white winners.

Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
“Palm Springs”
“The Prom”

Will Win: “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Could Win: “Hamilton”
Should Win: “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”

Of the musical/comedy nominees, multi-hyphenate Sacha Baron Cohen’s political agitprop “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Amazon Studios) is the easy frontrunner. No film in this category scored a directing nod. “Hamilton” (Disney+) is a possibility, but its identity as an Oscar-ineligible filmed stage musical weighs against it.

Borat 2
“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”screengrab/Amazon Studios

Best Actress — Musical or Comedy

Maria Bakalova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”)
Kate Hudson (“Music”)
Michelle Pfeiffer (“French Exit”)
Rosamund Pike (“I Care a Lot”)
Anya Taylor-Joy (“Emma”)

Will Win: Maria Bakalova
Could Win: Michelle Pfeiffer
Should Win: Anya Taylor-Joy

The story of an unknown Bulgarian actress’ rise to stardom as the daughter of Borat (Baron Cohen) in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” is irresistible. Movie star Pfeiffer’s comeback turn in “French Exit” (Sony Pictures Classics) is also inside the HFPA’s comfort zone, but in this political year Bakalova should get the win. And rising star Taylor-Joy has a good shot at collecting a Globe for TV’s “Queen’s Gambit.”

Best Actor –Musical or Comedy

Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”)
James Corden (“The Prom”)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton”)
Dev Patel (“The Personal History of David Copperfield)
Andy Samberg (“Palm Springs”)

Will Win: Sacha Baron Cohen
Could Win: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Should Win: Sacha Baron Cohen

No one can deny this win for Baron Cohen, who is miles ahead of the pack. The only question is how many Globes out of three chances for the win he will take home. He is on a political mission, and will surely use the Globes platform to pitch his message.

Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman in “Mank”Netflix

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”)
Olivia Colman (“The Father”)
Jodie Foster (“The Mauritanian”)
Amanda Seyfried (“Mank”)
Helena Zengel (“News of the World”)

Will Win: Amanda Seyfried
Could Win: Glenn Close
Should Win: Amanda Seyfried

The reprise of a face-off between Close and Colman (won last time by Close at the Globes and Colman at the Oscars) is delicious, but while they siphon off votes, Seyfried will likely clock the only Globes win for “Mank,” which could go home empty-handed after leading the field. Seyfried surprised everyone with her assured performance as movie star San Simeon hostess Marion Davies opposite Gary Oldman in the title role. There’s also an outside chance that the HFPA will go European with German actress Helena Zengel, who holds her own and then some against Tom Hanks in “News of the World.”

Leslie Odom Jr. plays Sam Cooke in “One Night in Miami.”Amazon Studios

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”)
Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)
Jared Leto (“The Little Things”)
Bill Murray (“On the Rocks”)
Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”)

Will Win: Leslie Odom Jr.
Could Win: Daniel Kaluuya
Should Win: Daniel Kaluuya

Baron Cohen is likely to win for his comedy performance in “Borat,” so this is Odom’s to lose. The popular “Hamilton” star pops out of the “One Night in Miami” ensemble as ’60s crooner Sam Cooke, and he’s also up for Best Song. Odom and Baron Cohen could both win two Globes. Regina King’s nod for director is a sign of strength for the film, although it did not score a Best Motion Picture Drama or Screenplay slot. British star Kaluuya is coming up on the outside as he moves toward possible wins at the BAFTAs and Oscars.

Frances McDormand and Director/Writer Chloé Zhao on the set of NOMADLAND. Photo by Joshua James Richards. © 2020 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved
Frances McDormand and Chloé Zhao on the set of “Nomadland”Joshua Richards

Best Director

Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”)
David Fincher (“Mank”)
Regina King (“One Night in Miami”)
Aaron Sorkin (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”)
Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”)

Will Win: Chloé Zhao
Could Win: David Fincher
Should Win: Chloé Zhao

This will be the big win for awards frontrunner “Nomadland” as Zhao heads for her inevitable Oscar. The HPFA loves “The Trial of the Chicago 7;” Sorkin will win Best Drama as well as Screenplay, so he can afford to lose this one. Fincher is a long-shot possibility given the six “Mank” nods.

The Trial of the Chicago 7
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Aaron Sorkin, left, and Phedon Papamichael.)Niko Tavernise/Netflix © 2020

Best Screenplay

Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”)
Jack Fincher (“Mank”)
Aaron Sorkin (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”)
Florian Zeller, Christopher Hampton (“The Father”)
Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”)

Will Win: Aaron Sorkin
Could Win: Emerald Fennell
Should Win: Aaron Sorkin

The Globes throw adapted and original into the same pot, but it’s a battle of the auteurs this year: Sorkin vs. Fennell. The HFPA adores “Promising Young Woman” and could give Fennell the win, but Sorkin’s dazzlingly complex and entertaining script is hard to deny.

Best Animated Feature

“The Croods: A New Age”
“Over the Moon”

Will Win: “Soul”
Could Win:  “Wolfwalkers”
Should Win: “Soul”

This race pits “Soul” (Disney+), Pixar’s first animated feature with a Black lead (Jamie Foxx) against the extraordinary Irish fairy tale “Wolfwalkers” (Gkids). Advantage: Pete Docter and Kemp Powers’ adored and admired “Soul.”

Best Foreign Language Film

“Another Round” (Denmark, Thomas Vinterberg)
“La Llorona” (Guatemala, Jayro Bustamante)
“The Life Ahead” (Italy, Eduardo Ponti)
“Minari” (USA, Lee Isaac Chung)
“Two of Us” (France, Filippo Meneghetti)

Will Win: “Minari”
Could Win: “Another Round”
Should Win:“Minari”

Vinterberg is an established auteur whose midlife crisis drama “Another Round” (Goldwyn) stars beloved Mads Mikkelsen, but last year’s win for Bong Joon Ho Korean-language “Parasite” will likely be followed by American Korean-language film “Minari” (A24), even if Steven Yeun did not land a Best Actor slot. The HFPA keeps getting heat for their rules, which prohibit non-English language films from competing in the Best Motion Picture slots, and are likely to reward the popular “Minari” for that reason as well.


Best Original Score

Alexandre Desplat (“The Midnight Sky”)
Ludwig Goransson (“Tenet”)
James Newton Howard (“News of the World”)
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross (“Mank”)
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste (“Soul”)

Will Win: “Soul”
Could Win:  “News of the World”
Should Win: “Soul”

Dual nominees Reznor and Ross will likely win the statue for “Soul,” which adds jazz musician Batiste (the popular late-night Stephen Colbert sidekick) to the mix. The HFPA could also reward Howard for his delicately modulated “News of the World” score, which helps carry the Paul Greengrass western.

Best Original Song

“Fight for You” (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)
“Hear My Voice” (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”)
“Io Si” (“The Life Ahead”)
“Speak Now” (“One Night in Miami”)
“Tigress & Tweed” (“The United States of Billie Holiday”)

Will Win: “Speak Now”
Could Win:  “Tigress & Tweed”
Should Win: “Speak Now”

This category leans into pop stars (like last year’s winners Elton John and Bernie Taupin) who will add glitz to the Globes telecast. Odom Jr. should win handily for “Speak Now,” but it might be irresistible to bring Grammy-nominee and first-time actress Andra Day (who also landed a Comedy/Musical Best Actress in a nomination) to the stage for her anthem from “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.”

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