Golden Globe Predictions and Oscar Update


It’s time to take a trip to a new round of Oscar predictions via a layover with the Golden Globes. The most important least-important award show out there, the Globes matter because, as many smart Oscar pundits have noted, they’re face time on network TV during the heat of award season. They’re also something to put in ads and help box office clout, which doesn’t hurt when movie theatres are as crowded with contenders as they are this year. (On an interesting related note, The Race makes a good point at The Hollywood Reporter that the Academy could curb the annual end-of-the-year chaos by having two voting periods—one in the summer and one at the end of December—and studios would therefore be more likely to spread their strong films across the year.)

For all their craziness, though, the Globes put on a good show and can often make old favourites come back to life amidst all the shiny new things that are winning praise at the end of the year. Early front-runners like Argo, Lincoln, and Silver Linings Playbook could do very well here. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel might even become a dark horse if it makes a strong show at the Globes. (But I plead Quartet when it comes to superior films about the elderly.)

There’s also the question of taste, which is always a factor, but the Globes tend to veer more towards the mainstream than to the arties and the indies. (This is definitely a vanilla ice cream crowd.) Moreover, taste spills into performances, too, so you never know who could be this year’s Sandra Bullock. I make the point about taste and performances because I recently revisited Anna Karenina and one of my family members observed the parallels between Anna Karenina and Nina Sayers. Once again: If I vote for the same thing every year, others might do the same.

History often repeats itself, whether it’s a Globe win followed by an Oscar win. Let’s go category by category and see what fun the Golden Globes might be spinning this year. Here are predictions for the Golden Globe nominees, plus an alternate and an FYC vote for an underdog that might not make the cut.

Best Picture – Drama


Life of Pi
There is no stronger field of mainstream contenders than in the Best Picture – Drama category. Argo, for all the reasons discussed here and elsewhere, is a good contender to make a strong show at the Globes and take a lead on the Oscar race. It’s solid, if conventional, entertainment, but nobody likes Classical Hollywood Cinema quite as much as the Hollywood Foreign Press does. They also love Steven Spielberg—they’ve nominated virtually even Spielberg film for a slew of awards (even War Horse)—and Lincoln will be no exception since it’s his most acclaimed film in years. Likewise, Lincoln is old school Hollywood, but it has a bit more resonance than Argo does, which makes up for what it might lack in entertainment value.

Third in the roster of mainstream success is Life of Pi, which probably needs the Globes’ help more than any other major studio release in the Drama field. I think that Pi will make a strong showing since director Ang Lee is a favourite of the HFPA. He has won Best Director twice (for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain), plus a few Best Picture wins (Brokeback, Sense and Sensibility) and some success in the foreign category (a win for Crouching Tiger and a nom for Lust, Caution). The visual effects and heartwarming tale of Life of Pi could even make for a surprise win at the Globes, I think. (I really wish that I’d liked this film as much as I wanted to!)

The other main studio contenders are Flight, Django Unchained, Skyfall and The Hobbit. I don’t really see any of the latter three breaking through, but they could land nominations elsewhere. Flight doesn’t really seem like a “first choice” kind of film in the face of Argo, Lincoln, and Life of Pi, but it seems like the kind of film that could make a splash with the Globes à la Ides of March. And lest we forget that random nomination for The Great Debaters – they must really like Denzel!

Django might surprise since the Globes were among the smart groups to nominate Pam Grier for Tarantino’s Jackie Brown and Uma Thurman and David Carradine for the Kill Bill movies. Reviews for Django haven’t really surfaced yet, so there’s not much to go on besides a hunch and its two nods at the National Board of Review awards, which include a Top Ten citation. When it comes to early awards, though, Zero Dark Thirty is the newly minted front-runner with wins at the New York Critics, National Board of Review, and, most recently, the Boston Film Critics. The Globes are more likely to vote for the Drama than for the Drama-plus, but I think that the excitement of the new Kathryn Bigelow film ensures a nomination at the very least. Finally, if the Globes are going to show some support for independent film, The Master could come back to life or The Sessions might find a surprise nomination, as could Beasts of the Southern Wild since it opened in the summer and has been one of the most buzzed about films of the year. With a small group of eighty-odd voters, one of these three films needs only a few passionate supporters to break through the pack. (Or a few gift baskets.)

Predictions for Best Picture – Drama
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty
-Alt: The Sessions
-I’m rooting for: Anna Karenina

Best Picture – Comedy/Musical


Silver Linings Playbook
This category won’t be as exhaustive as drama, since it’s likely a bake off between Silver Linings Playbook and Les Misérables. SLP made me want to dance in the meadow with bunny rabbits and I suspect it did the same for Globes voters. Eclectic indies also fare better in the comedy category than in the drama, so I think it’s in. Ditto Les Mis since the Globes favour musicals: remember the whopping five nominations for Nine? (Which I quite like, for the record.) Coming up in the second tier are a trio of ‘old people movies’: Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Hope Springs, and Quartet. Marigold is one of the year’s biggest success stories and it’s exactly the kind of crowd pleaser to win over the Globes. It’s also far more substantial than its trailer suggests, and the element of surprise always makes a film especially memorable. The same goes for Hope Springs, which looks thin in its trailer but packs in a touching story about keeping romance alive in the golden years. Hope Springs will probably win votes from the Nancy Meyers crowd, too, which could push it over the touching geriatric romance of Quartet. Quartet is one of my favourite films of the year, but it seems to be getting lost amongst the annual fracas. It doesn’t help, either, that The Weinstein Company has Silver Linings as well, but they scored nominations for both The Artist and that dog My Week With Marilyn last year… Finally, the Globes might favour something raunchy (re: that win for The Hangover) and that movie is undoubtedly Ted, which is hard to ignore since it passed The Hangover to become the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time. Like The Hangover, Ted’s award-fling is probably just an affair with the Globes and won’t make its way to the Oscars. It might squeeze out indies like Moonrise Kingdom or The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but not on Oscar night.

Predictions for Best Picture – Comedy/Musical
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Hope Springs
Les Misérables
Silver Linings Playbook
Alt: Moonrise Kingdom
I’m rooting for: Quartet

Best Actor – Drama


Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln
Perhaps the easiest category to predict, Best Actor – Drama, will bring a victory for Lincoln’s Daniel Day-Lewis. He’ll compete with Denzel Washington and John Hawkes for sure, and probably Joaquin Phoenix. That fifth spot will likely go to Anthony Hopkins for Hitchcock, which seems like a real “Globes movie.” I’m a bit surprised that Hopkins is competing here, since I thought Hitchcock was a comedy. (Variety lists Hitchcock as a drama.) Was it not supposed to be funny? Alternatively, will obvious dramatists make nominees out of James Bond be a nominee or one of the Django stars?

Predictions for Best Actor – Drama
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Anthony Hopkins, Hitchcock
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight
-Alt: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
-I’m rooting for: Christopher Plummer in Barrymore (but that will never happen)

Best Actress – Drama


Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty
This category is not quite as easy to predict as Best Actor since most of the contenders are in indies. Jessica Chastain is probably the frontrunner for her much lauded work in Zero Dark Thirty, since she won Best Actress at the National Board of Review and at Boston. On the other hand, I don’t think that the surprise winner of the New York critics’ award, Rachel Weisz in The Deep Blue Sea, will land a nomination. This performance, as good as it is, seemed like an afterthought in the award race. The film itself is rather forgettable, so I think that if the HFPA are going to celebrate the leading lady of a period piece, they’ll vote for the year’s best female performance: Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina. It might be bias, but the Globes have been supportive of her collaborations with Joe Wright and they might nominate her even if the film doesn’t win them over. Marion Cotillard also deserves some votes for her stunning work in Rust & Bone, and I think she’ll get in since she won at the Globes for La vie en rose and was nominated for Nine. Those two nominations (and one win) show that Cotillard has jumped the hurdle that often works against foreign actresses. Emmanuelle Riva, however, might not be as secure for her acclaimed performance in Amour, but she could find some wiggle room in the face of scattered competition. (However, at 85 years old, one hopes that she can be considered established.) Riva might miss out to youngster Quvenzhané Wallis, but it wouldn’t be a case of ageism. Q-Dubs deserves recognition for her work in Beasts of the Southern Wild and she probably offers Chastain’s stiffest competition. They should decide the vote with a crab-eating contest. Beast it, Jessica!

Predictions for Best Actress - Drama
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard, Rust & Bone
Keira Knightley, Anna Karenina
Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
-Alt: Naomi Watts, The Impossible
-I’m rooting for: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Smashed

Best Actor – Comedy/Musical


Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables
Best Actor – Comedy/Musical features an important head-to-head match between the two actors who could join the Best Actor line-up at the Oscars: Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables and Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook. I can’t comment on Jackman’s performance since I haven’t seen Les Mis yet, but Cooper deserves credit for showing an impressive side to his skills. He’s just as funny in SLP as he is in The Hangover, but he displays some dramatic depth that we haven’t seen before. The category will probably be filled with another actor from a Best Pic nominee, Tommy Lee Jones in Hope Springs. On the other hand, Hyde Park on Hudson seems like a dead animal that has been collecting flies since it was trampled on the festival circuit, but Bill Murray could pop in for his turn as FDR. (Why have one crotchety old man when you can have two?) The fifth spot could then be one of three men who need a boost for the Oscar race: Jack Black in Bernie, Omar Sy in The Intouchables, and Tom Courtenay in Quartet. I think that Black is probably in for his darkly funny turn as the effeminate homicidal undertaker in Bernie, while Sy could prove to be this year’s Marion Cotillard or Jean Dujardin and find success in America after a win in France. Courtenay, finally, deserves the spot for his subtle work in Quartet, but he also faces some competition from Marigold Brit Bill Nighy.

Predictions for Best Actor – Comedy/Musical
Jack Black, Bernie
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Tommy Lee Jones, Hope Springs
Bill Murray, Hyde Park on Hudson
-Alt: Omar Sy, The Intouchables
-I’m rooting for: Tom Courtenay, Quartet

Best Actress – Comedy/Musical


Maggie Smith in Quartet
Jennifer Lawrence has this race wrapped up in ribbons. She can’t lose for her spunky, sassy performance in Silver Linings Playbook. The rising star will probably leave veteran actresses Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, and Meryl Streep wheezing in her dust. The three actresses are certainly strong contenders, though: Dench might prove herself a dark horse in the Oscar race, Meryl Streep deserves to earn her 27th Globe nomination, and Maggie Smith could hit a high note and win for her delightfully diva-esque turn in Quartet. (That F-bomb alone will earn Maggie some well deserved votes.) Spot number five, then, could follow the Best Picture trend and offer a leading lady from more R-rated fun. I think it might be Leslie Mann in This is 40, who didn’t really get enough credit for her supporting role in Knocked Up. (I haven’t seen This is 40 yet.) Alternatively, might the Globes prop up one an indie underdog like Jennifer Westfeldt (Friends with Kids), Michelle Williams, (Take This Waltz) or Emma Watson (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)?

Predictions for Best Actress – Comedy/Musical
Judi Dench, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Leslie Mann, This is 40
Maggi Smith, Quartet
Meryl Streep, Hope Springs
-Alt: Emma Watson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
-I’m rooting for: Michelle Williams, Take This Waltz

Best Supporting Actor


Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln
This category might be worth keeping an eye on. Presumed frontrunner Tommy Lee Jones will nab his second nomination of the show for playing a crusty old man in Lincoln. He might also be joined by safe bets Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robert DeNiro. (It would be nice to see DeNiro back in the race.) The ones to watch for, however, are Leonardo DiCaprio and Matthew McConaughey. Leo’s nomination will show if the Django buzz is real or if it was just convincing hype by people who were excited by the juicy snippets in the trailer. McConaughey, on the other hand, earned support this summer for Magic Mike, which seemed like a hopeful novelty until he was the surprise winner at the New York Film Critics. Any of the actors, though, could be squeezed out by hopefuls such as Russell Crowe (Les Mis), Eddie Redmayne (Les Mis), Billy Connolly (Quartet), Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), Tom Wilkinson (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) Alan Arkin (Argo), John Goodman (Argo) and John Goodman (Flight).

Predictions for Best Supporting Actor:
Robert DeNiro, Silver Linings Playbook
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
John Goodman, Argo
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
-Alt: Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike
-I’m rooting for: Connolly and Miller.

Best Supporting Actress


Anne Hathaway in Misérables
I think that this category will probably have the most overlap with the Oscar nominations. Anne Hathaway will presumably win for Les Mis now that screenings have confirmed that she’s every bit as good as people expected her to be. Next in line is undoubtedly Sally Field for her divisive turn in Lincoln (I’m on the ‘nay’ side), but the field is small, so Field is in. Helen Hunt, meanwhile, will almost certainly make a comeback for her strong performance in The Sessions. These are, I think, almost sure things, as is Maggie Smith’s scene-stealing performance in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (with Quartet and Downton Abbey, Smith will probably have one of the highest tallies of the nominations!). Finally, Amy Adams could sneak in if enough people in the Hollywood Foreign Press liked The Master. I think that she is the one contender who might not appear at the Globes but will be there on Oscar night, simply for the nature of the film. In her stead could be Skyfall’s Judi Dench, another of the Les Mis ladies, or Quartet’s heartbreaker, Pauline Collins.

Predictions for Best Supporting Actress:
Judi Dench, Skyfall
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Maggie Smith, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
-Alt: Amy Adams, The Master
-I’m rooting for: Pauline Collins, Quartet

Best Director


Kathryn Bigelow
Like Best Supporting Actress, I think there will be considerable overlap between the Globes and the Oscars, but I don’t think they will match entirely. Ang Lee will find favour with the Globes, although I think that Life of Pi will earn one of those directorless Best Picture nominations at the Oscars. (He will be bumped out by Paul Thomas Anderson on the Academy ballots.) Spielberg, Affleck, and Bigelow will probably duke it out for the win in both shows, with David O. Russell back in the underdog spot he wanted before his film triumphed at TIFF. Tom Hooper might be in, but early reviews for Les Mis frequently criticize the style of his approach for having too many static close-ups. Are these hints that Hooper might miss out at the Oscars, or is this simply payback from critics who are still bitter about the triumph of The King’s Speech over The Social Network?

Predictions for Best Director:
Ben Affleck, Argo
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
-Alt: Tom Hooper, Les Misérables
-I’m rooting for: Joe Wright, Anna Karenina

Best Screenplay

It will be originals versus adaptations and everyone will lose to Tony Kushner. Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty will probably add to their tallies, as could Life of Pi. Moonrise Kingdom might surprise here (and maybe in the comedy category overall), although it can expect an Oscar nomination regardless when the field is split it two.

Predictions for Best Screenplay
Argo by Chris Terrio
Life of Pi by David Magee
Lincoln by Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook by David O. Russell
Zero Dark Thirty by Mark Boal
-Alt: Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
-I’m rooting for: Anna Karenina by Tom Stoppard.  

Best Score

Who knows? I feel like the Globes often vote for the film as much as they do the music. In that case, Argo might find room with fellow Best Pic’ers Life of Pi (which has great music) and Lincoln (which does not). I think that the Globe-trotters will surprise by nominating the Cloud Atlas sextet, which anyone who saw Cloud Atlas must appreciate regardless of their opinion of the film itself. Finally, the fun, zany kettledrums of Moonrise Kingdom will bring another well-deserved nomination to Alexandre Desplat, who also scored Argo, which could work against the nomination for Affleck’s film and make room for, say, Thomas Newman (Skyfall) or one of this year’s animated films (they usually nab at least one spot).

Predictions for Best Score
Argo, Alexandre Desplat
Cloud Atlas, Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek, Tom Tykwer
Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
Lincoln, John Williams
Moonrise Kingdom, Alexandre Desplat
-Alt: Thomas Newman, Skyfall
-I’m rooting for: Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli.

Best Song

Adele for the win!

“Abraham’s Daughter,” The Hunger Games
 “Breath of Life,” Snow White and the Huntsman
 “Skyfall,” Skyfall
“Suddenly,” Les Mis
“Touch the Sky,” Brave
-Alt: “Midnight Run,” Lawless

Best Foreign Language Film

Unlike the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes do not require official submissions from countries. This openness, one area in which the Globes outdo the Oscars, means that a country can have multiple nominees. France’s Oscar submission The Intouchables could compete against the film France should have sent, Rust & Bone. There’s even room for the French co-pro Holy Motors! France’s triple threat will compete against for Michael Haneke’s Cannes winner Amour and, hopefully, Canada’s little darling Rebelle, which could face competition from Xavier Dolan’s Laurence Anyways.

Amour, Austria/Germany
Holy Motors, France/Germany
The Intouchables, France
Rust & Bone, France
War Witch, Canada
-Alt: No, Spain
-I’m rooting for: Lore, Australia/Germany

Best Animated Film

Rise of the Guardians
Wreck it Ralph
*I really need to start playing catch-up on this category!

The Golden Globe nominations will be announced December 13 at 8am. Will any of them match the Oscar nominations, which come January 10th, just three days before the winners of the Globes are announced? Check out the full update on the Oscar Predictions page! (Well, not really 'full', as there are only a few changes.)

Are there any zany Globes picks that you would like to predict?