Golden Globes Preview: Will Win/Should Win

Carol leads the Golden Globes nominations.
Photo courtesy of eOne Films
Sunday looks to be an unpredictable night! This year's Golden Globe race offers more question marks than answers in the widest and most inconsistent award season yet. Last year's Oscar race seemed competitive, but in retrospect, several winners (Julianne Moore, JK Simmons, and Patricia Arquette) were forgone conclusions before the year was out. This year, however, has yet to see any real pattern--aside from the fact that no film is hitting all the critical gongs and industry guilds--and the effects of campaigning are so obvious (cough, cough Trumbo) that one has a hard time taking the precursors seriously. There's also a range of work that invites voters to mix and match ballots and spread the wealth. Simply put: every nominee in the Best Film categories at the Golden Globes is missing something major, even in the categories at this very show. Carol, for example, leads the nominations with five bids, but none of them are for its true star, its screenplay.

The only confident leads at this point feel like foreign film Son of Saul, overrated animated frontrunner Inside Out, and Best Supporting Actor contender Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies). Putting money on the race might be tricky this year (gamblers may look to Gold Derby or Odds Shark for odds) but let's quickly look at who will win, could win, and should win on Sunday night.

Best Film - Drama:

The nominees: Carol,Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, RoomSpotlight

Carol leads the nominations with a tally of five, so logic says it's a relatively safe bet, but Spotlight probably has the edge. Take into account its star-studded cast, powerful subject matter, and accessibility, and it checks all the boxes for conventional Globe fodder. However, if one takes into account that none of its award-worthy performances are among the nominees, then The Revenant, which has four nominations, could pull an upset. Ditto Mad Max: Fury Road, which is coming up fast as the film to take the race, although both Revenant and Mad Max are crazy and artistically dazzling films that could feed into the same audience and leave Spotlight as the film with the widest appeal or Carol as the film to devour the arthouse vote.

★Will win: Spotlight
★I'd vote for: Carol
Shoulda been there:Youth, Sicario

Best Film - 'Comedy'/Musical:

Best Film - Comedy, like its dramatic sibling, has a late-to-the-game player that could really shake up the race with a Globes win. That film is The Big Short, which arguably stands as the film that most people underestimated heading into the season. (Did anyone really expect the director of Anchorman to deliver an Oscar frontrunner?) The Big Short probably has an edge here since it's a legitimate comedy with a large, showy cast and a firecracker of a script. Everyone loves The Martian, too, and it's holding strong since its TIFF debut, but the film isn't a comedy by any measure (although it has a few laughs) and that contentious factor needs to be taken into account to some degree. Fake 'comedies' often land Golden Globe nominations, but they rarely win the top prize.

★Will win: The Big Short?
★I'd vote for: The Martian (it's the best film but not a comedy)
Shoulda been there: Ricki and the Flash

Best Director:

The nominees: Todd Haynes, Carol; Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant; Tom McCarthy, Spotlight; George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road; Ridley Scott, The Martian

It would be nice to see the directors of the three big action films divide voters and let Todd Haynes pull a well-deserved win for his subtle direction of Carol. The HFPA passed on Inarritu last year for Birdman and they'll probably do the same this year. Miller is a potential spoiler, especially since Mad Max's bravura use of practical effect invite much admiration for a direction, but I think Ridley Scott will prevail here for The Martian. He's bound to gain additional love from voters who might have acknowledged the film as a drama, right?

★Will win: Ridley Scott, The Martian
★I'd vote for: Todd Haynes, Carol
Shoulda been there: Paolo Sorrentino (Youth), Denis Villeneuve (Sicario)

Best Actor - Drama:

The nominees: Bryan Cranston, Trumbo; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant; Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs; Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl; Will Smith, Concussion
What's going on with Trumbo? For a film that had a relatively tepid reception on the festival circuit and upon its theatrical release, Trumbo consistently shows up on the awards circuit this year. Cranston's great performance is the highlight of an otherwise forgettable film and he's the dark horse here for sure. DiCaprio, however, has a history of support from the Globes, so they'll presumably give him another boost for his excellent and fearless performance in The Revenant. And as the only nominee in a Best Film contender, he probably has an advantage over Fassbender, Cranston, and company, while Redmayne's win last year makes him unlikely to repeat.

★Will win: Leonardo DiCaprio. The Revenant
★I'd vote for: Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Shoulda been there: Michael Caine, Youth

Best Actor - 'Comedy'/Musical:

The nominees: Christian Bale, The Big Short; Steve Carell, The Big Short; Matt Damon, The Martian; Al Pacino, Danny Collins; Mark Ruffalo, Infinitely Polar Bear

It's a tough call between Bale and Damon. I personally think that Bale's performance is the one thing about The Big Short that doesn't work, but he gives a loud, histrionic turn and those usually gain attention. Damon's performance, on the other hand, is actually quite funny and the humour he brings to the role is key for his character's survival on Mars. There's actually a case to be made that Damon gives a comedic performance in dramatic film. Pacino's turn in Danny Collins is nomination-worthy(ish), while Ruffalo's complex, nuanced, and memorable performance in this summer's Infinitely Polar Bear deserves the prize. It's a complicated role that demands sensitivity and an ability to make the audience laugh in the face of dark material, and he pulls it off beautifully.

★Will win: Matt Damon, The Martian
★I'd vote for: Mark Ruffalo, Infinitely Polar Bear

Best Actress - Drama:

The nominees: Cate Blanchett, Carol; Brie Larson, Room; Rooney Mara, Carol; Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn; Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Here's a tricky one. With the Golden Globes flat-out rejecting the campaigns by Focus Features and the Weinstein Company to have Alicia Vikander and Rooney Mara in the supporting categories, this Best Actress race poses the first true face-off among the year's top turns by leading actresses since the pair joins the three Best Actress frontrunners. (The Screen Actors Guild, Critics Choice, and others have them in supporting.) Anyone could win here. Logic says that Carol has to win something out of its five nominations and Cate Blanchett's performance is the strongest call for the film unless she and Mara split the vote and cancel each other out. Alternatively, Room has a better showing of support than Brooklyn does, so Brie Larson is the likeliest of three frontrunners to take the prize. Vikander, however, gives the best performance of the year and has the strongest body of work for 2015. She deserves the prize.

★Will win: Brie Larson, Room
★I'd vote for: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Shoulda been there: Nina Hoss, Phoenix; Carey Mulligan, Far from the Madding Crowd

Best Actress - 'Comedy'/Musical:

The nominees: Jennifer Lawrence, Joy; Melissa McCarthy, Spy; Amy Schumer, Trainwreck; Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van; Lily Tomlin, Grandma

I call bullshit on the Globes for failing to give Meryl Streep her thirtieth Golden Globe nomination this year. She should have at least been nominated for Ricki and the Flash. To be fair, though, Streep isn't kissing babies for prizes much these days. It's odd, though, that she missed for this performance in a relatively weak year for comedies, especially since her vocal work in the film offers a lone musical contender for the year. Maggie Smith doesn't campaign for awards, but that hasn't prevented her from earning ample Globe nominations in the past and her turn in The Lady in the Van (which has yet to be released outside of a qualifying run) is said to showcase her work at its crotchety best. Lily Tomlin and Jennifer Lawrence, similarly, give performances that rank among their greatest work in films that are otherwise pretty bad. However, Amy Schumer's hilarious and ballsy performance in Trainwreck offers the kind of performance that reminds Globe voters and film fans why unique awards for comedy have merit. Just imagine how funny her speech could be!

★Will win: Amy Schumer, Trainwreck
★I'd vote for: Amy Schumer, Trainwreck
Shoulda been there: Meryl Streep, Ricki and the Flash

Best Supporting Actor:

The nominees: Paul Dano, Love & Mercy; Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation; Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies; Michael Shannon, 99 Homes; Sylvester Stallone, Creed

This race shows how competitive the year is since, in a rare move, none of the nominees are in Best Film contenders. Mark Rylance is the frontrunner and the only real consistency among critical and industry awards for his subdued performance in Bridge of Spies, but it's curious that the film itself failed to garner any other nominations even though it is Steven Spielberg's best film in years. Alternatively, Idris Elba could surprise here with a major win for Netflix's Beasts of No Nation and he has an additional backing of support from voices encouraging a remedy to last year's #OscarsSoWhite controversy, but it's also worth noting that the performance itself has ample merit. (See: LA Times for more on that topic.) Stallone is an emotional favourite, while Shannon's powderkeg of a performance deserves any Best Supporting Actor prize that can't go to Benicio Del Toro.

★Will win: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
★I'd vote for: Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Shoulda been there: Benicio Del Toro, Sicario

Best Supporting Actress:

The nominees: Jane Fonda, Youth; Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight; Helen Mirren, Trumbo; Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina; Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

With Carol's Rooney Mara and Alicia Vikander's performance in The Danish Girl out of the running, the Globes can be a rare precursor to offer a Best Supporting Actress prize to a supporting role. All of the nominees really need this boost and they're all worthy. Fonda gives a meaty comeback and the year's best supporting performance in Youth, while Leigh offers a deliciously evil turn that is a serious threat to win and Mirren's a hoot in Trumbo. Winslet is the best thing about quadruple nominee Steve Jobs and is the only one of these nominees to be a constant presence throughout the season and, somewhat ironically given the campaign for The Reader, has probably been a frequent runner-up to the dubious supporting campaigns for Mara and Vikander. Vikander, however, could win here for her great (and legitimately supporting) performance in Ex Machina and her strong body of work as a whole.

★Will win: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
★I'd vote for: Jane Fonda, Youth
Shoulda been there: Rachel McAdams, Spotlight

And the rest: 

Best Screenplay:

The Big Short - Adam McKay, Charles Randolph; The Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarantino; Room– Emma Donoghue; Spotlight – Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer ; Steve Jobs – Aaron Sorkin

★Will win: The Big Short
★I'd vote for: The Hateful Eight
Shoulda been there: Youth, Carol

Best Foreign Language Film:

The nominees: The Brand New Testament (Belgium); The Club (Chile), The Fencer (Finland),
Mustang (France), Son of Saul (Hungary)

★Will win: Son of Saul
★I'd vote for: Son of Saul
Shoulda been there: Phoenix

Best Animated Film:

The nominees: Anomalisa, Inside Out, Shaun the Sheep, The Good Dinosaur,  The Peanuts Movie,

★Will win: Inside Out (but watch out for Anomalisa)
★I'd vote for: Shaun the Sheep

Best Original Score:

The nominees: Carol, The Danish Girl, The Hateful Eight,The Revenant, Steve Jobs

★Will win: Carol
★I'd vote for: Steve Jobs
Shoulda been there: Sicario

Best Original Song:

The nominees: Love Me Like You Do,” Fifty Shades of Grey; “See You Again,” Furious 7; "One Kind of Love," Love & Mercy; “Simple Song No. 3," Youth; "Writing's on the Wall," Spectre

★Will win: "Love Me Like You Do"
★I'd vote for: "Simple Song #3"
Shoulda been there: "Cold One," Ricki and the Flash

What do you think will win/should win at the Golden Globes?