The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe awards go out Sunday night, and who’re we kidding — we’re all watching for the show (Amy and Tina! Drunken celebrities! Much revelry!) and not really for the awards, which are not only unreliable as Oscar and Emmy prognosticators, but often the result of stargazing and hobnobbing rather than actual critical analysis. But if you are one of the poor souls who keeps track of this stuff, we humbly offer up our picks from the films and television shows on the HFPA ballot — and our very best (sometimes wild!) guesses as to who they’ll actually recognize.
Best Motion Picture — Drama Boyhood Foxcatcher The Imitation Game Selma The Theory of Everything
PICK: The best film of the year, Selma.
PREDICTION: But if Selma has a real shot at Best Picture, it’s unlikely to start here, due to the film’s much-reported 11-hour completion and trouble (due to late screeners) with getting much momentum going yet. It’ll probably go to Boyhood, unless the HFPA gets sucked in by one of the “troubled British genius” biopics.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama Jennifer Aniston, Cake Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything Julianne Moore, Still Alice Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl Reese Witherspoon, Wild
PICK: Rosamund Pike, for her thrilling, complicated, and provocative two-part performance in Gone Girl.
PREDICTION: Witherspoon is a GG fave, with a win for Walk the Line and two earlier nominations (for Legally Blonde and Election — good on them), so she might pull off another. But this seems like a safe bet for the front-lining of the Julianne Moore “Well, she’s due” campaign.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama Steve Carrell, Foxcatcher Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler David Oyelowo, Selma Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
PICK: David Oyelowo, who masterfully captures the essence of MLK without succumbing to imitation or hagiography.
PREDICTION: It seems like there should be more of a frontrunner by now than there is, but Redmayne is a widely liked actor doing a particularly difficult bit of physical acting, so he seems the safest bet.
Best Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical Birdman The Grand Budapest Hotel Into the Woods Pride St. Vincent
PICK: Birdman — though its classification as a comedy is, as per usual with the Globes’ genre split, peculiar.
PREDICTION: Birdman probably wins it, thanks to its aforementioned dramatic weight, but don’t rule out a Grand Budapest upset.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical Amy Adams, Big Eyes Emily Blunt, Into the Woods Helen Mirren, The Hundred-Foot Journey Julianne Moore, Maps to the Stars Quvenzhané Wallis, Annie
PICK: This is the one Moore should win — her Internet-age Norma Desmond is one of the most wickedly memorable creations of the movie year…
PREDICTION: …but of course she won’t. Look for this one to go to Adams, a perennial nominee whom everyone likes (even in a forgettable flick like Big Eyes), though Emily Blunt, Woods’ MVP, could pull this one out.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel Michael Keaton, Birdman Bill Murray, St. Vincent Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice Christoph Waltz, Big Eyes
PICK: Keaton, beautifully fusing the electricity of his established persona with the inevitable shades of candid autobiography.
PREDICTION: Keaton’s probably got this one locked up, since it keeps him clear of his probable, eventual Oscar competitors — unless, again, the general affection for Budapest (and quiet but undeniable resistance to Birdman) elevates Fiennes to a win.
Best Animated Feature Film Big Hero 6 The Book of Life The Boxtrolls How to Train Your Dragon 2 The LEGO Movie
PICK: Confession: I’ve seen astonishingly few of these. OK, I’ve only seen The LEGO Movie. It’s pretty great, though!
PREDICTION: An easy win for LEGO; no other animated film has even approached its level of buzz and critical kudos.
Best Foreign Language Film Force Majeure (Sweden) Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem Gett (Israel) Ida (Poland/Denmark) Leviathan (Russia) Tangerines Mandariinid (Estonia)
PICK: Force Majeure — one of the my favorite films of the year, an acidic, unsettling, and dryly funny peek at marital discord and men running away from things.
PREDICTION: It’s a weird category, with several great movies (Two Days, One Night leaps to mind) not even in the running. But Ida seems like a pretty sure thing here; it’s gorgeous, it’s moving, it’s widely available (check it out on Netflix Instant), and it’s briskly accessible.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Patricia Arquette, Boyhood Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game Emma Stone, Birdman Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
PICK: Is it too late to write in Tilda Swinton for Snowpiercer? Yes? Then probably Chastain, the seductively dangerous Lady Macbeth of A Most Dangerous Year.
PREDICTION: It’s Arquette’s to lose — unless the HFPA, which has handed Streep a stunning eight Golden Globes (off of, this is not a typo, 29 nominations), decides to make it nine.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Robert Duvall, The Judge Ethan Hawke, Boyhood Edward Norton, Birdman Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
PICK: Norton is a marvel, Ruffalo is marvelously understated, and Hawke is the secret glue of Boyhood, but who’re we kidding: Simmons is just electrifying.
PREDICTION: Simmons will take it, unless Duvall sneaks in with some kind of bullshit sentimental vote.
Best Screenplay Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo, Birdman Richard Linklater, Boyhood Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
PICK: An interesting category, as the Globes strangely don’t separate screenplays into Original and Adapted (as the Oscars do). I’d probably go with Anderson’s intricately and delicately constructed Budapest Hotel, which may be his best pure writing work to date.
PREDICTION: Boyhood and Birdman are the two best-reviewed movies of the bunch here — but neither film’s greatness is really about what’s on the page. Seems like Anderson could take this one, particularly if it functions as a consolation prize for the bigger prizes he may lose to Birdman.
Best Song “Big Eyes,” by Lana Del Rey — Big Eyes “Glory,” by John Legend & Common — Selma “Mercy Is,” by Patti Smith & Lenny Kaye — Noah “Opportunity,” by Greg Kurstin, Sia Furler, Will Gluck — Annie “Yellow Flicker Beat,” by Lorde — Mockingjay
PICK: Lana and Lorde and Patti’s songs are, well, Lana and Lorde and Patti songs, which is a good thing. But I lean towards “Glory,” which isn’t just a good song, but one that becomes part of Selma’s fabric, interacting and intermingling with the film during its powerful closing scenes.
PREDICTION: Probably “Glory,” but it could just as easily go to “Big Eyes.”
Best Original Score, Motion Picture Johann Johannsson, The Theory of Everything Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Gone Girl Antonio Sanchez, Birdman Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
PICK: Sanchez’s polarizing Birdman score isn’t even in consideration for an Oscar, because the Oscars are stupid. But this isn’t just a spite vote; no score this year was more vital and intertwined with the film itself, giving the picture its relentless momentum and heartbeat.
PREDICTION: Look for the HFPA to go with the more conventional (but still just fine — or, at least, much better than Monuments Men or Unbroken) Imitation Game score by Mr. Desplat.
And stick with me for the TV categories on the next page…
Best TV Drama The Affair Downton Abbey Game of Thrones The Good Wife House of Cards
PICK: If they’re gonna be dicks and not nominate The Knick or Mad Men, then I guess I gotta go with Game of Thrones, the only one of these shows that’s really taken over the zeitgeist (or, at least, the zeitgeist that makes its way through my many filters).
PREDICTION: It’s wide open. The Globes love to nominate a hot new show in its first year (see Homeland, Mad Men), but The Affair is not Homeland or Mad Men. The Good Wife is a fan favorite that stays strong and gets taken for granted. But I think Thrones wins here, for the aforementioned reason.
Best Actress, TV Drama Claire Danes, Homeland Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife Ruth Wilson, The Affair Robin Wright, House of Cards
PICK: Viola Davis, because Viola Davis should pretty much win everything ever.
PREDICTION: Is it just me, or would Kerry Washington have won this thing easily if she’d been nominated? But she wasn’t — so let’s predict Davis wins it, both for her work and her Thursday night Rhimes-show compatriot.
Best Actor, TV Drama Clive Owen, The Knick Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan Kevin Spacey, House of Cards James Spader, The Blacklist Dominic West, The Affair
PICK: Clive Owen, easily, for taking the increasingly tired dramatic TV trope of the troubled genius, and showing what happens when such a genius gets genuinely out of control.
PREDICTION: Last year, I predicted Kevin Spacey, and they gave it to Bryan Cranston. (What can I tell ya, I thought they’d screw it up.) This year it could easily go to any of these guys — save Owen, because man did not enough people see The Knick — but I’m back on the Spacey bandwagon.
Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy Girls (HBO) Orange Is the New Black (Netflix) Transparent (Amazon) Silicon Valley (HBO) Jane the Virgin (CW)
PICK: Transparent. Obviously.
PREDICTION: Transparent is the best-reviewed show of the bunch, but it seems more likely that Neflix will manage to campaign Orange to a win — particularly since its second season is in the less-competitive comedy category.
Best Actor in a TV Series, Comedy or Musical Louis C.K., Louie Don Cheadle, House of Lies Ricky Gervais, Derek William H. Macy, Shameless Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
PICK: Jeffrey Tambor; aside from his tremendous Transparent turn, see earlier statement re: Viola Davis.
PREDICTION: Tambor seems like a safe bet, but it’s still hard to guess how well streaming shows will do with these voters, particularly from JV Amazon. Go with Tambor, but Louie — who did some of his best acting to date this season — could sneak in.
Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy or Musical Lena Dunham, Girls Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep Taylor Schilling, Orange is the New Black
PICK: I know it’s become a cliché to just hand these awards to JLD, but seriously, at this point, who’s touching her?
PREDICTION: Thing is, they haven’t handed one of these to her; Louis-Dreyfus has swept the Emmys with Veep, but come up empty-handed at the GGs. It’d be nice to think they’ll finally fix that this year, but they also love a hot newcomer, which means there’s about a 50/50 chance that this goes to Rodriguez.
Best TV Movie or Mini-series The Normal Heart (HBO) True Detective (HBO) Olive Kitteridge (HBO) Fargo (FX) The Missing (Starz)
PICK: Fargo, which went from the worst idea of the year to one of the best shows, short or long, in recent memory.
PREDICTION: Y’know, if these were given out at the end of the TV season, it’d be True Detective in a walk. But the bloom has long gone off that rose — thanks, in no small part, to creator Nic Pizzolatto’s inability to not say stupid things in interviews — and I’m betting Fargo takes it instead.
Best Actress in a TV Movie or Mini-series Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge Frances O’Connor, The Missing Allison Tolman, Fargo
PICK: Frances McDormand, Frances McDormand, always Frances McDormand forever, the end.
PREDICTION: One of the night’s most competitive races; in any other year, Gyllenhaal or Tolman would be an easy win. But McDormand will take this one. Maybe.
Best Actor in a TV Movie or Mini-series Martin Freeman, Fargo Woody Harrelson, True Detective Matthew McConaughey, True Detective Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo
PICK: Well, c’mon. McConaughey.
PREDICTION: The aforementioned True Detective backlash probably won’t extend to McConaughey — the guy who put those words in his mouth may be a dope, but that doesn’t diminish the mesmerizing power with which McConaughey delivered them. That said, there’s a more-than-slight possibility that voters realize McConaughey’s won plenty of awards in the past 12 or so months, and decide to hand one to Mr. Thornton.
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Freak Show Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey Allison Janney, Mom Michelle Monaghan, True Detective
PICK: Ugh, this fucking category, where everyone from a series regular to a one-day walk-on, in comedy or drama, are all lumped together. Kathy Bates, I guess?
PREDICTION: Aduba, I guess? (Side note: I’m as much of a Janney booster as the next guy, but people actually watch that terrible Mom show?)
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart Alan Cumming, The Good Wife Colin Hanks, Fargo Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge Jon Voight, Ray Donovan
PICK: My favorite here is Hanks, but mostly out of expectation — his is a case of nepotism that never seemed at the service of much real skill, so his likable and quietly powerful turn in Fargo was the season’s nicest surprise.
PREDICTION: Bomer’s doing the kind of intensely showy, physically grueling work that awarding bodies just love to recognize.
The Globes air Sunday night on NBC; join us Monday for coverage of the smoldering aftermath.