It’s time for the first major televised awards show of the year, which means it’s time for our first serious predictions post. We may not be terribly excited for Ricky Gervais’ fourth — fourth! — time at the podium, but we are excited for some truly excellent work from both sides of Hollywood to be honored. And while the small and idiosyncratic HFPA’s decision-making is ultimately anyone’s guess, here’s our film and television correspondents’ best shot — and readers’ best chance of winning any betting pools.
Best Picture, Drama Carol Mad Max: Fury Road The Revenant Room Spotlight
PICK: Spotlight edged out Carol on my own year-end list, but boy, just barely. Really, any of these would be fine (other than The Revenant, plus you know they’d just go on and on in the acceptance speech about how it was soooo hard to make). PREDICTION: Spotlight seems to be the (modest) frontrunner at this point – and this is a voting body comprised of (to at least some degree?) journalists.
Best Picture, Musical/Comedy The Big Short Joy The Martian Trainwreck Spy
PICK: Though I’m a big fan of the dart-y morality and semi-experimental filmmaking of The Big Short, I have to be honest: Spy made me laugh pretty much end to end, and if we’re gonna give an award for comedy, let’s give an award for comedy. PREDICTION: The Martian is easily the dodgiest nomination of the night – it’s a lovely movie, but it’s as much a comedy as it is a musical, which is to say not one little bit – and frankly, Joy is barely any funnier. Spy and Trainwreck both seem like long-shots; I bet they’re give this one to The Big Short.
Best Director Todd Haynes (Carol) Alejandro G. Inarritu (The Revenant) Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road) Ridley Scott (The Martian)
PICK: Haynes’ stunning direction of Carol, beautifully modulating impeccable design and full-blooded performance, is my personal fave, though I still can’t say enough about sheer force of filmmaking on display in Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. PREDICTION: This seems to be a toss-up between the old masters Scott and Miller; I’d give a slight edge to Miller, whose work is certainly showier and snazzier than his competitor’s. Plus, he hadn’t directed a live-action movie since 1998; see previous note re: comebacks.
Best Actress, Drama Cate Blanchett (Carol) Brie Larson (Room) Rooney Mara (Carol) Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
PICK: Ms. Ronan, heartbreaking and complicated and exquisite in my favorite film of the year. PREDICTION: This is a particularly competitive category, perhaps the roughest of the night, since the HFPA bucked the vile scourge of Category Fraud and nominated Mara and Vikander in Best Actress instead of Supporting. But I think the Carol noms will cancel each other out and nobody’s that wild about Danish Girl, which means it goes to either Ronan or Larson. Given Brooklyn’s slightly higher profile, I’ll match prediction to pick here.
Best Actor, Drama Bryan Cranston (Trumbo) Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs) Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl) Will Smith (Concussion)
PICK: Good Lord, do I have to pick one? I dunno, Fassbender’s good. PREDICTION: The HFPA loves Leo – he’s already won two awards from them, for The Aviator and The Wolf of Wall Street, and it seems pretty safe to bet he’ll make it a hat trick. Plus, did you hear how it was real cold and he ate raw bison liver? DID YOU?!?
Best Actress, Musical/Comedy Jennifer Lawrence (Joy) Melissa McCarthy (Spy) Amy Schumer (Trainwreck) Maggie Smith (The Lady in the Van) Lily Tomlin (Grandma)
PICK: Tomlin all the way. It’s a performance that’s funny, sad, knowing, and sharp – in other words, everything we love about this special performer. PREDICTION: But Schumer’s gonna take it, and that’s fine too. The Globes aren’t as daring with their movie picks as they are with TV, but they do love to be hip, and this was the Year of the Schumer. Plus, y’know, it’s a very good performance.
Best Actor, Musical/Comedy Christian Bale (The Big Short) Steve Carell (The Big Short) Matt Damon (The Martian) Al Pacino (Danny Collins) Mark Ruffalo (Infinitely Polar Bear)
PICK: The best performance here is Ruffalo’s, though it’s the least likely to win. And all are pretty good, though Bale’s isn’t really a comic performance, per se. PREDICTION: Then again, neither is Damon’s, and he’s probably going to win. It’s a warm, likable turn (in spite of the already forgotten PR woes that surrounded it), and he’s never won the prize for acting, so it’s a pretty easy call.
Best Supporting Actress Jane Fonda (Youth) Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) Helen Mirren (Trumbo) Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
PICK: Spewing venom from behind an assortment of shiners, blood, and brain matter, Leigh is the fierce standout in a top-notch ensemble. And she’s one of those great actors we always take for granted (she didn’t even get nominated for Hudsucker Proxy, but find me one person who even remembers who won that year), so it’d be nice to see her finally get some recognition. PREDICTION: This one seems fairly wide open, with no consensus pick. It could easily go to Vikander, though this voting bloc keying in on Ex Machina may be wishful thinking; it could go to Leigh, though not everyone’s wild about Hateful Eight; it could go to Fonda, but her role in Youth is mighty small, and that film hasn’t gained much traction. No, I’m gonna pick the worst case scenario: I think they’re gonna hand it to Helen Mirren’s turn as Cruella de Hopper in the maddening Trumbo. And I sincerely hope I’m wrong.
Best Supporting Actor Paul Dano (Love and Mercy) Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) Michael Shannon (99 Homes) Sylvester Stallone (Creed)
PICK: Every damn one of these performances is award-worthy, but I honestly have to go with Stallone’s beautifully modulated, deeply felt turn in Creed – a reminder that beneath the brawn and bullshit lurks a real actor with real gifts. PREDICTION: This one’s also tough to call – most of these guys have picked up at least one or two prizes from critics’ groups, or noms from other organizations. But it seems to be down to Dano and Stallone, and I feel like Sly’s gonna pull it out, since the HFPA just loves a comeback story (they awarded Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler, Michael Keaton for Birdman, and Peter Fonda for Ulee’s Gold).
Best Screenplay Emma Donoghue (Room) Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer (Spotlight) Charles Randolph, Adam McKay (The Big Short) Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs) Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight)
PICK: I’m afraid I’m the type who tends to conflate Best Screenplay with Most Screenplay, so for me, it’s Sorkin; his rat-tat-tat hustle through the Apple founder’s rise is ingeniously structured, ruthlessly intelligent, and, at his best (yet chattiest) moments, downright thrilling. PREDICTION: The Globes’ most admirable divergence from the Oscars is the splitting of Drama and Comedy/Musical; their most befuddling is the merging of all screenplays into one category, considering adapted and original scripts require, oh, a completely different skill set. At any rate, with three adaptations and two originals, I’m betting Spotlight takes the prize, though Sorkin – with four previous nominations and one win, for The Social Network – could easily snatch it.
Best Animated Film Anomalisa The Good Dinosaur Inside Out The Peanuts Movie Shaun The Sheep Movie
PICK: Few films, animated or not, were as insightful and true as Anomalisa, though the delights of Shaun the Sheep are not to be denied. And Inside Out is pretty great too, That Scene aside. PREDICTION: Not that anyone cares, since Inside Out will obviously win.
Best Original Song “Love Me Like You Do” (50 Shades of Grey) “One Kind of Love” (Love and Mercy) “See You Again” (Furious 7) “Simple Song #3″ (Youth) “Writing’s on the Wall” (Spectre)
PICK: Anything but that Sam Smith song, JFC. PREDICTION: If Paul Dano gets the shaft, they’ll see this as their chance to award Love and Mercy – and, bonus, hand an award directly to Brian Wilson.
Best Original Score Carter Burwell (Carol) Alexandre Desplat (The Danish Girl) Ennio Morricone (The Hateful Eight) Daniel Pemberton (Steve Jobs) Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Nota (The Revenant)
PICK: Morricooooooooooooone. PREDICTION: Awarding one of the modern masters for his return to the genre he helped redefine seems a little too hard for them to resist – though Burwell’s work (here and in Anomalisa) is not to be shortchanged.
Best Foreign Film The Brand New Testament The Club The Fencer Mustang Son of Saul
PICK: Son of Saul was one of the year’s most powerful, harrowing, and unforgettable pictures, in any language, period. PREDICTION: And it seems like a pretty safe bet – unless the quiet yet undeniable backlash that’s haunted Saul through the fall manifests itself in a surprise win for Mustang, a movie pretty much everybody loves. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor
Best TV Series, Drama Empire Game of Thrones Mr. Robot Narcos Outlander
PICK: As fond I am of Game of Thrones, a hit-or-miss season and a very recent Emmy victory mean it’s time to step aside for Mr. Robot, the hit of the summer and culture’s best-executed ’90s homage. PREDICTION: Mr. Robot, though don’t count out Narcos — the HFPA seems to have a soft spot for the series, possibly the most overrepresented nominee relative to its critical reception.
Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama Caitriona Balfe, Outlander Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder Eva Green, Penny Dreadful Taraji P. Henson, Empire Robin Wright, House of Cards
PICK: A true embarrassment of riches here, so let’s take a moment to single out Green, an underrated performer on an underrated show whose nomination represents a mere scrap of the recognition she deserves. PREDICTION: “I’m here to get what’s mine.” — Cookie Lyon, 2015
Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama Jon Hamm, Mad Men Rami Malek, Mr. Robot Wagner Moura, Narcos Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
PICK: I’m rooting for another stage-climber here. PREDICTION: Malek, the only performer who can and should compete with Hamm’s victory lap. In the words of Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, “This show would be hokey as shit if it weren’t for Rami.”
Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy Casual Mozart in the Jungle Orange Is the New Black Silicon Valley Transparent Veep
PICK: Transparent now, Transparent tomorrow, Transparent forever. PREDICTION: Mozart in the Jungle has the advantage of being both a newcomer, always an advantage in awards shows, and international, like the similarly HFPA-favored Narcos.
Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Jamie Lee Curtis, Scream Queens Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie
PICK: Bloom can write, Bloom can sing, and most importantly, Bloom can sell Rebecca Bunch as seriously, tragically, understandably screwed-up — and still get laughs. PREDICTION: Rodriguez won last year as the linchpin of another unlikely CW dramedy; there’s no reason the HFPA won’t pass the baton to her spiritual successor (though Rodriguez is still turning in a fantastic performance week after week too).
Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy Aziz Ansari, Master of None Gael Garcia Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle Rob Lowe, The Grinder Patrick Stewart, Blunt Talk Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
PICK: It’s unfair that a show as exciting, if uneven, as Master of None only got one nomination. Ansari should take home the award, though more for the series as a whole than his performance. PREDICTION: Bernal deserves his nod slightly more than his (perfectly good, but not exceptional) show does, so he’s even more likely to get the win.
Best TV Miniseries or Movie American Crime American Horror Story: Hotel Fargo Flesh & Bone Wolf Hall
PICK: If I care about category fraud and insist on voting for an actual miniseries, Wolf Hall. If I don’t care about category fraud, Fargo. (I don’t care about category fraud, and neither should you.) PREDICTION: As the slate of nominees suggests, HFPA voters don’t give a damn about category fraud — in this particular category, at least — either.
Best Actress in a TV Miniseries or Movie Kirsten Dunst, Fargo Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel Sarah Hay, Flesh & Bone Felicity Huffman, American Crime Queen Latifah, Bessie
PICK: In the absence of Regina King (she’s nominated in the Supporting category), my only real option is Dunst. PREDICTION: In the absence of Regina King (they nominated her in the Supporting category), the HFPA’s only real option is Dunst.
Best Actor in a TV Miniseries or Movie Idris Elba, Luther Oscar Isaac, Show Me a Hero David Oyelowo, Nightingale Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall Patrick Wilson, Fargo
PICK: Isaac deserves a medal for donning that hair helmet alone. PREDICTION: David Simon series haven’t traditionally cleaned up at awards season, but his acclaim may have finally caught up to him with Show Me a Hero, which rests entirely on Isaac — and the actor’s international origins can’t hurt either.
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or Movie Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey Regina King, American Crime Judith Light, Transparent Maura Tierney, The Affair
PICK: Aduba was robbed last year, and wasn’t even nominated for Orange‘s first season. It’s time for the HFPA to follow the Emmys’ lead and give this extraordinary performance its due. PREDICTION: Still, no one will fault the HFPA for giving the award to King, especially because it’ll effectively honor her (un-nominated, somehow) work on The Leftovers.
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries, or TV Movie Alan Cumming, The Good Wife Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline Tobias Menzies, Outlander Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
PICK: I’ll be honest — I’m not especially passionate about this field, particularly after the stacked competition on the actress side of things. But Menzies has been doing excellent work as Outlander’s villain. PREDICTION: If the lead acting award goes to Malek, and it probably will, then the supporting award has to go to Slater, whose manic performance is effectively an extension of Malek’s. Add the later-career renaissance angle and Slater easily stands out from the other nominees. — Alison Herman, TV Editor