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
Mad Max: Fury Road
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
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.
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).
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
The Good Dinosaur
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)
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
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