Awards mania is upon us! Sure, Sunday’s champagne-soaked Golden Globes will be as watchable for tipsy celebrities and host Ricky Gervais’s special brand of snark as anything movie-related. But after some dubious decisions over the years, the Globes (voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association) seem to have reestablished themselves as an awards authority.
In fact, you could argue that in a few cases over the past decade, the Globes made a better ultimate choice than Oscars (i.e., Boyhood over Birdman, The Social Network over The King’s Speech, and Brokeback Mountain over Crash, which the HFPA didn’t even nominate).
Here’s how I see things shaking out in the movie categories at the 73rd Golden Globes (see the nominations list here), which should kick off the early 2016 coronation of Spotlight, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Brie Larson.
Best Motion Picture — Drama
Spotlight, Tom McCarthy’s crackling journalism drama about the Boston Globe’s takedown of the Catholic Church, is this season’s clear awards favorite. The film continues to dominate the early prizes (the lone major exception: the editor’s guild). At this point the only thing that could slow down Spotlight’s Oscar run might be… a loss at the Golden Globes. That’s doubtful. But if there is an upset, it could come from the fan-favorite Mad Max: Fury Road.
Should Win: Spotlight
Will Win: Spotlight
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
In two short years Brie Larson has gone from fringe contender (for the excellent but underseen Short Term 12) to frontrunner. Room, in which she plays a young mother held captive in a tiny shed for seven years, announces her as a major dramatic force. The actress faces some stiff competition in a category where every nominee would make a worthwhile victor (also in the running: Carol co-leads Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, Brooklyn star Saoirse Ronan, and Danish Girl’s Alicia Vikander), but Larson should continue her march toward an Oscar here.
Should Win: Brie Larson, Room
Will Win: Brie Larson, Room
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
The general consensus is that Leonardo DiCaprio is poised to win his first Oscar after five previously unsuccessful bids. But there’s also this: His multilingual, intense (and grunty!) performance as vengeful frontiersman Hugh Glass in The Revenant is legitimately the year’s best, and a Globe win (which would be his third) should help validate his turn. As far as upsets go, there isn’t a threat within a thousand yards of him.
Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Ridley Scott’s space hit The Martian and Adam McKay’s wolves-of-Wall Street tale The Big Short have to be considered co-favorites to win. But I insist that the raucous and raunchy Amy Schumer vehicle Trainwreck is the most deserving, not only because the movie is more entertaining, but because it’s actually a true comedy (look at the category title). The Martian is a sci-fi thriller with funny moments, and The Big Short is a darkly comedic drama.
Should Win: Trainwreck
Will Win: The Martian
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
It comes down to a battle of newfound besties as Joy’s Jennifer Lawrence squares off against Trainwreck’s Amy Schumer (while Grandma’s Lily Tomlin asks, “Who am I, chopped liver?”). Schumer actually stands a good chance here as Joy hasn’t quite been the powerhouse its predecessors American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook were with critics. But Lawrence won Globes for both of those films, though, so you know the HFPA won’t hesitate to make it hat trick.
Should Win: Amy Schumer, Trainwreck
Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Now that we’ve established that The Martian is not really a comedy, nor a musical (though it does have all that disco…), I will say Matt Damon does provide some hearty laughs as a stranded astronaut who has only himself to talk to for well over an hour of the film’s running time. He’s excellent, and the only likely Oscar contender in this race (at least for Best Actor; Steve Carell and Christian Bale, both nominated in this category for the ensemble The Big Short, will be considered in the Supporting Actor field for the Academy Awards).
Should Win: Matt Damon, The Martian
Will Win: Matt Damon, The Martian
Best Motion Picture – Animated
No competition here. Inside Out, Pixar’s most ambitious film yet, will collect nothing but yellow memory orbs from here through Oscar night. (Hopefully you’ve seen Inside Out and get that.)
Should Win: Inside Out
Will Win: Inside Out
Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
This one looks like another one-horse race. Hungary’s World War II drama Son of Saul has been racking up accolades since premiering at Cannes, and should handily defeat four far lesser-known competitors.
Should Win: Son of Saul
Will Win: Son of Saul
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Jennifer Jason Leigh is the favorite for the beating she takes in Tarantino’s bloody Western The Hateful Eight. But I’d like to see the Globe to go to double nominee Alicia Vikander, whose Ex Machina robot isn’t just the sexiest one we’ve ever seen on the big screen, but also the most soulful.
Should Win: Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
Will Win: Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Little-known veteran actor Mark Rylance (who plays a convicted Russian spy in Bridge of Spies) and Rocky star-turned-Creed coach Sylvester Stallone have emerged as the frontrunners in this category after the snubbing of Spotlight duo Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo. Still, the door’s open for an upset, and if anyone deserves it, I’d vote Idris Elba for the ferocity he brings his African general in Beasts of No Nation.
Should Win: Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Will Win: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Best Director – Motion Picture
The director race is stacked, and more competitive than it has been in years. Though Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight figures to be the awards season’s main darling, the dazzling achievements of Alejandro González Iñárritu (The Revenant), George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), and Ridley Scott (The Martian) can’t be overlooked. Carol director Todd Haynes is no slouch, either.
Should Win: Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant
Will Win: Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
I certainly won’t be mad at seeing Spotlight scribes Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer rewarded for turning The Boston Globe’s investigation of molestation in the Catholic Church into such a taut thriller. But in the interest of spreading the love, how about acknowledging Adam McKay and Charles Randolph for making subprime mortgages so entertaining in The Big Short?
Should Win: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, The Big Short
Will Win: Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, Spotlight
Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Most pundits are picking either Carter Burwell’s melancholy score for Carol or Ennio Morricone’s powerful chords in The Hateful Eight. It’s a longshot, but I’ve got a soft spot for Alexandre Desplat’s elegant and infectious work in The Danish Girl.
Should Win: The Danish Girl
Will Win: The Hateful Eight
Best Original Song – Motion Picture
“See You Again,” Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s poignant send-off to Paul Walker in Furious 7, made for the most powerful musical moment in a movie this year. But something tells me the Globes will use this category to reward the excellent Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy and give the statuette to the Beach Boys singer-songwriter’s ballad “One of a Kind.”
Should Win: “See You Again,” Furious 7
Will Win: “One of a Kind,” Love & Mercy