Golden Globes preview: We predict the TV nominees… and suggest a few of our own
It must be tough to be a Golden Globe TV voter these days. There are so many quality shows on right now, even certified TV junkies like us can't keep up. (And we literally watch TV like it's our job.) But that also means we've got a pretty good idea of what shows and performances are truly award-worthy this year. Below, we break down the main TV categories at the upcoming Golden Globes, listing the sure bets and the possible contenders in each category… and throwing in a favorite longshot that we'd love to see land a nod.
Best Drama Series
We see three sure-fire locks here: reigning champ "Homeland," fresh off an Emmy win for Best Drama and in the midst of topping itself with an absolutely bananas Season 2; three-time winner "Mad Men," which took last year off to restock the liquor cabinet; and PBS's "Downton Abbey," which won last year's Globe for Best TV Movie or Miniseries and slides into this year's Best Drama race. We also want to add AMC's truly great "Breaking Bad" in here -- despite the fact that it's somehow never been nominated for a Best Drama Globe. Yeah, we don't know how that's possible, either, but we're betting this is the year that Walter White's full-speed descent into darkness finally breaks through.
A trio of HBO offerings are competing for the final Best Drama slots: the sweeping fantasy "Game of Thrones," which, to be frank, underwhelmed us with a overly jumbled Season 2; the underrated Prohibition-set gangster drama "Boardwalk Empire," which took home the Globe for Best Drama in 2010, and freshman entry "The Newsroom," Aaron Sorkin's highbrow look behind the scenes of a cable news show. A dark-horse candidate with a real shot at a nod: AMC's gritty zombie thriller "The Walking Dead," which grew by leaps and bounds creatively in Season 3 and now stands as a seriously effective TV thrill ride.
OUR FAVORITE LONGSHOT
NBC's "Parenthood" won't bowl you over with explosive action or shocking plot twists. It's just a humble, acutely observed family drama that's quietly become one of the most well-spent hours on TV. Over four seasons, it's slowly constructed a warm, naturalistic portrait of a family whose imperfections we can all recognize, whose dialogue is so authentic, it feels like we're eavesdropping on them. We know this is a crowded field, but we'd love to see the Bravermans get their moment in the sun.
Best Actor, Drama
As "Homeland's" tortured sleeper agent, Damian Lewis has already taken home an Emmy this year, and the show has only given him more opportunities to shine in Season 2. (Case in point: the spellbindingly sparse episode, "Q&A.") Unlike the Emmys, the Globes have actually honored the man behind "Mad Men's" Don Draper, Jon Hamm, back in 2007; he's a fixture in this category, as he should be. And taking home four Emmys for playing meth-cooking antihero Walter White earns "Breaking Bad's" Bryan Cranston a seat at the table, although he's never won a Globe. We also see "The Newsroom's" Jeff Daniels scoring a nod for his bravura performance as self-destructive newsman Will MacAvoy; he's right at home rattling off Sorkin's overflowing dialogue.
"Downton Abbey" is such an ensemble piece that it's difficult to single any one actor out for recognition. (Except for Maggie Smith, of course.) But a rising "Downton" tide should bring the house's stoic patriarch, Hugh Bonneville, a nod this year. If Kelsey Grammer isn't nominated for his second season as "Boss's" ruthless mayor Tom Kane, it'd be a bit awkward, since he won the Globe last year -- and his show just got canceled. Steve Buscemi won in 2010 for playing "Boardwalk Empire's" cutthroat protagonist, Nucky Thompson; his stellar Season 3 work as Nucky's world crumbled around him could secure him a third straight nod.