Before we get into this, let’s say it together: The Golden Globe Awards exist primarily to give the people who care about these sorts of things an idea of what to expect at next month’s Oscar ceremony. There are some more noble purposes, surely: to raise money for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, to give last year’s TV season its victory lap, to throw some prizes at the comedy films that Oscar perennially snubs. But mostly, we know the Golden Globe ceremony as the chief pit stop on the Road to the Oscars. It’s not a destination, but merely part of the journey.
And you know what? That’s okay. Because the Oscars are huge. The Oscars have more history and more star power on their side than any other major award ceremony, and it’s not even close. The Emmys are neat, the Grammys are fun, but the Oscars are fucking huge. Even if the winners and losers cease to matter twenty minutes after the presentation of the Best Picture Oscar, the night itself is massive. Award show pageants are what justify our belief in celebrity culture as something holy and unattainable, and the Academy Award ceremony is the celebrity Super Bowl. As such, we can’t just take it in all at once. We need a buffer zone. We need the playoffs.
We need to pregame for this.
Thus, the Golden Globe Awards: the tailgating event before the Big Game, where we can have plenty of fun without acting like shit’s all that serious. Welcome to our predictions for Hollywood’s drunkest night.
Best Motion Picture, Drama (aka The “It’s much more difficult when you kick out Birdman” Award)
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
I have a feeling (I know I’m not alone in this) that Boyhood and Birdman will wind up duking it out for Best Picture at the Oscars, and it’s a shame that the genre-based categorization of the Globes isn’t giving us a sneak preview. Instead, Birdman gets the comedy tag and Boyhood looks like an easy bet up against a late bloomer (Selma) and three Oscar-baiting quasi-biopics (Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything) whose sheen of prestige gets duller as you look closer. In full disclosure, I haven’t seen Selma; its wide release just hit New Jersey today. But as always, award predictions are not value judgments. The Boyhood buzz has been rattling around since its premiere at Sundance almost a year ago, and even if the movie wasn’t brilliant (it is) its “twelve years in the making” selling point is likely enough to help it grab the top Globe, and maybe the top Oscar.
Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy (aka The “How pissed do you think Wes Anderson is that the HFPA tagged Birdman as a comedy?” Award)
Into The Woods
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The only way Birdman loses this one is if Wes Anderson gets hit by a train in the next forty-eight hours.
Best Director (aka The “Hey Alejandro, did you spend a full decade and change working on your movie? Didn’t think so.” Award)
Ava DuVernay, Selma
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
David Fincher, Gone Girl
Prediction: Richard Linklater, Boyhood
This is the most stacked category, and as such it’s the hardest to predict. On the one hand you have the directors with an easily-understood gimmick: Birdman is manipulated to look like one long shot; Boyhood took twelve years to make. Then you have the auteurs, Fincher and Anderson, whose movies a lot of people liked but no one seemed to love. And then there’s Ava DuVernay, a new-ish filmmaker whose Selma is loved by critics, but whose chances in this category will likely be crushed under all the big names and big concepts that surround her. A win for DuVernay would be a thrilling upset, but it would be an upset nonetheless. The most easily-packaged artistic venture of the year belongs to Linklater.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama (aka The “Who do you like better: Historical figures or Jake Gyllenhaal?” Award)
David Oyelowo, Selma
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
(Note: This is the only prediction we disagreed on. Either the Globes are insanely predictable, or we’re insanely bad at this.)
Mike’s Prediction: David Oyelowo, Selma
Fair enough, four of these five actors portrayed compelling (for better or for worse) historical figures. But only one played the most famous human of the twentieth century who wasn’t involved with the theory of relativity and/or the Beatles. Advantage: Oyelowo.
Angela’s Prediction: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
In any other year, the historical figure card would most likely trump, but since the majority of these gentlemen hold that card I think Eddie Redmayne is going to take this. He doesn’t quite have a “for your consideration” monologue, but the physical accomplishments of his performance are hard to ignore. I didn’t particularly love his performance, but I think award show voters will.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama (aka The “If Reese Witherspoon doesn’t win this award, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association should have to change its name to ‘The Biggest Bunch of Stupids That Were Ever Stupid’ for the next five years” Award)
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Jennifer Aniston, Cake
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Prediction: Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Jean-Marc Vallée’s extraordinary Wild was robbed of a nomination in the Best Motion Picture, Drama category at the Globes. That’s a shame, but the HFPA has an opportunity to put a bandage on that flesh wound by offering their a statue to the dutiful actress who plods through nearly every frame of Vallée’s film. Witherspoon is up against two veterans (Jennifer Aniston and Julianne Moore) in movies nobody saw and a relative newcomer (Felicity Jones) whose performance suffocates under director James Marsh’s solemn, unimaginative approach to the tedious The Theory of Everything. The possible spoiler here is Rosamund Pike, whose work in Gone Girl has reaped as much praise as the film itself, but I think Reese has this one tied up.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy (aka The “Michael Keaton Career Resurrection Project, Stage Two” Award)
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Bill Murray, St. Vincent
Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Christoph Waltz, Big Eyes
Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice
Prediction: Michael Keaton, Birdman
It’s doubtful that Michael Keaton will win the Oscar in this category when he’s up against the dramatic nominees of this year’s Globes. But the Birdman meta journey needs to be completed with him winning a Best Actor award. It just needs to.
Best Actress In A Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy (aka The “The only actress here who doesn’t already have a Golden Globe is also the only one who is 11 years old” Award)
Julianne Moore, Maps to the Stars
Amy Adams, Big Eyes
Emily Blunt, Into the Woods
Helen Mirren, The Hundred Foot Journey
Quvenzhané Wallis, Annie
Prediction: Amy Adams, Big Eyes
This is where the genre-based apartheid of the Globes really shows its knicks and cracks. Sure, it’s cool to see the great Julianne Moore nominated in two categories for two different movies, but I don’t even think Maps to the Stars ever made its way to my local theater. If Helen Mirren’s performance hadn’t come from the movie that inspired one of the most cringe-worthy trailers I’ve ever seen in my life, she might have gotten the seniority vote. And as adorable as Quvenzhané Wallis is, I doubt that even the HFPA would want any sort of endorsement of Annie on its conscience. That leaves Amy Adams and Emily Blunt, both of whom took admirable swings at material that was well below their levels of talent; most of what I remember from both performances is that they were forced to look worried all the time. I liked Blunt better because at least she sang, but I’m thinking the HFPA will go with Adams, because biopic.
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture (aka The “Hey, where’d Christoph Waltz go?” Award)
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Edward Norton, Birdman
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
Prediction: Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo’s performance in Foxcatcher struck a balance between two extremes, and one scene in particular was some of the most fun I’ve had watching movies this year. Even more fun, however, was watching Edward Norton as an impossible twat of a Method actor. He was given a wonderful gift in that character and every scene of his was dynamic. There’s no way he won’t win.
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (aka The “It’s a real shame Meryl chose Into the Woods over literally anything else this year” Award)
Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
Emma Stone, Birdman
Prediction: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Most would assume that Meryl has this category on lock because MERYL, but Patricia Arquette was the anchor of Boyhood, which ultimately proves to be essential in a movie that’s never needed an anchor more.
Best Screenplay (aka The “Is it weird that they give awards for film writing but not for TV writing?” Award)
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, & Armando Bo, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
I’m not even sure why the HFPA pretends to care about writing. There are no TV writing awards, and the screenwriting category doesn’t even bother to differentiate between adaptations and original scripts. So basically, it’s a question of which movie had some good quotable lines. Based on that criteria, Birdman could win for Edward Norton’s lines alone.
Best Animated Film (aka The “Wait, whatever happened to Big Heroes 1-5?” Award)
The Lego Movie
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Big Hero 6
The Book of Life
Prediction: The Lego Movie
The Lego Movie accomplished the rare feat of being a non-Pixar animated movie to be widely regarded outside of the child-to-tween demographic. And since there are no Pixar movies this year, well, The Lego Movie it is.
Best Foreign Language Film (aka The “Pee Break” Award)
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
Let’s go with the only foreign film I’ve heard anyone talk about.
Best Original Score, Motion Picture (aka The “THEM DRUMS THO!!!!” Award)
Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
Jóhann Jóhannsson, The Theory of Everything
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Gone Girl
Antonio Sanchez, Birdman
Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
This might be the first year in the history of this award in which people actually care about the outcome. Not because perennial heavy hitters like Hans Zimmer and Alexandre Desplat are facing off against David Fincher’s go-to guys Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (a rematch of 2010’s bout that saw Reznor and Ross walk away with both the Globe and the Oscar), although this does add some intrigue to the mix. No, the real reason this award actually matters this year is DRUMS. Antonio Sanchez’s Birdman score was not only the best and most innovative of the year–keeping the zany pace of the film afloat with only a single, non-melodic instrument–but it’s also the only score that anyone is likely to actually remember. A musical score is like scenery or editing: you’re not supposed to notice it unless it’s really awful or really amazing. That Sanchez’s score is not only memorable but integral to the fabric of the film is an uncommon and noteworthy feat. And since the Academy’s music branch has just unceremoniously disqualified Sanchez’s score from contention at the Oscars, the stakes are even higher. This is the perfect opportunity for the HFPA to give credence to the notion that their Golden Globe awards actually matter.
Best Original Song, Motion Picture (aka The “I just realized that I’m living in a world where Lana Del Ray might win a Golden Globe” Award)
Lana Del Rey, “Big Eyes” from Big Eyes
John Legend and Common, “Glory” from Selma
Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye, “Mercy Is” from Noah
Greg Kustin, Sia, and Will Gluck, “Opportunity” from Annie
Lorde, “Yellow Flicker Beat” from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
Prediction: “Yellow Flicker Beat” from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
Every single song nominated in this category is dull, slow, ponderous, and generally unsatisfying. At least “Glory” (from Selma) is given a boost by Common, who raps over an otherwise funereal John Legend melody. But “Yellow Flicker Beat” is the only track here to make the Billboard Top 40 and get a reworking from Yeezus himself. I doubt it needs to be more complicated than that.
Best TV Series, Drama (aka The “GoT or GTFO” Award)
Game of Thrones
The Good Wife
House of Cards
Prediction: Game of Thrones
The only real competition here is House of Cards, but GoT‘s big moments and even bigger episodes should move the HFPA to honor the consistently-excellent show, which has never won this award and hasn’t been nominated since 2011. And speaking of consistently excellent and not nominated in ages, why no Mad Men? Yes, the show already won in this category three years in a row (2007-09); and yes, this past year gave us only a half-season and a less-than-momentous one at that; and yes, I suppose the philosophy of letting the other kids have their turn is defensible. But be real: Season four of Downton Abbey found the show literally treading water. There was room here for Mad Men, which is at least actively building toward something, while Downton, like Lord Grantham himself, tries its damnedest to keep things the way they are.
Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama (aka The “We completely forgot to watch any of these shows” Award)
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Claire Danes, Homeland
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Robin Wright, House of Cards
Ruth Wilson, The Affair
Prediction: Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Sooooo we forgot to watch any of these shows. Whoopsie! As such, this prediction is based on the performance we’ve heard the most buzz about.
Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama (aka The “Ditto, although I hear The Knick is good” Award)
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Clive Owen, The Knick
James Spader, The Blacklist
Dominic West, The Affair
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Prediction: Clive Owen, The Knick
I don’t get Cinemax, but I hear The Knick is really good, and anyway I care much less about this award now that Bryan Cranston is gone and Jon Hamm, never a bride since 2007, doesn’t even get to be a bridesmaid.
Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy (aka The “At least they didn’t trot out The Big Bang Theory again” Award)
Orange is the New Black
Jane the Virgin
Prediction: Orange is the New Black
Silicon Valley is clearly more deserving of the award just because it is an actual comedy. OINTB is certainly a dramedy, but since this award show doesn’t need anymore split categories, it’ll win. Also, it’s hard to award a show whose crowning achievement so far has been the best dick joke in history. Sooo…
Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy (aka The “Holy shit, Nurse Jackie is still on?” Award)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Lena Dunham, Girls
Taylor Schilling, Orange is the New Black
Prediction: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
If this award was based purely on the strength of the performances, OITNB’s Taylor Schilling would probably have a slight advantage over Louis-Dreyfus. However, if we’re going to really focus on the word “comedy,” it’s hard to ignore that (a) OITNB is, at most, 40% funny, and (b) Schilling’s Piper is not even one of the top five funniest characters on the show.
Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy (aka The “Buhhhhh, I dunno” Award)
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
William H. Macy, Shameless
Ricky Gervais, Derek
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Louis C.K., Louie
Prediction: Louis C.K., Louie
Again, we have a parade of actors nominated in a comedy category for roles that require a heavy dose of drama. Jeffrey Tambor is probably the funniest of the group, but since Transparent is pretty new (and the last thing an awards show is likely to do is take a chance on something new) and since Cheadle has already won a Globe for House of Lies (in 2012) it makes sense to go with the veteran whose show is most buzzworthy.
Best TV Movie or Miniseries (aka The “Yeah, right, miniseries” Award)
The Normal Heart
Prediction: True Detective
Nothing captured the imaginations of the theory-crafting masses last year like True Detective. And also it has McConaughey and Harrelson. Good game, Fargo. Good game.
Best Actor in a TV Movie or Minseries (aka The “Time is a flat circle” Award)
Martin Freeman, Fargo
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Woody Harrelson, True Detective
Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart
Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo
Prediction: Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Rust Cohle has his own Wikipedia page. Do you have a Wikipedia page, Detective Hart? Didn’t think so.
Best Actress in a TV Movie or Miniseries (aka The “There’s a Frances McDormand/Fargo joke in there somewhere” award)
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Honorable Woman
Frances McDormand, Olive Kitteridge
Allison Tolman, Fargo
Frances O’Connor, The Missing
Prediction: Frances McDormand,
Fargo Olive Kitteridge
Frances McDormand’s performance here is one of the finest of her career. She plays Marge Gunderson, a pregnant police chief who…wait, what are we talking about?
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or TV Movie (aka The “This gag has gotten so old that all I can think to reference is the episode of Seinfeld where George thinks he bought a car that once belonged to Jon Voight, but then it turns out to be someone named John Voight, with an “h”…you know, because Voight is nominated in this category…yeah, it’s bad” Award)
Bill Murray, Olive Kitteridge
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan
Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Colin Hanks, Fargo
Prediction: Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart
I’m literally choosing this based on which nominee is the cutest in real life. Makes it much easier.
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or TV Movie (aka The “Can we make these supporting categories broader, please?” Award)
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Michelle Monaghan, True Detective
Allison Janney, Mom
Prediction: Uzo Aduba, Orange in the New Black
With the possible exception of Joanne Froggatt’s Anna, Aduba’s Crazy Eyes is the only character in this category with more than a single dimension to her role. Though Kathy Bates’s AHS accent should really get a special award of its own. The speech would be hilarious.