Every year, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association recognizes excellence in film and television with the Golden Globe Awards. This year’s nominees are particularly diverse after last year’s “Oscars So White” issues created a ripple effect that the Globes clearly took note of. With so many movies fighting for the top stop at the upcoming Oscars, the Globes prove a litmus test for where the race currently stands. While on the television side, the Globes has become a way to earn a numbers struggling show a second season and bring attention to series that are often shut out of the Emmys.
We’ve picked a few of the best and brightest categories that will be honored this Sunday, January 8th to give our take on who we think is going to win… and who we think should win.
BEST DRAMA FILM
Will & Should Win: Moonlight
Barry Jenkins’ tour de force is a tender, yet dramatically intense film that tells the story of a gay black man growing up in inner city Miami. The performances are arresting, the cinematography is breathtaking, and the sheer experience of the film is unlike that of anything else this year. Moonlight is the strong favorite to walk away with the Globe.
BEST ACTOR, DRAMA
Will Win: Casey Affleck
Casey Affleck has been on a roll with awards season wins for his performance in Manchester by the Sea and is the favorite to win the golden statue. The only thing working against Affleck is the controversy surrounding him. Sure, you could say that the director picked the person he believed was the best choice for the job regardless of actions outside the film. Is that true, though? When you compare Affleck to those he is up against, and what was asked of him to do (a white male returns home in the face of tragedy and must raise a young family member), have we never seen that before?
Should Win: Joel Edgerton
Joel Edgerton’s performance in Loving is one of the best of the year. He disappeared into the role of the real-life Richard Loving with understated grace and power that is deserving of a statuette. Out of all of the nominees, Edgerton is the one who has the potential to beat Affleck, but Loving has floated under the radar. It’s a powerful film yet has remained modest during it awards season push, which is unfortunate because Edgerton’s performance had an enormous amount of soul that Affleck cannot match. He is a brilliant actor not only in Loving but in all that work he has done leading up to it. Here’s hoping that he will get the recognition he deserves next year.
BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA
Will & Should Win: Natalie Portman
Of all the acting categories in this year’s awards season, Best Actress is truly a Battle Royale of top-notch talent. Leading the pack is Natalie Portman, who can potentially snag her second Oscar for her incredible, searing performance as the iconic first lady. This is hers to lose. Emma Stone’s singing and dancing turn in La La Land is fun and showcases her talent, but doesn’t warrant an Oscar. Taraji P. Henson and Annette Bening delivered great performances in their respected roles, but Portman’s biggest competition will probably come from Isabelle Huppert in Elle. However, with five Oscar nominations to her name, Amy Adams, who’s nominated for Arrival, is probably chomping at the bit for a win.
BEST MUSICAL OR COMEDY FILM
Will & Should Win: La La Land
Damien Chazelle’s La La Land has won over the industry and is tracking to win the hearts of people all over America as it expands to further theaters. With strong performances that demanded Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling to sing and act on top of starring, created old Hollywood-style musical numbers, and still brought a contemporary couple’s story to life, the film was easy to fall in love with and a shoe-in for this category.
BEST ACTOR, COMEDY
Will Win: Ryan Reynolds
20th Century Fox
Ryan Reynolds won 2016 at the start of this year with his performance in the long-gestating Deadpool. It raised the bar for comic book films and R-rated comedies alike and its sequel is quickly becoming the most anticipated action sequel in due to Reynold’s performance on-screen and his passion for the project off-camera.
Should Win: Colin Farrell
Even though The Lobster came out at the beginning of 2016, typically a time for films to get lost in the ether, this international absurdist black comedy about a dystopian society, has remained one of the best pieces of media of last year and at the center of that is leading man Colin Farrell. His performance as David in parts tragic, hilarious, uncomfortable, relatable, and tender. In a setting that is very easily inaccessible to audiences, Farrell managed to pull off a performance that all at once kept audiences grounded and showed off his chops. He’s a bit of an underdog in this category, but he deserves the win.
BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY
Will Win: Emma Stone
Emma Stone has the ability to convey an evolution of emotions without words and La La Land proved to be the perfect project to show off that very skill. While the film was a musical romantic comedy that required her to sing, dance, and banter, her best moments were when she never spoke at all but made everyone watching feel the hurt, pain, and love she was feeling in that very moment.
Should Win: Annette Bening
Awards season loves Annette Bening and this year is no exception. She commands every minute of 20th Century Women and makes the movie what it was: a vibrant, unorthodox, yet thoughtful look at the life of a free-spirited single mother in her mid-50s. Without her, the film would have just been sputtering around with cool references to Southern California in the late ’70s. She’s been nominated for a Golden Globe multiple times and won in 2005 for Being Julia and again in 2011 for The Kids Are All Right. Bening is consistently brilliant, but this year, she will probably just let one of her competitors take it for once.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Will & Should Win: Mahershala Ali
Mahershala Ali gave a moving performance in Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, turning the known character of a drug dealer into something far more nuanced and heartfelt. As the mentor to young Chiron aka Little (Alex Hibbert), Ali was instantly likable and warm, giving his character multiple facets and a deeply layered humanity. When you realize that he actually taught Hibbert to swim in the scene pictured above, his performance becomes even more elevated.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Will & Should Win: Viola Davis
Viola Davis is an absolute powerhouse in Fences, a role which she first played on Broadway and won her a Tony Award. She is the heart of the film, going toe-to-toe with Denzel Washington (who also directed the flick) and earning sympathy and respect from the audience in an instant. She fires on all cylinders in this performance when she is equal parts loving, patient, resilient, angry, and, more than anything else, human. This will be her fifth Golden Globe nomination and it’s about time she won.
Will Win: Barry Jenkins
Full disclosure: Barry Jenkins and Damien Chazelle could easily be switched in these categories as both are far more than deserving to win and both have a good chance of doing just that. Jenkins’ direction of Moonlight is an absolute revelation. The film is quiet and poignant, beautifully constructed and shot, and shows the audience a story unfolding, rather than simply telling it. The tenderness and heart in the film all come from Jenkins at the center and he deserves every accolade he receives this season.
Should Win: Damien Chazelle
At 30 years old, Damien Chazelle brought Old Hollywood to the 21st century with a seemingly simple story but in a completely original way. The long takes during numbers and saturated palette made viewers feel as though they were watching viewers see the film live on stage. Whether or not he loses to Barry Jenkins, Chazelle has proved himself a talented filmmaker with his follow-up to the acclaimed Whiplash and we can’t wait to see what he does next.
Will Win: Moonlight
It is in Moonlight’s screenplay that the characters first come to life. Though the film is largely quiet, the screenplay gives the story a direction to unfold as beautifully as it does. As both director and writer, Jenkins, more than anything else, has accomplished something great in the world of storytelling and his win will be deserved. Still, there’s some stiff competition in this category this year.
Should Win: Hell or High Water
Hell or High Water might feel like a film you’ve seen before as two brothers set to rob the banks that they feel robbed them, but Tyler Sheridan’s pitch perfect script brings complex emotions to the impeccably tight story. The story feels universal and timeless, while still fresh, in an era where it can feel like you’ve seen every story before.
BEST ANIMATED FILM
Will & Should Win: Zootopia
Walt Disney Pictures
Set in a world of anthropomorphized animals, Zootopia unexpectedly and skillfully explores themes like racial profiling and stereotyping. Its subversive nature made it soar above the rest of the animated films this year (which give this film some pretty good competition in this category), in a genre that is increasingly exploring all that it can be capable of, and hopefully, people will start paying more attention.
BEST DRAMA SERIES
Will Win: Stranger Things
Netflix’s original series Stranger Things from the Duffer Brothers took the entertainment industry by storm. From its 80s nostalgia to the mystery of the Upside Down and the mystical property of Christmas lights, hoards of fans of the show were near instantaneous when the series was released over the summer and there’s a good chance the series will be given its due on Sunday.
Should Win: The Crown
Stranger Things may have been the hit of the summer but The Crown, a potentially bigger gamble, proved to a perfectly timed piece on ageism and gender in politics. Stories on the British monarchy can be tricky with the royal family being so private, but Queen Elizabeth II’s reign is one that still captivates. Peter Morgan’s first season follows the young queen’s ascent to the thrown and the challenges she faces. With Claire Foy and John Lithgow’s anchoring the series, and fantastic scripts and direction, the series brought new insight into the early year’s of Elizabeth’s monarchy.
BEST ACTOR, DRAMA SERIES
Will Win: Rami Malek
Rami Malek has seen his star on the rise since the first season of Mr. Robot. For his work, he was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2016 and won the Emmy. He has a strong shot at winning it for Season Two. Malek’s performance on the show is distinct and memorable. The only thing working against him is the mixed reaction to season two and its twists, we’ll have to wait and see what the Hollywood Foreign Press thought on Sunday!
Should Win: Matthew Rhys
One day — one day — the critically acclaimed FX series The Americans will get all the accolades and statues it deserves. At least, that’s what we hope. Both leads, Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell, are equally deserving of awards as they are the beating heart of this incredibly mature, nuanced, sophisticated, and gripping series. Rhys is astounding in his role as Philip Jennings, equal parts compassionate, strong, sensitive, and unpredictable. Hopefully one day both the HFPA and Emmys will recognize him.
BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA SERIES
Will Win: Evan Rachel Wood
Westworld’s Evan Rachel Wood spent the early part of her career known for playing rebels in movies like Running with Scissors and Thirteen but developed her range with turns in Across the Universe, Mildred Pierce and True Blood. Though even with her long successful career, Wood’s role in Westworld as the first host, Delores, was still a surprise. Her ability to turn from an emotional and naive country girl to seemingly lifeless robot to the empowered first host was a tour de force performance.
Should Win: Keri Russell
Everything said about Keri Russell’s co-star Matthew Rhys in The Americans can be applied to her as well. Frankly, if either of them are ever going to win anything for their wonderful performances, it will likely be Russell. The star of Felicity, Russell has mostly been known for playing softer roles than Elizabeth Jennings, which makes her performance in this series all the more astounding and deserving of heaps of awards. Unfortunately, it’s looking again like both she and Rhys will be shut-out. Wouldn’t it be great if they both won together, though? Well, we can dream.
BEST COMEDY SERIES
Will Win: Veep
Veep is amazing, Veep never falters, and Veep fully earns in this award. There is a reason that the show is an awards season contender year after year. Still, television comedy has been getting better and better, giving this show more competition.
Should Win: Atlanta
Such as Atlanta, FX’s break-out show this season. From the mind of Donald Glover who also stars in the show, Atlanta is sometimes more of an aesthetic than a carefully constructed plot, but it’s an aesthetic that is done incredibly well. Its characters feel natural, the comedy is genuinely funny (just watch the episode “B.A.N.”), and it explores a time and place that is so specific and well-developed.
BEST ACTOR COMEDY SERIES
Will Win: Jeffrey Tambor
TV veteran Jeffrey Tambor has won and lost this award before but he is always deserving of it. Last year he lost out to Gael Garcia Bernal in Mozart in the Jungle, which was somewhat surprising, but the Globes can favor international performers more than other awards ceremonies. It could happen again this year, but with Transparent universally loved by television critics, we think he’s the likely winner here.
Should Win: Anthony Anderson
Black-ish star Anthony Anderson led an incredible cast, alongside Tracee Ross-Ellis, of a series that broke ground every week that it aired last year as it tackled important issues in our country with heart, humor, and often undiscussed perspectives.
BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY SERIES
Will & Should Win: Issa Rae
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Issa Rae’s celebrated web series Awkward Black Girl — don’t worry. You can still fully enjoy HBO’s Insecure. But if you have been with Rae from the very beginning, watching her new series is a heightened experience of her distinct comedy that explores the black female experience of Issa (Rae), who works at a non-profit and her BFF Molly (Yvonne Orji), a corporate lawyer as they navigate through dating, friendships, and all the drama that comes along with it. Rae is gripping, relatable, funny, and magnetic in the series and seeing her win would be a highlight of the evening.
BEST LIMITED SERIES OR TV MOVIE
Will Win: People V OJ Simpson
From its very first episode, People v. O.J. had people talking. Creator Ryan Murphy has created his own formula for hit shows in his career and this show was firing on all cylinders. Even though the original events were followed zealously by news outlets, the scripted series managed to bring new perspectives to O.J. Simpson, prosecutors Marcia Clarke and Chris Darden, and Simpson’s infamous legal team. In a year where race and gender in politics were a daily conversation, The People v. O.J. wasn’t just providing new insights but also became a cultural touchstone that showed early on how much more divided our country is than many media outlets were willing to admit.
Should Win: The Night Manager
AMC, BBC One
It’s not that People v. O.J. shouldn’t win (frankly, there are so many reasons why it does deserve the win), but it is somewhat of a shame that the other limited series which were equally as great will get shut-out. Specifically, the adaptation of the John le Carré novel The Night Manager was absolutely fantastic from the first episode and deserves some love.
BEST ACTOR, LIMITED SERIES OR TV MOVIE
Will Win: Courtney B. Vance
This is one of those locked-in categories. Surely most voters won’t even look at or consider the other nominees with the way Vance stole the show in People v. O.J. as legendary Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran (alongside Sarah Paulson, of course).
Should Win: Riz Ahmed
Riz Ahmed’s performance as Nazir Khan, a young man caught up in the broken criminal-justice system, in HBO’s The Night Of was nothing short of compelling. Ahmed’s immersion into his character’s transformation from “good boy” student to prisoner was as convincing as it was disturbing. It was a subdued but encapsulating performance that would be a lock for an award in any other year.
BEST ACTRESS, LIMITED SERIES OR TV MOVIE
Will & Should Win: Sarah Paulson
This is one of the few sure-things in Sunday night’s show. Sarah Paulson has been on a scooping up praise and statues for her performance all year and rightfully so. Her performance as lead prosecutor Marcia Clark was a multi-layered, addicting, and wonderful thing to watch throughout the entire run of this series.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR SERIES
Will Win: Sterling K. Brown
Rounding out the perfect trifecta of The People v. O.J. is Sterling K. Brown as prosecutor Chris Darden. His performance throughout the series was understated and compelling, especially alongside Sarah Paulson. His win will be deserved (as is all the attention he’s getting in general right now), but that’s not to say there aren’t other deserving actors in this category.
Should Win: John Lithgow
Winston Churchill has been played by many big name actors of the years, (Albert Finney, Brendan Gleeson, Richard Burton, etc) so American John Lithgow appeared an odd choice by comparison. Lithgow’s career has shown great range in comedy and drama, but his tall, lithe figure and theatrical voice seems contradictory to the great politician known more for his rotund figure and gruff voice. Regardless, Lithgow transforms himself into the role of mentor to the queen while defying his health and well-being to remain in control of Parliament during the final years of his life.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS SERIES
Will Win: Thandie Newton
Thandie Newton hit a homerun with her renegade host, Maeve, in HBO’s hit drama Westworld. Faced with the question of whether or not her own person may have a soul, Maeve left audiences wondering if she’d won control over her own body right up to the very last moment of the show’s first season. Newton has been consistently working in film and television for decades, most notably in the Oscar-winning Crash, but Maeve may be her most iconic role yet.
Should Win: Olivia Colman
AMC, BBC One
Colman was the backbone and heart of The Night Manager. She was badass, funny, full of integrity, and an absolute joy to watch. She has also never delivered anything less than great in all her performances — it’s about time she gets recognized.
What did you think of our choices? What were yours? Tell us in the comments below! And don’t forget to look for our Golden Globes live coverage this Sunday!