Don’t let anyone tell you they know who is going to win the Golden Globes. Who knows what the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of about 90 international journalists from all over the world, are going to do? (Seriously; their official site says they have “about 90 members.”) Predicting what any awards voting body is going to do is tricky to begin with; picking what a small and largely anonymous voting body with notoriously idiosyncratic taste is going to do basically impossible. Trying to pick the 2017 Golden Globe winners is like trying to predict the weather six months from now or who will win the Super Bowl in 2026. Unless you’ve got telepathic powers or the Grays Sports Almanac of Movie and Television Awards, you’re screwed.
Now that I’ve told you not to listen anything I say, let’s get to my picks!
Best Picture - Drama
- Hacksaw Ridge
- Hell or High Water
- Manchester by the Sea
Will Win: Everything about the year in film suggests to me this is really a race between two movies: Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea. It’s tough to predict which will resonate more strongly with those 90 random members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, but I’ll give the slight edge to Moonlight.
Should Win: One reason it’s so hard to predict a winner here is because they’re both really great films. I’d be happy if Moonlight won, but I’d give my vote, to Manchester by the Sea, which I found just as moving as Moonlight with more grace notes of surprising humor. (Dark as it is, Manchester is also sneakily a lot funnier than some of the “comedies” that wound up in the Best Picture - Comedy list.)
Best Picture - Comedy
- 20th Century Women
- Florence Foster Jenkins
- La La Land
- Sing Street
Will Win: Only one of the last five winners in this category was an actual musical (that’d be Les Miserables), but that should change this year. If anything other than the feel-good La La Land wins this one, it will be a major upset. This is the lockiest-lock of the bunch.
Should Win: I loved La La Land — but I loved Sing Street just a bit more. By the slimmest of margins, I’d cast my vote for John Carney’s irresistible coming-of-age story about a teenage boy who starts a rock band to impress a girl at school.
- Damien Chazelle, La La Land
- Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
- Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
- Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
- Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Will Win: Having just personally witnessed Barry Jenkins pick up a Best Director award from the New York Film Critics Circle, having read excerpts from his acceptance speech at the National Board of Review, and having seen his beautiful and moving film several times, I would have a hard time picking against him.
Should Win: From this group of nominees, I’d vote for Jenkins, with a very honorable mention to Chazelle for La La Land’s impressively staged musical numbers and gorgeous California vistas.
Best Actress - Drama
- Amy Adams, Arrival
- Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane
- Isabelle Huppert, Elle
- Ruth Nega, Loving
- Natalie Portman, Jackie
Will Win: Although Isabelle Huppert has gotten a lot of attention for her role in Paul Verhoeven’s twisty thriller Elle, Natalie Portman’s transformative performance in Jackie is the stuff awards shows are made of. Huppert’s got a dark horse’s chance of pulling an upset (particularly from a foreign press group), but Portman’s still the clear favorite.
Should Win: With affectionate respect to Huppert for turning Elle into something much more emotional than its premise would suggest, and to Amy Adams for bringing soul to a potentially cold science fiction movie, Portman did an impressive job of not only bringing the former First Lady to life, but of showing the public and private sides, and the way that one influenced the other.
Best Actor - Drama
- Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
- Joel Edgerton, Loving
- Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
- Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
- Denzel Washington, Fences
Will Win: Even with the ongoing controversy around past allegations of sexual harassments, Casey Affleck has already taken home almost every Best Actor award available from various critics groups, and he looks poised to take home this year’s Best Actor - Drama Golden Globe, too.
Should Win: Affleck gave an incredible performance in Manchester, but he was outdone, at least in my book, by Denzel Washington in his adaptation of August Wilson’s Fences. The difference for me could be as simple as the way Manchester is as much the community’s story as it is Affleck’s character’s, while Washington dominates almost every scene and shot of Fences with his overpowering charisma.
Best Actress - Comedy
- Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
- Lily Collins, Rules Don’t Apply
- Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen
- Emma Stone, La La Land
- Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
Will Win: While the Oscars sometimes give older stars Academy Awards as de facto lifetime achievement awards, the Globes tend to prefer younger stars. The last five Best Actress winners: Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, and Michelle Williams. With that in mind, we give the frontrunner title to Emma Stone for her lovely work singing, dancing, and romancing her way through La La Land.
Should Win: Marvelous as Stone was in La La Land, my vote here would go to Annette Bening, bringing real richness and depth to Dorothea, the protagonist’s mother in Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women. It’s the sort of character we’ll look back on at the end of Bening’s career as one of her defining roles.
Best Actor - Comedy
- Colin Farrell, The Lobster
- Ryan Gosling, La La Land
- Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
- Jonah Hill, War Dogs
- Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool
Will Win: It’s great to see Colin Farrell nominated here for his understated work in The Lobster; that’s the sort of subtle performance that rarely gets the recognition it deserves. And I’m also a fan of Jonah Hill’s overlooked work in War Dogs. But this looks like Ryan Gosling all the way. He’s a well-liked actor who’s been doing strong work in interesting material for years. In La La Land, he sings, dances, plays piano, and has electric chemistry with Emma Stone. Much like the film itself, he benefits from having a separate category for musical or comedy performances.
Should Win: I’d go with Gosling too, although I’d think very hard about switching my vote to Farrell.
Best Supporting Actress
- Viola Davis, Fences
- Naomie Harris, Moonlight
- Nicole Kidman, Lion
- Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
- Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
Will Win: This is another close race, between Viola Davis for Fences and Michelle Williams in Manchester by the Sea. Most pundits seem to think Davis will take this one, and she’d get my vote (SPOILER ALERT for the next paragraph). But my general cynicism about awards tends to make me assume my favorite will never win, which is why I have a hunch it will be (a very deserving) Michelle Williams.
Should Win: Viola Davis spends much of Fences in Denzel Washington’s shadow, just as her character, Rose, often gets overshadowed by her bombastic husband, Denzel’s Troy. But after Troy commits an unforgivable betrayal, Rose finally gets to speak her mind — and Davis wrests control of the movie from Washington. In a series of incredible close-ups, Rose unloads years of pent-up frustration on Troy. It is really something to see.
Best Supporting Actor
- Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
- Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
- Simon Helberg, Florence Foster Jenkins
- Dev Patel, Lion
- Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Nocturnal Animals
Will Win: As kind-hearted drug dealer Juan, Mahershala Ali anchors the first third of Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, defying stereotypes and bringing warmth into the life of Little (Alex Hibbert). It’s not a particularly showy role; Ali doesn’t have a lot of big monologues or dramatic outbursts. But in just a few scenes, he gives us a fully formed and complex person, and leaves an indelible mark on the film and our minds.
Should Win: Frankly, if I was giving an acting award to anyone in Moonlight, I’d give it to Trevante Rhodes. But all three of the actors who share the film’s main role split screen time, putting them in a weird limbo between lead and supporting. Without Rhodes among the nominees, I’d vote for Ali too. (Although Jeff Bridges was terrific in Hell or High Water, albeit in the kind of role we’ve seen him play before.)
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