The first award show of the year is also the fattest: The Golden Globes not only rolls TV and movies together, but doubles up on the HFPA’s ability to suck up to the industry by splitting movies between drama and comedy — the better to guarantee more sparkly celebrities, my dear. But for the purposes of prognostication posts, it’s a major pain to stick them all in one, so we’re going to divvy up the big and small screens. Come back tomorrow to talk TV; now, let’s roll into the movie theater.
It’s tough to look at these lists and imagine that only half of them can squeak through to the Oscars. Without further ado, let’s prognosticate. If you click on each box, text drops down about the movie or performer; the polls are all based on who you think will win, but by all means, in the comments let’s hash out where that might diverge from who you think SHOULD take home the hardware.
Best Picture (Drama)
Hacksaw RidgeHacksaw Ridge
This is a Mel Gibson joint, starring Andrew Garfield as conscientious objector Desmond Doss, a WWII soldier who refused to carry a gun but wanted to serve — and won the Medal of Honor for his work as a medic. It’s been a widely praised movie, but one that’s hard to analyse outside the lens of Mel’s past sins and our willingness to… if not forgive or even forget, then at least mute for a while. It’s also a gory one, so I conveniently get to avoid the “separate art from the artist” argument entirely, as I’m unlikely to sit through anything so bloody. I’m a delicate flower.
Hell or High WaterHell or High Water
Hell or High Water
Chris Pine and Ben Foster play cowboy Robin Hoods in modern-day West Texas, with Jeff Bridges’ mustache on their trail. I didn’t even know this existed until it was nominated. Did the facial hair get a nod also?
I thought this movie was lovely, and stirring, though I can’t sort out why Rooney Mara’s name is so high on the poster for a tiny part that frankly did little to ripen the film. This is based on the true story of a lost Indian boy who, ultimately, is flagged for adoption by a kindly Australian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham). When he grows up into Dev Patel, he pauses to appreciate his own hotness before realizing he’s plagued by worry about whether his family still searches for him or blames his brother for his disappearance. It’s the kind of movie that makes you want to hug your parents so hard.
Manchester By The SeaManchester By The Sea
Manchester By The Sea
I saw a theatrical trailer for this before Arrival, and it was pitched as a warm, wry little movie about grief and recovery. Imagine my surprise, then, to watch it and realize it’s just one long gut punch — to the point what when the small chuckles do come, you feel almost guilty if you give in to them. I think that preview must have strung together every single potential laugh from the film, and boy, did that skew things. It is an accomplished film for sure, but also a wrist-slitter. At one point I actually blinked and said, “Wait, is what I think is happening actually happening?” It was. (Fun fact: Matt Damon basically tricked a depressed Kenneth Lonergan into writing and directing it, and if you notice the drummer in the teen band gets a lot of his own shots despite not being a relevant character, it MIGHT be because his last name is “Damon.”)
This is magnificent poster. The movie itself tells the story of one boy’s life broken into three chunks: his boyhood, his coming-of-age, and him as a man, all through the lens of his racial and sexual identity. It’s tender and heartbreaking, and a wonderful piece of character work; I thought it was told extremely confidently by a director who is relatively new to the scene, and what a thrill to have his voice in the cinematic chorus now.
What will win?
- Hacksaw Ridge (3%, 71 Votes)
- Hell or High Water (3%, 79 Votes)
- Lion (7%, 163 Votes)
- Manchester By The Sea (33%, 762 Votes)
- Moonlight (53%, 1,218 Votes)
Total Voters: 2,293
Best Picture (Musical or Comedy)
I realize people claim this movie is awesome, but… I just tried to watch it on cable for the third time, and I could not connect. I have to admit, finally, that I don’t care and my time is better spent elsewhere. There! That was cleansing. Best of luck, Deadpool.
Florence Foster JenkinsFlorence Foster Jenkins
Florence Foster Jenkins
La La LandLa La Land
La La Land
It’s tough to live up to hype, but I think La La Land is a truly delectable morsel about the passions that push you, and where and how the inevitable opposing pull manifests.
Sing StreetSing Street
All I know about this movie is that it stars Aiden Gillen, a.k.a. Mayor Tommy Carcetti from late seasons of The Wire (although I’m told he also spent time on Game of Thrones). Apparently it’s a largely Irish film about a guy who starts a band to impress a girl, and I honestly think I might have seen someone watching it on our flight to New York in September (it came out in the spring) and I was similarly vexed about what it was. Well, hey, welcome in, Sing Street. Are YOU on cable? I’m coming to find out.
20th Century Women20th Century Women
20th Century Women
This is another movie I keep forgetting exists, but I hear good things. Vulture’s review of the film, about a man reflecting upon his life and the women in his orbit (which include nominee Annette Bening, and Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning), is particularly glowing. I don’t know that anything can slow the La La Land juggernaut, though.
Who will win?
- Deadpool (8%, 199 Votes)
- Florence Foster Jenkins (2%, 49 Votes)
- La La Land (86%, 2,081 Votes)
- Sing Street (3%, 66 Votes)
- 20th Century Women (1%, 25 Votes)
Total Voters: 2,420
Best Actor (Drama)
Casey AffleckCasey Affleck
Casey Affleck gives a good performance in Manchester By The Sea, although one that occasionally kept me a bit more at arm’s length than I wanted to be in such a wrenching film. But he was anointed the frontrunner in the last mile of the marathon and as such, he’s benefited from the media turning a blind eye to a spotty history the vague likes of which totally derailed Nate Parker and Birth of a Nation. Certainly their alleged crimes, and their circumstances, are not identical. (Parker was acquitted of rape years ago, though his friend and co-collaborator on Birth was found guilty; their continued allegiance raised eyebrows, especially in the wake of the accuser committing suicide. Affleck was accused of sexually harassing female colleagues on the set of that weird Joaquin Phoenix pseudo-documentary from 2010, and settled. The details of both allegations are disturbing, to say the least.) And there’s an argument to be made about whether Birth and Manchester are equally good, or Affleck’s and Parker’s performances are of like quality. The whole thing does indeed have apples-to-oranges qualities in many regards, except: I have to ask myself whether, if the roles were reversed, Parker’s record would have been so willingly expunged of the accusations pocking Affleck’s. Gross people can still do good work; that’s not the question. It’s just illuminating to sit back for a bit and sort through the difference in column inches devoted to each man’s alleged sins, and look at where they are now, and ponder the math. And to be clear, I’m not saying this in defense of Parker; I’m saying out of vexation that Affleck may be getting the benefit of a media handshake that is still selectively extended.
Joel EdgertonJoel Edgerton
Joel plays Richard Loving, one half of the interracial couple that fought Virginia’s ban on their marriage all the way to the Supreme Court. Which then did the right thing. I’ve not seen him in much other than The Great Gatsby, so I’m excited to see what he can bring to this — a movie that’s a very timely reminder of a moment in history when love and decency won.
Andrew GarfieldAndrew Garfield
I think, back when Andrew spent all that time sporting a huge fluffy beard to play a priest in 17th century Japan in Silence, then somehow also ended up breaking up with Emma Stone (in my mind, the two are related), we all assumed he’d be nominated for that role in Scorsese’s latest. But no. It’s the Mel Gibson flick that broke him into the ranks. Who knew?
Viggo MortensenViggo Mortensen
Captain Fantastic is, I guess, a movie about a family raised in total isolation who is then forced back into the real world. There’s probably a reason nothing else about it is nominated, but I could see where the grieving patriarch — that does not seem to be a spoiler — would be a meaty role. I mean, look at that beard. If any actor today was born to play someone who’s been living without technology and off the land, it’s Viggo.
Denzel WashingtonDenzel Washington
He directed this adaptation of Fences (he won a Tony for it on Broadway) and I’m sure is terrific and Actorly and very Denzel in it. Those are not insults. Unfortunately, this is Casey Affleck’s to lose.
Who will win?
- Casey Affleck (50%, 1,047 Votes)
- Joel Edgerton (14%, 286 Votes)
- Andrew Garfield (5%, 99 Votes)
- Viggo Mortensen (6%, 127 Votes)
- Denzel Washington (26%, 543 Votes)
Total Voters: 2,102
Best Actress (Drama)
Amy AdamsAmy Adams
I really liked Arrival. It’s stark and beautiful, and I think some of the splendor of Amy Adams’ performance is how she subdues herself. The character doesn’t offer much for her to chew on, so she alters herself in a lot of subtle vocal and physical ways so that you’re not just looking at Amy Adams talking to aliens. It’s nifty.
Jessica ChastainJessica Chastain
I didn’t hear much great about Miss Sloane, other than the usual cool competence from Chastain, so I’m not surprised she’s nominated but I don’t think she can beat Portman — or Ruth Negga, whom I think of as the underdog upset special.
Isabelle HuppertIsabelle Huppert
Huppert got rave reviews for Elle, a movie about — well, I’ll let the opening line of Wikipedia’s synopsis tell it: “Michèle Leblanc is raped in her home by an assailant in a ski mask, then promptly cleans up the mess and resumes her life.” It’s a Paul Verhoeven psychological drama, based on a book, and it sounds both bonkers and as if it’s total awards bait.
Ruth NeggaRuth Negga
I don’t watch Preacher, so I’ve only seen Ruth Negga so far on a red carpet. I’m glad this movie didn’t get lost in the awards shuffle; I was worried it would, especially with Florence Foster Jenkins making its unlikely push (albeit in a different Globes category).
Natalie PortmanNatalie Portman
Natalie Portman’s fruited womb might just turn out to be a massive good-luck charm for awards. She is the front-runner for her portrayal of Jackie Kennedy in days after JFK’s assassination, as recounted in varying degrees of brutal honesty to a priest and a Life reporter. I’m not historically a Portman fan, because I almost always find her too chilly. However, that bias about her worked somewhat in her favor here. It’s a portrait of a woman bumbling through grief and fear, love and loss and resentment, but with keen bursts of strategy; in what initially appears as an obsession with immortalizing her husband for his sake, we see too a woman just as desperate to immortalize an idealized version of their life together so that she might not be made a fool of by other people’s memories, or even her own. (The movie almost applauds her as an early public relations savant, for building Camelot into a bigger-than-life legacy.) A slight chilly remove, then, effectively underscores Jackie’s discombobulation. But Portman never disappeared into the part; she was always Natalie Portman in costume, affecting an accent that was wildly inconsistent to my ear. Too often I found myself watching the performance, and not the movie. But in other ways it’s technically adept — she does capture the almost distant babbling one does when shock is taking hold and you’re grasping for purpose, and her recollections of holding Jack’s skull together as if to fuse it back to being whole… those really work. It isn’t that she doesn’t know what she’s doing, but rather that she wouldn’t be my personal choice to watch do it.
Who will win?
- Amy Adams (25%, 546 Votes)
- Jessica Chastain (3%, 54 Votes)
- Isabelle Huppert (5%, 102 Votes)
- Ruth Negga (26%, 554 Votes)
- Natalie Portman (42%, 895 Votes)
Total Voters: 2,151
Best Actor (Comedy or Musical)
Colin FarrellColin Farrell
In The Lobster, all single people are eventually sent to a hotel for 45 days to fall in love, and if they don’t, they’re turned into an animal of their choosing. (Hey, at least they get to pick…?) And I am so curious. In fact, this just reminded me to check whether it’s on cable right now.
Ryan GoslingRyan Gosling
Ryan Gosling is one of those actors who always needs the first 20 or 30 minutes of a film to settle on me — after which I’m like, “Oh, yes, I see this.” (I’m still sad The Good Guys, his summer romp with Russell Crowe, didn’t make more of a splash. I laughed pretty hard at parts of that.) So yes, Ryan Gosling is charming and good in this, which lets him flex his sardonic wooing muscles: A little snark, a little swoon, lather, rinse, repeat. Singing is clearly not his favorite activity, though he handles the dancing pretty well; what comes the most naturally to him here seems to be the simple act of being enchanted by Emma Stone. The two of them are really good at falling in love, and really really good at falling in love with each other.
Hugh GrantHugh Grant
This thumbnail is enough to make me REALLY curious about this, in which I’ve heard he’s lovely. My favorite Hugh Grant is the latter-day self-involved Daniel Cleaver version, or the Andrew Ridgeley character in Music and Lyrics. I don’t even mind aspects of Two Weeks Notice, for that reason, although why there needs to be an explosive bowel scene in that movie is beyond my comprehension. Anyway, it might be nice to appreciate a more potentially earnest Hugh again.
Jonah HillJonah Hill
I liked him in Moneyball. I thought he was great in The Wolf of Wall Street. But I am totally out on War Dogs. Sorry, dude.
Ryan ReynoldsRyan Reynolds
I’m sure he’s fine in this. Ryan Reynolds is very adept at the wry quip, delivered almost as if out of the side of his mouth. And every few years, just as I start to wonder if EW has failed to make Ryan Reynolds essential, he pops up with a success (first The Proposal, now this). So good on him. I still probably won’t see it. Unless maybe I’m on a plane.
Who will win?
- Colin Ferrell (9%, 187 Votes)
- Ryan Gosling (62%, 1,276 Votes)
- Hugh Grant (7%, 138 Votes)
- Jonah Hill (1%, 18 Votes)
- Ryan Reynolds (22%, 451 Votes)
Total Voters: 2,070
Best Actress (Comedy or Musical)
Annette BeningAnnette Bening
Annette Bening is an actress who doesn’t work as much as I’d like, but when she does, it’s in service of projects that are worth her being choosy. And let’s be honest, I’m also excited to watch the classy Bening school people on the red carpet.
Lily CollinsLily Collins
I have not seen Rules Don’t Apply, and cannot imagine this nomination was anything more than plugging an empty hole. That’s not meant to be an insult to Lily; for all I know she’s fabulous in it. But nobody had much nice to say about Warren Beatty’s Howard Hughes flick, and from what I could tell, Collins didn’t have much buzz. But hey, look at it this way: There was a time in which no one could imagine TV’s Shailene Woodley of ABC Family being an acclaimed, nominated actress of the screen. And that’s worked out pretty well for her, so maybe Lily Collins is about to drop some major science on us all.
Hailee SteinfeldHailee Steinfeld
I liked Hailee a lot in Edge of Seventeen, which is, in a sense, her Easy A. I liked Edge better, in part because it gives Hailee a handful of genuinely mean moments in service of a character whose arc and turmoil I totally bought. I like it when characters are given the freedom to do the wrong thing, as long as it’s for a reason you can understand. I think this performance will get lost once the field narrows for the other awards ceremonies, but Hailee is super talented and I hope she doesn’t entirely trade acting for pop singing. Also of note: In most movies where you’re meant to believe a genetically blessed person is actually hopelessly unpopular, even a little unattractive, and/or overlooked (ahem, Easy A, and of course She’s All That), Edge does an admirable job casting Steinfeld with an unlikely aura of plainness. You feel an otherness there more than in most.
Emma StoneEmma Stone
I think one of my favorite parts of La La Land is that Emma Stone isn’t a Katharine McPhee-style born belter. She has a sweet, lovely voice that saves whatever power it has for when it’s truly necessary, and all that folds neatly into the overall feel of her performance. The more emotional songs pour out of her more as organic musings than big Look At Me numbers. As ever, her eyes are the deepest of pools, and I deem her worthy of every accolade that’s come her way for this one. For a person with her abundance of relatable personal charms — she is, I think, what studios hoped Jennifer Lawrence would be, until she veered off the road and fell into Crass Lake — this is an ideal role, with the possible exception being why any casting director in this fictional Hollywood wouldn’t have noticed her from minute three.
Meryl StreepMeryl Streep
I haven’t seen Florence Foster Jenkins, but when they re-released it around Christmas despite it making very few ripples during its original release, it reeked of A Campaign Is Born. Because it’s just not The Season if a Meryl Streep starrer isn’t sneaking into the fold. Not that I’m complaining. My theory is that Meryl merely pretends to find all this mystifying and secretly thinks it’s all exciting and flattering, and that she takes COPIOUS mental notes about everyone’s behavior in the theatre and in the bathrooms so that she can gossip about it with her friends. I imagine her doling out her dish as Blind Items that end with her saying, like, “And his name starts with B and rhymes with Pen Catbleck.” Meryl would be GREAT for Drinks With Broads.
Who will win?
- Annette Bening (11%, 231 Votes)
- Lily Collins (1%, 13 Votes)
- Hailee Steinfeld (6%, 128 Votes)
- Emma Stone (72%, 1,486 Votes)
- Meryl Streep (10%, 214 Votes)
Total Voters: 2,072
Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala AliMahershala Ali
I think he’ll win, in part because Moonlight is such a rare and rich bird of a movie. But he’s also deserving. It’s not as lengthy a role as, say, Dev Patel’s, but it also doesn’t have to be, and he makes such an impression from his first frame.
Jeff BridgesJeff Bridges
I guess I need to see Hell or High Water now. I just love looking at this photo and then closing my eyes and conjuring The Dude from The Big Lebowski. I would not pee on this guy’s rug, that’s for sure.
Simon HelbergSimon Helberg
I am not familiar with Simon beyond my massive aversion to The Big Bang Theory, but did anyone expect this nomination at all? Hugh Grant, I do recall getting nice reviews for FFJ, but I forgot anyone else was even IN this thing. I assume he won’t win, but hell, if the HFPA was willing to go all-in on this movie to begin with, it’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility.
Dev PatelDev Patel
He’s great as, essentially, a human advertisement for why Google Earth is cool. (It’s the tool by which his character tries to locate what village he might have been from in India.) I might’ve argued that he’s a lead actor rather than supporting — the movie revolves around him for much of the way — but I can see why the people driving this train might’ve thought he had a better shot at sneaking in through this window. I don’t think he’ll win, though he wouldn’t be a bad pick, but it was nice to see him as such a mature presence seven years grown from Slumdog Millionaire. He’s only 26 but he feels older, in the right way.
Aaron Taylor-JohnsonAaron Taylor-Johnson
I’ve not traditionally responded to Aaron Taylor-Johnson; apparently, playing the creep is where it’s at for him, because I thought he was good in Nocturnal Animals. Everyone is all up in arms that Michael Shannon wasn’t nominated, but I have to say, I thought that portrayal promised plot twists that were never in the offing and felt more manipulative at times to me than how full-on skeevy and sleazy AT-J was.
Who will win?
- Mahershala Ali (71%, 1,342 Votes)
- Jeff Bridges (6%, 121 Votes)
- Simon Helberg (3%, 61 Votes)
- Dev Patel (16%, 304 Votes)
- Aaron Taylor-Johnson (3%, 65 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,893
Best Supporting Actress
Viola DavisViola Davis
I believe whole-heartedly that she’s great in this. I don’t think I’ve ever watched her in anything and thought, “Wow, that’s a false note.” The writing on How To Get Away With Murder lets her down sometimes, but she never returns the favor, so to speak. And I’m stoked to watch Fences, a reprisal of her Tony-winning role and a very flashy bit of dramatic meat to gobble indeed. But I can’t help it: The first thing I notice in all the previews is, they insist on using a scene where all manner of fluids are shooting out her nose as she yells at Denzel. It’s distracting, and yet, I suspect all that mucus will make her a lock.
Naomie HarrisNaomie Harris
I think she’s astonishing in Moonlight. Maybe that’s because I’m not as familiar with her outside her cartoonish Pirates of the Caribbean: Whichever One That Was character, or being a cool Moneypenny in Skyfall only to be badly underused in Spectre. Seeing her really sink her teeth into this part was revealing, and once I got past a slightly spotty-seeming accent in her very first scenes, it really enveloped me. Even more praise-worthy, she shot her entire role in three days, which means — no real spoilers — that she spent 72 hours in a REALLY intense head-space.
Nicole KidmanNicole Kidman
One thing I love about Nicole Kidman is, she persists in trying to pick interesting projects. They don’t always work, but I’m so glad we’re seeing more of these choices than, say, The Stepford Wives. But Lion is genuinely great and she’s warm and anchoring in it, in addition to wearing a cavalcade of amusing wigs (her first one is a real treat). It gets sort of amusing imagining her as Dev Patel’s mother, although it is theoretically possible; she could’ve had him at age 23. Why not.
Octavia SpencerOctavia Spencer
I can’t wait to see her in Hidden Figures. Her co-star Janelle Monae is really gentle and lovely in Moonlight, and we know Taraji P. Henson can act, so for Spencer to be the lone candidate of the three speaks pretty highly of what her performance must be.
Michelle WilliamsMichelle Williams
She’s devastating in this movie and it’d be hard to be mad at her winning, but ultimately the role might be too quiet for her to edge out Viola Davis. Look at this photo of her, though. I love this hair — both the bob, and the darker blond shade. Can we get this going all the time, Michelle?
Who will win?
- Viola Davis (55%, 1,034 Votes)
- Naomie Harris (11%, 198 Votes)
- Nicole Kidman (3%, 51 Votes)
- Octavia Spencer (14%, 253 Votes)
- Michelle Williams (18%, 337 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,873
Best Director (Movies)
Damien ChazelleDamien Chazelle
I liked Whiplash a lot — it doesn’t really take sides in the mental battle waged between JK Simmons and Miles Teller, in a way that was oddly compelling to me — and so it was a surprise to discover that Chazelle’s second film, La La Land, had such a gooey center. I love that. He’s very versatile and confident, and my God, La La Land was visually breathtaking and ambitious, and never once appears self-conscious about its hook. I’d give it to him. The AWARD, I mean, not a euphemistic “it.”
Tom FordTom Ford
Nocturnal Animals is a movie that I really cannot say I enjoyed, but I’m glad I saw it (mild spoiler for the opponents of Ocular Tomfoolery: BEWARE THE END. You’ll sense when it’s coming, and no, don’t watch for a while after that, not until you’re sure that storyline is over). It’s essentially, to me, about the act of reading, and how our lives and surroundings can often leak into that mental experience, or perhaps our natural tendency to be the hero of our own story and blot out the ways you’re the villain in someone else’s life, or… honestly, the only part I’ve liked have been the post-mortems with friends about various theories we had — NONE of which turned out to be actual things Tom Ford was trying to do, per his interviews. Anyway. It’s a salute to redheads for sure, and also, at the risk of being artistically reductive, to naked butts.
Mel GibsonMel Gibson
I am not sure the industry is quite ready to give Mel Gibson any hardware, but the HFPA is not above going rogue.
Barry JenkinsBarry Jenkins
Jenkins (Moonlight) has to have a decent shot at scooping this from Chazelle, simply because he is similarly a relative rookie in this arena, and yet his work is remarkable and uncompromised.
Kenneth LonerganKenneth Lonergan
I am wondering if Lonergan will win just for the sentimentality of it: He’s been out of the game for a while, he struggled to get back in it, he even might struggle with BEING in it. Also, people really loved You Can Count On Me, and Manchester’s reviews are excellent.
Who will win?
- Damien Chazelle (43%, 735 Votes)
- Tom Ford (10%, 177 Votes)
- Mel Gibson (3%, 44 Votes)
- Barry Jenkins (31%, 529 Votes)
- Kenneth Lonergan (13%, 220 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,705
Stay tuned for the TV categories on Friday.