Get our Golden Globes Predictions 2013 here.
On December 15, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced the nominees for the 2012 Golden Globe Awards. In predictable form, their choices consisted mainly of performers and films practically engineered for awards-season attention, save for a few left-field (but entirely safe) nominations that demonstrated the HFPA's so-called eclecticism.
Now that almost all the films are in theaters, we're taking a look at the nominees to predict who seems destined to win, and who might end up disappointed on January 15 when the winners are announced.
Best Picture - Drama
"The Ides of March"
Although Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" is one of the least kid-friendly films recently made for family audiences, that's one of the many qualities that makes it worthy of a Best Picture - Drama award, even among this year's group of eminently worthy candidates. But "The Descendants," pulling in increasing acclaim for both director Alexander Payne and star George Clooney, has the type of dramatic cachet that should push it over the top.
Winner: "The Descendants"
Best Actress - Drama
Glenn Close, "Albert Nobbs"
Viola Davis, "The Help"
Rooney Mara, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"
Tilda Swinton, "We Need to Talk About Kevin"
Looking at the group of actresses nominated in this category, you'd almost think actresses had an easy time finding interesting roles. More likely it's the other way around -- it's the roles that find interesting actresses -- which is why Streep, the almost automatic winner in any acting competition, is not necessarily a clear front-runner. Though Streep and Viola Davis are considered the leading contenders in this category, Close's gender-bending performance as a 19th-century woman living as a man is the kind of eye-catching role that could make her stand out in voters' minds.
Winner: Glenn Close
Best Actor – Drama
George Clooney, "The Descendants"
Leonardo DiCaprio, "J. Edgar"
Michael Fassbender, "Shame"
Ryan Gosling, "The Ides of March"
Brad Pitt, "Moneyball"
It's Clooney's cross to bear that he makes his acting look so damn easy, because it typically means he isn't recognized, even when he's doing great work as he does in "The Descendants." Ironically, DiCaprio exudes so much effort that voters might similarly take for granted that he fattened himself up for "J. Edgar." Fassbender, Gosling and Pitt are all superb actors; but in the end, it's the weight and depth of Clooney's performance, as well as the critical huzzahs for the film itself, that give him the edge.
Winner: George Clooney
Best Picture - Comedy or Musical
"Midnight in Paris"
"My Week With Marilyn"
"The Artist" seems an almost certain winner in this category, given the accolades it's received for the past several months from almost all quarters. Oddly, in spite of the gravitas of the other films competing against it, "Bridesmaids" has the best chance for an upset, as it was both critically well received and commercially successful.
Winner: "The Artist"
Best Actress – Comedy or Musical
Jodie Foster, "Carnage"
Charlize Theron, "Young Adult"
Kristen Wiig, "Bridesmaids"
Michelle Williams, "My Week With Marilyn"
Kate Winslet, "Carnage"
Foster is like Streep -- an incomparable talent who often seems to decimate her competition -- but against another frequent winner, Winslet, and comparative upstarts like Williams and Theron, her chances are more diluted than usual. Wiig seems an unlikely winner, but it also feels like the nomination is more of her reward than an actual victory would be.
Winner: Charlize Theron
Best Actor - Comedy or Musical
Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"
Brendan Gleeson, "The Guard"
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "50/50"
Ryan Gosling, "Crazy, Stupid, Love."
Owen Wilson, "Midnight in Paris"
Gosling's already nominated in the Best Actor - Drama category, so his nod for "Crazy, Stupid, Love." seems like an afterthought, especially given how good Dujardin was in the beloved "The Artist." Gleeson could be a left-field victor, but Wilson's got a decent shot given his bona fides as one of Woody Allen leading men, who historically have benefited awards-wise from their director's sure hand. And Gordon-Levitt is actually amazing in "50/50," but it's still unclear whether or not playing a character with cancer will earn him a sympathy vote.
Winner: Jean Dujardin
Best Animated Feature
"The Adventures of Tintin"
"Puss in Boots"
One supposes it's a victory unto itself that the HFPA nominated "Tintin" in this category, since no one has seemed to know what to do with performance-capture since its inception. But with the critically adored "Rango" in the competition, none of the other films in this category stand a chance. (That said, the inclusion of "Arthur Christmas" is a gratifying sign that the nominating committees are at least watching everything, and not just turning to Dreamworks and Pixar for their choices.)
Best Foreign Film
"Flowers of War"
"In the Land of Blood and Honey"
"Kid With a Bike"
"The Skin I Live In"
With directors Zhang Yimou ("Flowers of War") and Pedro Almodóvar ("The Skin I Live In") in this competition, it could be anybody's game, since Almodóvar has the backing of the critical community and Yimou has decades of affection -- and reportedly, the biggest budget in Chinese film history -- behind him. But you can't count out the Angelina Jolie ("In the Land of Blood and Honey") factor, as she seems to be catnip for HFPA members, even when she's not on camera. Meanwhile, as terrific as "A Separation" and "Kid With a Bike" both are, they can't compete with the star wattage of the rest of the nominees.
Winner: "The Skin I Live In"
Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, "The Artist"
Jessica Chastain, "The Help"
Janet McTeer, "Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer, "The Help"
Shailene Woodley, "The Descendants"
If "The Artist" sweeps the other awards, then Bejo will almost certainly be among the film's winners, thanks to her terrific performance. But Chastain has given so many great performances in so many equally great movies that it seems impossible that the HFPA won't recognize her, even if it's a cumulative celebration of her work in 2011. But then again, everyone likes being the first to recognize talent, which means that Woodley's performance in "The Descendants" has a shot at winning as well.
Winner: Jessica Chastain
Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, "My Week With Marilyn"
Albert Brooks, "Drive"
Jonah Hill, "Moneyball"
Viggo Mortensen, "A Dangerous Method"
Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"
If this were a just universe, Brooks would be taking home the statuette in this category for his terrifyingly candid mobster in "Drive." But since he's competing against heavyweights like Branagh, Mortensen and Plummer -- who not only was great in "Beginners" as a 75-year-old father who comes out as gay, but also made audiences cry in 30 seconds in "Dragon Tattoo" -- he may have trouble taking home the gold. Our money's on Captain Von Trapp, who's never won a Globe (yet) in his long and storied career.
Winner: Christopher Plummer
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
George Clooney, "The Ides of March"
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Alexander Payne, "The Descendeants"
Martin Scorsese, "Hugo"
All of the competitors here are folks who could easily and understandably take home the statuette. But "The Artist" feels a little bit like a runaway train this awards season, and French director Hazanavicius could easily be the one who emerges victorious. But Allen and Clooney could definitely pick up a win here as well ... even though as far as nostalgia trips or pet projects are concerned, Scorsese did the best work of all five.
Winner: Michel Hazanavicius
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne and Jim Rash, "The Descendants"
George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon, "The Ides of March"
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, "Moneyball"
As inclined as we are to hand this award over the Hazanavicius for "The Artist," screenplays (and screenplay awards) seem to be Payne's wheelhouse, so it seems very likely that he and his co-writers will take home the prize. Given the fact that Sorkin took home top prizes last year for "The Social Network," it seems possible that voters might want to reward someone other than him this time around, even if his work on "Moneyball" with Zaillian was pretty great. But with old hands Allen and Clooney in the competition, this could be anybody's prize.
Winner: Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne and Jim Rash, "The Descendants"
Best Original Score
Ludovic Bource, "The Artist"
Abel Korzeniowski, "W.E."
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
Howard Shore, "Hugo"
John Williams, "War Horse"
Reznor and Ross won for "The Social Network" last year, so their "Dragon Tattoo" music may not be rewarded again, especially since people seem to have mixed feelings about it. Meanwhile, Bource's wall-to-wall score for "The Artist" is certainly worthy (perhaps more so than many of the film's other categories are), but he's up against Williams and Shore, who have enjoyed nominations downs of times over for their great work, making them an automatic choice for some.
Winner: Ludovic Bource, "The Artist"
"Hello Hello," "Gnomeo & Juliet"
"The Keeper," "Machine Gun Preacher"
"Lay Your Head Down," "Albert Nobbs"
"The Living Proof," "The Help"
Without at least one song from "The Muppets" in this competition, this is a much harder competition to predict; but the amount of love audiences had for "The Help" -- not to mention the "importance" of its subject matter -- makes Mary J. Blige's "The Living Proof" feels like a front-runner. That said, Chris Cornell's "The Keeper" is actually a pretty good song that suits the movie it accompanied. But then again, "Gnomeo & Juliet" might swoop in and surprise everyone, given the fact that no less than Elton John wrote and performed it, and he's catnip for HFPA members, even more so than Madonna, who wrote "Masterpiece."
Winner: "The Living Proof"