By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Jan 05, 2020 at 11:16 AM

Follow @aManAboutFilm on Twitter Sunday night starting at 7 p.m. as culture editor/film critic Matt Mueller live-tweets the Golden Globes!

Awards season officially begins on Sunday night with the least important of all the awards: the Golden Globes. 

A televised glorified kegger thrown by about 90 unknown "journalists" without a single actual Oscar vote but with a lot of alcohol and even more desire to be in the same room with Brad Pitt, the Golden Globes don't have much value. That being said, winning is always a good look. Winners get to set the narrative, claim the first  award of the season, make a speech that captivates the room – and Oscar voters, who are currently in the midst of picking their nominees as speak – and keep their names in the headlines, while those left off the stage are stuck playing catch-up, so there's something of merit here.

But also: Did I mention it's a televised glorified kegger with a lot of celebrities and alcohol? So that's at least worth some entertainment value – and certainly worth throwing some predictions out there. Because if Hollywood's finest are gonna embarrass themselves Sunday night, I might as well join in. Here are my mostly informed, completely hapless guesses for who'll come away a winner at the 2020 Golden Globes. (Come on, "Cats"!)

Best Picture - Drama

  • "1917"
  • "The Irishman"
  • "Joker"
  • "Marriage Story"
  • "The Two Popes"

Will the Hollywood Foreign Press Association go with a populist pick? After all, they've given this award to "Avatar" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" in the past. Or will they try to claim their place as an awards prognosticator, picking a critical favorite like they did with "Boyhood" and "The Social Network"? I see the HFPA saying, "Why not both?" and picking "Joker" – a blockbuster that grants them a starry populist winner (a comic book movie at that!) as well as a sense of artistic edge with a Very Serious Movie that fancies itself as very thought-provoking. Thoughts like, "Why did he go in that fridge again?", "Where did that standup footage come from?" and "How many times is Arthur going to dance in this movie?"

Best Actor - Drama

  • Adam Driver, "Marriage Story"
  • Antonio Banderas, "Pain and Glory"
  • Christian Bale, "Ford v Ferrari"
  • Joaquin Phoenix, "Joker"
  • Jonathan Pryce, "The Two Popes"

I wouldn't be surprised if Antonio Banderas snuck in for the win here; the Hollywood Foreign Press doesn't mind going international with some of its picks, especially if it's an impressive performance from a well-regarded actor in an auteur project. (Just ask Isabelle Huppert, whose 2017 win for "Elle"  helped power her to an Oscar nomination.) But Joaquin Phoenix's showily tortured turn is arguably the performance of the year – and is inarguably your current awards-season frontrunner. It's simply too big to ignore, and even the film's detractors compliment Phoenix's committed work. The Globes like to surprise, but I can't see them straying from the obvious pick here.

Best Actress - Drama

  • Charlize Theron, "Bombshell"
  • Cynthia Erivo, "Harriet"
  • Renee Zellweger, "Judy"
  • Saoirse Ronan, "Little Women"
  • Scarlett Johansson, "Marriage Story"

The Renee-ssance begins Sunday night with Zellweger winning the first of many trophies this awards season – and I don't see anyone stopping her on the way to the Academy stage, either. (I think Johansson's better, but her movie's lost some steam, and Netflix's attention will focus on winning "The Irishman" the bigger prizes as a result.) So a preemptive congratulations to "Judy" for earning the "Still Alice" Award for Most Immediately Forgotten Oscar-Winning Movie!

Best Picture - Musical or Comedy

  • "Dolemite Is My Name"
  • "Jojo Rabbit"
  • "Knives Out"
  • "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"
  • "Rocketman"

"Jojo Rabbit" and "Dolemite" are non-factors; the former's awards buzz has cooled off while the latter's never got much heat in the first place – the price of Netflix having so many irons in the fire this awards season. "Rocketman" has campaigned well, and the glitzy biopic is right in the HFPA's wheelhouse. After all, this award went to "Bohemian Rhapsody" last year, and (*whispers*) "Rocketman" is much, much better. On the other hand ... this award went to "Bohemian Rhapsody" last year. I highly doubt the Globes want to give this award to ostensibly the same movie two years in a row. 

That leaves "Knives Out" and "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" (I refuse to include the ellipsis), and while Rian Johnson's whodunnit has been Hollywood's feel-good story of the holiday season – an original theatrical release performing well both with critics and audiences, with the hefty box office to prove it – I expect the Globes to put on their Oscars precursor hats here and go with the star-studded hit most likely to make a splash a month from now at the Academy Awards. That's OK, "Knives Out"; you'll just have to console yourself with your millions of dollars and the knowledge that you've given hope to original movies everywhere. 

Best Actor - Musical or Comedy

  • Daniel Craig, "Knives Out"
  • Eddie Murphy, "Dolemite Is My Name"
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"
  • Roman Griffin Davis, "Jojo Rabbit"
  • Taron Egerton, "Rocketman"

DiCaprio is GREAT in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" (it's so dumb that Leo DiCaprio won his Oscar for grunting in the snow for 150 minutes in "The Revenant." Goofball Leo is infinitely better than Very Important Leo), but his time came back in 2016. This year, it's his co-star's turn for a glorified Lifetime Achievement trophy, as the narrative around "Once Upon a Time" is about finally giving Pitt – who's never won a performance Oscar and hasn't won at the Globes  since "12 Monkeys" in 1996 – his due. Craig and Davis are also good (great in the former's case) but in group projects.

Meanwhile, Egerton's been campaigning like a champion – and considering you gave Rami Malik this award last year, Egerton puts in a much better performance in a much better movie AND he actually sang. But "Rocketman" is old news from all the way back in the summer while Eddie Murphy's comeback is the newer, sexier story – and the Globes are going to want it, and his wisecracks, on their stage.

Best Actress - Musical or Comedy

  • Ana de Armas, "Knives Out"
  • Awkwafina, "The Farewell"
  • Beanie Feldstein, "Booksmart"
  • Cate Blanchett, "Where'd You Go, Bernadette"
  • Emma Thompson, "Late Night"

First of all, let us commemorate Cate Blanchett's nomination here as this will be the last time anyone will ever speak of "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" ever again. As for the ACTUAL winner, it's a two-woman race that's literally A-grade: Ana de Armas and Awkwafina. While I adore "The Farewell," when it comes to anointing new stars, I think the HFPA will go with the one who stands out in a star-studded surprise blockbuster crowdpleaser – and who has a new Bond movie on deck in a few months. Her star's just begun to rise – and I'm sure the Golden Globes would love to include themselves in making it happen.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Al Pacino, "The Irishman"
  • Anthony Hopkins, "The Two Popes"
  • Brad Pitt, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"
  • Joe Pesci, "The Irishman"
  • Tom Hanks, "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood"

What a murderers' row of big-name nominees – all putting in worthy work too, not just getting Meryl Streep-ed in. Hopkins is out because, while clearly the HFPA liked "The Two Popes" enough to give it a number of major nominations, I don't think anyone likes it THAT much. Meanwhile, giving Hanks the win would be redundant considering he's already be preparing his speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award. That leaves the three Ps: Pacino, Pitt and Pesci. The "Irishman" duo will split the vote – and even if they didn't, they're up against an overdue Brad Pitt at the Golden Globes. It is what it is.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Annette Bening, "The Report"
  • Jennifer Lopez, "Hustlers"
  • Kathy Bates, "Richard Jewell"
  • Laura Dern, "Marriage Story"
  • Margot Robbie, "Bombshell"

The nominations are the wins for Bening and Bates. The former's film is a dense,  unflashy procedural that was lost on Amazon's streaming service, while the latter I'm pretty sure was only nominated because ... not sure, actually? I guess any performance would look thoughtful and restrained sharing a movie with whatever Olivia Wilde was doing in "Richard Jewell." I'm sure the HFPA would love to give Robbie an award at some point – but I don't think her thin character in "Bombshell" is it, especially since most agree Theron's performance is the one to champion there. (I choose to promote Rocky Rococo's turn as Geraldo Rivera.)

That leaves the two expected Oscar front runners, Laura Dern and Jennifer Lopez – and come on, you really expect the Hollywood Foreign Press to turn down a valid chance to put J.Lo on the stage?

Best Director

  • Bong Joon Ho, "Parasite"
  • Martin Scorsese, "The Irishman"
  • Quentin Tarantino, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"
  • Sam Mendes, "1917"
  • Todd Phillips, "Joker"

Another category absolutely loaded with exceptional talent ... and also Todd Phillips. But joke's (HA) aside, he would fit the bill if the HFPA wants to go with a popular winner. Sam Mendes' work is definitely the MOST direction, which tends to be a good barometer for predicting correctly, while Bong Joon Ho would give the Globes the combination of a showy surprise pick and some critical cred. Then there's Tarantino, who's never won director at the Globes in four tries – and what better time to do it than with arguably his most personal project (and possibly his last). And Scorsese ...  is Scorsese. Truly anyone could win here – so in a coin flip, I'll take Scorsese as the HFPA finally tosses "The Irishman" a trophy on the night.

Best Screenplay

  • "The Irishman"
  • "Marriage Story"
  • "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"
  • "Parasite"
  • "The Two Popes"

Awards season may have just begun, but narratives are already forming – after all, you can't campaign for everything. In the case of "Marriage Story," the focus has shifted from a Best Picture frontrunner (it sure doesn't feel like its the HFPA's most nominated movie, does it?) to merely an acting/writing showcase – and with the Renee-ssance and Phoenix in firm control over the lead performance categories, Noah Baumbach's screenplay is the most likely place to show this excellent movie some love. 

Best Animated Film

  • "Frozen II"
  • "How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World"
  • "The Lion King"
  • "Missing Link"
  • "Toy Story 4"

Credit where credit is due: Nominating "The Lion King" for Animated Film when it was campaigning as a live-action movie is a hilarious troll job. (Then again, the HFPA could've also just ... not nominated "The Lion King" at all.) Unfortunately, the rest of the Animated Film nominees aren't as inspired. I enjoyed "Missing Link," but it's been mostly forgotten – the same goes for the third "How to Train Your Dragon." That leaves the two Disney sequels, and while no one seems to have a ton of passion for the fourth "Toy Story" – a quite good if fairly needless postscript – it's the better and more universally appreciated of the two options. 

Best Foreign Film

  • "The Farewell"
  • "Les Miserables"
  • "Pain and Glory"
  • "Parasite"
  • "Portrait of a Lady on Fire"

Quick question: How many of these options are nominated for Best Director? Just "Parasite"? A short follow-up: How many are nominated in the screenplay category as well? Only "Parasite" again? OK, thanks. Don't overthink it: "Parasite" wins.

Best Score

  • "1917"
  • "Joker"
  • "Little Women"
  • "Marriage Story"
  • "Motherless Brooklyn"

The fact that Randy Newman has been nominated seven times without a win adds some dark horse intrigue to this category, but this still feels like a two-steed race between "1917" and "Joker." And while Hildur Guðnadóttir's banging, clanging, cello-snapping score gives "Joker" a heavy dose of moody dramatic gravitas, again, in a wide open year, I see the Globes sharing the love – and they haven't been able to give "1917," a movie reports keep saying the HFPA really liked, a nod yet. They amend that here. 

Best Song

  • "Beautiful Ghosts" from "Cats"
  • "Into the Unknown" from "Frozen II"
  • "I'm Gonna Love Me Again" from "Rocketman"
  • "Spirit" from "The Lion King"
  • "Stand Up" from "Harriet"

I've said plenty of times that the Golden Globes are useless ... but if the Hollywood Foreign Press Association gives Best Song to Taylor Swift's "Beautiful Ghosts" and turns the phrase "award-winning motion picture 'Cats'" into reality, their existence is entirely validated. But they won't. (Cowards.) The only way "Cats" will be uttered on stage is as the butt of a Ricky Gervais joke.

Instead, though "Into the Unknown" is the current pop hit and "Spirit" would give the HFPA a chance to get Beyonce on stage thanking them, I imagine they'll give the award to the Elton John tune "I'm Gonna Love Me Again," which feels more their taste and gives them a chance to spread some love to "Rocketman," a movie they clearly appreciated considering its multiple significant nominations.

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.