Follow @aManAboutFilm on Twitter Sunday night starting at 7 p.m. as culture editor/film critic Matt Mueller live-tweets the Golden Globes!
Every year I warn the the Golden Globes are useless – but Sunday night's ceremony might break the Golden Globes' own personal record for uselessness.
There's the usual caveat: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is an alleged group of less than 100 desperate-for-attention old white guys who are rumored to be bought off and just want to hang with famous people – and they don't even have any actual Oscar voters in the bunch, making them irrelevant to any awards forecasting. But now you add in the fact that the past year featured few movies and even fewer collective viewing habits, making it hard to figure out what voting bodies will unify around – if they can unify around anything at all since movies were released here, there, everywhere and nowhere during the chaotic pandemic-struck past 365 days. Plus, we're now two months into the new year – is anybody still wanting to look back at 2020?
In case all of that didn't take the luster off this year's Golden Globes, we've now learned that the alleged group of less than 100 desperate-for-attention old white guys who are rumored to be bought off are actually a CONFIRMED group of less than 100 desperate-for-attention old white guys who are CONFIRMED to be bought off. Indeed, the Los Angeles Times thoroughly reported the worst kept secret in Hollywood: That the HFPA doesn't have a single black member amongst its 87-person ranks, that they're all mostly old and that they're happy to take expensive, lavish gifts from studios essentially in turn for nominations. (So that explains multi-nominee "Emily in Paris.")
Worst of all, we don't even have a regular ceremony this year, meaning no drunk celebrities to watch. Why bother!?
In the pointless world of awarding and comparing art, the Golden Globes are the most pointless of it all – and the world of movies and television wouldn't miss much without them. But for awards season junkies, they offer a chance to kick-start the conversation – no one in the HFPA may vote for the Oscars, but winning is always a good look – on a light-hearted and somewhat irreverent note before things get serious. And for everyone else, it's a chance to unite around the TV and celebrate, debate, learn, laugh, cry and, yes, yell angrily about the art we've loved, hated and everything in between over the past year.
I look forward to the days when we have a better precursor awards show with an even slightly less corrupt, racist and just plain shady cabal behind it – but in the meantime, it's a chance to talk about movies (mostly good ones) and I'll always take that. So here are my predictions for the film winners at Sunday night's Golden Globes.
Best Picture - Drama
- "The Father"
- "Promising Young Woman"
- "The Trial of the Chicago 7"
Chloe Zhao's "Nomadland" is your current Best Picture frontrunner for the Oscars, but as their penchant for bribes, gifts and fancy parties might imply, the Golden Globes' tastes tend to land a little more glossy and razzle-dazzle. After all, this is the group that gave its top prize to "Avatar" over "The Hurt Locker," "1917" over "Parasite" (which wasn't even nominated), "The Revenant" over "Spotlight," and "Bohemian Rhapsody" over "A Star Is Born," "BlacKkKlansman" and "If Beale Street Could Talk." So excuse me if I have a hard time seeing this group going for the small, subdued and modest accomplishments of "Nomadland."
Meanwhile, "Mank" may be the most nominated film at the Globes – and it's a Hollywood story, aka Hollywood's favorite kind of story – but its buzz barely exists. And no one's really gotten a good look at "The Father" – and even if audiences had, it's probably too small to earn the night's biggest prize. So that leaves Netflix's "Trial of the Chicago 7" against "Promising Young Woman" – and if I had any guts, I'd pick the latter. It's a zeitgeisty, poppy, exhilarating thriller that, whether audiences like it or not, gets them talking and feels like something approximating an event film in a year with no events.
Aaron Sorkin's courtroom drama is pretty much the opposite: a well-received, meat-and-potatoes film that's been well out of the conversation since its arrival in the fall, despite its political relevance. (Part of the problem with Netflix's never-ending streaming spiggot: You're last week's news before the week even ends.) But Netflix is a good campaigner, it's got big stars delivering big actorly monologues – something that always tickles awards voters' brains – the Globes love writer-director Aaron Sorkin and the movie's overall solid, which is easier to reward than something divisive.
Many people thought this awards season could be the craziest yet because of the lack of usual campaigns, traditional Oscar movies and unified viewing habits – but I think it'll end quite the opposite. With people watching so many disparate things in such disparate ways and at such disparate times, I predict voters will go with safe, well-established and early-predicted answers as opposed to going off the grid with outside-the-box selections. After all, voters are not exactly known for doing their homework or going above and beyond the call of duty come awards season. They've heard "Chicago 7" is an Oscar movie – and if they don't know any better, they'll trust that's correct. (This is how you end up with Eddie Redmayne getting nominated in 2016 for "The Danish Girl," a bad performance in a movie nobody liked but got the nod because it seemed like An Awards-Worthy Thing.)
So yeah, if I don't sound thrilled about picking "Chicago 7," it's because I'm not – and I'm not convinced anyone else is either. But it seems like a Best Picture winner – and in the most uncertain and unpredictable year of our lives, that just might be enough.
Best Actor - Drama
- Anthony Hopkins, "The Father"
- Chadwick Boseman, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"
- Gary Oldman, "Mank"
- Riz Ahmed, "Sound of Metal"
- Tahar Rahim, "The Mauritanian"
Betting folks, put it down now: This is the lock of awards season. No one is beating the late great Chadwick Boseman in Best Actor this year.
Oldman won recently enough that he's a non-factor this year – plus he's pretty miscast. Ahmed and "Sound of Metal" are looking mostly like a critical darling as opposed to a true awards player. And Tahar Rahim, well, he's just happy to be there. The only competition is Hopkins, who gets quite the showcase with the dementia drama "The Father" and has never won a Golden Globe (outside of an honorary one all the way in 2006).
But let's not play ourselves here. The question isn't "Is Boseman going to win?" It's "Is he eventually going to get two nominations?" The Globes blanked his gravity-filled supporting turn in "Da 5 Bloods," along with Spike Lee's Vietnam film entirely, but I don't expect the Oscars to do the same. They'll pay him tribute with two nominations – topped off with a victory for his electric turn in "Ma Rainey," a win that'll be an unfortunate reminder of the talent we lost.
Best Actress - Drama
- Andra Day, "The United States vs. Billie Holiday"
- Carey Mulligan, "Promising Young Woman"
- Frances McDormand, "Nomadland"
- Vanessa Kirby, "Pieces of a Woman"
- Viola Davis, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"
Another fairly easy category to guess as only one performance here really has buzz: Carey Mulligan as the grief-struck revenging angel in "Promising Young Woman." McDormand's wonderful in "Nomadland," but not only has she won already – and recently, in just 2017 – it's a subdued performance that's more about nuance and playing off the non-actors than the big, self-serving dramatic moments awards season loves to reward. Davis' performance in "Ma Rainey" qualifies as big, but she's also won recently – and the narrative for that film is all her co-star's. Kirby and Day are wild cards who could maybe sneak into stealing this win – but Kirby's fairly new in a tough movie to watch, so that'll be a hard climb, and while critics have sung Day's praises for her performance as Billie Holiday, people aren't tapping their toes as much to the movie as a whole. And we just gave somebody Best Actress last year for a middling singer biopic. So things are looking very promising indeed for the "Promising Young Woman" lead.
Best Picture - Comedy or Musical
- "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm"
- "Palm Springs"
- "The Prom"
I've been preaching all year that just because cinemas were closed doesn't mean that great movies didn't come out – but boy, does this bunch of nominations do its best to disprove that!
You've got Sia's "Music," which no one had heard of until they wish they hadn't; a bad "Borat" sequel; a starry musical that at best ranks more as a guilty pleasure; and a movie that isn't a movie but actually a literal play. "Palm Springs" is the only truly worthy contestant of the bunch, but it's too esoteric, slight and past awards-season prime to win. That leaves your two favorites as "Borat 2" and "Hamilton," and while I like the latter more, can you really give one of your top film prizes to a play recorded five years ago? Say what you will about "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm," it's at least an actual new movie from 2020. And unlike me, clearly the HFPA is a fan, so it gets the nod.
Best Actor - Comedy or Musical
- Andy Samberg, "Palm Springs"
- Dev Patel, "The Personal History of David Copperfield"
- James Corden, "The Prom"
- Lin-Manuel Miranda, "Hamilton"
- Sacha Baron Cohen, "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm"
Sacha Baron Cohen could end up with one of the most succesful awards nights ever, winning two acting awards – he's also nominated in Best Supporting Actor – as well as starring in the night's two Best Picture champions and most awarded movies, "Chicago 7" and "Borat 2." (Sounds like a sports score.) I don't know if he will end up being the king of the Golden Globes Sunday night, but he's at least certain to win in this category. His closest competition is a performance from years ago in a completely different medium – and let's be real, Miranda isn't even the best performance captured by the streaming "Hamilton." (That would be Daveed Diggs; fight me about it.) So yes, Borat wins – HIGH FIVE!
Best Actress - Comedy or Musical
- Anna Taylor-Joy, "Emma"
- Kate Hudson, "Music"
- Maria Bakalova, "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm"
- Michelle Pfeiffer, "French Exit"
- Rosamund Pike, "I Care A Lot"
Even those who did not think "Borat 2" was veeery niiiice had to admit that newcomer Maria Bakalova was incredible, diving bravely into the film's wild stunts – including a legitimate political scandal when her climactic interview with Rudy Guiliani ended with pants getting unzipped. (Or something; honestly it's a poorly edited sequence that's more confusing than controversial.) But even more so, she gives the past-prime sequel a surprising emotional punch that a 15-year-old walking meme shouldn't deserve.
Plus, as the inclusion of "Music" would imply, it's a pretty weak category. "Emma" came out pre-pandemic so that's been mostly forgotten – plus, the HFPA can reward Anna Taylor-Joy's breakout year on the TV side of things with "The Queen's Gambit." Meanwhile, Pfeiffer's movie has barely been seen, and Pike may have buzz right now, but not all of it is good for playing the unlikable moral monster at the center of the black comedy "I Care A Lot." Given all that, Bakalova should get the win – the least she deserves for enduring Rudy's "shirt tuck."
Best Supporting Actor
- Bill Murray, "On the Rocks"
- Daniel Kaluuya, "Judas and the Black Messiah"
- Jared Leto, "The Little Things"
- Leslie Odom Jr., "One Night in Miami"
- Sacha Baron Cohen, "The Trial of the Chicago 7"
How is this Jared Leto nomination happening? Why is this Jared Leto nomination happening? "The Little Things" is a bad movie, and Jared Leto is bad in it, trying way too hard to play a vampiric creep – and yet here he is! And it's not just the Golden Globes, who frankly this is to be expected. He's at the SAG Awards too! Did everyone accidentally think they were putting down the Performance I've Most Recently Seen rather than Best Supporting Performance?!
I'm going to kindly ignore him and move on to the actual worthwhile nominees. "On the Rocks" is too slight for Murray to score a win here, while the lack of love across the board for "One Night in Miami" bodes poorly for Odom's chances – especially since voters may wonder if he's even the best of the movie's four (all great) performers. That leaves Kaluuya's commanding turn as Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in "Judas and the Black Messiah" and Sacha Baron Cohen for "Chicago 7," and for the sake of variety and not turning into the Cohen Globes, I'm thinking the Globes go with Kaluuya. Plus, since "Judas" just came out, he's closer to the forefront of voters' minds, which should give him a nudge. Just ask Jared Leto, apparently!
Best Supporting Actress
- Amanda Seyfried, "Mank"
- Glenn Close, "Hillbilly Elegy"
- Helena Zengel, "News of the World"
- Jodie Foster, "The Mauritanian"
- Olivia Colman, "The Father"
Colman versus Close again? Oh god, we've gone backwards in time to 2018! Tell me we still have a chance to stop "Green Book" from happening this time!
Yes, it's a replay of the 2018 Best Actress race where Colman's turn in "The Favourite" played spoiler to Glenn Close finally winning her Oscar for "The Wife." This time, it's between Colman in "The Father" and Close in "Hillbilly Elegy" – aka a movie nobody's seen versus a movie nobody likes. The former's supposed to be pretty good in the dementia drama, but it's more of a showcase for Hopkins than her – and she's already won recently, which doesn't give her a lot of narrative this season. Meanwhile, Close probably fares the best in the aimless, overacted and underbaked memoir adaptation playing Mamaw – but it's the kind of de-glamming that's so desperate for awards you can't help but root against it. Also, she has a terrible monologue about terminators clearly written by somebody who has never seen a single "Terminator" film.
So who wins? How about neither! That's right: I'm picking Seyfried, who is undoubtedly the brightest spot in "Mank," a movie that clearly has love in the HFPA considering it's the year's most nominated feature. If they're going to reward it anywhere – and I'm running out of places to do so – this wouldn't be the worst spot.
- Aaron Sorkin, "The Trial of the Chicago 7"
- Chloe Zhao, "Nomadland"
- David Fincher, "Mank"
- Emerald Fennell, "Promising Young Woman"
- Regina King, "One Night in Miami"
"Nomadland" has to win somewhere, right? Here's the place, with Zhao getting honored for her transcedently beautiful way to capture the American landscape as well as authentic performances from non-actors. The win would also give the HFPA a chance to anoint a new directorial star and amend the fact that a woman hasn't won Best Director at the Globes since Barbra Streisand with 1983's "Yentl."
The Globes are clearly cool on "One Night in Miami," so King's out, and while Emerald Fennell makes quite the debut with the divisive "Promising Young Woman," it's more divisive than "Nomadland" – and it can get rewarded easily elsewhere. Unlike the Oscars, the Globes already gave Fincher a trophy so there's not quite the urgency to give him one for a lukewarm movie, and Sorkin's more appreciated for his screenwriting than his directing – so clearly he'll win there. Or maybe ...
- "The Father"
- "Promising Young Woman"
- "The Trial of the Chicago 7"
I wasn't brave enough to pull the trigger on picking "Promising Young Woman" to sneak away with Best Picture, so I'll try it down here in screenplay – which is actually a more risky bet considering it means going against Sorkin, always an awards season favorite with this year no exception considering "Chicago 7" is the second most nominated movie of the bunch. But if the Globes are trying to spread the love around, this would be a good place to reward the venomous revenge drama beyond Mulligan's win – and plus, fans of Emerald Fennell's directorial debut are passionate and enthusiastic about the film, while "Chicago 7" seems to just ... exist, waltzing into nominations on assumed awards reputation. I could see it running out of steam sooner rather than later – starting at the Globes.
Best Animated Feature
- "The Croods: A New Age"
- "Over the Moon"
The Golden Globes aren't entirely beholden to Disney or Pixar; in fact, the two companies haven't won here since 2017 with "Coco." But only one of these movies is both nominated in other categories as well as in the conversation for Oscar nominations beyond animation – including possibly Best Picture – and it's the cry-inducing one with the sign-twirling hippie guiding a soul blob out of his pet cat. I know: Another one?! Where's the originality ...
Best Foreign Film
- "Another Round"
- "La Llorona"
- "The Life Ahead"
- "Two of Us"
Can you give Best Foreign Film to a movie made in the far-off foreign land of ... Oklahoma? That's the idiotic position the HFPA got themselves in when they decided for some bizarre reason that the Arkansas-based indie immigrant drama "Minari" was actually a foreign film despite taking place entirely in America, focused on American characters, telling a story about life in America – just mostly told in the Korean language. Then again, this is the same group that awarded Best Picture - Comedy or Musical to the iconic laugh riot that was "The Martian" so sure, why not?
If the Globes do decide, though, that "Minari" shouldn't win a category that it shouldn't have been relegated to in the first place, look for the Danish drinking dramedy "Another Round" – starring a wonderful Mads Mikkelsen – to gulp down the victory.
- "The Midnight Sky"
- "News of the World"
I pulled a temporal pincer and went backwards into the future to see if "Tenet" would win its one category at the Globes – and alas, much like its attempt to save the box office and movie theaters, I have disappointing news. Make no mistake: Ludwig Göransson's score is an absolute banger – I'm literally listening to it as we speak – but unfortunately any positives to say about its music were mostly overshadowed by people's complaints about the rest of the movie's sound mix (and the rest of the convoluted movie). "News of the World" has a nice, classic – but, in the end, forgettable – score, while Alexandre Desplat's work is often lovely in "The Midnight Sky," it often doesn't actually match "The Midnight Sky."
That leaves the two Atticus Ross/Trent Reznor scores for four-lettered movies, "Mank" and "Soul" (the second one a joint nomination with Jon Batiste). And while the former is a big, swooning, traditional Hollywood score that I could imagine the HFPA loving – especially since it's such a step away from Ross and Reznor's strike zone of ominous electronic vibes – music plays such a significant role in "Soul," from the story to setting the odd existential tone, that I think that'll stick more in voters' minds than "Mank."
- "Fight for You" from "Judas and the Black Messiah"
- "Hear My Voice" from "The Trial of the Chicago 7"
- "Io Si (Seen)" from "The Life Ahead"
- "Speak Now" from "One Night in Miami"
- "Tigress and Tweed" from "The United States vs. Billie Holiday"
There's no "Shallow" or "Skyfall" in this fairly anonymous bunch, so I'll give the win to "Speak Now" because it gives the Globes a chance to spread some love to the otherwise neglected "One Night in Miami." It doesn't matter, though, because "Jaja Ding Dong" isn't nominated, therefore rendering this category, the awards show and the entire HFPA null and void. Or at least more null and void than usual.
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.