This Sunday, sponsored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (who you will hear thanked quite often by winners) and hosted by comediennes Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, are the 70th annual Golden Globe Awards. The former Saturday Night Live performers will pick up for Ricky Gervais and fuel the drunken dinner party at the Beverly Hilton. Hopefully, they can teach Brendan Fraser to clap correctly and Natalie Portman to stop laughing so weirdly. In the meantime, the HFPA will honor Jodie Foster with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement.
With the Oscar nominations announced today and the awards season in full bloom, let's make some predictions and comments. Traditionally, the Golden Globes are the leading precursors to the Academy Awards. Winners here get a big bump towards the 85th annual awards coming on February 24th. Here are my predictions and thoughts on this weekend's Golden Globes. I'll talk about who will win, who should win, and a "what about me" category of snubs and better possible nominees that were omitted. Let's go from least to greatest.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
NOMINEES: "For You " (Keith Urban)- Act of Valor, "Not Running Anymore" (Jon Bon Jovi)- Stand Up Guys, "Safe and Sound" (Taylor Swift)- The Hunger Games, "Skyfall" (Adele)- Skyfall, "Suddenly" (music by Claude-Michel Schonberg)- Les Miserables
WHAT ABOUT ME? The two notable movies with original songs that could have made it are "Song of the Lonely Mountain" from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and "Pi's Lullaby" from Life of Pi. Stand Up Guys doesn't even hit domestic theaters until later this year making it a curious 2012 selection.
WHO WILL WIN AND SHOULD WIN? While the popular Les Miserables could supply an upset, Adele hit the ball out of the ballpark with a dynamite and memorable James Bond anthem for Skyfall. It should leap over Hugh Jackman and the gang and the spy movie itself has been a huge overseas success.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
NOMINEES: Mychael Danna -Life of Pi, Alexandre Desplat- Argo, Dario Marianelli- Anna Karenina, Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil- Cloud Atlas, John Williams- Lincoln
WHAT ABOUT ME? I've started this argument on every awards post and will keep going. When it comes to memorable musical scores, Hans Zimmer's work on Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy has been spectacular, culminating in his inventive The Dark Knight Rises score. He deserves to be considered here.
WHO WILL WIN? I'm going to go out on a limb and predict a win for Alexandre Desplat's work on Argo. It hasn't won many small critics awards, but it plays well with the foreign audience.
WHO SHOULD WIN? Of these nominees, the most worthy score is probably Mychael Danna's for Life of Pi. Williams is the resident legend, but he's had far better scores than Lincoln.
BEST ANIMATED FILM
NOMINEES: Brave, Frankenweenie, Hotel Transylvania, Rise of the Guardians, Wreck-It Ralph
WHAT ABOUT ME? ParaNorman, a frequent winner and nominee in this category from the critics group awards deserves to be here over Rise of the Guardians.
WHO WILL WIN? With ParaNorman out of the way, the leader in this category during the awards season has been Tim Burton's Frankenweenie. Expect him to knock off Pixar and Disney.
WHO SHOULD WIN? Personally, I really enjoyed Brave and Wreck-It Ralph. While both aren't on the level of Pixar and Disney greatness, I gave them solid reviews.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
NOMINEES: Amour, A Royal Affair, The Intouchables, Kon-Tiki, Rust and Bone
WHAT ABOUT ME? While this category is always random, you could make an argument for recent Oscar nominees No and War Witch to make the list. Neither would have a chance against the clear frontrunner, but I know they wouldn't mind hearing their name called.
WHO WILL WIN AND SHOULD WIN? This is a runaway win for Amour, the highly regarded French-language drama from Austria that is also nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.
NOMINEES: Mark Boal- Zero Dark Thirty, Tony Kushner- Lincoln, David O. Russell- Silver Livings Playbook, Quentin Tarantino- Django Unchained, Chris Terrio- Argo
WHAT ABOUT ME? This is one of those Golden Globe categories that gets it wrong by having adapted and original screenplays compete against each other. They are different tasks and really should be separate categories, which would double the nominees to honor and include Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, Rian Johnson's Looper, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola's Moonrise Kingdom, and David Magee's Life of Pi.
WHO WILL WIN? This is a dog fight between the best original screenplay winner (Zero Dark Thirty) and the best adapted screenplay winner (Argo). I'm going to give the edge to originality over adaptation. I will predict Mark Boal and Zero Dark Thirty. This is an extremely close race to call and could go either way. Both deserve it, but only one can win. You can't count out Tony Kushner's Critics' Choice win for Lincoln just this week either. If the awards begin skewing to to Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, this may be the one major category bone that is thrown Lincoln's way (other than Daniel Day-Lewis's lock).
WHO SHOULD WIN? From a sheer difficulty standpoint, the novel Life of Pi was thought for years to be unfilmmable. I tip my hat to the task that David Magee completed to make Ang Lee's film happen.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
NOMINEES: Amy Adams- The Master, Sally Field- Lincoln, Anne Hathaway- Les Miserables, Helen Hunt- The Sessions, Nicole Kidman- The Paperboy
WHAT ABOUT ME? Of the Oscar nominees missing from the Golden Globe field, Jacki Weaver from Silver Linings Playbook has been getting much more respect than Kidman, who has been better and won Golden Globes for better roles.
WHO WILL WIN AND SHOULD WIN? Les Miserables star Anne Hathaway has more than tripled Sally Field's trophy take for Lincoln in this category from the lead-up smaller awards groups. This is becoming more and more like one of the surest locks of the night. I bet money she will win and sing. She deserves it too. Field is her closest competitor and Hunt and Kidman have won and been better in other movies.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
NOMINEES: Alan Arkin- Argo, Leonard DiCaprio- Django Unchained, Philip Seymour Hoffman- The Master, Tommy Lee Jones- Lincoln, Christoph Waltz- Django Unchained
WHAT ABOUT ME? Robert De Niro is the biggest snub here. His work in Silver Linings Playbook is some of his best in years. He was bounced likely by the Django Unchained duo.
WHO WILL AND SHOULD WIN? This is the hardest award of the major categories to predict. Tommy Lee Jones and Philip Seymour Hoffman have been neck and neck and are virtually tied in trophy count. With the growing momentum of Lincoln over The Master, I will predict Jones to come out on top. If I had a vote, he would win on my ballot as well.
BEST ACTRESS- MUSICAL OR COMEDY
NOMINEES: Emily Blunt- Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Judi Dench- The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Jennifer Lawrence- Silver Linings Playbook, Maggie Smith- Quartet, Meryl Streep- Hope Springs
WHAT ABOUT ME? This is the first of our comedy/drama split categories that the Golden Globes take pride in. Because you have double the nominees that just one field of five. It's hard to argue any snubs here. They covered the comedy/musical field just fine and included the token Meryl Streep nomination. If anything, some girls (like Emily Blunt) should just be happy to be there in the first place. I think Leslie Mann from This is 40 is more deserving than Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.
WHO WILL WIN AND SHOULD WIN? Dial up another female lock. The only Oscar nominee in this entire field of five is Jennifer Lawrence from Silver Linings Playbook. That performance and notoriety stands head and shoulders above the senior nominees. It would be a complete upset if older sentimentality gave this award to Dench, Smith, or Streep.
BEST ACTOR- MUSICAL OR COMEDY
NOMINEES: Hugh Jackman- Les Miserables, Jack Black- Bernie, Bradley Cooper- Silver Linings Playbook, Bill Murray- Hyde Park on Hudson, Ewan McGregor- Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
WHAT ABOUT ME? Much like Emily Blunt in the Best Actress category, Ewan McGregor should count his lucky stars that he is even here for something as week and obscure as Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. And again, it's a cast member of This is 40, lead actor Paul Rudd, that should be taking his place.
WHO WILL WIN? This is going to be a very close race between two very attractive and popular men: Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper. To handicap the race, Cooper has won more awards so far than Jackman, including the equally international-skewing Satellite Award that is a similar voting demographic to the Hollywood Foreign Press. However, Jackman is the bigger star with the bigger and more popular performance. I think Hugh gets the win.
WHO SHOULD WIN? I know I'm in the minority, but the best performance from this list of nominees came from Jack Black in Bernie. Yes, the movie itself and his performance was very weird and different, but it was an absolute transformative and restrained role for the normally-raging Jack Black. Hugh Jackman sang his little heart out, but Jack Black had the biggest challenge.
BEST ACTRESS- DRAMA
NOMINEES: Jessica Chastain- Zero Dark Thirty, Marion Cotillard- Rust and Bone, Helen Mirren- Hitchcock, Naomi Watts- The Impossible, Rachel Weisz- The Deep Blue Sea
WHAT ABOUT ME? With the Hollywood Foreign Press being the Golden Globe voting body (keyword: Foreign), I was expecting to see French star Emanuelle Riva from Amour make this list. She's an Oscar nominee where Cotillard, Weisz, and Mirren were not. Kudos to Weisz to make the field with The Deep Blue Sea in a challenging and underappreciated role.
WHO WILL WIN AND SHOULD WIN? Make it a clean sweep of locks for the female categories. With Jennifer Lawrence and her clout moved to the musical/comedy category, that clears the way for dominating win from Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty. It's arguably the best female role of the year and she's a deserving winner. Her win and a likely win from Lawrence will set up an Oscar showdown of two "It" girls.
BEST ACTOR- DRAMA
NOMINEES: Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln, Richard Gere- Arbitrage, John Hawkes- The Sessions, Joaquin Phoenix- The Master, Denzel Washington- Flight
WHAT ABOUT ME? Once again, with a double spread of actor nominations spread to musical/comedy and drama, no one is really missing. I will throw a minority vote to Frank Langella's work as an Alzheimer's sufferer in Robot and Frank, but Richard Gere's flashier work in Arbitrage got the last spot.
WHO WILL WIN? A win for Daniel Day-Lewis is the biggest lock of the night, even greater than those in the female categories we've already talked about. There's almost no way he loses. He's the best actor on the planet, the highest regarded in the industry, and put his stamp on the biggest role of the nominee list. Take it to the bank.
WHO SHOULD WIN? Personally, I would vote for the underdog. John Hawkes's extremely difficult lead role as a bed-ridden polio patient in The Sessions was one of the most remarkable performanes I've seen in a long time. Sure, Daniel Day-Lewis was amazing, but he's always amazing. Was there any doubt he would be good as Abraham Lincoln? I think it was a layup. The trickier role was Hawkes's.
NOMINEES: Ben Affleck- Argo, Kathryn Bigelow- Zero Dark Thirty, Ang Lee- Life of Pi, Steven Spielberg- Lincoln, Quentin Tarantino -Django Unchained
WHAT ABOUT ME? I'm a little surprised the Best Director race went straight exact match the Best Picture- Drama nominees. Normally, at least one comedy director gets in. Both Les Miserables's Tom Hooper and Silver Linings Playbook's David O. Russell deserved a look at Best Director.
WHO WILL WIN? I'm going with the surprise pick of Ben Affleck here. Each of the four other nominees has more pedigree than Affleck, but I think they decide to award the star over the artist. Ben Affleck works hard to put together and promote his films. I think this might be his night to shine. Watch out for Kathryn Bigelow or international love for Steven Spielberg.
WHO SHOULD WIN? I think this should be Kathryn Bigelow's consolation price for not being nominated for the Best Director Oscar, something she and fellow Golden Globe nominee Ben Affleck can both share for griping. Affleck will have the last laugh with a Golden Globe, but Bigelow's film was better.
BEST PICTURE- MUSICAL OR COMEDY
NOMINEES: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Les Miserables, Moonrise Kingdom, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Silver Linings Playbook
WHAT ABOUT ME? Once again, I feel that This is 40 was the overall better comedy than Salmon Fishing in the Yemen in every category (Best Actress, Best Actor, and here). It deserves to be here. A dark horse comedy pick could have been Bernie to go with Jack Black's Best Actor nomination.
WHO WILL WIN? Les Miserables is a film built to win awards on big stage. By Sunday, it will be the most successful one of the nominees at the box office, both here and overseas, and people love it. This is it's trophy to lose.
WHO SHOULD WIN? Personally, I think Silver Linings Playbook is a better film than Les Miserables. It has shot its own self in the foot with its slower box office release and hasn't taken off like it should. Popularity beats whispered greatness.
BEST PICTURE- DRAMA
NOMINEES: Argo, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty
WHAT ABOUT ME? Yet again, with the split comedy and drama genre recognition, no one is really missing. I would vote for Flight over Django Unchained, Life of Pi, and Lincoln. I ranked Flight higher than the other three, but understand why they made it and Flight didn't.
WHO WILL WIN? I see another arm-wrestling match between Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. By the time this final award gets announced, it will have been back and forth all night after close races between the two historical films in Best Director and Best Screenplay. While Lincoln leads in nominations, I don't think it has the buzz that Argo and Zero Dark Thirty have. I'll stick with my back-and-forth and give my Best Picture prediction to Argo. I think Ben Affleck scores a double with the HFPA. Once again, it could go either way...
WHO SHOULD WIN? ...which is why Zero Dark Thirty gets my "should win" vote. As I mentioned with the chatter for Best Director, I feel Zero Dark Thirty is a better overall film than Argo, but not by much at all.
As you can see, it's shaping up to be a very competitive night. For every surefire lock, there's a pick-em/too-close-to-call showdown. See you on Sunday night for the big results. In the meantime, you can track all of the minor awards of who and what has won what up to this point in the 2012-2013 awards season on my constantly-updating "Awards Tracker" tab on my website. Enjoy the weekend!