Who will, should win at the 78th Golden Globe Awards

Illustration of actors Lily Collins, Olivia Colman, Lin Manuel Miranda, Steven Yeun, Daniel Kaluuya, and Jodie Comer
Armaan Mumtaz/Senior Staff

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This year’s Golden Globe Awards will kick off an awards season unlike any other. For both film and television, the pandemic has resulted in postponed release dates and on-set complications — nearly all of the nominated films were released primarily on-demand while streaming services like Netflix enjoy a heightened prevalence in the TV nominations. But despite the unconventional virtual ceremony, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) will still be handing out Golden Globes on Feb. 28. Here are our predictions for which nominees will go home (or, in this case, stay home) with a golden statue.

Grace Orriss

 

FILM

Best Motion Picture – Drama

  • “The Father”
  • “Mank”
  • “Nomadland”
  • “Promising Young Woman”
  • “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

From its triumphant run in the festival circuit to its rave reviews from critics, “Nomadland” is the clear frontrunner in the race for Best Picture. It’s steeped in mixed company: “The Father” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7” successfully strive for excellence, while “Mank” and “Promising Young Woman” feel comparatively hollow. Moreover, “Minari” is a frustrating absence, as the intimate family portrait would have soared as a high contender. Nonetheless, it appears all roads lead to “Nomadland.”

— Maya Thompson 

Will Win: “Nomadland”

Should Win: “Nomadland”

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
  • Andra Day, “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”
  • Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman”
  • Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”
  • Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”

Frances McDormand’s performance has rightfully earned her copious praise from critics; everything — every wrinkle in her brow, every skip in her step — is attuned to her character. Other standouts include Andra Day and Viola Davis, who beams as the “Mother of the Blues.” Though the “Nomadland” star is the category’s frontrunner, Davis proves, once again, that she is one of the most authentic, spellbinding performers in the industry.

— Maya Thompson 

Will Win: Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”

Should Win: Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal”
  • Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” 
  • Anthony Hopkins, “The Father”
  • Gary Oldman, “Mank”
  • Tahar Rahim, “The Mauritanian”

Roles from adapted plays are the heavyweights this year. This would have been a simple pick, if not for the late Chadwick Boseman’s sensational performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” While Anthony Hopkins might have towered over this category for his emotional and vulnerable performance in “The Father,” Boseman’s masterful dash of insanity puts him barely ahead. Who wins isn’t quite a toss-up: The Globes probably want to reward both actors, but only one won’t return to the screen. 

— Dominic Marziali

Will win: Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Should win: Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

 

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy 

  • “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
  • “Hamilton” 
  • “Music” 
  • “Palm Springs” 
  • “The Prom”

This could be messy. If the Globes lean towards musicals, “Hamilton” takes this home. If, on the other hand, the Globes have a hankering for a comedy that skews conventional film, this one will go to “Palm Springs.” But the best film here is the “Borat” sequel, naturally. The mockumentary of Trump’s presidency tops the list — whether or not the Globes realize a recorded play isn’t quite the same caliber as a film. 

— Dominic Marziali

Will win: “Hamilton”

Should win: “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

  • Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” 
  • Kate Hudson, “Music”
  • Michelle Pfeiffer, “French Exit”
  • Rosamund Pike, “I Care a Lot”
  • Anya Taylor-Joy, “Emma.”

Critics have commended Rosamund Pike’s sleek, sociopathic caretaker in “I Care a Lot,” but all eyes will (and should) be on newcomer Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova. While Pike navigates her film’s hamfisted dialogue with admirable grace, Bakalova steps up to the plate with sharp improvisational skills and ripe comedic sensibilities, and the HFPA is bound to reward this rising star.

— Maya Thompson

Will Win: Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”

Should Win: Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy 

  • Sacha Baron Cohen, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
  • James Corden, “The Prom”
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton”
  • Dev Patel, “The Personal History of David Copperfield”
  • Andy Samberg, “Palm Springs”

The Globes will saddle themselves with nothing more than measly options if they deny Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedy legitimacy. James Corden in “The Prom” is a laughingstock for his caricature of gay men and Andy Samberg’s performance in “Palm Springs” was so off, he seemed miscast. Lin-Manuel Miranda — in all fairness — starred in a staged musical, though he’ll get the win if the Globes overlook that. In any case, Cohen’s performance is the most deserving no matter how you look at these nominees. 

— Dominic Marziali

Will win: Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton”

Should win: Sacha Baron Cohen, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”

 

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language

  • “Another Round” (Denmark)
  • “La Llorona” (Guatemala/France)
  • “The Life Ahead” (Italy)
  • “Minari” (USA)
  • “Two Of Us” (France/USA)

This one is a travesty not just for “Minari,” which belongs in the Best Picture race, but also for “Another Round,” which would’ve taken this trophy had the Globes run a sane show. Working with the HFPA’s blunder, “Minari,” from writer-director Lee Isaac Chung, will steal the show with its down-to-earth tale. A sincere film about the Yis, a Korean family chasing the American dream to Arkansas, “Minari” is the clear leader in this race and surely a Best Picture nominee at the more sensible Oscars. 

— Dominic Marziali

Will win: “Minari”

Should win: “Minari”

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

  • Glenn Close, “Hillbilly Elegy”
  • Olivia Colman, “The Father”
  • Jodie Foster, “The Mauritanian”
  • Amanda Seyfried, “Mank”
  • Helena Zengel, “News Of The World”

Olivia Colman does more with less than her competitors’ roles offer. Colman’s sharpest moments in “The Father” come without dialogue, shearing away her character Anne’s walls until only a teary-eyed, raw ball of sadness remains. Her quick steps get the heart racing from minute one, and when the pieces of a broken mug slip through her hands, you’ll want to cry too. Most importantly, she pushes the guilt that Anne feels onto the viewer; her subtle performance leaves no ambiguity. 

— Dominic Marziali

Will win: Olivia Colman, “The Father”

Should win: Olivia Colman, “The Father”

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

  • Sacha Baron Cohen “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
  • Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”
  • Jared Leto, “The Little Things”
  • Bill Murray, “On the Rocks”
  • Leslie Odom Jr., “One Night in Miami” 

It’s the little things that make a strong performance, and it’s the unmissable things that make Jared Leto’s insipid acting wholly incomparable to the depth and humanity exhibited by Leslie Odom Jr., Sacha Baron Cohen and Daniel Kaluuya. The razor-thin race is between Cohen and Kaluuya and their late 60s revolutionaries. Kaluuya is riveting to watch, giving a performance worthy of the great Fred Hampton, which elevates him as leading man in the supporting actor category.

— Maya Thompson

Will Win: Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”

Should Win: Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”

 

Best Director — Motion Picture

  • Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”
  • David Fincher, “Mank” 
  • Regina King, “One Night in Miami”
  • Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” 
  • Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”

This year, the list of nominees for Best Director pulses with electricity and promise as it marks the first time three women have been nominated for the award. Though Emerald Fennell and Regina King made compelling and insightful debuts, Chloé Zhao exhibits mastery in “Nomadland,” stitching together exquisite, unique visuals that collaborate marvelously to tell a story. The night belongs to “Nomadland,” and this is unquestionably Zhao’s award.

— Maya Thompson

Will Win: Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”

Should Win: Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”

 

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

  • Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”
  • Jack Fincher, “Mank”
  • Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
  • Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller, “The Father”
  • Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”

Here’s a clash of titans. Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller’s “The Father” might convince the Globes with its contained narrative, whereas Chloé Zhao’s expansive “Nomadland” might win some votes, with Jack Fincher’s “Mank” somewhere in between. However, Aaron Sorkin’s tightly woven “The Trial of the Chicago 7” is shaping up to be the favorite here. Still, Emerald Fennell’s “Promising Young Woman” should win this one for an enrapturing story that leaves little to be desired. 

— Dominic Marziali

Will win: Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Should win: Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”

 

TELEVISION

Best Television Series – Drama

  • “The Crown”
  • “Lovecraft Country”
  • “The Mandalorian”
  • “Ozark”
  • “Ratched”

“Succession” took home this award last year, and the show’s absence is keenly felt in this uneven category — Ryan Murphy’s “Ratched,” which earned a tepid response from critics, is an especially unwelcome outlier. It’s no surprise seeing the Disney+ flagship “The Mandalorian” and Netflix stalwart “Ozark” here, but it’s doubtful that either will muster up enough momentum to win. Even though the genre work of “Lovecraft Country” should merit a rewarding surprise win, the safe bet is the stylish fourth season of “The Crown,” which has the most TV nominations across the board.

— Grace Orriss

Will win: “The Crown”

Should win: “Lovecraft Country”

 

Best Television Series — Musical or Comedy

  • “Emily in Paris”
  • “The Flight Attendant”
  • “The Great”
  • “Schitt’s Creek”
  • “Ted Lasso”

There’s no avoiding the “Schitt’s Creek” sweep. The show’s final season won every comedy category at the Emmys this year, and its awards narrative — a beacon of heartfelt positivity amid a year of pandemic-induced malaise — is unbeatable. Critical favorites like “The Great” and “Ted Lasso” are nice to see on the board here, but it’s unquestionably the Rose family’s victory lap.

— Grace Orriss

Will win: “Schitt’s Creek”

Should win: “Schitt’s Creek”

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama

  • Olivia Colman, “The Crown”
  • Jodie Comer, “Killing Eve”
  • Emma Corrin, “The Crown”
  • Laura Linney, “Ozark”
  • Sarah Paulson, “Ratched”

It’s Diana, Princess of Wales versus Queen Elizabeth II, and we’re betting on the former. Diana is such a beloved cultural figure that even a so-so performance in the role could probably land a win, based on awards shows’ frequent inclination to reward actors for playing historical figures they like (here’s looking at you, Rami Malek). But luckily Emma Corrin’s work on “The Crown” also happens to be moving and wonderful; it’s her award to lose, and she won’t.

— Grace Orriss

Will win: Emma Corrin, “The Crown”

Should win: Emma Corrin, “The Crown”

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Drama 

  • Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
  • Josh O’Connor, “The Crown”
  • Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
  • Al Pacino, “Hunters”
  • Matthew Rhys, “Perry Mason”

Another extremely weird lineup for an extremely weird year. Matthew Rhys and Al Pacino are both left-field picks, representing their respective series’ sole nominations of the night. Josh O’Connor did some top-notch scream-crying as an adulterous Prince Charles on “The Crown,” but it’s likely that either Jason Bateman or Bob Odenkirk will come out victorious here for their uniformly great work across multiple seasons.

— Grace Orriss

Will win: Jason Bateman, “Ozark”

Should win: Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy

  • Lily Collins, “Emily in Paris”
  • Kaley Cuoco, “The Flight Attendant”
  • Elle Fanning, “The Great”
  • Jane Levy, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”
  • Catherine O’Hara, “Schitt’s Creek”

Catherine O’Hara’s Moira Rose is the best thing about “Schitt’s Creek” by a mile, and her win is so deserved even the HFPA can’t mess it up (at least, let’s hope so). The competition in this category isn’t steep; Elle Fanning is a welcome addition, but Lily Collins and Jane Levy don’t hold a candle to O’Hara’s performance. This win is probably the surest bet of the night. 

— Grace Orriss

Will win: Catherine O’Hara, “Schitt’s Creek”

Should win: Catherine O’Hara, “Schitt’s Creek”

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy

  • Don Cheadle, “Black Monday”
  • Nicholas Hoult, “The Great”
  • Eugene Levy, “Schitt’s Creek”
  • Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”
  • Ramy Youssef, “Ramy”

The comedy actor race is harder to predict. As an industry veteran and the 2020 Emmy winner in this category, Eugene Levy is the odds-on favorite. But Jason Sudeikis has been getting a lot of love from both critics and fans for “Ted Lasso,” to the point where a win for him here wouldn’t be that shocking; let’s not forget that Ramy Youssef took this award home last year. There’s a lot of talent to pick from, and this race is probably close — our pick is Levy (just barely).

— Grace Orriss

Will win: Eugene Levy, “Schitt’s Creek”

Should win: Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”

Grace Orriss covers television. Contact her at [email protected]. Tweet her at @graceorriss.

Maya Thompson covers film. Contact her at [email protected].

Contact Dominic Marziali at [email protected].