While assembling the Golden Globe predictions and picks, many members of the Shelf team indicated a sense of indifference. The pandemic prevented studios from bringing out the big movies, but the indies were good if one was willing to find them. Globe voters, it seems, were not.
This year’s nominations are more loony yet more boring than ever, even by Golden Globes standards. They’re obvious results of votes made less by a group of people who actively cover and debate cinema than a reflection of what publicists and campaign strategists were shoving at them most aggressively. The dramatic categories are fine, if mostly predictable. The comedy categories are especially embarrassing, a reflection of the “well, we had to vote for something” malaise that hangs over much of this award season. Which is a shame because there actually are a lot of films worthy of a spotlight. It’s too bad that a group with as big a platform as the Globes doesn’t use it to champion discerning taste.
Who actually thinks Music is one of the year’s best films? Who actually saw it besides voters or people who wanted in on the joke? On what planet is Helena Zengel in News of the World better than Yuh-jung Youn in Minari? Even the two nominations for Hamilton feel like capitulation to the might of Mickey Mouse. Or, more likely, the Globes’ unwillingness to grasp the difference between film and film-mediated drama. Hamilton gives audiences every best seat in the house to a landmark musical, but it’s a play on film any which way you look at it. Case in point: the songs aren’t nominated, and they’re as original as the material shot during the production four years ago. (Which is to say: they’re not original at all.)
The members of the That Shelf team submitted their Golden Globe predictions and picks for should win at Hollywood’s favourite drinking game. Each time the Globes blow it, sip some Moet!
The results are varied with only one case of complete agreement. When polled about which nominees they were rooting for most, Emma Badame hopes that Carey Mulligan and Chadwick Boseman are the top actors of the night, while Rachel West says Anthony Hopkins is her MVP on the ballot for his devastating performance. Daniel Grant is rooting hard for Promising Young Woman across the board. Chloé Zhao and Nomadland scored shout outs from Shane Slater myself, although I also gave one TV “hurrah” to The Crown’s Gillian Anderson. Colin Biggs, meanwhile, is rooting for anything but The Crown, which shows how wide our taste ranges, and hope La Llorona pulls an upset.
Editor-in-chief Will Perkins, summarized this year’s nominations best by saying he hoped that The Prom’s James Corden would fall flat on his face in the most embarrassing way possible, adding, “In a year where increasingly nothing has any meaning, the Golden Globes feel especially meaningless…Bring on the Oscars!”
Golden Globe predictions in film categories were submitted by Colin Biggs, Daniel Grant, Emma Badame, Manuel Betancourt, Pat Mullen, Rachel West, Shane Slater, and Will Perkins. Contributors were allowed to abstain in any category in which they either hadn’t seen enough nominees or didn’t have an opinion. Members were also allowed a few “this for that” options where they could say who should have been nominated instead.
Best Picture – Drama
Could this moment be the one that says the Oscar race is a done deal or that it’s just getting started? Nomadland is the overwhelming favourite of the critics’ awards and festival circuit. The Trial of the Chicago 7, on the other hand, is a traditional award season film if there ever was one: a stacked cast, snappy dialogue, and vanilla flavouring. The Globes have a history of pandering to studios, so it’s only a question, really, if they see Netflix on their level. If they stick with the “studios,” Netflix’s Mank might actually be more up their alley. For all the reasons that one can rightly criticize the HFPA for its award show, the group is very active in film preservation and film history. Could they therefore be the group that gives Citizen Kane the glory it didn’t enjoy during its original run?
The Father: Manuel
Mank: Colin, Rachel
Nomadland: Daniel, Emma, Pat
The Trial of the Chicago 7: Shane, Will
The Father: Emma, Rachel
Nomadland: Manuel, Pat, Shane, Will
Promising Young Woman: Colin, Daniel
This for that:
Emma says: Swap out Mank for Da 5 Bloods
Best Picture – Comedy/Musical
While 2020 wasn’t an exceptional year for comedy—it remains a mystery why distributors buried escapism at a time when everyone needed it—this category is an embarrassment. Music, Sia’s hate crime against cinema and people with autism, might be the only Best Picture nominee in history that was actively withheld by its distributor. Nobody in the industry had a chance to see it after bad early word of mouth plagued its release. Hamilton is a filmed version of a play and not even eligible by the Academy’s standards. Borat is arguably a much lesser version of film they celebrated before, The Prom is a perfectly enjoyable if mostly mediocre escape with great performances, and Palm Springs is an offbeat indie Groundhog Day. Rarely is Best Picture the ideal bathroom break during an awards show.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Emma, Pat, Rachel, Will
Hamilton: Colin, Daniel, Manuel, Shane
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Rachel, Will
Palm Springs: Colin, Daniel, Emma, Manuel
The Prom: Pat
This for that:
Colin says: Swap Music for Bad Education
Manuel says: Swap Music for French Exit
Pat says: Swap Music for Let Them All Talk and Hamilton (they filmed a play…) for The Personal History of David Copperfield
Best Actress – Drama
The nominees: 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
Will Frances McDormand take a step closer to her third Oscar? It seems inevitable that love for the film and her performance go hand in hand, even though she just won an Oscar and a Golden Globe three years ago. On the other hand, Carey Mulligan is proving to be more than a dark horse after winning respectable kudos during the critics’ prizes and weathering one of the biggest controversies about a film review in recent memory. Some Globes voters clearly like Promising Young Woman given the film’s quartet of nominations, so it probably has to win something, right? On the other hand, Andra Day is as true wild card since Billie Holiday came to the game very late, landing nominations when nary a review was published. It’s hard to compete with contenders who’ve firmly established themselves as favourites in voters’ minds.
Vanessa Kirby: Rachel
Frances McDormand: Colin, Daniel, Emma, Pat, Will
Carey Mulligan: Manuel, Shane
Viola Davis: Colin
Frances McDormand: Manuel, Pat, Shane
Carey Mulligan: Daniel, Emma, Rachel, Will
Best Actor – Drama
While he’s widely expected to be a posthumous double nominee at the Oscars, it probably helps Chadwick Boseman that the Globes ignored Da 5 Bloods. He can’t cancel himself out this week and his superior work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom could be the performance to beat. Moreover, while his death last summer makes him a sentimental favourite, it’s arguably a performance that would have been a frontrunner had he been alive to claim the prize. Ahmed is the dark horse of the season for his turn as a musician who loses his hearing in Sound of Metal, but that most critics groups showered this film with support. A lone nomination for Sound of Metal could indicate that he’s lagging behind the pack. Watch out for Anthony Hopkins riveting turn in The Father, a film that Globes voters clearly liked.
Riz Ahmed: Colin, Daniel
Chadwick Boseman: Emma, Pat, Rachel, Shane, Will
Anthony Hopkins: Manuel
Riz Ahmed: Colin, Daniel, Manuel, Will
Chadwick Boseman: Emma, Shane
Anthony Hopkins: Pat, Rachel
This for that:
Emma says: Swap Gary Oldman for Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods)
Pat says: Swap Gary Oldman for Mads Mikkelsen (Another Round)
Rachel says: Swap Gary Oldman for Steven Yeun (Minari)
Will says: Kingsley Ben-Adir (One Night in Miami) should be there, but only a jerk would kick out one of those other nominees.
(In short, only Will will be approved for Gary Oldman interview requests moving forward.)
Best Actress – Comedy/Musical
The sheer lunacy of Golden Globe voters is evident in the fact that they had not one but two stellar Streep performances and decided to nominate…Kate Hudson. Music is an embarrassing career low for both Hudson and the HFPA, but they likely won’t stick the knife any deeper. Instead, expect odds-on favourite Maria Bakalova to continue her rise to fame. Her zany performance in Borat is literally suicidal and more-or-less seals the deal with her scene with Rudy Giuliani. Any other year, Michelle Pfeiffer might have taken this for her wickedly funny performance in French Exit.
Maria Bakalova: Colin, Emma, Pat, Shane, Will
Rosamund Pike: Rachel
Anya Taylor-Joy: Manuel
Maria Bakalova: Colin, Daniel, Rachel
Michelle Pfeiffer: Manuel, Pat
Rosamund Pike: Shane, Will
This for That:
Pat says: Swap Kate Hudson and Anya Taylor-Joy for Meryl Streep in Let Them All Talk and Meryl Streep in The Prom.
Rachel says: Swap Kate Hudson for anyone…Meryl Streep could have taken one of those slots.
Best Actor – Comedy/Musical
The nominees: Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm; James Corden, The Prom; Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton; Dev Patel, The Personal History of David Copperfield; Andy Sanberg, Palm Springs
It’s probably a two-man race here, but could Sacha Baron Cohen cancel himself out or win two Globes à la Kate Winslet? He’s a safe bet to win for his scene-stealing turn in The Trial of the Chicago 7, while he seems like a default winner here based on the competition. But Lin-Manuel Miranda was great in Hamilton (hell, he was nominated for a Tony in this same performance years ago) and Dev Patel is a wonder as David Copperfield. How much the Globes love Sacha Baron Cohen in Chicago could determine what happens here: will they reward range twice or share the love?
Sacha Baron Cohen: Emma, Manuel, Rachel, Shane, Will
Lin-Manuel Miranda: Colin, Pat
Sacha Baron Cohen: Colin, Rachel, Will
Lin-Manuel Miranda: Manuel, Shane
Dev Patel: Daniel, Pat
This for That:
Pat says: Swap out James Corden for Pete Davidson (The King of Staten Island) or, better yet, an ounce of self-respect.
Best Supporting Actress
It’s round two of the “Close, but no cigar years” for Glenn, Jodie, and Olivia. Most Oscar diehards peg 1988 as the year that Close should have won (for Dangerous Liaisons) but lost to Jodie Foster (for The Accused). Her presumed legacy Oscar (for The Wife) lost to the mother of all upsets by Olivia Colman (for The Favourite). Now, Close is gunning for a win in the critically reviled Hillbilly Elegy. It’s a terrible film, but even a critic of the ham-fisted Ron Howard flick must admit that Close’s performance is great. It’s just a shame that one has to watch the movie to appreciate it. The film itself is the biggest hurdle, which doesn’t bode well for Close when Colman’s The Father has a Best Picture nom and Globe voters also dished for Foster’s co-star Tahar Rahim.
Alternatively, Amanda Seyfried could give Mank its lone win of the night for capturing the spirit of silver screen ingénue Marion Davies. Finally, it’s an honour just to be nominated, Helena Zengel. (But Rachel has faith in you, captain!)
Glenn Close: Colin, Manuel, Shane, Will
Amanda Seyfried: Pat
Helena Zengel: Rachel
Olivia Colman: Emma, Manuel, Rachel, Shane, Will
Jodie Foster: Pat
Amanda Seyfried: Colin
Best Supporting Actor
We already discussed Sacha Baron Cohen and the same logic could apply to rival Leslie Odom, Jr. The One Night in Miami star is a Best Song nominee, and probably the winner. If the Globe members split their votes, that could help Daniel Kaluuya. He’s building mad momentum for his performance as Black Panther Fred Hampton, and the film is one of the late-breakers in the race. With that being said, several of the critics’ groups that deferred their awards until the New Year, including Toronto, went for him. Jared Leto, on the other hand, has a bit of an Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Nocturnal Animals vibe here, but stands less of a chance as a late-breaker than Kaluuya having received only a fraction of the positive notices. Murray, meanwhile, is an overdue favourite in a role that suits him perfectly.
Sacha Baron Cohen: Manuel, Pat, Shane
Daniel Kaluuya: Colin, Emma
Jared Leto: Rachel
Bill Murray: Daniel, Will
Daniel Kaluuya: everyone
This for that:
Emma says: Swap Jared Leto for Chadwick Boseman (Da 5 Bloods)
Manuel says: Swap Jared Leto for Colman Domingo (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
Pat says: Swap Jared Leto for Stanley Tucci (Supernova)
Rachel says: Swap Jared Leto for literally anyone
The nominees: 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.
Chloé Zhao seems like one of this season’s safest bets. Even the critics’ groups that didn’t honour Nomadland frequently awarded her their Best Director prize. But there’s a difference between a group of 30 critics in a Zoom call trading baseball cards and a comparatively larger body of Globes voters casting ballots in secret. Zhao’s uniqueness is hard to deny, and her talent might prove extra enticing for a group that’s been repeatedly slammed for not nominating female directors. On the other hand, Fincher’s Mank solidifies his auteur status and Chicago proves that Sorkin can do more than deliver a snappy script.
David Fincher: Colin, Manuel
Aaron Sorkin: Rachel
Chloé Zhao: Daniel, Emma, Pat, Shane, Will
Emerald Fennell: Colin, Daniel
David Fincher: Will
Regina King: Rachel
Chloé Zhao: Emma, Manuel, Pat, Shane
The nominees: The Father, Mank, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, The Trial of the Chicago 7.
Emerald Fennel and Aaron Sorkin seem less likely to win Best Director because their odds are better in the screenplay category. Either win could be an opportunity to reward the film as a whole. Nomadland often finds its script dismissed due to the elements of improvisation entailed with the nomads, while Mank’s screenplay is older than the script for The Little Things. A bit dusty, just like the Globes’ voters.
Promising Young Woman: Daniel, Manuel, Pat
The Trial of the Chicago 7: Colin, Emma, Rachel, Shane, Will
Promising Young Woman: Daniel, Emma, Manuel, Rachel
The Trial of the Chicago 7: Shane
Best Animated Feature
It takes some moxie for a group of self-describe journalists to deem The Croods the best of the year. However, this contest is likely a two-horse race between the mighty mouse and a beloved indie animation house. Soul could continue Pixar’s grip on the animation categories, and critics’ prizes preceding the Globes gave the film two wins for each of Wolfwalkers’ one. Over the Moon could be the wild card here, though, especially if Globes voters took to those fancy coffee table books that Netflix doled out.
Over the Moon: Rachel
Soul!: Daniel, Emma, Manuel, Pat, Shane, Will
Soul!: Daniel, Emma, Will
Wolfwalkers: Colin, Manuel, Pat, Rachel, Shane
Best Foreign Language Film
We smell controversy! Minari could be the favourite here despite being an American film. The silly classification to reward non-English American films undermines the intent of the award, which is to honour international cinema. The controversy generated by the film’s classification and nomination as a “foreign film” could help it as much as hurt it, really. A win here is a bit of a backhanded compliment and an awkwardly tacit suggestion of what is and isn’t “American.” The palatable poignancy of The Life Ahead and the bittersweet romance of Two of Us are right up their alley, while Another Round could be a worthy film to toast during the Globes’ booze-fuelled party. La Llorona is a surprise here since mainstream awards don’t tend to honour horror. A lot of this category hinges on how one reads the Minari nomination: will people be more upset if it wins or loses?
Another Round: Rachel
La Llorona: Colin
Minari: Emma, Manuel, Pat, Shane, Will
Another Round: Pat, Rachel, Will
La Llorona: Colin, Manuel
Minari: Daniel, Emma, Shane
Put those hearing aids to good use, Globe voters!
The Midnight Sky: Manuel
Soul: Colin, Daniel, Emma, Pat, Shane
Tenet: Rachel, Will
Soul: Emma, Manuel, Pat, Shane, Will
Tenet: Daniel, Rachel
The nominees: “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah, “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7, “Lo sì” (“Seen”) from The Life Ahead, “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami, “Tigress and Tweed” from The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Here is a case where double nominees Leslie Odom, Jr. and Andra Day could shake things up. They both have nominations for songs and performances. Could they split the vote between acting and music categories if Globes members want to share the love? “Tigress and Tweed” has no discernible appearance/airtime in The United States vs. Billie Holiday, though, which could be a factor for the few voters who consider the song’s use in a film. (Even after I watched the film, I had to look the song up on Spotify to know what it was.)
Unlike the Academy, Globes voters show little concern whether a nominated song is purely marketing collateral. The other four songs play with the end credits, so there is no “Shallow” or “Falling Slowly” that builds the film’s dramatic arc. Don’t count out previous Globe winner and 11-time Oscar loser Diane Warren to start a run for that overdue Golden Man with a win for her banger Italian ballad from The Life Ahead.
“Hear My Voice”: Will
“Speak Now”: Colin, Emma, Manuel, Pat, Shane, Rachel
“Lo sì”: Pat
“Speak Now”: Colin, Emma, Manuel, Rachel, Will