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Who'll win Sunday's Golden Globes for 2015 movies?

Rachel McAdams, from left, as Sacha Pfeiffer, Mark Ruffalo as Michael Rezendes and Brian d’Arcy James as Matt Carroll in Spotlight.

AP

Rachel McAdams, from left, as Sacha Pfeiffer, Mark Ruffalo as Michael Rezendes and Brian d’Arcy James as Matt Carroll in Spotlight.

6

January

Sunday is Hollywood’s prom night, when the punch bowl is spiked and chaperones ignored, better known as the Golden Globe Awards.

Perhaps only at the MTV Movie or People’s Choice awards shows are we likelier to witness glamorous celebrities do or say embarrassing things while congratulating themselves. Blame it on the bottomless champagne bottles at every table.

Certainly that won’t be the case at next month’s Academy Awards, which is closer to a PTA appreciation night. The Globes are like an interrupting streaker, a dash of outrageousness in a process the academy takes much too seriously.

Before predicting Sunday’s winners, a reminder of who votes on the Globes, and why their opinion shouldn’t count as much as it does.

The Globes are voted upon by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), comprised of “about 90 members,” according to its website, compared to nearly 6,200 voters for the Academy Awards.

HFPA is comprised of international journalists mostly living in Southern California, writing about show biz for overseas outlets you’ve likely never heard of. Oscar winners are mostly decided by people with actual filmmaking experience.

The academy has never been tainted by voting scandal; Globes’ history is sprinkled with allegations of unethical largesse resulting in Globes, from Pia Zadora’s 1981 newcomer award to Scent of a Woman besting such 1992 films as Unforgiven, A Few Good Men, The Crying Game and Howard’s End.

Still, the Golden Globes endured, regaining respect as Hollywood’s second-best measure of accomplishment. Some question how much influence HFPA’s decisions have on Oscar’s choices, given their annual conflict of voting timetables that HFPA works hard to maintain.

This awards season, Golden Globes nominations were announced on Dec. 11, nearly three weeks before the Oscars’ balloting process began. It’s certainly possible that Globes finalists became a short list for academy voters without the time or inclination to see all 323 eligible movies (at least those offering “for your consideration” DVD screeners).

Just as possible would be academy voters purposefully straying from the Globes’ lead, asserting the Oscar isn’t influenced by its show biz status competitor. That happened last year with American Sniper that the Globes ignored yet the academy blessed with six nominations including best picture. It could happen with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, that Globes voters didn’t see in time.

One thing for certain: Sunday night’s results won’t immediately influence Academy Awards voters. Their final nomination ballots are due at 5 p.m. PST on Friday. Whoever wins, of course, will be heralded as Oscar favorites by their studio campaigns for nearly six weeks until the envelopes are opened on Feb. 28.

And that can work both ways. Just ask Boyhood or The Social Network how difficult being a Globe winning frontrunner for that long can be.

So, enjoy Sunday night’s show for the fashions, the stars, Ricky Gervais’ snarky hosting and someone’s bad behavior. That’s what the Golden Globes do better than any other award show that never honored Twilight.

In the meantime, here are one critic’s guesses of who’ll take home the hardware:

PICTURE, DRAMA

Nominees: Carol; Mad Max: Fury Road; The Revenant; Room; Spotlight

Just one box office hit on the list, since Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t screened until after balloting began. Globes voters have kept pace with critics’ group consensus in recent years (Boyhood, 12 Years a Slave), and everyone enjoys a bandwagon. Spotlight should accelerate its momentum, already gunned a bit this week by the National Society of Film Critics top prize. Keep in mind: Only three winners in this category over the past 10 years later claimed the best picture Oscar (and only one musical/comedy).

PICTURE, MUSICAL OR COMEDY

Nominees: The Big Short; Joy; The Martian; Spy; Trainwreck

Lots of complaints that The Martian is placed here but, hey, it’s funnier than The Big Short and Joy combined, Squarely in the category description is Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck but she’ll get hers later (or earlier, as the envelopes open). The Big Short could win because it’s viewed as important, which is what the Globes would love to be. Except... see the next category.

(Paramount Pictures)

DIRECTOR

Nominees: Todd Haynes, Carol; Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant; Tom McCarthy, Spotlight; George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road; Ridley Scott, The Martian

There’s no genre distinction in this category, so Scott’s inclusion and The Big Short director Adam McKay’s omission hints at a best picture win for The Martian. We’d have an instant Oscar co-favorite more popular with moviegoers than Spotlight, with the academy’s timetable also able to nominate The Force Awakens. Oh, yeah, Miller, an Australian, wins this award for orchestrating a gonzo blockbuster, and the only major Globes contender that isn’t a distinctly American story. Remember, this is Hollywood’s foreign media voting.

(20th Century Fox)

ACTRESS/DRAMA

Nominees: Cate Blanchett, Carol; Brie Larson, Room; Rooney Mara, Carol; Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl; Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

The strongest field of nominees we’ll see Sunday night. The Weinstein Co. wanted Mara in the supporting race but the Globes refused, raising the risk of splitting votes with Blanchett, already a three-time winner. I’m guessing they will split, leaving a close race among rapidly rising stars. Ronan, 21, is the most “seasoned,” nominated in 2008 for Atonement. Vikander is a two-time nominee in her breakout year. A third of my head and all of my heart picks Larson.

(Times files)

ACTOR, DRAMA

Nominees: Bryan Cranston, Trumbo; Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs; Will Smith, Concussion; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant; Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

People are wondering if DiCaprio will finally win an Academy Award this year. Sunday night is likely to provide an answer. Nine of the past 10 best actor Oscar winners won Globes first, eight of them in the drama category. Redmayne won last year, and Cranston appears to be Leo’s closest competition. As the only contender fronting a best picture nominee, DiCaprio is a solid pick.

ACTOR, MUSICAL OR COMEDY

Nominees: Christian Bale, The Big Short; Al Pacino, Danny Collins; Mark Ruffalo, Infinitely Polar Bear; Steve Carell, The Big Short; Matt Damon, The Martian

Again, votes split between co-stars could make a difference. This time it’s Carell and Bale, opening up a path for Damon to sneak through. Pacino and Ruffalo were both terrific in movies that ultimately didn’t matter much. Damon carried a best picture nominee working practically solo. He also never won a Globe for acting, with five previous nominations. That should change Sunday night.

ACTRESS, MUSICAL OR COMEDY

Nominees: Jennifer Lawrence, Joy; Amy Schumer, Trainwreck; Melissa McCarthy, Spy; Lily Tomlin, Grandma; Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van

Back to Ms. Schumer getting what she deserves. Her bestie J-Law won’t mind. Trainwreck was the year’s comedy touchstone, conjured and performed by the potty-mouth of her generation. Schumer’s disarming crudeness, the adorable ways she offends, will be rewarded here. (Plus, you can bet the Globes would love her to host their show, so this makes a nice overture.)

(Universal)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Nominees: Jane Fonda, Youth; Alicia Vikander, Ex-Machina; Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs; Helen Mirren, Trumbo; Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

No genre is specified on supporting role ballots, making them particularly crucial outcomes for Academy Award predictions. Four of the past five supporting actress Oscar winners won Globes first. Leigh picked up several key previous prizes and should be favored among performances from films that Globes voters apparently didn’t admire much otherwise. But I’m guessing Vikander in an upset, justifying rare twin nominations from a relative unknown.

(AP)

SUPPORTING ACTOR

Nominees: Sylvester Stallone, Creed; Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation; Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies; Michael Shannon, 99 Homes; Paul Dano, Love & Mercy

Stallone’s is the fifth-best performance on this list but some award season narratives are simply meant to be. Forty years after Rocky Balboa knocked out the Globes and Oscars, then all the junk in-between, Stallone will mount a heavyweight Hollywood comeback. Want to know what this announcement means to the winner? Eight consecutive Academy Award winners in this category won Globes first. You have to go back to Eddie Murphy in Dreamgirls to find someone who didn’t turn the double play. Stallone will do it.

SCREENPLAY

Nominees: Room; Spotlight; The Big Short; Steve Jobs; The Hateful Eight

There is no distinction between original and adapted screenplays at the Globes, because writers aren’t as much fun to invite to the party as movie stars, and they eat all the shrimp. Room is a marvelous adaptation of a tricky book; Spotlight is an original script as focused on the story as its journalist heroes. The Oscars may give each their due but Sunday belongs to Spotlight.

ORIGINAL SONG

Nominees: Love Me Like You Do (Fifty Shades of Grey); See You Again (Furious 7); Simple Song No. 3 (Youth); Writing’s On the Wall (Spectre); One Kind of Love (Love & Mercy)

It really doesn’t matter which one wins but please, god, don’t make me sit through Spectre’s opening credits again, with Sam Smith screeching and shirtless Daniel Craig staring me down. Paul Walker’s death and the closing minutes of Furious 7 made See You Again the most poignant on the list, so that’s the pick.

ORIGINAL SCORE

Nominees: Carol; The Danish Girl; Inside Out; The Revenant; Mad Max: Fury Road

Carter Burwell actually composed 2015’s two finest musical soundtracks but only one is nominated. Burwell’s elegantly melancholy work on Carol wins the Globe but his gently disturbing contribution score for Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa equally impresses.

ANIMATED FILM

Nominees: Anomalisa; The Good Dinosaur; Inside Out; Shaun the Sheep Movie; The Peanuts Movie

In a perfect world, Anomalisa wins. In a more perfect world there’s another animated movie even better. Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out ranks among the studio’s most exquisite creations, smart, funny and oh, so heartbreaking. The lock of the evening.

(Pixar)

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Nominees: The Club (Chile); The Fencer (Finland/Germany/Estonia); Mustang (France); Son of Saul (Hungary); The Brand New Testament (Belgium/France/Luxembourg)

Honestly, I’ve only seen Son of Saul, a harrowing Auschwitz concentration camp drama about a father attempting a holy burial for his murdered son. The Club has parallels to Spotlight, with its story of child abuse by Catholic clergy, so there’s that.  Anything from France has a chance. I’ll go with what I know and pick Son of Saul, a frequent addition to critics’ year-end lists.

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 4:59pm]

    

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