The Hollywood Foreign Press has never been a very accurate predictor for the bigger awards like the SAGs or the Oscars, certainly due to the strange rules they follow. Their Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress awards are divided into Drama and Comedy/Musical. This division allows for strange nominations, weird omissions, and a broader, yet not particularly better, scope of films to get some accolades. An example of this is the unexplainable inclusion of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, or the baffling noms for Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp for The Tourist in 2010.

On the other hand their Best Screenplay category encompasses all scripts, unlike the division the Academy Awards make in order to recognize the writers for either creating an original story, or succeeding in translating a previously written source material for the screen. The other important particularity of the Globes is the less restrictive process to select their nominees for Best Foreign Language Film. The Academy allows only one entry per country, which must be previously selected by each nation; for the HFPA any foreign film released during the year is eligible. Therefore, usually only the “highest profile” foreign films get chosen and multiple nominees from the same country are permitted e.g. Rust and Bone and The Intouchables, both from France.

The Golden Globes are always a much more relaxed award show more concerned with recognizing stars for being stars, and just having a good time. The fact that the ceremony seems more like a cocktail party should give us a hint; nevertheless, here are the nominees in each category and my take on who will, but perhaps shouldn’t, and the possibilities of the other nominees.

Best Picture-Drama


“Django Unchained”
“Life of Pi”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

No real surprises here, although I’m happy to see the inclusion of Django Unchained, which has been ignored by many critic circles so far. The battle seems to be between Spielberg’s epic biopic and Kathryn Bigelow’s latest war drama Zero Dark Thirty. Both have received numerous awards already, which makes it a tough choice. The upper hand here is for Lincoln since it has all that grandeur that a big studio production provides plus Day Lewis’ performance. Probably Bigelow’s picture would be a riskier choice because of the subject matter, but it is still a runner-up for the award. Argo seems like a long shot but Affleck’s star appeal might lure in the funky HFPA voters,and Life of Pi is only filling up the slot, no chance for the visually lavish work by Ang Lee.

Best Actor-Drama


Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
Richard Gere, “Arbitrage”
John Hawkes, “The Sessions”
Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”
Denzel Washington, “Flight”

From the first photos of Daniel Day-Lewis as the iconic president the award buzz had begun. Having already won almost every Critics Award so far; winning the Golden Globe seems just like one more step on the way for a third Oscar for the marvelous actor. However, the only other actor with a real chance on this shortlist is The Master’s Joaquin Phoenix, who had some momentum when the film was first released but who lost charm as Day-Lewis gained strength during this award season. John Hawkes and Washington deserve their nominations but without the support of other mentions for their films, and against the riveting Lincoln, have no chance. Richard Gere offered one of his best performances but only got to sneak in because Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper are in a different category. In conclusion, this seems like a lock for Day-Lewis.

Best Actress-Drama

Naomi Watts

Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Marion Cotillard, “Rust and Bone”
Helen Mirren, “Hitchcock”
Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”
Rachel Weisz, “The Deep Blue Sea”

Among these five leading ladies the probable winner is Chastain as a fierce and devoted agent who was crucial in finding Osama Bin Laden. The actress has gotten recognition by critics across the country and a SAG nomination as well. My personal favorite, and probably the second most probable winner, is Naomi Watts and her visceral rendition of a self-less mother in the midst of tragedy. For Watts,who has recently received outspoken support by fellow actors, winning the Globe will definitely be a huge push for an Oscar nomination. Marion Cotillard is always great but seems like and unlikely winner, still she is not completely out of the race. Mirren and Weisz, who won the award from the New York Critics, fill the spots that probably Jennifer Lawrence and veteran Emmanuelle Riva will secure at the Academy Awards.

Best Picture-Musical or Comedy


“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
“Les Misérables”
“Moonrise Kingdom
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”
“Silver Linings Playbook”

Despite some mixed reviews Les Miserables appears to have this one in the bag. Since it doesn’t have to compete with Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty most likely Tom Hooper’s reinvention of the beloved musical will win. A second candidate could be David O. Russell’s latest thanks to its three other nominations, if there were going to be a surprise Silver Linings would be it. It is nice to see Moonrise Kingdom on the list as it is one of the best films of the year and has been virtually forgotten by critics. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which was liked by many, doesn’t seem like a strong contender, but it wouldn’t be totally jarring if the Globe’s voters want to honor a nice picture for the older demographic.

Finally the most bizarre choice that nobody, I mean nobody, saw coming. Released early in the year Salmon Fishing in the Yemen scored three major nominations, pretty big for a film that was under the radar till now. The choice comes as a shock when more notable films could haven added to this list for example, Magic Mike, This is 40, Seven Psychopaths, or even Ted. The world may never know what or who was behind such unpredictable decision.

Best Actor-Musical or Comedy

Les Miserables

Jack Black, “Bernie”
Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”
Ewan McGregor, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”
Bill Murray, “Hyde Park on Hudson”

After years of offering good but never great performances, Hugh Jackman looks like the chosen one among the pack to take the statue home. The task is much more simpler thanks to the Globes infamous separation of acting categories, which leaves Bradley Cooper as the only probable upsetter with his work as Pat in the best performance of his career so far. That scenario seems unlikely, primarily because Jackaman is well liked in the industry and  he is truly a talented actor showing off his full range in Les Mis.

Jack Black receives his second Golden Globe nomination for a great rendition of a murderous charlatan. His chances are slight as are those of Mr. Murray as FDR, good performance but probably not enough to take this from the singing talent of Jackman. Then there is the special mention for Ewan McGregor that feels like an excuse to recognize the man who is better in The Impossible, but didn’t fit in the other categories. Really HFPA, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen?

Best Actress-Musical or Comedy

Jennifer Lawrence-Silver Linings

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”

Probably the easiest category to predict since Jennifer Lawrence undoubtedly will win the award. Earlier in the year she was predicted as the front-runner for all major awards including the big daddy of awards, the Oscar. However, as Chastain performance gained buzz the field seems divided. In the mean time, Lawrence will get the Golden Globe almost by default since there is no real competition, only nice performances to fill up the other four slots.

The only remotely possible runner-up is Judi Dench, who was good in both The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Skyfall this year. A supporting nom for the latter film could have been a more viable win. There are two other elder actresses that will be happy to just attend the ceremony, Maggie Smith (also better in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and always-nominated Meryl Streep. Oh yeah remember that film that sneaked in somehow about fishing in the Middle East? Well Emily Blunt, by some divine power, got a nomination for it. She was probably as shocked as the rest of us.

Best Director


Ben Affleck, “Argo”
Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”
Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”

As usual with the Best Picture and Best Director awards the battlefields are very similar, this time the HFPA chose identical lists for both awards. As with the Best Picture-Drama nominees the possibilities narrow down to Spielberg and Bigelow. If the Globe’s voters decide to take a risk, which they didn’t with The Hurt Locker, and award this to Bigelow, then Zero Dark Thirty is most likely a lock for Best Picture. A more conservative scenario will have voters choosing Lincoln for both awards; this is likely as these awards are rarely divided between two films. If voters really feel like they want to go a different direction then Affleck would be the closest third place, unlikely but possible since these are after all the Golden Globes. Tarantino will be as always a bridesmaid but not a bride, and Ang Lee will just have to be marveled by his own achievement. Tom Hooper is ignored this time despite his monumental work to bring Les Miserables to the screen, next time Tom.

Best Supporting Actor


Alan Arkin, “Argo”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Django Unchained”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”
Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”
Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”

Finally, here we have a real competitive category in which virtually all the nominees have a reasonable chance at winning. The critics have been divided about who has been the Best Supporting Actor of the year; therefore, no one is truly a leader of the pack just yet. Having said that, if one must pick sides the logical choices are Hoffman and Tommy Lee Jones, with 8 and 5 critic awards respectively. Even with these advantages neither of them is a lock because Alan Arkin and Critoph Waltz have sizeable buzz backing them.

The wild card here is Leo DiCaprio as the maniac Francophile in Tarantino’s latest. DiCaprio could take the award due to the uniqueness of his performance and his star power; it might be Leo’s time to be a winner again, who knows, Oscar love might be in the horizon. A notable snub is the omission of Robert De Niro as Pat Sr. who really delivers emotion and weakness in Silver Linings Playbook.

Best Supporting Actress

Anne-Les Mis

Amy Adams, “The Master”
Sally Field, “Lincoln”
Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”
Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”
Nicole Kidman,  “The Paperboy”

Although critics have not been unanimous M. Hathaway has the lead. Her performance  as Fantine is raw and moving, completely lost in the tragedy of the character expressed in her heartbreaking singing. A few other actresses like Anne Dowd in Compliance have received praise but nothing on the level of Les Miserables’ actress. Since Dowd doesn’t figure here the only other possible spoiler could be Sally Field, but honestly it is a long shot.

Forget the bad reviews for Les Mis; Anne Hathaway’s devotion for the craft will be more than certainly triumph. Helen Hunt and Amy Adams have figured in most shortlists but neither of their performances feels like they have what it takes to take this, or any other major award from Hathaway. A nice inclusion in both the SAGs and Globes is that of Nicole Kidman who really stands out in a not too well reviewed film, but unless the HFPA is feeling rebellious and crazy she will have to settle and be happy with the nomination.

Best Screenplay


Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Tony Kushner, “Lincoln”
David O’Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”
Chris Terrio, “Argo”

Like I mentioned above the Golden Globes make no distinction between the original and adapted screenplays,which  gives us a list that is a mix of the two. Right off the bat the front-runner should be Zero Dark Thirty, an original screenplay, for its impressive way to be honest and crude about a dark episode in American history. The question here is, will the Globes go there? Probably not.

In that case, the second strongest candidate would be Lincoln for its epic way to portray a national hero. However, it is very possible that the award will serve to give at least some love to one of the other films. Tarantino’s tale of revenge is the other only original work in the list, and the director’s writing is known to be off the charts; so he surely has a chance here. If all three of the mentioned scenarios fail, it might be because the voters went with the based-on-a-real-story Hollywood-esque hostage drama Argo, a slight chance but not completely improbable. David O. Russell’s adaptation is sweet and smart but lacks the grandeur of the other nominees.

Best Foreign Language Film


“Amour” (Austria)
“A Royal Affair” (Denmark)
“The Intouchables”(France)
Kon-Tiki” (Norway)
“Rust and Bone” (France)

As explained above the process for the selection of the Best Foreign  Language Films at The Globes is much more relaxed; however, the winner chosen by the HFPA has agreed with the Academy in the past couple years, but this is a rare occurrence. Amour is by far the predicted winner. The film has swept awards since its triumph at Cannes, plus Haneke’s previous work, The White Ribbon, won the Globe a few years back. All but one of these films are eligible for the Oscars, Rust and Bone, although a much better film that The Intouchables, was not chosen by France as their official selection.

Nevertheless, if there is a chance, and I doubt there is, that a film can spoil Amour’s wining streak, it is Rust and Bone. This is simply because Marion Cotillard received a nomination and Emmanuelle Riva didn’t, even with this it’s hard to think Amour will lose. A Royal Affair and Kon-Tiki are magnificent cinematic achievements for their respective nations but will have to stay at that. The buddy comedy from France has no chance despite being a box-office success.

Best Animated Feature Film


Hotel Transylvania
“Rise of the Guardians”
“Wreck-It Ralph”

The Academy usually tends to nominated a couple off –the-radar animated features to expand the styles represented, not the case with the Globes. The nominees here are only the big budget studio pictures. No surprises in the list except for the inclusion of Hotel Transylvania instead of ParaNorman. The latter is a beautifully crafted stop motion film from small production company; the other is a mildly funny picture with big names attached to it. This advantage comes in handy at the Globes but it will prove fortuitous with the Academy.

Certainly an unpredictable category this year because of the lack of a solid frontrunner  from Pixar, which leaves the field open for anyone. Wreck-it Ralph and Brave were both well received by audiences and critics alike, so a win from either of these would be satisfactory. The upper hand probably belongs to Frankenweenie and his star director Tim Burton, who might star collecting some awards this season thanks to his imaginative spooky film. Perhaps a bit of a wild card and possible spoiler is the Holiday infused Rise of the Guardians, but it will have to defeat the other three Disney powerhouses to do so.

Best Original Score

Life Of Pi

Mychael Danna, “Life of Pi”
Alexandre Desplat, “Argo”
Dario Marianelli, “Anna Karenina”
Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil, “Cloud Atlas”
John Williams, “Lincoln”

With slight chances in the other categories, the Best Score award might the moment to shine for Ang Lee’s Life of Pi. This epic journey into new visual possibilities can only be fully appreciated with Danna’s marvelous music underscoring the action. A close second could be the no less enormous score for Spielberg’s Lincoln by multiple-time winner John Williams, but if the HFPA decides to spread the love then Cloud Atlas might take the statue. This last one really benefits from the music as a connecting threat between its complex stories, that alone it’s an achievement. Argo’s composer Alexandre Desplat has been nominated multiple times and has won the award once, so he can’t be completely discarded but his chances are minimal. Anna Karenina’s only nomination honors the composer but shows the little attention the film gathered overall, no chance whatsoever.

Best Original Song


“For You” – “Act of Valor”
“Not Running Anymore” – “Stand Up Guys”
“Safe & Sound” – “The Hunger Games”
“Skyfall” – “Skyfall”
“Suddenly” – “Les Miserables

Last year Madonna took this award, and the Academy considered only two songs were worth noticed. This year the field seems more alive with some great tunes in the run. The strong favorite is Adele’s “Skyfall”, probably one of the few awards the woman still doesn’t have, the Golden Globe could mean one step closer to Oscar. “Suddenly” an original track in the anthem-filled musical Les Miserables can be a suitable spoiler and grab another award for Tom Hooper’s film.  The high profile “Safe & Sound” from The Hunger Games could give Taylor Swift her first Globe but it feels like a tough task having to compete with a better singer/songwriter like Adele. The songs from Act of Valor and Stand Up Guys are here to complete the list but with no real chances of being spoilers, as the HFPA loves to honor pop stars for the sake of stardom; having said this Adele would be a deserving winner.