This year’s Oscar best picture free-for-all will put more attention on the movies the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. rewards at the Golden Globes on Jan. 7. “Lady Bird” stands as a heavy favorite on the comedy side, but the drama race is up for grabs.
Who will win? Here’s a first stab at predictions.
MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA
The nominees: “Call Me by Your Name,” “Dunkirk,” “The Post,” “The Shape of Water,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
And the winner is: “The Shape of Water” picked up a leading seven nominations; “The Post” and “Three Billboards” earned six each. You could make a case for any one of this trio winning, so I’ll simply go with “Shape” since it has the numbers ever so slightly on its side. A safer bet: I’ll probably change my mind at least twice before the ceremony.
Unless: “The Post,” the more obvious topical movie, prevails. Or “Three Billboards” for capturing cultural rage. Who knows? This is the group that nominated “All the Money in the World.”
LEAD ACTRESS, MOTION PICTURE DRAMA
The nominees: Jessica Chastain, “Molly’s Game”; Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”; Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”; Meryl Streep, “The Post”; Michelle Williams, “All the Money in the World”
And the winner is: McDormand has been nominated six times but never won — not even for “Fargo” or “Olive Kitteridge.” You’d think she’s overdue. But she also doesn’t schmooze with voters, which the selfie-loving HFPA might take personally.
Unless: Voters really, really love “Shape of Water” and reward the gifted Hawkins.
LEAD ACTOR, MOTION PICTURE DRAMA
The nominees: Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”; Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”; Tom Hanks, “The Post”; Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”; Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”
And the winner is: With “Darkest Hour” failing to catch on outside its lead performance, Oldman’s march to the Oscar isn’t quite as inevitable as it seemed a month ago. But it still feels like one of the evening’s safest bets.
Unless: Young Chalamet shocks the world.
MOTION PICTURE, MUSICAL/COMEDY
The nominees: “The Disaster Artist,” “Get Out,” “The Greatest Showman,” “I, Tonya,” “Lady Bird”
And the winner is: “Lady Bird” feels like the movie of the moment, a mother-daughter story, written and directed by Greta Gerwig, that, in its own quiet way, celebrates confident women.
Unless: That other movie of the moment, “Get Out,” pulls off an upset. The absence of a screenplay nod for its creator, Jordan Peele, suggests that this might be a long shot.
LEAD ACTRESS, COMEDY/MUSICAL
The nominees: Judi Dench, “Victoria & Abdul”; Helen Mirren, “The Leisure Seeker”; Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”; Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”; Emma Stone, “Battle of the Sexes”
And the winner is: Ronan. It’s possible “Lady Bird” wins all four of its categories — picture, lead and supporting actress and screenplay.
Unless: Hard to see another scenario playing out. Ronan is the evening’s biggest lock on the film side.
LEAD ACTOR COMEDY/MUSICAL
The nominees: Steve Carell, “Battle of the Sexes”; Ansel Elgort, “Baby Driver”; James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”; Hugh Jackman, “The Greatest Showman”; Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
And the winner is: As an ode to outsiders, Franco’s film and performance should resonate with this group.
Unless: The HFPA wants to find a spot to reward “Get Out,” and tips its hat to Kaluuya’s superb work here.
TV DRAMA SERIES
The nominees: “The Crown,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Stranger Things,” “This Is Us”
And the winner is: “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Blessed be the fruit.
Unless: Common sense is cast aside. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A TV DRAMA SERIES
The nominees: Caitriona Balfe, “Outlander”; Claire Foy, “The Crown”; Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Deuce”; Katherine Langford, “13 Reasons Why”; Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
And the winner is: Moss repeats her Emmy triumph for her urgent, intense and always unpredictable work on “Handmaid’s Tale.”
Unless: The HFPA loves going in a different direction in this category. Maybe Langford’s heartbreaking turn on “13 Reasons Why” will linger in their minds.
LEAD ACTOR IN A TV DRAMA
The nominees: Jason Bateman, “Ozark”; Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”; Freddie Highmore, “The Good Doctor”; Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”; Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
And the winner is: Voters veer here between veterans in established roles (it took a long time for Jon Hamm and Bryan Cranston to finally prevail) and actors in first-year shows. Highmore never got his due for “Bates Motel,” and it feels like the time is ripe for recognition. Plus, who doesn’t like “The Good Doctor”?
Unless: It’s Emmy-winner Brown, who the HFPA strangely overlooked last year, not even giving him a nomination.
TV COMEDY SERIES
The nominees: “black-ish,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Master of None,” “SMILF,” “Will & Grace”
And the winner is: If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you might want to spend the holidays catching up with “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” so you can be in the know.
Unless: The year’s other lauded newcomer, “SMILF,” prevails for its unapologetic, empathetic story about a single mom.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A TV COMEDY SERIES
The nominees: Pamela Adlon, “Better Things”; Alison Brie, “GLOW”; Rachel Brosnahan, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"; Issa Rae, “Insecure”; Frankie Shaw, “SMILF”
And the winner is: Brosnahan never did comedy before “Mrs. Maisel,” but you’d never know it from her charismatic, expressive turn as the title character. She’ll likely have a Globe six weeks after her show’s premiere.
Unless: Shaw created, wrote and directed “SMILF” and her acting — dialed-down, yet still dynamic — is a big reason for its success.
LEAD ACTOR IN A TV COMEDY
The nominees: Anthony Anderson, “black-ish”; Aziz Ansari, “Master of None”; Kevin Bacon, “I Love Dick”; William H. Macy, “Shameless”; Eric McCormack, “Will & Grace”
And the winner is: Globes voters nominated McCormack five times during “Will & Grace’s” original run, but never gave him the prize. In the absence of a clear front-runner, let’s say he finally prevails.