When the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. announced its nominations last month, the biggest surprise was that there were no surprises. There were no obvious, ratings-driven nods to celebrities, no left-field recognition to performances no one else found special. How will all this respectability play out when it awards the trophies? Here are our Golden Globes predictions.
MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA
The nominees: "12 Years a Slave," "Captain Phillips," "Gravity," "Philomena," "Rush"
And the winner is: "Gravity." The HFPA typically favors less serious dramas, going for the likes of "Avatar" over "The Hurt Locker." In a coin flip between "Gravity" and "12 Years," we think they'll reward the spectacle.
Unless: The urgency and artistry of "12 Years" prevails.
LEAD ACTOR, MOTION PICTURE DRAMA
The nominees: Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"; Idris Elba, "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"; Tom Hanks, "Captain Phillips"; Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"; Robert Redford, "All Is Lost"
And the winner is: This might be where Redford receives his due. The HFPA has never nominated him as an actor, giving him the best newcomer prize in 1966 and its Cecil B. DeMille award nearly three decades later. The timing feels right.
Unless: British-born Ejiofor, nominated four previous times for television work, finds favor.
LEAD ACTRESS, MOTION PICTURE DRAMA
The nominees: Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"; Sandra Bullock, "Gravity"; Judi Dench, "Philomena"; Emma Thompson, "Saving Mr. Banks"; Kate Winslet, "Labor Day"
And the winner is: Blanchett. It would be a surprise if this two-time Globe winner didn't take yet another trophy. She seems the year's most inevitable choice.
Unless: Voters decide choosing Blanchett is too predictable and go with Bullock.
MOTION PICTURE, MUSICAL OR COMEDY
The nominees: "American Hustle," "Her," "Inside Llewyn Davis," "Nebraska," "The Wolf of Wall Street"
And the winner is: This figures to be a very big night for David O. Russell's "American Hustle," particularly since the musically minded HFPA passed over his previous movie, "Silver Linings Playbook," in favor of "Les Misérables."
Unless: "Nebraska" director Alexander Payne's nomination indicates the HFPA liked his film a lot. If there's an upset, it'll likely look in that direction.
LEAD ACTOR, MOTION PICTURE MUSICAL OR COMEDY
The nominees: Christian Bale, "American Hustle"; Bruce Dern, "Nebraska"; Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Wolf of Wall Street"; Oscar Isaac, "Inside Llewyn Davis"; Joaquin Phoenix, "Her"
And the winner is: "Wolf" marks DiCaprio's 10th nomination and it feels like he's due for his first win since "The Aviator."
Unless: The HFPA could well decide it'd be nice to honor two 77-year-old acting greats, recognizing Dern along with Redford.
LEAD ACTRESS, MOTION PICTURE MUSICAL OR COMEDY
The nominees: Amy Adams, "American Hustle"; Julie Delpy, "Before Midnight"; Greta Gerwig, "Frances Ha"; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Enough Said"; Meryl Streep, "August: Osage County"
And the winner is: The HFPA loved "Hustle," and this is Adams' fifth nomination. With competition divided among three worthy actresses featured in smaller films and the much-honored Streep, this could be Adams' year to finally win.
Unless: The 28-time nominee (!) Streep keeps on keepin' on, winning her ninth Globe.
The nominees: "Breaking Bad," "Downton Abbey," "The Good Wife," "House of Cards," "Masters of Sex"
And the winner is: "House of Cards." Globe voters like to be ahead of the curve with their television choices. They've never recognized "Breaking Bad," and it's unlikely they'll do so now, even with all the publicity the show won in its final season.
Unless: The HFPA really wants to lead the parade and goes with Showtime's provocative new series, "Masters of Sex."
LEAD ACTOR IN A TV DRAMA SERIES
The nominees: Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"; Liev Schreiber, "Ray Donovan"; Michael Sheen, "Masters of Sex"; Kevin Spacey, "House of Cards"; James Spader, "The Blacklist"
And the winner is: Cranston is the obvious choice. But like his series, he has never won, and there really isn't a precedent for the HFPA to honor an actor for the first time this late in a show's run. But what the hey, score one for perseverance and Cranston.
Unless: Spacey, a seven-time Globe nominee for his work in movies and TV films, finally wins for his first nod for a series.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A TV DRAMA SERIES
The nominees: Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"; Tatiana Maslany, "Orphan Black"; Taylor Schilling, "Orange Is the New Black"; Kerry Washington, "Scandal"; Robin Wright, "House of Cards"
And the winner is: HFPA voters aren't as snooty as their Emmy counterparts (Katey Sagal won for "Sons of Anarchy" three years ago) and probably won't pass on the chance to honor Washington.
Unless: Newcomer Maslany feels like an even more "now" choice to voters for her brilliant work as Sarah Manning — and her many clones — on "Orphan Black."
The nominees: "The Big Bang Theory," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "Girls," "Modern Family," "Parks and Recreation"
And the winner is: "Girls" should repeat. "Big Bang" and "Parks" have never won, and "Modern Family" no longer has the sort of heat that attracts Globe voters.
Unless: "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," the season's funniest new show, takes it. Lead Andy Samberg's nomination indicates it has its fans among voters.
LEAD ACTOR IN A TV COMEDY SERIES
The nominees: Jason Bateman, "Arrested Development"; Don Cheadle, "House of Lies"; Michael J. Fox, "The Michael J. Fox Show"; Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory"; Andy Samberg, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
And the winner is: The HFPA has given Fox four wins over the years. His new show hasn't won over critics — or viewers — but returning him to the podium will probably prove irresistible.
Unless: The popular Parsons follows his Emmy win with his first Globe victory in three years.
LEAD ACTRESS IN A TV COMEDY SERIES
The nominees: Zooey Deschanel, "New Girl"; Lena Dunham, "Girls"; Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"; Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation"
And the winner is: Though the HFPA prefers rewarding actresses in comedies with darker tinges, Louis-Dreyfus seems a good bet as she was also nominated for her lead film turn in "Enough Said." And they haven't given her anything since "Seinfeld."
Unless: Poehler takes a break from co-hosting to give an acceptance speech.