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Awards

Why the Golden Globes movie races will be scrutinized this year

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Richard Jenkins and Sally Hawkins in “The Shape of Water.”
(Kerry Hayes / Fox Searchlight Pictures)

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”

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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.”

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Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in "Three Billboards."
(Fox Searchlight Pictures )

LEAD ACTRESS, MOTION PICTURE DRAMA

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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.

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Gary Oldman plays Winston Churchill in "Darkest Hour."
(Focus Features )

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.

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The cast of "Lady Bird" give some love to the film's writer-director Greta Gerwig.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times )

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.

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Saoirse Ronan in "Lady Bird."
(A24 Films )

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”

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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.

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James Franco in "The Disaster Artist."
(A24 Films )

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.

See the most-read stories this hour »

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Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale" is the favorite for the drama series Globe.
(George Kraychyk / Hulu )

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.

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Elisabeth Moss in "The Handmaid's Tale."
(George Kraychyk / Hulu )

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.

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Freddie Highmore in "The Good Doctor."
(Jack Rowand / ABC )

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.

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Rachel Brosnahan in "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."
(Amazon Prime )

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.

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Rachel Brosnahan photographed at the Up & Up in New York’s Greenwich Village.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times )

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.

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Sean Hayes, left, and Eric McCormack in "Will & Grace."
(Paul Drinkwater / NBC )

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.

Unless: Anderson, another perennial runner-up, finally wins on his third nomination.

glenn.whipp@latimes.com

Twitter: @glennwhipp


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