Best film (drama)
The best motion picture (drama) category is wide open at the Golden Globes this year and there is, unlike last year, no consensus about the frontrunners. But Guillermo del Toro’s sublime fantasy The Shape of Water has attracted so much international critical support that I expect it to triumph (although in fact it could quite plausibly be entered in the musical or comedy category). Luca Guadagnino’s passionate love story Call Me By Your Name will arguably garner support among the Foreign Press Association voters and it is still my personal favourite, though I think Del Toro will come out on top. Having said that: Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, Steven Spielberg’s The Post and Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, are all real contenders, considerably more than wild cards.
Will win: The Shape of Water
Should win: Call Me By Your Name
Shoulda been a contender: The Florida Project
Best film (musical or comedy)
Greta Gerwig’s lovely autobiographical coming-of-ager Lady Bird is such a seductive movie, and has left a stardust trail of happiness everywhere it has played. I absolutely expect it to come away with a Golden Globe for Gerwig and her producers Scott Rudin, Evelyn O’Neill and Eli Bush in the musical or comedy category. But in many ways, a more resounding and satisfying result would be to see the Globe go to Jordan Peele’s liberal racism satire Get Out. It is an incendiary provocation, and the Globes’ musical and comedy section is probably the only way that the awards season will reward it. Otherwise, I, Tonya has got a real shot, and so does James Franco’s much-liked The Disaster Artist, though I think it has been a little overrated. It would have been interesting to see the Globes recognise Edgar Wright’s terrifically entertaining heist caper Baby Driver, at least partly as it is so intensely concerned with music – a robbery carried out in sync with the wheelman’s favourite tunes.
Will win: Lady Bird
Should win: Get Out
Shoulda been a contender: Baby Driver
Best actor (drama)
Two Brits are the big contenders for this prize, and my suspicion is that the time-honoured respect for Winston Churchill is going to gift it to Gary Oldman for his (excellent) portrayal of Churchill in the darkest hour of 1940, when Hitler was poised across the Channel and the prime minister faced down a policy of appeasement from Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax. Daniel Day-Lewis gives an outrageously enjoyable performance in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread – something to compare with Laurence Olivier in Rebecca. He plays the fictional 1950s fashion designer Reynolds Woodcock, who falls for a shy foreign waitress played by Vicky Krieps. It could be that Globes voters think Day-Lewis was already sufficiently rewarded for what many might think of as his ultimate performance, as Abraham Lincoln. Jason Mitchell’s excellent performance in Mudbound deserved a nod here.
Will win: Gary Oldman
Should win: Daniel Day-Lewis
Shoulda been a contender: Jason Mitchell for Mudbound
Best actress (drama)
This has got to be Frances McDormand’s year. She plays Mildred in Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, who is a compellingly tough, shrewd, disillusioned character – but it’s a performance in which there is room for sympathy, growth, and a third-act pivot away from grim resentment and towards direct action. Mildred is enraged at the failure of the local indolent and bigoted police force to catch the man who raped and murdered her teenage daughter, so she rents three dilapidated billboards to advertise her discontent and this spectacle has an explosive effect.
Otherwise, it is possible that Sally Hawkins might get the Globe for her guileless and sympathetic performance in The Shape of Water – and of course there is Meryl Streep, playing Katharine Graham in Steven Spielberg’s The Post. But I would bet that this isn’t Streep’s year, for a performance which, though perfectly watchable, is not breaking new ground.
Will win: Frances McDormand
Should win: Frances McDormand
Shoulda been a contender: Kristen Stewart for Personal Shopper
Best actor (musical or comedy)
There’s a lively spread in this category: Ansel Elgort for Baby Driver, Daniel Kaluuya for Get Out, James Franco for The Disaster Artist, Hugh Jackman for The Greatest Showman and Steve Carell for Battle of the Sexes. It’s a good list, though I would have preferred to see Baby Driver earn Edgar Wright a nomination in the director category. All in all, this has to be Kaluuya’s year for his excellent performance in the excruciatingly relevant Get Out: it was vital for the satire to work that he be completely believable – and he is.
A word, also, for Darren Aronofsky’s outrageous and controversial provocation Mother! It seems to have vanished off the radar, but it is an extremely edgy, risky, well-made picture, with a very amusing performance from Javier Bardem as an author turned religious cult leader.
Will win: Daniel Kaluuya
Should win: Daniel Kaluuya
Shoulda been a contender: Javier Bardem for Mother!
Best actress (musical or comedy)
Saoirse Ronan has surpassed herself in Gerwig’s comedy Lady Bird. As Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, a tense, lonely and yearning teenager, she is beguilingly funny and smart. It’s a deeply felt and honest performance – appreciably ahead of the other contenders, good though they are, which are more about technique than anything else. It is possible, however, that Margot Robbie will pinch it for her performance in I, Tonya, which is getting serious word-of-mouth. Zoe Kazan arguably gives more of a supporting turn in the very likable romcom The Big Sick, but she has presence and charm and it would have been nice to see her get a Globes nomination.
Will win: Saoirse Ronan
Should win: Saoirse Ronan
Shoulda been a contender: Zoe Kazan for The Big Sick
Best supporting actor
He was the last-minute replacement who absolutely stole the show; the equivalent of an 89th-minute substitution who comes on and scores a winner: Christopher Plummer was hired by Ridley Scott to play the ageing and disagreeable oil tycoon J Paul Getty in All the Money in the World, after shooting had been completed but allegations of abuse surfaced against the original actor in the role, Kevin Spacey. Plummer was born to play the role: it is as juicy as these parts ever get and he squeezes every drop. That said, it would be pleasant to see the Globes recognise a very intelligent and subtle performance from one of the best American actors working today: Willem Dafoe, who plays the caretaker Bobby in Sean Baker’s The Florida Project. One omission was Daniel Craig, who showed he can do comedy as an explosives expert in Steven Soderbergh’s very likable robbery romp Logan Lucky.
Will win: Christopher Plummer
Should win: Willem Dafoe
Shoulda been a contender: Daniel Craig for Logan Lucky
Best supporting actress
Allison Janney is a such a robust, intelligent comic performer and perennial crowdpleaser that she has to be considered a frontrunner in this category for I, Tonya. But my personal favourite was Laurie Metcalf for her wonderful, heart-wrenching seriocomic performance as Saoirse Ronan’s mother in Lady Bird, who goes through a parallel emotional crisis as her stroppy and ungrateful daughter prepares to leave for college. Catherine Keener is absolutely superb as the hypnotherapist in Get Out, who puts people under to sinister effect, and it would have been great to see this performer rewarded.
Will win: Allison Janney
Should win: Laurie Metcalf
Shoulda been a contender: Catherine Keener for Get Out
Christopher Nolan is a director in the largest and most ambitious sense: he makes big things happen, he controls vast spectacle, but he interconnects it with potent, intimate drama, marshalling ideas and images with equal elan. Dunkirk puts him in pole position for the Golden Globe for best director, though I think, as an achievement in directing, it arguably comes just behind Del Toro’s masterly The Shape of Water. I was disappointed not to see anything for Denis Villeneuve here: his control of Blade Runner 2049 was so extraordinary and it is such a jaw-dropping film.
Will win: Christopher Nolan
Should win: Guillermo del Toro
Shoulda been a contender: Denis Villeneuve for Blade Runner 2049
Aaron Sorkin is an entertainingly fierce and flashy writer, zapping us with dialogue riffs and extended speech arias; he is the inheritor of Mamet’s mantel. Molly’s Game is a wildly enjoyable if not especially profound movie, but he is a screenwriting brand with hardly any equal, and could well walk away with the Globe. Greta Gerwig’s writing in Lady Bird has no lack of zingers and laugh-lines but it is, I think, richer, deeper, more tender and more humanly plausible. Her partner, Noah Baumbach, also delivered an excellent feature last year, The Meyerowitz Stories, which perhaps could have got a nod in this section.
Will win: Molly’s Game
Should win: Lady Bird
Shoulda been a contender: The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)