The 2015 Golden Globe Awards are this Sunday, so it’s time yet again to gather around and watch as the brightest stars of TV and film get roaring drunk in each other’s company while that strange shadow organization known as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association distributes statues to the most famous people they can get to show up. (How else do you explain that Best Picture nom for The Tourist a few years back?)
Most importantly, the Globes are the gateway to the televised awards season, all leading up to the Oscars. So, in the first of what will likely be a number of prediction pieces, your friendly neighborhood film staff at Consequence of Sound has put together our predictions for who we think will take home a Globe on Sunday night, and who we think is the most deserving among those nominated.
Feel free to use the following as a handy primer when you’re picking your own ballots while drinking in a living room somewhere, the way we most likely will be as well. You can even share your own picks below, too.
Best Animated Feature Film
Big Hero 6
The Book of Life
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Lego Movie
Who should win: The LEGO Movie
Who will win: The LEGO Movie
Arguably, there’s no easier pick to make for this year’s Globes. The damn thing’s a cultural phenomenon, for one, and also ended up being unfathomably good for a movie that exists to sell more LEGOs. It’s the rare kind of family movie that offers equal appeal for any and all ages. But since the praise has been almost wholly unanimous, this is probably a good time to mention that in a brick-free year, How to Train Your Dragon 2 would also be a worthy contender. Like the best Disney movies of the ‘90s renaissance, DreamWorks’ follow-up to its best-ever animated film (sorry, Shrek) is stunning in its execution and truly moving in its child-friendly parable about the ultimate costs of war. –Dominick Mayer
Best Foreign Film
Force Majeure (Sweden)
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (France)
Who should win: Ida
Who will win: Leviathan
Ida’s the little-film-that-could in the Best Foreign Film category. It’s a tender little Polish portrait that’s benefiting from repeat mentions in year-end top 10 lists and an early appearance on streaming services. Everything about Ida is divine. People have seen it, probably more than everything else in this category, and they love it (Gett and Tangerines have barely screened).
Pawel Pawlikowski’s film about a nun in the midst of an identity crisis simmers and stays with you. It’s a deserving Foreign Film winner and a testament to interest in small films. Sure, Force Majeure is a hysterical and black take on masculinity that made the rounds last fall, but it’s too grim to take awards. (Look out for anything Ruben Östlund does in the near future, as he just signed with William Morris.)
However, the Globes will award Andrey Zvyagintsev’s also-deserving Leviathan, a potent fable about selfish men and the small disasters mankind likes to beset upon one another. The Russian film is a torridly human affair, and while Ida offers a sweet heart, Leviathan challenges itself to be alive, and it compulsively delivers. –Blake Goble
Best Original Score
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
Who should win: Mica Levi, Under the Skin
Who will win: Antonio Sanchez, Birdman
Is this one of those foul-ups akin to the legend of Jack Palance accidentally awarding Marissa Tomei for her performance in My Cousin Vinny? Why wasn’t Alexandre Desplat nominated for The Grand Budapest Hotel instead of The Imitation Game? At least he wasn’t nominated for his forgettable work on Unbroken. I digress.
The winner of Best Score will go to longtime Pat Methany Group drummer Antonio Sánchez for his jazz-infused score for Birdman. It’s a dizzying score that both represents the disturbed mind of Riggan “Birdman” Thomson and guides us from crazy scene to crazier scene in Iñárritu’s behind-the-scenes look at a Broadway show. This is another difficult category to predict thanks to the inclusion of previous winners Desplat (The Painted Veil), Reznor & Ross (The Social Network), and Zimmer (Gladiator).
Best Original Song – Motion Picture
Lana Del Rey – “Big Eyes”, Big Eyes
John Legend and Common – “Glory”, Selma
Patti Smith and Lenny K – “Mercy Is”, Noah
Sia – “Opportunity”, Annie
Lorde – “Yellow Flicker Beat”, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I
Who should win: John Legend and Common – “Glory”
Who will win: John Legend and Common – “Glory”
John Legend and Common’s “Glory” doesn’t waste a second. Legend drops in at that opening piano chord singing in the gilded croon we expect of him. But something’s different. He’s singing it like he means it, and if you listen really closely, you can hear his heartbeat bleeding into the mic. You’re already hooked by the melody and Legend’s sincerity, and then the choir bursts in with a glorious “glory” that takes you to church. And then Common comes out swinging, landing every blow with lines like “Justice is juxtaposition in us/ Justice for all just ain’t specific enough” as the choir reaches a fever pitch. It’s the perfect theme for Selma, a rousing anthem that actually fills you with hope without being trite, and this might be a year the trite-loving Golden Globes get it right.
In the same manner that Selma rises above sickly biopic conventions, “Glory” rises above sickly slapped-together soundtrack crap. And like the movie, it’s a song about then and right fucking now. “That’s why Rosa sat on the bus/ That’s why we walked through Ferguson with hands up.” Plus, all of the other nominated songs are simply boring. Lana Del Rey’s “Big Eyes” is the second best, but it’s like Adele’s “Skyfall” on cough syrup. I’ll slam the door shut if Sia’s “Opportunity” knocks. Lorde’s “Yellow Flicker Beat” is just okay. And Patti Smith and Lenny K’s “Mercy Is” is a respectable dirge, but not that listenable. –Roy Ivy
Best Performance by a Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
Who should win: Patricia Arquette
Who will win: Emma Stone
Credit some of Patricia Arquette’s resonance to the visible effects of aging. More than the seemingly ageless Ethan Hawke, Arquette wears Boyhood’s 12-year shooting schedule like a badge of honor, with every wrinkle emblematic of the sacrifices her character makes over the years. But her performance is more than that: nuanced, textured, and almost unbearably vulnerable. Throughout the film, her highs and lows surpass those of co-stars Hawke and Ellar Coltrane, and to weave a credible emotional arc through them over the course of 12 years is nothing short of revelatory.
Emma Stone, however, was previously nominated for the above-average teen flick Easy A, and since then she’s matured into the next Meryl Streep — who, also nominated, will nod sagely as Stone approaches the podium — that rare kind of actress that can inject the same amount of pathos into a stale romantic comedy as she can prestige Oscar bait. And since Felicity Jones and Quvenzhané Wallis aren’t contenders here, the Globes are likely to anoint Stone as this year’s Bright Young Talent. I’m cool with that. She’s great. –Randall Colburn
Best Performance by a Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Who should win: J.K. Simmons
Who will win: J.K. Simmons
J.K. Simmons has never been easy to ignore. His singular voice, shiny scalp, and razor’s edge stand out in every one of his projects, be it on TV (Oz, Party Down) or film (Spider-Man, Burn After Reading, Juno). But as Terence Fletcher, the volcanic music teacher at the heart of Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, Simmons made ignoring him virtually impossible. His every twitch grips your chin, forcing your eyes deep into his own. And it’s here that he asks you to identify, no matter how painful it may be, with his cruelty. That’s some acting.
More than its direction or script, it’s Simmons that gave Whiplash its hype. His nomination comes with a built-in narrative of a workhorse character actor finally breaching the A-list, on which sits every other nominee in this category (well, maaaaybe not Hawke, but he’s at least been there). By giving him the trophy, the Globes will not only have just honored the best performance in this category — Norton comes in at a distant second — they’ll also have given the audience a true success story. –Randall Colburn
Best Performance by an Actress (Comedy or Musical)
Amy Adams, Big Eyes
Emily Blunt, Into the Woods
Julianne Moore, Map to the Stars
Quvenzhané Wallis, Annie
Helen Mirren, Hundred Foot Journey
Who should win: Emily Blunt
Who will win: Emily Blunt
It’s a race between Emily Blunt’s ridiculously endearing turn in Into the Woods and Amy Adams’ sad-eyed pop-art performance in Big Eyes. On the one hand, the latter is a Weinstein joint, which automatically gives it a leg up, to say nothing of how marvelously Adams brings the struggling Margaret Keane to life onscreen. But we’ll go with Blunt. She manages to give the most memorable performance in a Disney vehicle high on star power as the Baker’s Wife, whose idealism is slowly chipped away by the dark, seedy side of the film’s fairy tale forest.
As a brief aside, has anybody even had the chance to see Maps to the Stars yet that isn’t a coastal film critic or a Cannes attendee? Seriously. Anyway, again, Blunt is absolutely deserving of this one, but we’d hardly be mad if Adams took it home. –Dominick Mayer
Best Performance by an Actor (Comedy or Musical)
Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Bill Murray, St. Vincent
Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice
Christoph Waltz, Big Eyes
Who should win: Ralph Fiennes
Who will win: Michael Keaton
It would be delightful to see this award in the hands of Ralph Fiennes, the unsung hero of Wes Anderson’s majestic and manic Grand Budapest Hotel. When was the last time a charismatic and naughty performance like this was lauded? Fiennes was the fancy-boy glue that held Anderson’s pastiche together! (Only he could mutter “oh, fuck it” with such grace.) It was altogether a lovable, coarse, and timeless performance.
But awards shows love comeback stories, and Michael Keaton had the most rejuvenating 2014 with Birdman. It’s the guy’s best work in years, and it’s a bafflingly bleak and heartfelt meta-showcase of an actor in crisis. Besides, Bill Murray’s St. Vincent was too sickly sweet (and his performance too one-note), and there’s very little to be said about Christoph Waltz in Big Eyes. Meanwhile, Inherent Vice is too weird and difficult for awards.
Bottom line: This is Keaton’s award to lose. –Blake Goble
Best Performance by an Actress (Drama)
Jennifer Aniston, Cake
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Who should win: Rosamund Pike
Who will win: Julianne Moore
Awards shows hardly ever acknowledge genre fare like Gone Girl. Instead, they almost always reward either historical performances or stories of women undergoing grave struggle. Why not give it up for the most vampish and cunning feat of 2014? Rosamund Pike was deadly terrific as Amazing Amy in David Fincher’s marital bummer. The Globes ought to show a little appreciation for the fact that it’s good to be bad. Pike relished every calculated moment on screen, and Amy’s a character that will live on in film infamy.
While Still Alice suffered from microscopic distribution and often mawkish melodrama, Moore delivered a standout role as a woman slowly and sadly deteriorating from early onset Alzheimer’s. And she plays it with her usually affable grace, intelligence, and abject sadness. Also, considering the fact that she’s a four-time Oscar nominee with no statue just yet, voter sympathy is on her side with this one. Though don’t be surprised if Reese Witherspoon wins with her excellent performance in Wild. –Blake Goble
Best Performance by an Actor (Drama)
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
David Oyelowo, Selma
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Who should win: Jake Gyllenhaal
Who will win: Benedict Cumberbatch
Jake Gyllenhall gave the performance of his career in Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler. It’s hard to take your eyes off him as he drives around Los Angeles as the vicious cameraman Louis Bloom. He’s terrifying yet enigmatic, an alarming figure nuanced by his willpower and devilish intelligence. Gyllenhaal really absorbed the role, shedding over 20 pounds, and it’s his eerie gaunt look that helps to emphasize his character’s devotion. Unfortunately, those characteristics have a better shot at the Academy Awards than, say, the Golden Globes.
Which is why the award will likely go to Benedict Cumberbatch. His performance as persecuted homosexual Alan Turing in Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game is exactly what the Globes typically go for. They love tortured performances based on historical figures — ask Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland), and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote), among many others — and while his competition also fits this criteria, especially Oyelowo and Redmayne, the film truly rests on Cumberbatch’s shoulders.
Then again, the Globes have gone “alternative” before with wins for Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler), Jim Carrey (The Truman Show), and Nicholas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas), so there’s a fighting chance Gyllenhaal could be walking on stage come Sunday. All bets are on Cumberbatch, though, with odds also favoring Oyelowo. Regardless, whoever wins absolutely deserves the award. This is a stacked category and likely an early nightmare of what Oscar voters will encounter in the weeks ahead. –Michael Roffman
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
Who should win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who will win: Birdman
It may not have the flashiest screenplay or the same sentimental pull as Boyhood, but The Grand Budapest Hotel deserves to win this year’s shapely golden statuette. Wes Anderson’s dialogue crackles with his signature wit and subtle hostility, and the film’s absurd story about a hotel concierge with a boner for octogenarians is more imaginative than almost anything else I’ve seen all year. Plus, more than any other film in this category, The Grand Budapest Hotel manages to strike the perfect balance of heart, intellect, and solid storytelling.
Birdman has the edge, though. It racked up more nominations than any other film this year, and its high-concept script wows with so much rapid-fire dialogue that it could make Aaron Sorkin’s head spin. Basically, Alejandro González Iñárritu and his three co-writers have devised a screenplay so showy that it dares the Hollywood Foreign Press Association not to vote for it. –Adriane Neuenschwander
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ava Duvernay, Selma
David Fincher, Gone Girl
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Who should win: Richard Linklater
Who will win: Richard Linklater
Richard Linklater will win and more importantly should win for directing Boyhood. I say that knowing full well this category is overwhelmed with deserving nominees, including DuVernay for her definitive MLK biopic Selma, Iñárritu for his faux-one-shot trickery in Birdman, Anderson for his moving portrait The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Fincher for those opening and closing shots alone in Gone Girl. But the winner will be Linklater.
There are no flashy cuts, lens flares, or split screens in Boyhood. Linklater will win thanks to his management of the cast and crew through his many years of filming on-and-off while somehow maintaining continuity throughout. This comes through in the performances, especially those of the children. It’s hard enough to direct kids (let alone your own daughter), but Linklater was not only able to pull performances out of these newbies; he was able to do so for two-thirds of their lives. Think about that! –Justin Gerber
Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical)
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Into the Woods
Who should win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Who will win: Birdman
Even in an unusually tumultuous, open-ended awards season like this one, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s batshit masterpiece Birdman is a notable front-runner and a deserving one at that. It’s about as dark as comedy gets, it’s painfully aware of its own sins even as it commits them, and it’s a movie that almost demands you hate it just a tiny bit. And yet somehow this makes the whole experience all the richer.
But it’s hard to watch as Wes Anderson likely gets passed over yet again. The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of Anderson’s best films to date, a loving and unusually tragic caper that starts fleet-footed and ends with one of Anderson’s most poignant commentaries on the modern world to date. It’s endlessly engrossing, and it’s the kind of movie that will only strengthen the iconic director’s staunch following. –Dominick Mayer
Best Motion Picture (Drama)
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything
Who should win: Boyhood
Who will win: Boyhood
Few films in recent memory have felt as timeless and essential as Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. It’s a film that transcends any specific generation, appealing to Americans of all ages with brilliant yet subtle imagery. Try and forget that it was shot over 12 years, and zero in on the project as a whole: It’s a film about growing up, it’s a film about raising a child, it’s a film about falling in and out of love, and it’s a film about making decisions in life both bad and good. Really, it’s anything you want it to be, which is what makes the sprawling three-hour epic so extraordinary.
To its advantage, the competition is quite slim in this category, thanks to heavier hitters like Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel being slotted under Comedy/Musical. What could possibly be a wild card? Well, The Theory of Everything is gorgeous, Selma is incredibly timely, and both The Imitation Game and Foxcatcher carry exceptional performances, but neither film has the momentum and pull that Boyhood does. In fact, toss in the two aforementioned films from Musical/Comedy, and Boyhood still remains the top pick. Consider it a lock. –Michael Roffman