COLUMN: Who should win/will win the 2016 Golden Globes?
More and more each year, the Golden Globes have become more of a popularity contest than a true precursor to the Academy Awards. What you're watching on TV is a party thrown by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and hosted by Ricky Gervais in an effort to be loved and share some love. To its credit, the awards show still garners legitimate attention and ratings. The winners do get a pretty positive rub and the marketers gain a few more "Winner of..." graphics to put in the newspapers next to their films.
Popularity contest or not, I do take Oscar season seriously and I'm here to lay out my predictions and picks for this weekend's 73rd Golden Globe Awards. It's a crapshoot, but here's my best. For my full swath of data covering all things Oscar-driven, check out my 2016 Awards Tracker page where I've been reading the tea leaves of who has won what so far this year. As always, I'm not a TV guy and this is not a TV blog. That half of the awards ceremony is dead to me. Let's take a look at the film categories and pick some winners.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Nominees: Carter Burwell for "Carol," Daniel Pemberton for "Steve Jobs," Alexandre Desplat for "The Danish Girl," Ennio Morricone for "The Hateful Eight," and Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto for "The Revenant"
Hey, what about me? There are so many good film music choices this year. You could make an argument for John Williams for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." My personal favorites this year have been Ludwig Goransson's work for "Creed" and Johann Johannsson's score in "Sicario."
Who should win? If I'm picking from this bunch, I'd give it to the smallest name. Pemberton's pulsating and electronic score for "Steve Jobs" resonates more than all of the slower and more ethereal nominees on this list.
Who will win? Because he's international and a legend coming out of pseudo-retirement, this category is going to go to Ennio Morricone for "The Hateful Eight." I find the score to be secondary and too much a retread to his older stuff (including borrowed snippets from "The Thing"), but he's the favorite.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Nominees: "Love Me Like You Do" by Elle Goulding from "Fifty Shades of Grey," "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa from "Furious 7," "One Kind of Love" by Brian Wilson from "Love and Mercy," "Writing's on the Wall" by Sam Smith from "Spectre," and "Simple Song #3" by Sumi Jo from "Youth"
Hey, what about me? This is a pretty shallow and complete category. The main favorites and name nominees are there. Nothing too notable was missed. None of the animated films this year carried an original song, so no "Let It Go" routines in 2016.
Who should win and will win? The favorite is also the best choice. The Paul Walker tribute nature of "See You Again" has made it a big hit and the front-runner. Mark that winner down. The one outside upset could be Sam Smith being the biggest name, but his Bond song hasn't carried anywhere near the same weight as Adele's from three years ago.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Nominees: "Mustang," "Son of Saul," "The Brand New Testament," "The Club," "The Fencer"
Hey, what about me? In this more obscure category, there are two glaring omissions: "Timbuktu" and "The Assassin." Both of have garnered Best Foreign Language awards from smaller groups leading up the Golden Globes, where as all four of the nominees other than the eventual winner haven't won a thing.
Who should win and will win? This is a slam dunk lock. "Son of Saul" has been sweeping this category all season and threatened to crash the main Best Picture race in the same fashion that "Amour" and "The Artist" have done in the past as foreign language films. This one is easy.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Nominees: "Inside Out," "Shaun the Sheep Movie," "The Good Dinosaur," "The Peanuts Movie," "Anomalisa"
Hey, what about me? The five nominees here should match name-for-name the final five eventual Oscar nominees when they are announced on January 14. If you say "Minions" was snubbed, then you don't know good movies. Be quiet.
Who should win and will win? There is an upset possibility from "Anomalisa," but I think foreign writers aren't going to get Charlie Kaufman's head-scratcher. Remember, this is the Golden Globes. This is a popularity contest. That means everyone loves Disney and Pixar. "Inside Out" is indeed the most popular nominee and, frankly, the no-doubt best choice for this category outright without the popularity contest.
Nominees: Emma Donaghue for "Room," Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer for "Spotlight," Aaron Sorkin for "Steve Jobs," Adam McKay and Charlie Randolph for "The Big Short," and Quentin Tarantino for "The Hateful Eight"
Hey, what about me? The Golden Globes (moronically) combine original and adapted screenplay works into one jammed category. All five picks are good (well, except for Tarantino, but everyone loves Tarantino), but, in the end, too few works are rewarded with a chance to compete because of the single category. Films like "The Martian," "Carol," "Brooklyn," "Love and Mercy," and "Inside Out" are pushed out when they deserve the two categories.
Who should win and who will win? If this category was split, "Room" would win and should win for adapted screenplay and "Spotlight" would and should win in the original half. Since the original works from scratch always seem to trump adapted ones, I give the nod to "Spotlight" from McCarthy and Singer. It's splitting hairs really because "Room" is just so damn good and the novel's author herself, Emma Donaghue, wrote her own screenplay.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nominees: Michael Shannon for "99 Homes," Idris Elba for "Beasts of No Nation," Mark Rylance for "Bridge of Spies," Sylvester Stallone for "Creed," and Paul Dano for "Love and Mercy"
Hey, what about me? In a very competitive year, two big names and one small one seem missing. Mark Ruffalo was the heart of the "Spotlight" ensemble. Benicio del Toro is the menace that stirs "Sicario," and little Jacob Tremblay from "Room" gave the best child actor performance in years. All three were snubbed. Where do you make room for them? That's the hard part. You could argue Dano is a lead and no one saw "99 Homes," but that's not how this works.
Who should win and will win? The Golden Globes is a little looser with it favoritism and voting than the Oscars. So far, Mark Rylance and Sylvester Stallone have been neck-and-neck in this race, trading minor awards. I think Rylance is the kind of guy that wins the Academy's approval, even in a comparatively vacant role. That means I think this will be Stallone's night to shine and get a defacto lifetime achievement award. He's the big name everyone wants to see. In my opinion, he deserves to win outright anyway. This will be a close race between celebrity and prestige.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Nominees: Kate Winslet for "Steve Jobs," Jennifer Jason Leigh for "The Hateful Eight," Helen Mirren for "Trumbo," Jane Fonda in "Youth" and Alicia Vikander in "Ex Machina"
Hey, what about me? Two major omissions are Kristen Stewart in the foreign-backed "Clouds of Sils Maria" and Rooney Mara for "Carol." Stewart has won the second most lead-up awards in this category. She deserves this attention. As for Mara, her role was more substantial and important than both Mirren's and Fonda's. She's nominated for a leading role, but belongs here.
Who should win and will win? We've been watching her all year on this website and have deemed her "Miss 2015." This has been the year of Alicia Vikander bursting onto the scene. Having major roles in five 2015 films, she was, far and away, the best part of "Ex Machina" and yet could have easily been recognized for "The Danish Girl" as well. Her resume alone wins this Golden Globe. Either way, she's the best and most deserving.
BEST ACTRESS- MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Nominees: Lily Tomlin for "Grandma," Jennifer Lawrence for "Joy," Melissa McCarthy for "Spy," Maggie Smith for "The Lady in the Van," and Amy Schumer for "Trainwreck"
Hey, what about me? I normally enjoy the Golden Globes separately honoring drama and comedy, but they still always end up watering down the importance of a Best Actress or Best Actor winner. Nominees like McCarthy and Schumer show that. There's not really a valid snub, but I could make a personal case for Teyonah Parris for "Chi-Raq" as being better than at least McCarthy.
Who should win? It would be wonderful in the veteran favorite Lily Tomlin could come away with this award. "Grandma" is a small film, for sure, yet Tomlin as a talent is too good to lose to the other ladies here. I hope she wins for posterity's sake, but I don't think she will.
Who will win? Here's where the popularity contest comes into play. It's the battle of BFFs. Jennifer Lawrence has been the toast of Tinseltown and she's the best part about "Joy." The headlining name in female comedy this year is unquestionably Amy Schumer. She'll win the Prom Queen vote over J.Law.
BEST ACTOR- MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Nominees: Al Pacino for "Danny Collins," Mark Ruffalo for "Infinitely Polar Bear," Christian Bale for "The Big Short," Steve Carell for "The Big Short," and Matt Damon for "The Martian"
Hey, what about me? For the weakness that can be comedy choices, this is a pretty decent field. It's not like anyone wants Kevin Hart ("The Wedding Ringer"), Will Ferrell ("Get Hard"), or Mark Wahlberg ("Ted 2") in this group.
Who should win? Much like the Best Actress in the comedy/musical field, I'm going with the oldest for a personal pick. Steve Carell is really good in "The Big Short," but he's part of an ensemble and he's going to split votes with Bale. The eventual winner is more from a drama film than a comedy. I'll be the one guy that stands up and says he loved Al Pacino's effort on stage and off stage in "Danny Collins." From these five, he's the purest competitor in this field and category. Let the old guy win.
Who will win? Because of the film's huge popularity, I will be stunned if any name other than Matt Damon's is called for this award. "The Big Short" is indeed the better pure comedy, but Damon and "The Martian" are too popular. Damon has legitimate Best Actor award wins this season against the drama nominees on the other side. He's the slugger here and your likely winner.
BEST ACTRESS- DRAMA
Nominees: Saoirse Ronan for "Brooklyn," Cate Blanchett for "Carol," Rooney Mara for "Carol," Brie Larson for "Room," and Alicia Vikander for "The Danish Girl"
Hey, what about me? There is a valid argument that Cate and Rooney are both equal leads in "Carol," but the two should have been separated to make room. Along the same lines, Vikander is a lead in "The Danish Girl," but she will get her best chance in the supporting category for "Ex Machina." That creates two spots. One should go to Charlize Theron for "Mad Max: Fury Road," the fiery heart of that film and the other name should have been Carey Mulligan for either "Suffragette" or "Far from the Madding Crowd."
Who should win and will win? Because of the imagined technicalities and repeat names, this is completely a two-horse race between Ronan and Larson. It is extremely close. Both are absolutely enthralling in both of their films. Both would be welcome and beloved winners. The trends and momentum points to Brie Larson for "Room." I think her performance is the best of anyone of any gender this year, period. This is the right time and place to honor both her and "Room," my #1 film of the year.
BEST ACTOR- DRAMA
Nominees: Will Smith for "Concussion," Michael Fassbender for "Steve Jobs," Eddie Redmaye for "The Danish Girl," Leonardo DiCaprio for "The Revenant" and Bryan Cranston for "Trumbo"
Hey, what about me? Well, on one hand, Matt Damon should be over here and not in comedy. The other more deserving and missing name is Michael Keaton from "Spotlight." Cranston is the weakest nominee here. That would be the opening. I'll also throw a dark horse shout-out of respect to Michael B. Jordan for "Creed." All in all, I'm actually surprised (not in my own personal preference) that Tom Hanks's clout didn't steal someone's spot already.
Who should win and will win? This is Leonardo DiCaprio's tenth Golden Globe nomination and he has won twice ("The Aviator" and "The Wolf of Wall Street"). He is Hollywood royalty. Him winning a third time is not piling on, not when he still hasn't won that elusive Oscar. This may finally be the year it all comes together for him. DiCaprio deserves this. Smith, Redmayne, and Cranston aren't close contenders. Fassbender will put up the biggest fight and remains the one threat.
Nominees: Todd Haynes for "Carol," George Miller for "Mad Max: Fury Road," Tom McCarthy for "Spotlight," Ridley Scott for "The Martian," and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for "The Revenant"
Hey, what about me? The right five are here for the combined category. More casual fans will clamor for Quentin Tarantino to be here and maybe even Adam McKay for "The Big Short." Neither are good enough to bump any of these five. The mention is enough.
Who should win? To me, the Best Director should match the soundest artistic effort and the man or woman who got the most out of their film from a performance and presences standpoint. It's like conducting a symphony. If I had a vote, Todd Haynes would win this award for "Carol." It's a potential masterpiece effort from him as an auteur. "Spotlight" is a writer's film and "The Revenant" is a cinematographer's effort.
Who will win? "Carol" is too small of a film to represent the Best Director, even if it deserves it. That leaves a dual of big budgets between "The Martian" and "Mad Max: Fury Road." George Miller has swept just about every possible minor award in this category up to this point. He's the massive favorite over Ridley Scott and has the bigger artistic achievement in "Mad Max: Fury Road."
BEST PICTURE- MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Nominees: "Joy," "Spy," "The Big Short," "The Martian," "Trainwreck"
Hey, what about me? Cut "The Martian" right out of here straightaway. Like "Birdman" last year, it's not a pure comedy that deserves to be here. That opens a spot where I would cross categories and put "Inside Out." Yes, it will win in the animated department, but the film is good enough to be here with the big boys. It's certainly better than "Spy." Jeez!
Who should win? Anything but the overrated "Trainwreck" and the woefully dismal "Spy." This Best Picture will always be second fiddle to Best Drama. A win gains nothing for whoever gets it. By my ratings, "The Martian" is better than "The Big Short," but, as we said before, it's not a true comedy to garner votes.
Who will win? That paper-rock-scissors contest leaves "The Big Short" standing tall at the end. McKay's film is the best pure comedy on the list, a hit with audiences, and a favorite of critics. If there is a curveball here, it's over-love for "Trainwreck," but Schumer will get her award to satiate that race. This is the one place to spread the wealth to "The Big Short" and the right one.
BEST PICTURE- DRAMA
Nominees: "Mad Max: Fury Road," "Room," "Spotlight," "The Revenant," "Carol"
Hey, what about me? Going off of my own "10 Best" list, the short straws of rankings go to "The Revenant" and "Carol." I would replace them with "Sicario" and "Brooklyn" in a heartbeat. "Sicario" is visceral, deadly serious, and far more topical for this pedestal. The omission of "Brooklyn" and its international flavor really surprises me. It checks all of the boxes of being a tailor-made Oscar bait. The voters didn't bite.
Who should win and will win? As long as George Miller earns "Mad Max: Fury Road" its piece of the pie in Best Director, this should be "Spotlight" moving ahead for the win. Then again, the same could be said if Miller is upset in Best Director and "Spotlight" already got its dessert in Best Screenplay. It will be interesting to see where the dominoes fall. McCarthy's journalism drama is the far more superior film, plain and simple. This vote shouldn't be close, but it will be with the big awards love going around for "Mad Max: Fury Road."