Tonight, the 2013 awards season kicks into overdrive with the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards, the first event in a week full of prestigious ceremonies, including the Oscar Nominations Announcement (Thursday morning), the Critics Choice Movie Awards (Thursday Night), and the Screen Actors Guild Awards (Saturday night). After this week, we will all have much better idea of who will be taking home Gold on Oscar night. Since no member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the voting body for the Golden Globes, overlaps with the Academy, the Globes are historically not the best indication of Oscar success, but with their free-flowing booze and mix-up of movies and television, their inarguably the most fun award show of the year. Tonight, hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler return to lead the show after a more than successful evening last year (their Kathryn Bigelow/James Cameron joke still sizzles), and, frankly, we could not be more excited. Will American Hustle dominate the Comedy/Musical categories? Will Gravity or 12 Years A Slave come out on top in Drama? Below, our three critics – James Hausman, Zack Sharf, and Mike Murphy – make their picks for tonight’s show:
Best Picture – Drama
12 Years A Slave
Hausman: Compared to the Best Comedy/Musical category, the Drama race is considerably less competitive this year. In the end, it’s going to come down to two movies, Gravity or 12 Years A Slave, both equally deserving. Although I’d personally go for Gravity, my money is on 12 YEARS A SLAVE to win.
Sharf: The HFPA chose the visual splendor of Avatar over the cultural importance of The Hurt Locker in 2010 and the same should follow suit with GRAVITY, a thrill ride that out-dazzles Cameron’s 3D epic, taking the win over 12 Years.
Murphy: Like past historical drama winners Atonement, The Aviator, and Saving Private Ryan, and last year’s Argo, I can’t imagine the Globes passing over 12 YEARS A SLAVE with its visceral immersion into American history at its darkest and most horrendous. It’s powerful and epic, totally in keeping with what defines a best picture of the year (it also happens to be my favorite film of 2013). But even with my bias tabled, 12 Years a Slave seems like the appropriate Best Picture Drama choice for the HFPA.
Best Picture – Comedy/Musical
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Wolf Of Wall Street
Hausman: The only film this year to be nominated by all four of the major guilds – Directors, Producers, Writers, and Screen Actors – AMERICAN HUSTLE is all but a lock to win. While dark horses like Her and Nebraska may have a slight chance, it’s looking like Hustle is going to walk home happy tonight.
Sharf: Inside Llewyn Davis could use more support after getting shut out of all the guild awards – and no film meshes comedy and music more insightfully – but the manic, ensemble-charged wonders of AMERICAN HUSTLE are too addictive for the HFPA to ignore.
Murphy: One of the reasons I enjoy the Globes so much is because they are fun to watch and almost everybody realizes – attendees and viewers combined – that they mean close to nothing in the grand scheme of things. The majority of Hollywood gets drunk while Tina Fey and Amy Poehler make fun of anybody who is anybody, and things chug along smoothly while celebrities converse at circular dinner tables like its junior prom. It’s just so much fun. Therefore, I think the HFPA are going to play into the atmosphere they cultivate annually and award the overly debaucherous THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. While it left me a bit empty, it’s undoubtedly one of the most riotous comedies to be directed by anyone with true Hollywood clout. I imagine it to be perfectly in keeping with the HFPA’s sensibilities.
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Hausman: In a year as competitive as this I have a feeling the HFPA is looking to spread the love, so I expect a picture/director split, with 12 Years winning Best Drama and Gravity’s ALFONSO CUARON swooping in for Best Director.
Sharf: Anyone deserves the prize among this gifted group of nominees. Though I’d watch out for the rising momentum of O. Russell, the technical wizardry of ALFONSO CUARON will probably take the win.
Murphy: ALFONSO CUARON. Period. NEXT!
Spike Jonze, Her
Bob Nelson, Nebraska
Jeff Pope and Steve Coogan, Philomena
John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave
Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, American Hustle
Hausman: Spike Jonze’s grand ideas and intimate relationships may be more deserving, but I’d be surprised if RUSSELL and SINGER didn’t take home the statue for their energetic and flashy screenplay. American Hustle is definitely the most fun and lively film of those nominated, which should work in its favor.
Sharf: Spike Jonze more than deserves the prize for his unforgettable originality, but JOHN RIDLEY made 12 Years as emotionally human as it was historically important. This is a great category for the HFPA to show the historical drama some recognition if Gravity ends up taking Picture and Director.
Murphy: If Her is overlooked all night, it will most likely have the best chance in this category. SPIKE JONZE’S screenplay is as natural and tender as the finest of romance films, but its creativity is its real defining factor. Bob Nelson and John Ridley delivered immaculate written works for Nebraska and 12 Years a Slave respectively, but Jonze’s writing is a preliminary definition of romance in the ever-evolving technological landscape.
Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
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
Hausman: This one’s another toss up, as both Ejiofor and McConaughey have delivered career best performances that are being equally recognized by critics around the world. The biggest deciding factor is the fact that 12 Years A Slave was nominated for Best Drama while Dallas Buyers Club wasn’t, showing the HFPA has more of an affinity for the former. If for some reason 12 Years doesn’t win Best Drama, the HFPA may be looking to recognize the film through EJIOFOR’S incredible performance.
Sharf: Chiwetel Ejiofor’s tour-de-force performance as a free man turned slave brought us to the pit of despair and showed us the resiliency of the human spirit, but the HFPA loves its big-name movie stars and of the three – Hanks, Redford, McConaughey – the transformative MCCONAUGHEY will take the win. Much deserved after an incredible 2013.
Murphy: Redford seems like the obvious choice here. He’s a veteran screen actor of a legendary caliber delivering arguably the finest performance of his expansive career while carrying J.C. Chandor’s All is Lost without a character name and no more than five lines of dialogue. However, I’ve had this gut feeling about MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY for a very, very long time, even well before I got around to seeing Dallas Buyers Club. Once I did, however, I couldn’t stop dwelling on his captivating performance. I believe this will be a pivotal moment within the McConaissance.
Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Joaquin Phoenix, Her
Hausman: This is one category where I’d be more than happy to see any and every actor win, particularly Phoenix, but BRUCE DERN has this one. I don’t expect Nebraska to be a big winner tonight, but this would be the best and most deserving way to recognize the fantastic film.
Sharf: The character building Oscar Isaac does during Davis’ musical moments (particularly the opening and his audition) is remarkable, as is Dern’s in his character’s silent grunts and sighs, but the HFPA won’t resist the big-name, movie-chewing monster that is LEONARDO DICAPRIO in Wolf.
Murphy: Anybody could take it and I would be happy, but if my prediction about Scorsese’s Wolf taking Best Picture Musical/Comedy comes true, then I would think it’s only right they give the Globe to LEO DICAPRIO. Watching DiCaprio mature as a screen actor has been a wonder to behold, but his fearless work as the titular money-man was his opus as far as I’m concerned. Rarely would an A-lister with as much celebrity star-power as DiCaprio ever dive into a role as eye-widening as Wolf’s Jordan Belfort, but he did it almost without thinking and he just knocked it out of the park
Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
Kate Winslet, Labor Day
Hausman: CATE BLANCHETT’S all but a lock, even though Bullock is equally deserving. Blanchett’s pretty much had this award in the bag since the summer, so you’d be crazy to bet any other way.
Sharf: Like Daniel Day Lewis last year, CATE BLANCHETT is the season’s easiest no-brainer. Her ferociously magnetic work in Blue Jasmine trounces the competition.
Murphy: It’s hard to imagine anybody really beating CATE BLANCHETT. Sandra Bullock would be my ideal choice, but Blanchett has maintained her status as frontrunner since Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine dropped in the middle of the summer and recent viewers have just fueled her ferocious fire. My semi-adoration for the film aside, Blanchett is triumphant as all hell in Jasmine, so take it she shall.
Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Julie Delpy, Before Midnight
Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Hausman: While I’m pulling for Julie Delpy and her raw, vivid portrayal of Celine, I know not to get my hopes up. In reality, I expect the American Hustle love train to continue here with AMY ADAMS taking home the win.
Sharf: My heart says Delpy (but as James said above, I know not to get my hopes up). My head says Streep for obvious big-name-movie-star reasons. And yet, my cards are on the metamorphic AMY ADAMS, whose double performance in Hustle grows richer with each repeated viewing.
Murphy: Delpy and Gerwig have lingered for months, Amy Adams smoked the screen in American Hustle, and Meryl…well, she was in typical Meryl form, totally owning the mean-spirited August: Osage County. But JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS winning this category seems the most appropriate since her leading work in Enough Said is actually a comedic lead. The film has a very sweet and tender side, but it’s genuinely funny and much of that comes from the Seinfeld actress’ natural tendencies. Plus, it’s her first big screen work since 1997 and she’s a previous Globe winner for her terrific work in the first season of HBO’s Veep. When it comes to being a consistent funny woman, Louis-Dreyfus is truly as good as it gets.
Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Bruhl, Rush
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years A Slave
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Hausman: While both Daniel Bruhl and Barkhad Abdi have their champions, this is JARED LETO’S award to lose. Nearly unrecognizable as a cross-dressing AIDS patient, Leto delivers one of the best performances of the year, one that the HFPA should be frothing at the mouth to award.
Sharf: Like Blanchett, JARED LETO is the no-brainer lock in this category. He takes the transgender sidekick, loses the theatrical sass, and fills it with raw, emotional subtlety. A powerhouse indeed.
Murphy: My vote for McConaughey is still mostly grounded in hopefulness, but my prediction in favor of JARED LETO is nearly founded on fact. The long-undervalued performer disappeared entirely into the role of Rayon and just about stole Dallas Buyers Club out from underneath McConaughey. It’s a transformative performance; that’s hardly an adjective that can be attributed to the other four talented nominees. Cooper would be my second choice for his ratting work in American Hustle, but Leto is definitely the one to beat at this point.
Best Supporting Actress
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years A Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
Hausman: While I’m pulling for a win for Lupita Nyong’o or June Squibb, I’d be surprised if JENNIFER LAWRENCE didn’t win this one. Lawrence has been the media darling for the past few years and the HFPA loves to seem like they’re part of the “in” crowd, so put your money on Lawrence.
Sharf: Nyong’o comes out of nowhere and rips your heart to shreds in her powerful 12 Years debut, but JENNIFER LAWRENCE is a flashy, crazed comic force of nature. Expect America’s new sweetheart to win the hearts of the HFPA.
Murphy: Even if 12 Years a Slave somehow looses Best Picture Drama, LUPITA NYONG’O hasn’t lost any steam since October. She came into the awards race swinging and she had the extra edge of being on nobody’s radar before the film first premiered – a huge advantage. I think that this award, and probably the Oscar, is hers to lose. Jennifer Lawrence will be fighting a formidable battle and her late entrance into the awards race could surely give her a leg up, but Lawrence’s showy work doesn’t come close to Lupita’s painstakingly emotional performance.
Best Original Score
Alex Ebert, All Is Lost
Alex Heffes, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Steven Price, Gravity
John Williams, The Book Thief
Hans Zimmer, 12 Years A Slave
Hausman: While Hans Zimmer is never a bad bet, I’m putting my money on STEVEN PRICE and his instrumental score for Gravity. No other score this year played as important of a role in its film as Price’s bombastic score.
Sharf: Hans Zimmer’s 12 Years score is one of his strongest but, as James perfectly says above, STEVEN PRICE is instrumental in giving Gravity its escalating expanse of terror. Without Price, Gravity just doesn’t work.
Murphy: The experience that is Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity was managed greatly by STEVEN PRICE’S resounding score, which implemented dread, intensity, and triumph at all the necessary points in Cuaron’s 90-minute roller coaster ride. Price’s work is really marvelous, an instrumental part within a technically masterful motion picture. Price winning here honestly goes hand in hand with Cuaron’s win in the Best Director category.
Best Foreign Language Film
Blue is the Warmest Color
The Great Beauty
The Wind Rises
Hausman: I unfortunately have been very behind on my foreign cinema this year so I haven’t had a chance to see any of these films. Based on outside research and opinions though, I’d say this race is between Blue is the Warmest Color and The Past, with BLUE just squeezing ahead.
Sharf: The Great Beauty is a definite threat, but the provocatively breathtaking BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR is the deserving and probable winner, further making France’s decision to not include it in the Oscar race that much more baffling.
Murphy: BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR. This one took me a lot of thought…
Best Animated Feature Film
Despicable Me 2
Hausman: Like foreign films this year, I haven’t seen any of the animated movies nominated. However, this is still an obvious win for Disney’s FROZEN, their supposed best-animated film in over a decade.
Sharf: Combine The Croods and Despicable Me 2 and you still won’t get half of the infectious, old-school-Disney-animation joy of FROZEN.
Murphy: All hail Disney. FROZEN has got this one by a landslide.
Best Original Song
“Atlas” (Coldplay), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
“Let It Go” (Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez), Frozen
“Ordinary Love” (U2 & Danger Mouse), Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
“Please Mr. Kennedy” (Ed Rush, George Cromarty, T Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen), Inside Llewyn Davis
“Sweeter Than Fiction” (Taylor Swift & Jack Antonoff), One Chance
Sharf: “Let It Go” is a dynamite Disney anthem and I’m a fool to not choose it, but something tells me the HFPA is going gaga over the chance to award U2’s “ORDINARY LOVE”.
Murphy: I would guess something from Frozen, but since I’ve got to hang on to some kind of hope that Inside Llewyn Davis hasn’t been totally forgotten by the powers that be, I’m going to pray to the HFPA gods that “PLEASE MR. KENNEDY” receives the Globe. If anything, the fact that the Academy has disqualified it from Oscar consideration may provide it with the sympathetic votes it deserves.
Who are you rooting for tonight?
The Golden Globes air at 8pm on NBC. Hosted by Tina Fey & Amy Poehler