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Handicapping the Golden Globes

Sunday Jan 7, 2018

It's funny how a handful of journalist hold Hollywood hostage every January.

But such is the case of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, whose 90-or-so members have a disproportionate effect on the annual race for Oscar gold. Already their nominations - revealed last month - may influenced the first round of Oscar votes (the polling for nominations end on Friday, January 12 with the nominations announced on Tuesday, January 23.

Yet the HFPA maintains its place as next to the Oscars the most important film awards. And they can be unpredictable. With less than a hundred members voting, the results can easily tip in a close year as this one.

Plus in dividing the major film awards into two categories, Drama and Musical or Comedy, the Globes don't offer an accurate forecast of potential Oscar winners, let along nominees. No one, for instance, seriously thinks that "The Greatest Showman" has a shot at a Best Picture nom, though it has a nomination in the Musical or Comedy category this year. The same can be said for the major acting nominations, which are also divided into two groups. Did anyone aside from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association see Helen Mirren in "The Leisure Seeker?"

Mirren's place (along with Judi Dench) in the Best Actress, Musical or Comedy points to a clue in to how the HFPA votes. They tend to lean towards British films and performances, which may be why Martin McDonagh (the British playwright and filmmaker) has a shot at Best Director for "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," which was an early favorite to win a number of awards when the nominations came out last month. In the interim, other films ("The Post" and "Call Me By Your Name") have performed well enough at the box office to give "Billboard" a run.

Plus there's the "Lady Bird" factor. It is easily the most beloved film this award season - it just won the National Society of Film Critics nod for Best Picture - will the HFPA show its love for it? It would be a popular choice in this year when Hollywood's patriarchal order is under fire. Its most direct rival in the category Best Picture, Musical or Comedy is "Get Out," another film with social impact that extends beyond the popularity of the film itself.

The biggest surprise in the nominations was how well "All the Money in the World" placed with three major nominations. When they were announced, no one had seen the completed film. Even the HFPA was said not to have viewed the final version, but still gave it nods for directing (Ridley Scott), Best Actress, Drama (Michelle Williams) and Best Supporting Actor (Christopher Plummer). That it has only been a middling performer at the box office may be factor in how well it does on Sunday night.

So who will win will be anyone's guess, but here are some predictions in the film categories.

Picture, Drama: "Call Me By Your Name," ''Dunkirk," ''The Post," The Shape of Water" and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri."
Will win: "Call Me By Your Name." A classy package that hits all the right buttons.
Should win: "Dunkirk." A risky historical epic that stays in the memory.

Picture, Musical or Comedy: "The Disaster Artist," ''Get Out," ''The Greatest Showman," ''Lady Bird" and "I, Tonya."
Will win: "Lady Bird." A perfect charmer with an incandescent performance by Saoirse Ronan at its center and a warm, funny script.
Should win: "The Disaster Artist." A clever piece of meta-filmmaking courtesy of James Franco.

Director: Guillermo Del Toro, "The Shape of Water," Martin McDonagh, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," Christopher Nolan, "Dunkirk," Ridley Scott, "All the Money in the World," Steven Spielberg, "The Post."
Will win: Steven Spielberg, "The Post." Spielberg is in top form in this topical, riveting account of how the Washington Post published the Pentagon Papers.
Should win: Ridley Scott, "All the Money in the World." If only for pulling off one of the most spectacular turnarounds - replacing Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer - with record time with surprisingly good results.

Actress, Drama: 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."
Will win: Frances McDormand, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri." A compelling performance enhanced with a script that plays to her feisty spirit.
Should win: Michelle Williams. Forever the also ran, Williams is letter-perfect as a mother determined to get her son back despite the odds against her.

Actor, Drama: 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."
Will win: Timothee Chalamet, "Call Me by Your Name." A gifted young actor comes to stardom with his performance as a young Italian discovering his sexual identity.
Should win: Timothee Chalamet

Actress, Musical or Comedy: Judi Dench, "Victoria & Abdul," Helen Mirren, "The Leisure Seeker," Margot Robbie, "I, Tonya," Saoirse Ronan, "Lady Bird," Emma Stone," Battle of the Sexes.
Will win: Saoirse Ronan, "Lady Bird." Ronan is one of Hollywood's most gifted young actors and her performance in Greta Gerwig's quasi-memoir has warmth, humor and vulnerability.
Should win: Saoirse Ronan, "Lady Bird."

Actor, Musical or Comedy: Steve Carell, "Battle of the Sexes," Ansel Elgort, "Baby Driver," James Franco, "The Disaster Artist," Hugh Jackman, "The Greatest Showman," Daniel Kaluuya, "Get Out."
Will win: Daniel Kaluuya, "Get Out." What may prove this break-out sleeper's only win is for Kaluuya's perfectly measured performance in Jordan Peele's clever mix of horror and social commentary.
Should win: James Franco, "The Disaster Artist." Franco's letter-perfect impersonation of "The Room's" dark auteur Tommy Wiseau again shows what this gifted actor is capable of.

Foreign Language: "A Fantastic Woman," ''First They Killed My Father," "In the Fade," ''Loveless" and "The Square."
Will win: 'First They Killed My Father." Angelina Jolie's account of a young Cambodian's girl survival amidst the atrocities of Khmer Rouge will hit a chord with the HFPA.
Should win: "In the Fade." With a heartbreaking performance by Diane Kruger, this German film about terrorism and its impact has a devastating impact.

Animated Film: "The Boss Baby," ''The Breadwinner," ''Coco," ''Ferdinand," ''Loving Vincent."
Will win: "Coco." Pixar's latest triumph mixes serious themes involving family and death with the studio's usual mix of whimsy and invention.
Should win: "Coco."

Supporting Actress: Mary J. Blige, "Mudbound," Hong Chau, "Downsizing," Allison Janney, "I, Tonya," Laurie Metcalf, "Lady Bird," ''Octavia Spencer, "The Shape of Water."
Will win: Laurie Metcalf, "Lady Bird." After winning a Tony Award earlier this year, a win here as Saoirse Ronan's caring, if neurotic mom will help solidify her chances at an Oscar.
Should win: Hong Chau. A touching, comic performance that defines what a supporting one should be.

Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe, "The Florida Project," Armie Hammer, "Call Me by Your Name," Richard Jenkins, "The Shape of Water," Christopher Plummer, "All the Money in the World," Sam Rockwell, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri."
Will win: Willem Dafoe, "The Florida Project."A tough choice, but the money is on Willem Dafoe for his quiet, touching performance as a caring landlord in Sean Baker's luminous film.
Should win: Christopher Plummer, "All the Money in the World." Stepping in at the last minute, Plummer is so good that you can't imagine Kevin Spacey in the rol.

Screenplay: Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor, "The Shape of Water," Greta Gerwig, "Lady Bird," Liz Hannah, Josh Singer, "The Post," Martin McDonagh, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," Aaron Sorkin, "Molly's Game."
Will win: Greta Gerwig, "Lady Bird." Gerwig's fond, caustic script has an authenticity of growing up absurd in Sacremento, California.
Should win: Liz Hannah, Josh Singer, "The Post." A taut account of the Washington Post's publication of the Pentagon Papers has depth and contemporary resonance.

Original Score: Carter Burwell, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," Alexandre Desplat, "The Shape of Water," Jonny Greenwood, "Phantom Thread," John Williams, "The Post," Hans Zimmer, "Dunkirk."
Will win: Hans Zimmer, "Dunkirk." Zimmer creates an overwhelming soundscape that ably augments Christopher Nolan's epic vision.
Should win: Hans Zimmer, "Dunkirk."

Original Song: "Home," from "Ferdinand," music by Nick Jonas, Justin Tranter, Nick Monson, lyrics by Nick Jonas, Justin Tranter; "Mighty River," from "Mudbound," music by Raphael Saadiq, lyrics by Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq, Taura Stinson; "Remember Me," from "Coco," music by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez, lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez; "The Star," from "The Star," music by Mariah Carey, Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Mariah Carey, Marc Shaiman; "This is Me," from "The Greatest Showman," music by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, lyrics by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul.
Will win: "This is Me," from "The Greatest Showman," music by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, lyrics by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul. The breakout hit from this Hugh Jackman musical should continue the string of awards won by Pasek and Paul.
Should win: "This is Me," from "The Greatest Showman," music by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, lyrics by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul. Sorry, Mariah.


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