Her Warner Bros JP
Joaquin Phoenix in Spike Jonze's "Her." Warner Bros.

It's that time of year again: the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards will air this Sunday. While it's facing some competition from the season premieres of popular HBO and Showtime series (“Girls,” “Shameless”), we'll be watching – we've been preparing for this for months!

We've already published our predictions in both Best Film categories: Long story short, we're betting on “12 Years a Slave” to take the Best Drama trophy, and in what we think is a more competitive pool of musical and comedy nominees, we're giving the edge to “American Hustle.” But we're prepared to be wrong. Read all about it here.

The Golden Globe movie award winners are a bit trickier to predict (although arguably more fun) than the Oscars, due to the division of Best Motion Picture and lead performance nominees into the two categories. But Best Supporting Actor and Actress are not genre-specific.

Let's start with the year's most celebrated men of the silver screen: The nominees, our predicted winner, likeliest challenger, and who, if anyone, we think deserves it more than the frontrunner.

Best Actor, Drama

Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”

Idris Elba, “Long Walk to Freedom”

Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years A Slave”

Robert Redford, “All is Lost”

Tom Hanks, “Captain Phillips”

Predicted winner: Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years A Slave”

Likeliest challenger: Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”

Deserving Dark Horse: Robert Redford, “All Is Lost”

We think the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is more likely to give Redford stronger consideration than the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, but does the HFPA think about that when they vote? Hard to say. We went back and forth between Ejiofor and McConaughey as the predicted winner, and frankly, might prefer to see McConaughey take this one. But going by the many prediction lists we read, Ejiofor appears to be the frontrunner, although not by a long shot.

Best Actor, Musical or Comedy

Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”

Joaquin Phoenix, “Her”

Christian Bale, “American Hustle”

Oscar Isaac, “Inside Llewyn Davis”

Predicted Winner: Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”

Likeliest Challengers: Oscar Isaac, “Inside Llewyn Davis;” DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Deserving Dark Horse: Joaquin Phoenix, “Her”

Bruce Dern has the critical momentum here, but any of these five actors could win with nary a raised eyebrow. Isaac could get a boost from his newcomer status and the fact that he embodied an instantaneously seminal character. But a lot of the resistance to “Inside Llewyn Davis” revolves around Llewyn's likeability, which I find pretty fascinating. We love grumpy old men and criminals, but when it comes to more ineffectual men who are unpleasant because of their neediness and selfish insecurity, they're dismissed for being too flawed. (This grievance has nothing to do with Dern's character, who is cranky and nasty at times, but proved to more complex and kinder than he initially came across. By contrast, Llewyn was a first-class jerk from start to finish.) I haven't heard many complaints about “The Wolf of Wall Street” or “American Hustle” based on their leading men, who are really bad guys, albeit powerful and rich; I would not want to be around either of them for a hot second. What's that about?

Which brings me to Phoenix in “Her.” Instead of hootin' and hollerin' all over the place like he did in last year's “The Master,” Phoenix quietly, achingly brought to life a lonely, heartbroken man who spends his days nurturing the love lives of strangers. Theodore Twombly is a genuinely nice, compassionate and completely nonjudgemental man of the kind we don't see very often in the movies, perhaps because it's harder for a character to make an impression when he's unequivocally sympathetic? If there's an upset here, we hope he's it.

Best Supporting Actor

Daniel Ruhl, “Rush”

Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”

Bradley Cooper “American Hustle”

Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”

Predicted Winner: Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

Likeliest Challenger: Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”

Most Deserving: Either of the above!

It looks like this one really is Leto's to lose, and that's A-OK by us. If Leto does lose, it will likely be to Fassbender, for his sudoric turn as a mind-bogglingly cruel plantation owner.

And now for the leading (and supporting) ladies:

Best Actress, Drama

Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”

Dame Judi Dench, “Philomena”

Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”

Emma Thompson, “Saving Mr. Banks”

Kate Winslet, “Labor Day”

Predicted Winner: Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”

Likeliest Challenger: Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”

Deserving Dark Horse: Dame Judi Dench, “Philomena”

Blanchett has been the award-season frontrunner since the minute “Blue Jasmine” premiered, and not much has changed since then. I am surprised to see that Bullock is still being considered a serious challenger, given the surplus of standout female performances this year. (And that's my cue to lament, once again, about the absence of “Short Term 12”'s Brie Larson here and elsewhere.) Blanchett and Dench both have earned their fair share of accolades, and while we're betting on Blanchett here, we don't think anyone would mind if Dench was the surprise winner.

Best Actress, Musical or Comedy

Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”

Julia Delpy, “Before Midnight”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Enough Said”

Amy Adams, “American Hustle”

Greta Gerwig, “Frances Ha”

Predicted Winner: Amy Adams, “American Hustle”

Likeliest Challenger: Any of the other four!

Deserving Dark Horse: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Enough Said”

Amy Adams was the only actor who appeared to take “American Hustle” seriously from start to finish, and she should be credited with keeping it from skidding too far into jokey, campy territory. Everyone loves her, and everyone should. We don't have a single complaint with any of the nominees, and are particularly pleased to see Louis-Dreyfus get a nod – she gave perhaps the performance of her life in the curiously overlooked “Enough Said,” but we wonder if HFPA voters might have hesitated to bestow her with two Golden Globes – we think she'll win for “Veep.” We wouldn't be surprised if Julia Delpy gets a little extra voting attention, since she's less likely to get an Oscar nomination than the others.

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”

Lupita N'yongo, “12 Years A Slave”

Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”

Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”

June Squibb, “Nebraska”

Predicted Winner: Lupita N'yongo, “12 Years A Slave”

Likeliest Challenger: Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”

Deserving Dark Horses: June Squibb, “Nebraska;” Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”

N'yongo is the odds-on favorite here, and deservingly so. That said, Jennifer Lawrence remains America's sweetheart, and if you ask me, her performance in “American Hustle” is far and away better than her Oscar-winning turn in “Silver Linings Playbook.” Upsets are possible from Squibb and Hawkins, in that order. Both performances were excellent, but were overshadowed, maybe unfairly, by tour-de-force lead performances by their co-stars.

Best Director

Steve McQueen, “12 Years A Slave”

Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”

Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”

Paul Greengrass, “Captain Phillips”

David O. Russell, “American Hustle”

Predicted Winner: Steve McQueen, “12 Years A Slave”

Likeliest Challenger: Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”

Deserving Not-So-Dark Horse: David O. Russell, “American Hustle”

I'm going against the grain in predicting that the HFPA will give McQueen the edge over Cuaron. To my mind, and I hope voters' minds as well, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki is the real star of “Gravity” (and will likely win the Oscar. ) The difference between McQueen and Cuaron is that the former brought a stunning and unexpected artistry to a historical epic in a way that complemented the narrative instead of distracting from it, which is an extremely difficult thing to do when you're dealing with the kind of material “12 Years a Slave” does. In some ways, I feel like Cuaron had a slightly easier job. It's possible that this impression is influenced by “Gravity”'s other, somewhat unrelated, flaws. In any event, the only true shock here would be if Paul Greengrass won.

Best Screenplay

“American Hustle”


“12 Years a Slave”



Predicted Winner: “American Hustle”

Likeliest Challenger: “Her”

Deserving Dark Horse: “Nebraska,” “Her”

This is the only category where a nomination for “12 Years A Slave” seems comparatively unlikely to yield it a win. “American Hustle” is, again, the frontrunner, but there's still a good chance HFPA voters will give “Nebraska” or “Her” some love, given that it represents both of their best chances of winning a Golden Globe.


We've already compiled a list of our Golden Globe TV acting predictions: We think Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) is a near lock, and we went a little rogue in predicting that Tatiana Maslany will win Best Lead Actress for “Orphan Black,” with Kerry Washington (“Scandal”) right on her heels. In the department of wishful thinking, we'd like to see Monica Potter (“Parenthood”) and Corey Stoll (“House of Cards”) win their respective supporting actor categories. Read our full TV acting predictions here.

So that leaves us with our TV show predictions, and here they are:

Best TV Series, Drama

“House of Cards”

“Breaking Bad”

“The Good Wife”

“Downton Abbey”

“Masters of Sex”

Predicted Winner: “Breaking Bad”

Likeliest Challenger: “House of Cards”

Dark Horse: “Masters of Sex”

Award shows do sometime favor newcomers, but the last season of “Breaking Bad” was its most intense – and that's saying a lot. It would be nothing short of an affront if the AMC drama didn't win the Golden Globe.

Best TV Series, Comedy

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”


“Modern Family”

“Parks and Recreation”

“The Big Bang Theory”

Predicted Winner: “Parks and Recreation”

Likeliest Challenger: “Girls”

As others have pointed out, most of the nominees did not have stellar seasons (though I've thoroughly enjoyed “Modern Family,” as usual), which is why we've gone a little out on a limb and predicted “Parks and Recreation” to win. If not now, when? Though “Parks” has been nominated for an Emmy before, and Amy Poehler has been nominated for a Golden Globe before, this is the first time the series itself has been nominated for a Golden Globe. And NBC is carrying the awards this year ... and Poehler is co-hosting...

Best TV Movie or Miniseries

“Behind the Candelabra”

“Dancing on the Edge”

“American Horror Story: Coven”

“Top of the Lake”

“The White Queen”

Predicted Winner: “Behind the Candelabra”

Likeliest Challenger: “Top of the Lake”

Even though “Behind the Candelabra” dominated “Top of the Lake” at the 2013 Emmys, we think the beautifully nutty Sundance miniseries might have a better chance with HFPA voters. (And if you haven't watched it, please do! It's on Netflix.)

The Golden Globe Awards will air on Sunday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m on NBC. Check back here for a winner's list and analysis on Monday.