Golden Globe Noms: Feinberg's Picks for the Film Categories (Analysis)

THR's awards analyst shares his picks and justifications for one of the hardest-to-predict announcements of the season.
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Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence

On Thursday morning, 24 hours after the announcement of SAG Award nominations, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will weigh in with its nominees for the 72nd Golden Globe Awards.

While the former reflected the preferences of some 2,250 actors (a handful of whom are members of the Academy's acting branch), the latter will reveal the tastes of 82 Los Angeles-based journalists for foreign media outlets (only one of whom also is a member of the Academy, 88-year-old actress-turned-journalist Lisa Lu). There are other major differences between the two groups. For one, the former tends to reward actors' actors, while the latter gravitates more toward big names. And unlike SAG-AFTRA voters, HFPA members get to honor films and people in not just one category, but two — namely, drama and musical or comedy.

For weeks now, the HFPA has deliberated about genre classifications of films and category placements of individuals, and then voted within those confines. Through consultations with HFPA members and other trusted sources, I have obtained the very latest information about those decisions, as well as a fairly reliable sense of which way the wind seems to be blowing. All of the above is reflected below, where you can find my final Golden Globes projections for the film categories.

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BEST PICTURE (DRAMA)

Brooklyn
The Revenant

Room
Spotlight
Trumbo

Alternate: Carol

Commentary: Spotlight and The Revenant are thought to be the only slam-dunks in this brutally competitive category. The group certainly can relate to the immigrant experience of Brooklyn, and is said to be fond of Room, too. (It loves to champion at least one little indie each year, especially when its lead could soon become a full-fledged star, as both of these films' could.) That's four. As for the fifth slot, Harvey Weinstein almost always manages to muscle-in at least one of his films, but this year could prove the exception — the group always has backed Quentin Tarantino's movies, but isn't big on The Hateful Eight, and isn't overly enthusiastic for Carol either, despite a full-court press by Weinstein in the final days of voting. Therefore, I'm picking Trumbo, which has gone over better with the HFPA than with most critics — although I could totally see that last slot going to Youth, a European art film from the Italian, Golden Globe-winning director of The Great Beauty. (Both come with a ton of stars who might not be nominated elsewhere.) Other movies admired by many members — such as Bridge of Spies, The Danish Girl, Concussion, Youth, Steve Jobs and Suffragette — will have to settle for lesser noms.

BEST PICTURE (MUSICAL/COMEDY)

The Big Short
Joy
The Martian

Trainwreck
Sisters

Alternate: Spy

Commentary: While the placement of The Martian in this category engendered a lot of criticism, there is no way it isn't getting nominated. Joy has had a bumpy reception, but the HFPA still is very much on-board and wants its star-studded ensemble at the ceremony. The Big Short's cast also is too good to resist — although one member told me, "It is a movie that was too smart for most people." Some members passionately advocate for the inclusion of one or two "real" comedies, which should bode well for Trainwreck (although more than a few found it crass) and/or Sisters and/or Spy, all of which have fans in the group. My hunch is that at least two of those three will get in here — although one shouldn't entirely rule out one of two well-liked movies about older women, Grandma or especially The Lady in the Van.

BEST DIRECTOR

Todd Haynes (Carol)
Alejandro G. Inarritu (The Revenant)
Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
Ridley Scott (The Martian)
Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies)

Alternate: Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight)

Commentary: Scott and Inarritu are locks, and it's almost impossible to imagine members passing up the opportunity to have Spielberg in their midst. Since they like Spotlight so much, they'll probably find a way past the relatively low-profile of McCarthy. And while they love Tarantino, I think they'll get him to the party by nominating him for his film's screenplay rather than here, where Carol's Haynes, Joy's David O. Russell or even Straight Outta Compton's F. Gary Gray might stand a better shot.

BEST ACTOR (DRAMA)

Michael Caine (Youth)
Johnny Depp (Black Mass)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
Will Smith (Concussion)

Alternate: Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)

Commentary: DiCaprio and Depp have passes for life (see their noms for J. Edgar and The Tourist, respectively), and Redmayne quickly is entering their league. Caine was in that club — he has garnered 12 Globe noms over the years — but it's been 13 years since his last, so he's a little shakier. My guess is that the star-power of Smith — along with Sony's shameless courting of the HFPA, including inviting each member and up to three of their guests to Cancun every spring — should push him past other appealing prospects such as Trumbo's Cranston, Steve Jobs' Michael Fassbender and even Bridge of Spies' Tom Hanks.

BEST ACTOR (MUSICAL/COMEDY)

Christian Bale (The Big Short)
Steve Carell (The Big Short)
Bradley Cooper (Burnt)
Matt Damon (The Martian)
Robert De Niro (The Intern)

Alternate: Al Pacino (Danny Collins)

Commentary: After you account for sure-bets The Martian's Damon (an old friend of the group) and The Big Short's Carell and Bale (the latter is competing elsewhere in the supporting category), this really is a thin category and your guess is as good as anyone's. We know the group likes Cooper and De Niro, so I'm going with them, but I wouldn't be shocked if Danny Collins' Pacino found some love.

BEST ACTRESS (DRAMA)

Cate Blanchett (Carol)
Brie Larson (Room)
Rooney Mara (Carol)
Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)

Alternate: Carey Mulligan (Suffragette)

The dynamics of this category are weird. Larson and Ronan seem to be safe. Blanchett would be, too, except that, as the star of both Carol and Truth, she can be nominated alongside — or just as easily entirely cancel out — herself. She's also sharing the category here, if only here, with co-star Mara, who, like Vikander, has been pushed in the supporting category elsewhere. The HFPA's many European members will make sure It-girl Vikander gets in, and could even push 45 Years' Charlotte Rampling into contention. Another possible spoiler: Suffragette's Mulligan.

BEST ACTRESS (MUSICAL/COMEDY)

Sandra Bullock (Our Brand Is Crisis)
Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)
Melissa McCarthy (Spy)
Amy Schumer (Trainwreck)
Maggie Smith (The Lady in the Van)

Alternate: Meryl Streep (Ricki and the Flash)

J-Law now is Hollywood royalty, and members want her bff Schumer at their party almost as much as her. There's also a strong constituency for Smith, even though she's a guaranteed no-show. McCarthy's always fun and her movie went over well with the group, so she's likely to get an invite. And Bullock, despite her film getting pummeled at the box office, is an old favorite of the group and seems as likely a bet for the fifth slot as anyone. That said, members love Fey and Poehler, who have hosted the Globes, and reportedly laughed at Sisters as hard as any movie in recent memory, so it's possible they will make a Sophie's Choice-like decision and pick one or the other. If not, they could go with Ricki and the Flash's Meryl Streep or Grandma's Lily Tomlin. And I keep hearing murmurs about how much some members love Learning to Drive, so maybe that will propel Patricia Clarkson into the field?

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Benicio Del Toro (Sicario)
Joel Edgerton (Black Mass)
Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation)
Michael Keaton (Spotlight)
Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)

Alternate: Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)

It's less likely that Spotlight will be shut out in this category here, as it was by SAG-AFTRA voters, but I could see only one of its two standouts — Keaton and Ruffalo — making the cut. Del Toro, Edgerton, Elba and Rylance are all popular with voters. Sylvester Stallone could ride the recent wave of Creed popularity to a nom, although he's never been nominated before and is not especially liked, according to one insider. The Revenant's Tom Hardy also isn't the warmest guy in the world. I'm tempted to pick 9-year-old Room scene-stealer Jacob Tremblay, as SAG-AFTRA voters did, but not all voters are enthusiastic about the idea: "I personally don't nominate children because I really think it f---- up their lives and turns them into complete monsters," says one.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Elizabeth Banks (Love & Mercy)
Jane Fonda (Youth)
Helen Mirren (Trumbo)
Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)
Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)

Alternate: Rachel McAdams (Spotlight)

This is perhaps the most wide-open category this year. Winslet, Mirren and Fonda are old favorites of the HFPA, so it seems like they should be OK. Many members are very fond of Love & Mercy, and this might be the one place in which they can acknowledge it. And they sometimes double-up on people they really like, a description that Vikander fits perfectly, so I'm going with her over Spotlight's McAdams, The Hateful Eight's Jennifer Jason Leigh and Clouds of Sils Maria's Kristen Stewart, although any of them also could happen.

BEST SCREENPLAY

The Big Short
The Hateful Eight
Room
Spotlight
Steve Jobs

Alternate: Carol

Like the best director category, this one is particularly tough to predict, since movies of all types — dramas and comedies, adapted and original — are eligible. The Martian, Brooklyn, Joy, Trainwreck and Ex Machina also could register here.

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Anomalisa
The Good Dinosaur
Inside Out
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep

Alternate: Minions

This essentially is the full field of plausible choices, apart from A Prophet, and it's hard to imagine them going with anything else.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

The Assassin
The Brand New Testament
Mustang
Phoenix
Son of Saul

Alternate: Labyrinth of Lies

Two Holocaust-related movies — possibly even three — sounds about right.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Carol
The Danish Girl
The Hateful Eight
Spotlight
The Revenant

Alternate: The Martian

I guess one also can't rule out Sicario, which was scored by last year's winner for The Theory of Everything's score, Johann Johannsson.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

"Dancin' in the Dark" (Home)
"Love Me Like You Do" (50 Shades of Grey)
"See You Again" (Furious 7)
"Simple Song #3" (Youth)
"Writing's on the Wall" (Spectre)

Alternate: "Feel the Light" (Home)

With very few exceptions, these slots go to the biggest names. Worth remembering: "Til It Happens to You," Lady Gaga's song with Diane Warren for The Hunting Ground, is ineligible because anything documentary-related cannot be considered. The HFPA doesn't do docs.

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