The Hollywood Reporter chief film critic Todd McCarthy reveals his picks ('If Beale Street Could Talk,' 'Vice') as awards analyst Scott Feinberg gives his forecast (get ready for some gold, 'A Star Is Born').
For Golden Globes TV predictions, head here.
SHOULD WIN: If Beale Street Could Talk
Both Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born, dominated by music, are nominated for drama. If Beale Street Could Talk isn't 2018's best drama, but it's the best in this oddly built category.
WILL WIN: A Star Is Born
Black Panther is the socially significant one, Bohemian Rhapsody perhaps the most enjoyed. It could break any way, but Bradley Cooper's directing nom suggests that A Star Is Born has the edge.
SHOULD WIN: Vice
Scabrous, contentious and brilliant — Adam McKay's satiric take on the career of George W. veep Dick Cheney, Vice, is remarkable in many ways, and as dark as its competitors are light.
WILL WIN: Green Book
Vice has the most noms, Mary Poppins Returns is the only musical, and The Favourite is the highbrow option. But, from what I'm hearing, Green Book has the votes.
SHOULD WIN: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
His four fellow nominees confidently put their stories on the screen, but Cuaron completely and maturely shows what it is to be a great motion picture director with an indelible stamp.
WILL WIN: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
The last helmer who won for a film not nominated in either best pic category was 11 years ago when Julian Schnabel prevailed for a film that was ineligible for a pic nom because it wasn’t in English — just like Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma. The Gravity Globe winner seems likely to fend off A Star Is Born’s Bradley Cooper.
SHOULD WIN: Willem Dafoe (At Eternity's Gate)
Although At Eternity's Gate has its problems, Willem Dafoe's interpretation of Vincent van Gogh appealingly brings out an unusually gentle, sensitive side of the oft-depicted painter.
WILL WIN: Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
It will be a shock if anyone other than A Star Is Born's Bradley Cooper or Bohemian Rhapsody's Rami Malek wins. The HFPA likes to spread its love around; Star will be recognized elsewhere.
SHOULD WIN: Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
In the captivating Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Melissa McCarthy breaks through with my favorite lead performance in any film this year, period, as a down-on-her-luck cat person turned scam artist.
WILL WIN: Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
While the HFPA adores Nicole Kidman (five past Globes) and Glenn Close (two), it's almost unfathomable that American Horror Story winner Lady Gaga won't prevail again.
SHOULD WIN: Christian Bale (Vice)
Christian Bale has transformed himself once again with his uncanny channeling of Dick Cheney, a different kind of prince of darkness than the caped one he played three times.
WILL WIN: Christian Bale (Vice)
Affection for Green Book means you cannot count out Viggo Mortensen. But HFPA voters are big on Vice, in which Christian Bale (who won a 2011 Globe for The Fighter) gives an even showier turn.
SHOULD WIN: Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
In the never-ending parade of British royals in films, none has been portrayed with anything near the ferocious vulnerability that Olivia Colman brings to 18th century monarch Queen Anne in The Favourite.
WILL WIN: Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
SHOULD WIN: Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
My favorite movie scenes of the year may be the bar interludes in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and at least 50 percent of the reason why is Grant's fabulously and scabrously witty lush, who makes Melissa McCarthy's character and the film come bracingly alive.
WILL WIN: Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
HFPA members may be tempted by young’un Timothee Chalamet and vet Richard E. Grant, but they didn’t honor Mahershala Ali the year the Academy did for Moonlight, and may wish to make it up to him this time around.
SHOULD WIN: Emma Stone (The Favourite)
This is a category in which strategic games have been played as to who's in leading and supporting slots, but in a strong group I have to go with Stone for her bared-teeth, full-register turn in Yorgos Lanthimos’ period romp.
WILL WIN: Amy Adams (Vice)
Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Claire Foy have each won before, but I expect this to come down to two-time winner Amy Adams (Vice) and Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk). Remember: Vice has the most total noms.
SHOULD WIN: Vice
All these nominees have a lot going for them and display wildly different virtues. But Adam McKay snares the prize for his conceptual audacity and a confident impudence that spurs him to take outrageous narrative chances he's good enough to get away with.
WILL WIN: The Favourite
This award doesn’t always go to one of the best picture winners, or even nominees. Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk and Vice are very American stories. Roma is understated. I have a hunch they’ll go for European humor.
SHOULD WIN: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Convincing cases could be made for each of the nominees, but Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse did two very surprising things: It revitalized an overexposed franchise and served up a vibrant array of fresh animation techniques.
WILL WIN: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
This Globe almost always goes to nominees from Disney (Ralph Breaks the Internet) or Pixar (Incredibles 2). But it feels to me like Sony’s cool and edgy Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse caught fire at just the right moment.
SHOULD WIN: Roma
All these nominees have their virtues and at least two of them, Shoplifters and Capernaum, rank among the year's best. But Roma is clearly the work of a master at the top of his form in the service of his most personal material.
WILL WIN: Roma
The assumption is that Mexico’s entry will run away with this, particularly as the film is ineligible in either best picture category. But there are more than a few German members of the HFPA, so look out for Never Look Away.
SHOULD WIN: Black Panther
Mary Poppins Returns boasts not a single memorable song and the Isle of Dogs score is heavy. The theremin-informed music boosts First Man, and the electronic twists insidiously feed the creepiness of A Quiet Place. But the explosive mix of a huge orchestra and African percussion made Black Panther soar highest.
WILL WIN: Mary Poppins Returns
Voters might well seize this category as a place to fete Black Panther or First Man, but I have to throw my chips down for the only musical of the lot, which also has more total noms than the films it shares the category with.
SHOULD WIN: "Shallow" (A Star Is Born)
Four of the five nominees here are pretty underwhelming, suggesting a dearth overall of good original songs specifically written for feature films. Virtually by default, then, the winner should be — and almost certainly will be — "Shallow" from A Star Is Born.
WILL WIN: "Shallow" (A Star Is Born)
Voters packed this race with songs from big-name artists like Kendrick Lamar, Dolly Parton, Annie Lennox and Troye Sivan, but at the end of the day they were always going to honor the anthem co-penned/performed by Gaga.
A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.