THR television critic Tim Goodman and awards analyst Scott Feinberg weigh in with their picks for "shoulds" and "wills," respectively.
SHOULD WIN: Game of Thrones
Well, clearly FX's brilliant The Americans should be the winner in this category, but since it's not nominated, ahem, Game of Thrones is the next-best pick. An unrelentingly fantastic sixth season — with no real signs of creative exhaustion — makes the HBO favorite richly deserving of the prize.
WILL WIN: The Crown
It's tempting to pick NBC's This Is Us, but it's been 11 years since a broadcast show won here. The HFPA likes prestige, or the perception thereof, and this Netflix exploration of Queen Elizabeth II's early years, with its foreign flavor and $100 million budget (for two seasons), reeks of it.
SHOULD WIN: Atlanta
HBO's Veep would be a worthy pick, but Atlanta's breakout freshman season should be rewarded here. Creator-star Donald Glover's wildly ambitious and affecting FX gem about economically strapped young black men in the titular city quickly earned him a reputation as one of the medium's premier auteurs.
WILL WIN: Atlanta
Last year's winner Mozart in the Jungle is back in contention, but the HFPA loves to be a kingmaker — for the past four years it has used this category to award a first-year show — and that leaves only one option, the Critics' Choice nominee for best comedy series and winner for best comedy actor.
SHOULD WIN: The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
There's some good competition here but let's be serious: This is elite-level work across the board. Easy.
WILL WIN: The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
FX's tour de force already has swept the Emmy and Critics' Choice awards, whereas no group has yet had a chance to acknowledge HBO's The Night Of. That makes it very tempting to predict the latter — but I just can't get past the fact that O.J. is so timely and also leads the TV field with five noms. (The Night Of isn't even the next-most-nominated miniseries; the other Night show, The Night Manager, is, with four.)
SHOULD WIN: Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Rhys is about four seasons behind the recognition he deserves and he finally got the Emmy nomination (but not the win), so that should be fixed here (even if it may not be).
WILL WIN: Billy Bob Thornton, Goliath
Rami Malek (Mr. Robot), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) and Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) return to contention; all three lost last year, and Schreiber also lost the year before. The other two slots this cycle went to The Americans' Matthew Rhys — it took them long enough, and it's hard to see him going from perennial snub to winner in one cycle — and the star of Amazon's best hope on the TV side. Go with the shiny new toy.
SHOULD WIN: Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld
Now here's a stellar list and you could argue this one 'til you're blue in the face, but I'll go with Evan Rachel Wood's dreamy magnificence. Even though Keri Russell is, like Rhys, overly due.
WILL WIN: Winona Ryder, Stranger Things
It feels like any of the five women nominated here could win. The only one who also was nominated last year is Outlander's Caitriona Balfe. The fact that The Americans' Keri Russell wasn't, even though she was eligible, indicates the group isn't as on top of her show as they should be. Then there are three from hot new shows — The Crown's Claire Foy, Stranger Things' Winona Ryder and Westworld's Evan Rachel Wood. The HFPA loves veterans and comeback kids. Ryder — who last was Globe-nominated, and won, 23 years ago — falls into both groups. Just a hunch.
SHOULD WIN: Donald Glover, Atlanta
I'm not sure how you explain not giving it to Transparent’s Jeffrey Tambor again — except by giving it to Donald Glover for his superb and distinctive lead work on the FX jewel.
WILL WIN: Donald Glover, Atlanta
The nominees include the category's last two winners, Transparent's Tambor and Mozart in the Jungle's Gael Garcia Bernal; Anthony Anderson for Black-ish, which got more noms than any other non-miniseries, but for which he wasn't even nominated before; and reps of two new shows, up-and-comer Glover for Atlanta and veteran Nolte for Graves. One of them seems likely. Glover has burned fewer bridges.
SHOULD WIN: Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
I love that Rodriguez is so amazing that we're all taking her for granted these days. That's the ultimate respect. Everybody in this category killed it, but you know what? Let's put some hardware where the love for Rodriguez is.
WILL WIN: Sarah Jessica Parker, Divorce
The HFPA has some weird aversion to Veep's Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who wins Emmys annually but hasn't won a Globe in 22 years. Not enough of them know Insecure's Issa Rae for her to win. They've recently gotten on board with Black-ish, so one can't rule out Tracee Ellis Ross. And they easily could return to one of this category's last two winners, Jane the Virgin's Gina Rodriguez or Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's Rachel Bloom. But I suspect they'll return to an old favorite for a new show: Parker for HBO's new comedy series. They previously nominated her not only for every season of Sex and the City (she won four times for that HBO show), but also for the mediocre film The Family Stone. That's love.
SHOULD WIN: Sterling K. Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Well, that affable chap Hugh Laurie was pretty damned scary in The Night Manager, but this is a category that Sterling K. Brown (as Christopher Darden) owns. It's his. They could have put his name on it six months ago. Might as well just do what needs to be done and hand it to him onstage.
WILL WIN: John Lithgow, The Crown
The Globes, unlike the Emmys, are about relationships as much as performances. So while Brown is eminently worthy, he might well lose some votes to his better-known but less-impressive costar John Travolta, or fellow veterans Hugh Laurie (The Night Manager) and Christian Slater (Mr. Robot). I suspect another vet, John Lithgow, will carry the day for his more recent work, as Winston Churchill, in The Crown.
SHOULD WIN: Thandie Newton, Westworld
Now, the HFPA kind of had a glitch in this category — let's be blunt. But it couldn't be clearer that Thandie Newton's amazing performance in a crowded, glorious Westworld cast deserves its due.
WILL WIN: Thandie Newton, Westworld
Considering that it's taken the HFPA this long to get around to nominating Game of Thrones' Lena Headey, I doubt she'll be taking home the trophy this year. If only one star of This Is Us was nominated here, rather than two (Chrissy Metz and Mandy Moore), it would be tempting to pick one of them. But I think this race really is between two excellent Brits, The Night Manager's Olivia Colman and Westworld's Newton. Flip a coin.
SHOULD WIN: John Turturro, The Night Of / Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
The Globes toss both supporting and lead performances in here because they're too busy doing the math on the champagne purchases to distinguish. So it's not really a fair category. That said, I don't care what happens, unless the peerless John Turturro or Courtney B. Vance (brilliant as Johnnie Cochran) don't win.
WILL WIN: Tom Hiddleston, The Night Manager
This is a tough call. Voters probably will avoid making a choice between The Night Of stars Riz Ahmed and John Turturro and turn elsewhere. I don't see them going for Bryan Cranston for All the Way. Most see them going for Courtney B. Vance for The People v. O.J. But I'm told there's actually considerable support for The Night Manager's Tom Hiddleston, so why not?
SHOULD WIN: Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
As much as I'd like to see Riley Keough get the immense credit she deserves for gracefully anchoring The Girlfriend Experience, this is really Sarah Paulson's trophy in the same way the supporting prize is Sterling K. Brown's. Forget should win; this is must win.
WILL WIN: Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
Nobody other than Paulson, and perhaps Marcia Clark, should even bother to show up.