Golden Globes TV actors preview


With nominations for the 66th annual Golden Globes ceremony scheduled to be announced on Dec. 11, the guessing game has begun in earnest. Can Jon Hamm repeat his January victory for "Mad Men"? Or will Bryan Cranston's portrayal of a high school teacher-turned-meth cook on "Breaking Bad" earn him a repeat win after his September Emmy? Can "30 Rock's" smarmy onscreen network exec Alec Baldwin steal away David Duchovny's second consecutive statuette for "Californication"? Is it in the realm of possibility for Paul Giamatti to lose for "John Adams"?

Here's a look at the chief contenders in the television lead and supporting actor categories:

Actor (Drama)

The mantra at the Golden Globes is generally, "When in doubt, go with the Brit." That's why a lot of people were picking "House" (Fox) curmudgeon Hugh Laurie to win a third consecutive trophy back in January, during the WGA strike-impacted "ceremony" (actually a press conference). But lo and behold, it was "Mad Men's" (AMC) Jon Hamm who pulled off a mild upset in hauling away the gold.

This does not, of course, mean that Laurie will be denied a third statuette this time, or that Hamm will win his second in a row. The prize could also go to "Breaking Bad's" (AMC) Bryan Cranston, who pulled off one of the great upsets in recent memory by winning the Emmy in September. He has never snared a Globe, having been nominated only once before for "Malcolm in the Middle" (in 2003).

And independent souls that they are, the HFPA is loath to follow in anyone's footsteps, least of all the TV academy. So figure that Cranston remains a dark horse here despite the earlier triumph. One guy who knows something about upsets is Michael Chiklis, who pulled off his own stunner in 2002 when he won the Emmy for FX's "The Shield." He's one for three at the Globes with a win in 2003 -- but the buzz is that his phenomenal work in the show's final season could push him back into the picture in a big way this time.

Two-time nominee Michael C. Hall also has a shot at breaking onto the shortlist for Showtime's "Dexter," as does Gabriel Byrne (nominated for an Emmy this year but never a Globe) for HBO's "In Treatment."

Actor (Musical or Comedy)

They love them some David Duchovny at the Golden Globes. He's a five-time nominee and twice a winner, once for "The X-Files" in 1997 and then earlier this year for Showtime's "Californication." A nomination is a foregone conclusion, and despite his recent tabloid marital woes, Duchovny has to be seen as the favorite -- or at least maybe co-favorite with 2007 victor Alec Baldwin of NBC's "30 Rock" (who also took home the Emmy this year).

Tony Shalhoub, a four-time nominee who earned his lone Golden Globe in 2003, has to be seen as a long shot this late into the "Monk" (USA) run. The same might be true for thrice-nominated Larry David of HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

It should surprise no one if four of the five nominees from a year ago are once again honored: Duchovny, Baldwin, 2006 winner Steve Carell (for NBC's "The Office") and Lee Pace, who plays the kind of quirky character on ABC's "Pushing Daisies" that the HFPA flocks to embrace.

It's also entirely possible, however, that the ever-unpredictable Globe voters will toss a couple of newbies into the lead TV actor mix, the most likely candidates being budding stars Zachary Levi (NBC's "Chuck"), Jay Mohr (CBS' "Gary Unmarried") and Kyle Bornheimer (CBS' "Worst Week"). None of the three ever have been nominated for much of anything and would be major long shots to take home the statue, but it's easy to see one or two of them crashing the list.

Actor (Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television)

Let's just go right out on a limb and predict that Paul Giamatti's third Globe nomination (the first two were for the films "Cinderella Man" and "Sideways") will be the charm for the guy. His first two resulted in losses. His third probably won't, coming as it does for his tour de force in the title role of the critically deified HBO mini "John Adams." He already earned the Emmy, and barring a major surprise, he'll snatch up the honor here, too.

But these voters are clearly nobody's rubber stamp; ergo, it's possible it could go to one of the handful of Brits and Scots who figure to surround Giamatti on the ballot: Ralph Fiennes (HBO's "Bernard and Doris"), Tom Wilkinson (HBO's "Recount"), Daniel Radcliffe (PBS' "Masterpiece: My Boy Jack") and Robert Carlyle (PBS' "Masterpiece: The Last Enemy").

And Kevin Spacey ("Recount"), while American born, is living in London at the moment. It almost seems like gang warfare. And talk about a formidable group. Fiennes, Wilkinson, Giamatti and Spacey all have been nominated for Oscars as well as Globes, and Spacey has won the Academy Award twice.

Again, however, it appears to be Giamatti's year, at least in part because he gave a performance in "Adams" that may well have been without flaw.

Supporting Actor (Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television)

Few actors in the history of these Hollywood kudofests can match the track record of Jeremy Piven over the past four years. He has been nominated four consecutive times for both Globes and Primetime Emmys, earning three Emmy trophies in a row and grabbing his first Globe this past January. The man is on a roll for his portrayal of the colorful agent Ari Gold on HBO's "Entourage." A fifth straight nom is pretty certain, but a second successive win? We'll see.

The hurdles are likely to include Emmy victor Tom Wilkinson and nominee Stephen Dillane for their work as Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, respectively, in "John Adams."

There's also 2005 Globe winner and 2008 nominee William Shatner for ABC's "Boston Legal," Piven's "Entourage" castmate Kevin Dillon (also an '08 nominee) and the Emmy-nominated John Slattery for "Mad Men."

Also, watch out for Donald Sutherland in ABC's "Dirty Sexy Money." He's already earned eight past Globe noms, including one in January, and a pair of victories.