2021 Golden Globe Winner Predictions

I’m used to saying the Golden Globes will air Sunday evening, but that’s not the case in 2022. The ceremony honoring the best of 2021 will come to us in an as yet undetermined format. This is due to various controversies brought to light recently about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and NBC’s decision not to broadcast the show.

However, the show will go on (possibly streaming on your computer) and the Globes still serve as a barometer for what Oscar voters could be thinking in coming weeks. That said, the HFPA is certainly capable of providing surprises. Just last year, Andra Day’s victory in Best Actress (Drama) for The United States vs. Billie Holiday and Jodie Foster as Supporting Actress for The Mauritanian were legitimate upsets.

As a reminder, the Globes split their picture and lead acting races into Drama and Musical/Comedy though not with the supporting derbies or screenplay. I will be making my picks along with runner-up selections while also providing numbers showing the correlation of Globe winners to Oscar recipients in each respective category for the last ten years.

Let’s get to it!

Best Motion Picture (Drama)

Nominees:

Belfast

CODA

Dune

King Richard

The Power of the Dog

Predicted Winner: Belfast

Runner-Up: The Power of the Dog

Globe Winner to Oscar Winner Ratio: 4 out of last 10 years

Commentary: The HFPA competition for the drama prize is the first major showdown between Oscar frontrunners Belfast and The Power of the Dog. With the international flavor and feel good vibes of the former, I’m picking Kenneth Branagh’s coming-of-age drama to come out ahead. If there’s a shocker in store, it could be CODA (which seems to picking up more steam on a weekly basis).

I will admit that picking Belfast to win Drama and take no other awards (as you’ll see below) feels strange. There is recent precedent, however, with 2016’s Moonlight. 

Best Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees:

Cyrano

Don’t Look Up

Licorice Pizza

Tick, Tick… Boom!

West Side Story

Predicted Winner: West Side Story

Runner-Up: Licorice Pizza

Globe Winner to Oscar Winner ratio: 2 out of the last 10 years

Commentary: I wouldn’t count out Licorice Pizza but its miss in Best Director could be telling. West Side Story should be right up HFPA’s alley and its the only feature where its maker made the director cut.

Best Director

Nominees:

Kenneth Branagh, Belfast

Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter

Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Denis Villeneuve, Dune

Predicted Winner: Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Runner-Up: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Globe Winner to Oscar Winner Ratio: 6 out of the last 10 years

Commentary: This is a tough one. Maggie Gyllenhaal’s nod for The Lost Daughter was unexpected and she’s the only contender that I feel stands no chance of winning. Branagh could certainly ride a wave of Belfast love. Villeneuve could be honored for the technical mastery of Dune. And Campion is the hopeful picking up the bulk of critics prizes. Yet I’ll go with the HFPA honoring the legendary Spielberg.

Best Performance in a Motion Picture – Drama (Actress)

Nominees:

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter

Lady Gaga, House of Gucci

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos

Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Predicted Winner: Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Runner-Up: Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Globe Winner to Oscar Winner Ratio: 6 out of the last 10 years

Commentary: This is the first test to see whether Stewart really is the frontrunner that could sweep through the season. I’m skeptical and I honestly believe any of the performers could take this (I struggled to pick the runner-up as it could be any of them). I wouldn’t put money on it, but I’ll say Stewart manages to nab the crown.

Best Performance in a Motion Picture – Drama (Actor)

Nominees:

Mahershala Ali, Swan Song

Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Will Smith, King Richard

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Predicted Winner: Will Smith, King Richard

Runner-Up: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog

Globe Winner to Oscar Winner Ratio: 8 out of the last 10 years

Commentary: As you can see, this is a rather reliable predictor of where the Academy could go. For 2021’s features, the ceremonies should boil down to Smith v. Cumberbatch. I don’t think HFPA will pass up a chance to honor one of cinema’s most durable draws for the last 25 years in one of his most acclaimed performances.

Best Performance in a Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy (Actress)

Nominees:

Marion Cotillard, Annette

Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza

Jennifer Lawrence, Don’t Look Up

Emma Stone, Cruella

Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

Predicted Winner: Emma Stone, Cruella

Runner-Up: Rachel Zegler, West Side Story

Globe Winner to Oscar Winner Ratio: 3 out of the last 10 years

Commentary: There was an upset last year when Rosamund Pike (I Care a Lot) emerged over the favored Maria Bakalova for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. The West Side love extending to Zegler is probably the smartest pick to make. Alana Haim’s work in Pizza could deliver her a victory and she probably should be listed as the runner-up. Yet if there’s any upset, I could see Stone surprising and there’s almost always one during the Globes. Perhaps against my better judgment, I’m going with it.

Best Performance in a Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy (Actor)

Nominees:

Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up

Peter Dinklage, Cyrano

Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom!

Cooper Hoffman, Licorice Pizza

Anthony Ramos, In the Heights

Predicted Winner: Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom!

Runner-Up: Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’t Look Up

Globe Winner to Oscar Winner Ratio: 1 out of the last 10 years

Commentary: Dinklage is a threat though I’ll go with DiCaprio as the runner-up since he’s arguably the biggest star in Hollywood. That said, Garfield (he’s likely #3 in the Oscar contest at the moment) is the most likely winner.

Best Supporting Performance in a Motion Picture (Actress)

Nominees:

Caitriona Balfe, Belfast

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Ruth Negga, Passing

Predicted Winner: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Runner-Up: Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Globe Winner to Oscar Winner Ratio: 7 out of the last 10 years

Commentary: Jodie Foster’s win for 2020 came out of nowhere so who really knows? I’ll go with a West Side pick and DeBose. Other than Negga, I could foresee any of these candidates making (theoretical) podium trips.

Best Supporting Performance in a Motion Picture (Actor)

Nominees:

Ben Affleck, The Tender Bar

Jamie Dornan, Belfast

Ciaran Hinds, Belfast

Troy Kotsur, CODA

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Predicted Winner: Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Runner-Up: Troy Kotsur, CODA

Globe Winner to Oscar Winner Ratio: 8 out of the last 10 years

Commentary: Another tricky one in a race where the Globes and Academy typically match. Assuming the Belfast boys split and Affleck isn’t a factor, this comes down to Smit-McPhee vs. Kotsur. A win for either could propel them to a glorious season ahead. I’m really tempted to go with Kotsur, but I’ll say this marks the best opportunity for HFPA to bestow an honor for Dog. This is a coin flip.

Best Screenplay

Nominees:

Being the Ricardos

Belfast

Don’t Look Up

Licorice Pizza

The Power of the Dog

Predicted Winner: Licorice Pizza

Runner-Up: Belfast

Globe Winner to Oscar Winner Ratio: 5 out of the last 10 years (counting both Original and Adapted Screenplays at the Oscars)

Commentary: Your guess is as good as mine here. I’m going with a bit of an upset with Pizza, but the smart money is probably on Belfast or Dog. I also wouldn’t count out Aaron Sorkin for Ricardos (he took this category last year for The Trial of the Chicago 7). And Adam McKay could be called up for Don’t Look Up which (despite its mixed reviews) is drawing plenty of ink.

Best Animated Feature

Nominees:

Encanto

Flee

Luca

My Sunny Maad

Raya and the Last Dragon

Predicted Winner: Encanto

Runner-Up: Flee

Globe Winner to Oscar Winner Ratio: 7 out of the last years

Commentary: The Globes are capable of unexpected picks here (2019’s Missing Link for example). Don’t be surprised if Flee from Iran gets this, but I’ll go with Disney’s likeliest hopeful of its trio of nominees and that’s Encanto.

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominees:

Compartment No. 6

Drive My Car

The Hand of God

A Hero

Parallel Mothers

Predicted Winner: Drive My Car

Runner-Up: Parallel Mothers

Globe Winner to Oscar Winner Ratio: 6 out of the last 10 years

Commentary: Watch out for Mothers to pull off an upset, but this is Drive My Car‘s race to lose. The Japanese drama has established itself as the frontrunner in international competitions at all ceremonies.

Best Original Score

Nominees:

Dune

Encanto

The French Dispatch

Parallel Mothers

The Power of the Dog

Predicted Winner: Dune

Runner-Up: Parallel Mothers

Globe Winner to Oscar Winner Ratio: 7 out of the last 10 years

Commentary: Another race that Mothers could unexpectedly take, I also wouldn’t discount Dispatch or Dog. This should be Dune‘s best opportunity to take a prize though.

Best Original Song

Nominees:

“Be Alive” from King Richard

“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

“Down to Joy” from Belfast

“Here I Am” from Respect

“No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

Predicted Winner: “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

Runner-Up: “Be Alive” from King Richard

Globe Winner to Oscar Winner Ratio: 6 out of the last 10 years

Commentary: This should be the battle of Billie (Eilish) for “Die” vs. Beyonce (it’s just Beyonce) for “Alive” and that should be the dynamic for the Oscars. The HFPA has honored the last two Bond themes for Skyfall and Spectre. I’ll give it a very slight edge.

And there you have it! The Golden Globes will air, err happen, Sunday. I’ll have reaction up on the blog shortly thereafter.

2021 Golden Globes Nominations: Reaction

Under a cloud of controversy and uncertainty as to what their January 9th ceremony will even look like (it won’t be on NBC), the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced their nominees this morning for the 79th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

Per usual, there were some surprises though no Kate Hudson for Best Actress in Music level one like in 2020. Overall I went 49/70 in my picks for the 14 cinematic races – going perfect in just one derby while striking out 2/5 in two others.

Let’s break them down one by one with some commentary and my initial thoughts on who/what could win:

Best Motion Picture (Drama)

Nominees: Belfast, CODA, Dune, King Richard, The Power of the Dog

How I Did: 4/5

Comments: No shockers here as my runner-up CODA got in over Nightmare Alley. Guillermo del Toro’s noir thriller got zero love from the HFPA and it’ll need to rally with Oscar voters. Belfast and Dog led all nods with seven apiece. Both could vie for the victory with the former perhaps having a slight edge.

Best Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Cyrano, Don’t Look Up, Licorice Pizza, Tick Tick… Boom!, West Side Story

How I Did: 5/5

Comments: The real mystery here was whether Cyrano or In the Heights would be the third musical of the bunch. I picked correctly. Seeing that Steven Spielberg is the only director in this race nominated, it’s hard to imagine West Side Story not emerging victorious here.

Best Director

Nominees: Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Lost Daughter), Steven Spielberg (West Side Story), Denis Villeneuve (Dune)

How I Did: 4/5

Comments: Gyllenhaal’s inclusion was not anticipated and she got in over my selection of Guillermo del Toro for Nightmare Alley. Truth be told, I could see any of the other four hopefuls taking this prize.

Best Actress (Drama)

Nominees: Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter), Lady Gaga (House of Gucci), Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos), Kristen Stewart (Spencer)

How I Did: 4/5

Comments: Colman in over Jennifer Hudson (Respect). This could absolutely be the Oscar five. Stewart is the soft frontrunner with any other of the performers viable.

Best Actor (Drama)

Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Swan Song), Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog), Will Smith (King Richard), Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth)

How I Did: 3/5

Comments: Bardem getting in is not all that unexpected but I didn’t see Ali coming. They make the cut over Bradley Cooper (Nightmare Alley) and Joaquin Phoenix (C’Mon C’Mon). This one should boil down to Smith and Cumberbatch.

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Marion Cotillard (Annette), Alana Haim (Licorice Pizza), Jennifer Lawrence (Don’t Look Up), Emma Stone (Cruella), Rachel Zegler (West Side Story)

How I Did: 4/5

Comments: Cotillard over Haley Bennett for Cyrano. As for the favorite, expect West Side Story to carry Zegler.

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy)

Nominees: Leonardo DiCaprio (Don’t Look Up), Peter Dinklage (Cyrano), Andrew Garfield (Tick Tick… Boom!), Cooper Hoffman (Licorice Pizza), Anthony Ramos (In the Heights)

How I Did: 4/5

Comments: I went a little out there with my fifth pick of Ryan Reynolds in Free Guy. Hoffman is here instead. Garfield is out in front in this one.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Caitriona Balfe (Belfast), Ariana DeBose (West Side Story), Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog), Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard), Ruth Negga (Passing)

How I Did: 4/5

Comments: Negga gets a needed boost (I had Meryl Streep for Don’t Look Up in her slot). If Jodie Foster could win an upset victory last year here for The Mauritanian, any of these performers could win.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Ben Affleck (The Tender Bar), Jamie Dornan (Belfast), Ciaran Hinds (Belfast), Troy Kotsur (CODA), Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog)

How I Did: 3/5

Comments: The Golden Globes often go for big names so the fact that Kotsur got in with HFPA bodes well for his Oscar chances. He and Affleck make it over my picks of Bradley Cooper (Licorice Pizza) and Jared Leto (House of Gucci). Conversely I’d argue that if Leto can’t make it here, his Academy prospects look shaky. Smit-McPhee is picking up critics prizes but this race is wide open in my view.

Best Screenplay

Nominees: Being the Ricardos, Belfast, Don’t Look Up, Licorice Pizza, The Power of the Dog

How I Did: 4/5

Comments: The HFPA loves them some Aaron Sorkin and his Ricardos script triumphs over West Side Story. This could be Belfast, Pizza, or Power.

Best Animated Feature

Nominees: Encanto, Flee, Luca, My Sunny Maad, Raya and the Last Dragon

How I Did: 3/5

Comments: My Sunny Maad came out of nowhere. Not so much with Raya. They’re in instead of The Mitchells vs. the Machines (which I’m genuinely surprised missed) and Vivo (which I’m not). Don’t discount Flee, but Encanto is the likely winner.

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominees: Compartment No. 6, Drive My Car, The Hand of God, A Hero, Parallel Mothers

How I Did: 2/5

Comments: Ouch. Only got Drive My Car and A Hero correct (and they could duke it out for the prize). On the cutting room floor: Flee, Titane, and The Worst Person in the World. Mothers could contend here as well.

Best Original Score

Nominees: Dune, Encanto, The French Dispatch, Parallel Mothers, The Power of the Dog

How I Did: 2/5

Comments: The pain continues as I only called Dune and Power correctly. The others are in over Nightmare Alley, Spencer, and The Tragedy of Macbeth. This should be Dune, but Power is possible too.

Best Original Song

Nominees: “Be Alive” from King Richard, “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto, “Down to Joy” from Belfast, “Here I Am” from Respect, “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die

How I Did: 3/5

Comments: The Encanto and Respect cuts make it instead of “Every Letter” from Cyrano and “Just Look Up” from Don’t Look Up. Like the Oscars, this could be a battle between Beyonce (“Be Alive”) and Billie Eilish (“No Time to Die”).

That means the following films garnered these numbers with their nominations:

7 Nominations

Belfast, The Power of the Dog

4 Nominations

Don’t Look Up, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, West Side Story

3 Nominations

Being the Ricardos, Dune, Encanto

2 Nominations

CODA, Cyrano, The Lost Daughter, Parallel Mothers, Tick Tick… Boom!

1 Nomination

Annette, Compartment No. 6, Cruella, Drive My Car, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Flee, The French Dispatch, The Hand of God, A Hero, House of Gucci, In the Heights, Luca, My Sunny Maad, No Time to Die, Passing, Raya and the Last Dragon, Respect, Spencer, Swan Song, The Tender Bar, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Oscar Predictions: Swan Song

Playing at AFI Fest ahead of its December 17th streaming premiere on Apple TV, early word is out for the futuristic drama Swan Song. Marking the feature length directorial debut for Benjamin Cleary (who won the Oscar for Live Action Short Film in 2015 for Stutterer), Mahershala Ali stars as a terminally ill man faced with decision of cloning himself. Naomie Harris, Glenn Close, and Awkwafina costar.

Based on a rather small sampling of critical reaction, the buzz seems mixed. Some reviewers are hailing it as an effective weepie while others are more soft in their praise. The bulk of write-ups are quick to point out the fine work from Ali and Harris. This isn’t their first collaboration. Five years ago, Ali knocked out all competitors to win Supporting Actor for Moonlight. Two years later, he would again be victorious in the same race for Green Book. Harris made the cut in Supporting Actress for Moonlight, but ultimately lost to Viola Davis for Fences. 

With two gold statues to his name, it’s hard to fathom this is Ali’s inaugural sole lead cinematic part. Apple will probably mount an awards push for him and Harris. However, I suspect it could be too late in the game for either to have a legit chance and the varied reaction to the quality of the pic itself won’t help. My Oscar Prediction posts for the films of 2021 will continue…