Essays · Movies · TV

2017 Golden Globe Predictions

By  · Published on January 8th, 2017

La La Land, Moonlight, and The People v. O.J. will win big.

If the Oscars are Hollywood’s prom, then the Golden Globes are its cotillion ball, a kind of practice run that introduces the richest and most popular darlings ahead of their more mainstream and memorable night. Of course, as far as etiquette goes, the shows are flipped and the cotillion is where the kids get more wild. They also let the riffraff from television into the party. That’s all to say that the Globes don’t matter, but they’re fun.

And part of that fun is trying to predict how a bunch of international entertainment writers – members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association – will vote with their starstruck hearts. Fortunately, this year the Globes come after another big dance, the Critics’ Choice Awards (the Junior Prom? the trivial yet enjoyable winter formal?) and since both are similarly bestowed by a lot of selfie-happy journalists, they ought to align fairly well.

As usual, I offer no guarantees these picks will help you win any bets or pools, but if they do we’ll gladly take a share of the earnings.


Best Motion Picture – Drama

Nominees: Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight

Predicted Winner: Moonlight

One of the easiest of the night, thanks to the two awards frontrunners of the year being perfectly divided into the Globes’ separate best picture categories. If they don’t give the award to Moonlight, the HFPA voters are racist and homophobic. I can say that because it’s truly the best movie of the year.

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Nominees: 20th Century Women, Deadpool, Florence Foster Jenkins, La La Land, Sing Street

Predicted Winner: La La Land

The other side of the clearest race in a while is the only movie that really stands out here. Sorry comedic superhero movie and hip indie musical that desperately fill the slots of this category, but as good as many of these contenders are, none come even close to challenging the familiar, glamorous, Hollywood-set La La Land.

Best Actress – Drama

Nominees: Amy Adams (Arrival), Jessica Chastain (Miss Sloane), Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving), Natalie Portman (Jackie)

Predicted Winner: Natalie Portman

There could be an upset here, but while I think the Academy could very well go with Huppert, a group like the HFPA is sure to go with Portman and her good-enough accent. They’ve already honored her twice, including back in 2005 for supporting in Closer, an undeserved performance that did not wind up winning the Oscar.

Best Actor – Drama

Nominees: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Joel Edgerton (Loving), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic), Denzel Washington (Fences)

Predicted Winner: Casey Affleck

Has Affleck lost any of the battles this year on his way to the sure-thing Oscar win? Awards battles that is, not controversy battles (though he’s kinda won that one, too, I guess). The only way the HFPA won’t follow suit on this one is if they feel bad giving this to Casey before Ben, whom, unlike the Academy, they’ve recognized for acting.

Best Actress – Musical or Comedy

Nominees: Annette Bening (20th Century Women), Lily Collins (Rules Don’t Apply), Hailee Steinfeld (The Edge of Seventeen), Emma Stone (La La Land), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Predicted Winner: Emma Stone

This should be Benings to win, because so many of us want her to finally get the Oscar but know it won’t happen, yet in any other year she’d at least get the Globe because of the comedy separation. The thing is, that’s been a benefit to her before and she has received two Globes in the past. This will be the first for the much-loved Stone.

Best Actor – Musical or Comedy

Nominees: Colin Farrell (The Lobster), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins), Jonah Hill (War Dogs), Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)

Predicted Winner: Ryan Reynolds

It must be addressed: Gosling deserves to win this award this year, but not for La La Land. His performance in The Nice Guys is the funniest of the year, hands down. He’s fine in La La Land, but he’s brilliant in The Nice Guys. Alas, it doesn’t matter, because if anyone’s going to recognize a performance in a superhero movie, it’s the HFPA.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Viola Davis (Fences), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman (Lion), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

Predicted Winner: Viola Davis

One of the few awards contenders I haven’t seen yet is Fences, so I’ll just take everyone’s word, much of the buzz having originated before the movie was even viewed by anyone. The rest of the women are great, but none have been as much a part of the conversation. This will be Davis’s first Globe after five nominations, for movies and TV.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Simon Helberg (Florence Foster Jenkins), Dev Patel (Lion), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals)

Predicted Winner: Mahershala Ali

The funny thing about this category is that Ali is such a popular choice, deservedly so, that the rest of the nominees here feel almost like random picks. Ali’s competition should really be Ben Foster, John Goodman, Ralph Fiennes and Lucas Hedges. Maybe Andre Holland instead of one of them. Ali stands out way too much as it stands.

Best Director

Nominees: Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Tom Ford (Nocturnal Animals), Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)

Predicted Winner: Damien Chazelle

Did you know the HFPA, same as the Academy, has never given their award for best directing to a black filmmaker? There have been more nominated for Golden Globes, however, and interestingly the two organizations have so far only nominated the same black filmmaker once. Anyway, this isn’t the year either, because entertainment journalists love anything to do with movies about movies.

Best Screenplay

Nominees: Hell or High Water, La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, Nocturnal Animals

Predicted Winner: Manchester by the Sea

One of the hardest to predict year after year is the Golden Globe for best screenplay, a category inclusive of adapted and original works. It could go to any of these. But when the HFPA does go for something outside the best picture frontrunners, they seem to like Writers with a capital W, and that’s Lonergan among the bunch.

Best Animated Film

Nominees: Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, My Life as a Zuchini, SingZootopia

Predicted Winner: Moana

Despite what I wrote the other day, I think if anyone is going to honor Disney’s latest animated feature, it’s the HFPA. It’s between that and the other Disney feature, consistent awards winner Zootopia, but they went with How to Train Your Dragon 2 over both Big Hero 6 and The Lego Movie, and they liked Cars, so who knows with them.

Best Foreign Language Film

Nominees: Divines, Elle, Neruda, The Salesman, Toni Erdmann

Predicted Winner: Elle

Another tough category, as the Golden Globes have a wider allowance for foreign language films, not just those submitted by their countries. So they can often go against the Oscars. This year that’ll happen with a submitted but not shortlisted film, Elle, if only because it’s Paul Verhoeven. If they liked Pablo Larrain (Neruda) enough, they should have also nominated him for Jackie. And Toni Erdmann is too goofy for them.

Best Original Score

Nominees: Arrival, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Moonlight

Predicted Winner: La La Land

There are some really great and innovative scores in this bunch, and yet the Golden Globe will go to what’s arguably the least interesting. But it’s a score to a musical that will also win one of the best picture awards, so it’s a shoo-in. Whatever, because they’re not picking the true best, which is Mica Levi’s non-nominated score for Jackie, anyway.

Best Original Song

Nominees: “Can’t Stop the Feeling” (Trolls), “City of Stars” (La La Land), “Faith” (Sing), “Gold” (Gold), “How Far I’ll Go” (Moana)

Predicted Winner: “Gold”

The Golden Globes love them some animated musical tracks, yet they didn’t even nominate “Let It Go” from Frozen, so it’s hard to see them choosing the very similar “How Far I’ll Go.” It might be one of the others, then, as the HFPA is full of surprises. Of the former Mickey Mouse Club co-stars, Justin Timberlake could take the award over Ryan Gosling. Then again, the HFPA didn’t nominate “Happy” a few years back, and “Can’t Stop the Feeling” is very similar. So, it’ll be the Iggy Pop and Danger Mouse song from Gold.


Best Television Series – Drama

Nominees: The Crown, Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, This Is Us, Westworld

Predicted Winner: Westworld

They’ve never given the award to Game of Thrones and probably won’t this year, either. But which of the four newcomers will they choose instead? Stranger Things seems the expected winner but it doesn’t seem serious enough for them. And The Crown is probably too prestigious. Westworld’s not good enough to win, but that won’t matter.

Best Television Series – Comedy

Nominees: Atlanta, Black-ish, Mozart in the Jungle, Transparent, Veep

Predicted Winner: Veep

It’s not often the Golden Globes honor the same comedy series more than once, so we can probably rule out last year’s surprise winner, Mozart in the Jungle. And previous winner Transparent. They like new stuff, but I just don’t 100% feel them going with Atlanta, so it’s possibly they’ll finally recognize Veep in its least perfect season yet.

Best Limited Series or Movie Made for Television

Nominees: American Crime, The Dresser, The Night Manager, The Night Of, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Predicted Winner: The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

The Golden Globe here doesn’t always go to the usual or most deserving pick. But it’s really hard to imagine any group going against the grain on this one. If anything, maybe they’ll go with The Night Manager as a fitting follow-up to last year’s fellow BBF production Wolf Hall. Maybe the O.J. phenomenon isn’t as interesting to foreign press.

Best Actor – Drama Series

Nominees: Rami Malek (Mr. Robot), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Matthew Rhys (The Americans), Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan), Billy Bob Thornton (Goliath)

Predicted Winner: Billy Bob Thornton

Who has seen Goliath? Well, the HFPA members have, and apparently they’re huge fans. He’s Thornton is the kind of actor they’d honor in a lesser known series, too. Plus Malek may have missed his chance, Schreiber has barely deserved one, and Odenkirk and Rhys are also neither new nor overdue.

Best Actress – Drama Series

Nominees: Caitriona Balfe (Outlander), Claire Foy (The Crown), Keri Russell (The Americans), Winona Ryder (Stranger Things), Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld)

Predicted Winner: Evan Rachel Wood

Many are also expecting Stranger Things to come out on top here, but I’m going with Westworld again instead. This can’t be the thing that gets Ryder equal recognition for her prime work decades ago nor can it be her biggest award for a lead performance ever. This is one place I see the HFPA aping the BFCA and picking Wood.

Best Actor – Comedy Series

Nominees: Anthony Anderson (Black-ish), Gael Garcia Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle), Donald Glover (Atlanta), Nick Nolte (Graves), Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)

Predicted Winner: Nick Nolte

Yes, I’m going with a lot of surprises with the TV categories, because at least one of them is sure to hit and I can be the one to say I guessed it. Maybe Ryder will be deemed the comeback kid this year, or maybe that’ll be Nolte, who was last nominated for a Golden Globe in 1999 and last won in 1992. This time they get to honor him for TV.

Best Actress – Comedy Series

Nominees: Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Sarah Jessica Parker (Divorce), Issa Rae (Insecure), Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin), Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish)

Predicted Winner: Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Six nominees in this category means it’s even more difficult to predict, though it’s also possible that more women could cancel each other out. It’s absurd she hasn’t won for Veep yet but I think the HFPA is going to recognize that show this year and she gave her best performance yet. She last won a Globe in 1994 for Seinfeld.

Best Actor – Limited Series or Movie Made for Television

Nominees: Riz Ahmed (The Night Of), Bryan Cranston (All the Way), Tom Hiddleston (The Night Manager), John Turturro (The Night Of), Courtney B. Vance (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story)

Predicted Winner: Courtney B. Vance

It’s not a certainty that the two The Night Of nominees will cancel each other out, but Ahmed seems the good choice for a breakout win while Turturro is the better performance, so it is truly difficult to choose one over the other. Here’s hoping the Globes keep the People v. O.J. train going.

Best Actress – Limited Series or Movie Made for Television

Nominees: Felicity Huffman (American Crime), Riley Keough (The Girlfriend Experience), Sarah Paulson (The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story), Charlotte Rampling (London Spy), Kerry Washington (Confirmation)

Predicted Winner: Sarah Paulson

Even if that train doesn’t keep going and make every stop, if it doesn’t win for best limited series or other acting categories, it still wins for Paulson. She’s the Grand Central Station of this thing, the greatest, most necessary stop of all, and the driving force that would make anyone not interested in the story to care about her character.

Best Supporting Actor – Series, Limited Series, or Movie Made for Television

Nominees: Sterling K. Brown (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story), Hugh Laurie (The Night Manager), John Lithgow (The Crown), Christian Slater (Mr. Robot), John Travolta (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story)

Predicted Winner: John Lithgow

One of this broad category’s People v. O.J. actors doesn’t deserve to be here, while the other deserves this and all the awards. But it’s actually Lithgow’s for the taking, for his non-caricature performance as Winston Churchill. The Crown could always be honored in its future, but Lithgow won’t be around for all of it, if even any of the second season.

Best Supporting Actress – Series, Limited Series, or Movie Made for Television

Nominees: Olivia Colmaan (The Night Manager), Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), Chrissy Metz (This Is Us), Mandy Moore (This Is Us), Thandie Newton (Westworld)

Predicted Winner: Lena Headey

Yeah, it’s probably going to Newton, but who would we be if we didn’t root for at least one win for Game of Thrones? And this was Headey’s shining year and should win for it, just as Peter Dinklage won for his five years ago. If I’m going to stand with Westworld on the other predictions, I should here, too, and that is my true prediction. I’m willing to lose this one just to show the love for Headey.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.