MOVIES BY RAJ RANADE It feels weird to say this as someone who is more often than not cranky about awards shows, but this is really one of the most exciting awards seasons in years - there's a load of truly excellent films in the running, but more importantly, this is one of the most unpredictable races in years, with no massive The Artist-style front-runner making everything a foregone conclusion. Here's a list of predictions for the Golden Globes, though keep in mind the general caveat that the Globes are far wackier than the Oscars in general and prone to major surprises: Best Picture - Drama "Argo" 50 % "Django Unchained" 5% "Life of Pi" 5% "Lincoln" 30% "Zero Dark Thirty" 10% Prediction: "Argo" Lincoln is comfortably the favorite for Best Picture in the Oscars right now, but the Globes have a serious soft spot for Hollywood glorification - and what better example could there be than the movie where Hollywood literally saves lives? Best Picture - Musical/Comedy "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" 15% "Les Miserables" 30% "Moonrise Kingdom" 10% "Silver Linings Playbook" 40% "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" 5% Prediction: Silver Linings Playbook David O. Russell's comedy is the most critically respected and Oscar-favored contender in this category, but "Les Miserables" (as much as it might be a disaster as a film) was an enormous international hit - and the Globes have a historical bias towards casts stacked with stars. Best Actress - Drama Marion Cotillard, "Rust and Bone" 20% Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty" 50% Helen Mirren, "Hitchcock" 5% Naomi Watts, "The Impossible" 20% Rachel Weisz, "The Deep Blue Sea" 5% Prediction: Jessica Chastain Chastain and Watts are the only two here whose performances were also Oscar-nominated, and Chastain is coming off a hot streak of acclaimed but un-awarded performances, which more often that not translates to an acceptance speech (and the performance is also staggering). Best Actor - Drama Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln" 50% Richard Gere, "Arbitrage" 5% John Hawkes, "The Sessions" 5% Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master" 10% Denzel Washington, "Flight" 30% Prediction: Daniel Day-Lewis Based on early critics group awards, Day-Lewis and Washington are the people to beat. Both have been nominated seven times - Washington has won twice and Day-Lewis once, but playing a revered figure in a crowd-pleaser (at least compared to "Flight"'s knotty addiction drama) may even things out. Best Actress - Comedy Emily Blunt, "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" 10% Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook" 70% Judi Dench, "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" 5% Maggie Smith, "Quartet" 5% Meryl Streep, "Hope Springs" 10% Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence Lawrence is the only Oscar nominee here, and her performance has been thoroughly acclaimed and awarded already, so she's nearly a lock. Though when it comes to anything related to awards, it's never a good idea to completely count out Meryl Streep. Best Actor - Comedy Jack Black, "Bernie" 5% Bradley Cooper, "Silver Linings Playbook," 40% Hugh Jackman, "Les Miserables" 40% Ewan McGregor, "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" 10% Bill Murray, "Hyde Park on Hudson" 5% Prediction: Bradley Cooper This is really a crap-shoot between Cooper and Jackman - both major stars that have yet to be given major awards, both acclaimed and Oscar-nominated for their performances, both in crowd-friendly roles. I'll lean towards Cooper simply because the performance is better. Best Animated Film "Brave" 25% "Frankenweenie" 30% "Wreck-it Ralph" 30% "Rise of the Guardians" 10% "Hotel Transylvania" 5% Prediction: "Frankenweenie" Another tough one - "Brave" and "Wreck-It Ralph" were the biggest hits and most acclaimed, but I'm going with "Frankenweenie" because Tim Burton is Hollywood royalty. Best Foreign Film "The Intouchables" 10% "Amour" 70% "A Royal Affair" 10% "Rust and Bone" 5% "Kon-Tiki" 5% Prediction: "Amour" "Amour" received shockingly strong support at the Oscars for a foreign film - awards voters really love this movie (and for good reason - it's a masterpiece). Best Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables" 80% Helen Hunt, "The Sessions" 5% Amy Adams, "The Master" 5% Sally Field, "Lincoln" 5% Nicole Kidman, "The Paperboy" 5% Prediction: Anne Hathaway People were calling this a lock based on Hathaway's singing in the trailer, and little that has happened since then would indicate otherwise. Best Supporting Actor Alan Arkin, "Argo" 20% Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master" 15% Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained" 15% Leonardo DiCaprio, "Django Unchained" 30% Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln" 20% Prediction: Leonardo DiCaprio This may be the toughest category of the night - any one of these actors winning seems perfectly plausible. Leaning towards DiCaprio here because of that Globes movie-star favoritism, but Jones as "Lincoln"'s emotional core and Arkin as an affectionate tribute to cranky Hollywood producers both seem fairly likely as well. Best Director Ben Affleck, "Argo" 25% Ang Lee, "Life of Pi" 5% Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln" 35% Quentin Tarantino, "Django Unchained" 10% Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty" 25% Prediction: Steven Spielberg I strongly suspect this year that Globes voters will find a way to award both Argo and Lincoln in these major categories. If Affleck does end up winning this, you might want to make a quick double-or-nothing switch to "Lincoln" for your Best Picture pick.
GOLDEN GLOBES: TV PREDICTIONS by Ace It was a banner year for television, the best of which was as good as anything that hit the big screen this year. Will the Golden Globes see it that way? Anybody's guess. BEST DRAMA SERIES Breaking Bad Boardwalk Empire Downton Abbey Homeland The Newsroom Should win: Breaking Bad, in its best season so far. Will win: Downton Abbey. Should not win: The Newsroom. (Sometimes people do talk like the characters do in Aaron Sorkin dramas... but no one ever should talk like anyone does in an Aaron Sorkin drama.) Wuz Robbed: Justified and Walking Dead. BEST ACTOR, DRAMA Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom Jon Hamm, Mad Men Should win: Bryan Cranston (Three words: Say My Name.) Will win: Jon Hamm (even though it was a weak year for Mad Men). Should not win: Jeff Daniels. Wuz Robbed: Tim Olyphant in Justified. BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA Connie Britton, Nashville Glenn Close, Damages Claire Danes, Homeland Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife Should win: Claire Danes in Homeland. Will win: Julianna Margulies in The Good Wife. BEST COMEDY OR MUSICAL The Big Bang Theory Episodes Girls Modern Family Smash Should win: Girls (in a fairly weak field). If you can only watch one episode (and that will be plenty for those who fall outside the core demographic), watch the Judd Apatow episode, The Return. Will win: Modern Family (despite the fact that it's seen better days). Wuz Robbed: Louie (specifically, the "Ikea" episode). BEST ACTOR, COMEDY Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock Don Cheadle, House of Lies Louis CK, Louie Matt LeBlanc, Episodes Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory Should win: Matt LeBlanc. Nobody watches Showtime's Episodes, but LeBlanc's douchey turn on a post-Friends era Joey is actually very sharply observed, in the great tradition of actors playing douchey turns on themselves (see also, Ted Danson on Curb Your Enthusiasm). Will win: Alec Baldwin. Unless the twitter wars kill all the good will, it's his last time at bat, and the HFP will likely want to send him out in style. Louis CK is a long shot in Louie -- you watch it for the writing, not the acting. BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY Zooey Deschanel, New Girl Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep Lena Dunham, Girls Tina Fey, 30 Rock Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation Should win: Lena Dunham (a standard-bearer for a generation that fearlessly embraces how bad they are willing to make themselves look). Will win: Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tina Fey are both safe, conservative choices. Again, it's Fey's last time at-bat, but Louis-Dreyfus did go Farrelly Brothers. TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES Game Change The Girl Hatfields and McCoys The Hour Political Animals A fifty-fifty split between Game Change (Julianne Moore was flawless as Sarah Palin, and the politics are HFP friendly) and Hatfields and McCoys, because HFP loves a Phenom.