Golden Globes 2020 predictions: Who will win, who should win, and who didn’t get a look-in?

As the most surreal of all the awards shows approaches, Adam White trawls through the nominees and makes his forecast

Saturday 04 January 2020 09:06
Major contenders: Adam Driver in Marriage Story, Saoirse Ronan in Little Women, Joaquin Phoenix in Joker and Margot Robbie in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Major contenders: Adam Driver in Marriage Story, Saoirse Ronan in Little Women, Joaquin Phoenix in Joker and Margot Robbie in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

The most notoriously surreal of all the awards shows, the Golden Globes are annually determined by just 93 non-American journalists based in Los Angeles – but are considered to be important precursors to the Oscars regardless.

That Sunday night’s ceremony is even more male than usual, the likes of Little Women, The Farewell and Hustlers mere after-thoughts in terms of nominations, is a crushing disappointment. Likewise that many of the women-led movies which dominate the Actress categories weren’t able to break through into the show’s two Best Picture categories.

But within the Globes’ inherent absurdity is a boozy, “sure, why the hell not?” charm that has made them arguably a lot more fun than the contrastingly stuffy Academy Awards. This year, presided over by perennial exhaustion machine Ricky Gervais, won’t be much different.

It’s also a strikingly unpredictable year, with no single film emerging as a front-runner, and instead a number of popular movies gently orbiting around one another. Marriage Story, Joker, 1917, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and The Irishman all seem like dominant presences, but it also wouldn’t be enormously surprising if the likes of Rocketman or The Two Popes cruise to shock victory, either.

Here are our predictions for who will win, who should win and who should have got a look-in, for all the major categories.

Best Film (Drama)

Will win 1917

Should win Marriage Story

Shoulda got a look-in Little Women

If the Hollywood Foreign Press Association love anything, it’s a British wartime drama, and particularly one with a sliver of technological prowess. So Sam Mendes’s one-shot Second World War epic will likely take home the biggest prize of the night. It really ought to be Marriage Story, though, with its bittersweet melancholy, universally brilliant ensemble cast and impressive mastery of tone.

Best Film (Musical or Comedy)

Will win Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Should win Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Shoulda got a look-in Booksmart

Don’t be surprised if Rocketman pulls out a last-minute shock victory here – Elton John and Taron Egerton have been regulars on the awards campaign circuit over the last six months. But it would be something of a travesty if Quentin Tarantino’s magical ode to Sixties Hollywood doesn’t win, particularly when a Tarantino movie has never won a Best Film prize at the Globes.

Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino and Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran in The Irishman

Best Director

Will win Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

Should win Bong Joon-ho, Parasite

Shoulda got a look-in Greta Gerwig, Little Women

A stacked category of visionaries and Todd Phillips seems likely to result in a Scorsese victory – a win that you couldn’t truly object to, but a resolutely safe scenario all the same. Bong Joon-ho warrants it most of all, however, not only for a career of staggering experimentation, but for a film that envelopes themes of class warfare and poverty in a commercial and darkly funny package.

Best Actor (Drama)

Will win Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Should win Antonio Banderas, Pain & Glory

Shoulda got a look-in Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems

The category wherein the annual case of the crazies that afflict the Golden Globes will most likely occur, Best Actor in a Drama Film pits five stars against one another who could all realistically take home the award in any other year. A maddening Joaquin Phoenix victory seems most likely, though, even if everyone else here is doing far more interesting work – particularly Pain & Glory’s soulful and sobering Antonio Banderas.

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Best Actor (Comedy or Musical)

Will win Taron Egerton, Rocketman

Should win Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name

Shoulda got a look-in Matthew McConaughey, The Beach Bum

Eddie Murphy is sheer pleasure in Dolemite Is My Name, delivering an elevated and raucous performance that encapsulates the actor and comedian’s burning charisma. But you can’t help but feel that, particularly after Bohemian Rhapsody swept last year, the Golden Globes might be head over heels in love with Rocketman. It’d be a shame, though.

Eddie Murphy in Dolemite Is My Name

Best Actress (Drama)

Will win Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

Should win Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

Shoulda got a look-in Lupita Nyong’o, Us

The Golden Globes is the only major awards body in which Scarlett Johansson flourished in the mid-Noughties, receiving nods for four different movies over the course of three years. So she’s liked by the Hollywood Foreign Press, and they may want to finally award her. Ronan, however, should be the category’s winner, particularly when her full and captivating performance is Little Women’s only major player here.

Best Actress (Comedy or Musical)

Will win Ana de Armas, Knives Out

Should win Awkwafina, The Farewell

Shoulda got a look-in Charlize Theron, Long Shot

Unusually, this is the most intriguing category of the night, because none of its five nominees feel like they have much heat behind them. That Renee Zellweger is in the Drama category rather than this one, despite Judy’s various musical numbers, must have been personally enraging, but as a result, it’s almost anyone’s game. It would be nice to see Awkwafina take home the trophy – not only for her wonderful work in The Farewell, but because she’ll most probably be the only person of colour with an award in her hand come the end of the night.

Jennifer Lopez in a scene from Hustlers

Best Supporting Actor

Will win Joe Pesci, The Irishman

Should win Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Shoulda got a look-in Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse

Joe Pesci’s potential reign in this category throughout awards season still feels like something of a confidence trick – he is great in The Irishman, but also doesn’t get a staggering amount to do. In a category filled with career-best work by Tom Hanks and Brad Pitt, in particular, a Globe win for Pesci would feel like a waste, and more to do with his prolonged absence from cinema than his work itself.

Best Supporting Actress

Will win Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Should win Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers

Shoulda got a look-in Florence Pugh, Little Women

Dern is marvellous in Marriage Story, but it’s also the kind of work she has perfected again and again in a number of projects in recent years – most notably Big Little Lies, for which she previously won a Golden Globe in 2018. Lopez, however, is a revelation. In Hustlers, she steals scenes, embodies strength, grit and remarkable skill on stage, and reminds us all that she has long been one of Hollywood’s most unsung workhorses.

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