Here are a few educated guesses on who will win at the Golden Globes
Globes distinguish between dramas and comedies/musicals in picture, top acting categories
"Lincoln" is favorite for drama; "Les Miserables" expected to win for musical/comedy
Now that the Oscar nominations are in, it’s time to think about what will happen at the Golden Globes on Sunday.
To make your Globes viewing (or betting?) more manageable, here are some of CNN’s most educated guesses on who will win and who should win, with input from some of the nominees.
Best motion picture – drama
The five contenders are “Argo,” “Django Unchained,” “Life of Pi,” “Lincoln” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”
“Lincoln” is the favorite. But the drama that should win is “Zero Dark Thirty,” which had to be revised when real life intervened with the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound.
History’s never harder to write than when it hasn’t been fully written yet – or when it has only recently been declassified. “It’s about the unsung heroes of the intelligence community,” director Kathryn Bigelow said at the National Board of Review Awards this week. “This is about the people who work in the shadows, and will continue to work in the shadows.”
Best motion picture – comedy or musical
The contenders are “Les Miserables,” “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”
It’s a little unfair that a great musical has to go up against a great dramedy. At least “Silver Linings Playbook” (which should win) will be trounced by “Les Miserables” (which will win) instead of “Lincoln,” which likely will best both come Oscar time.
Oscar nominees Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”) and Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”) are up against three directors the Academy Awards snubbed Thursday – Bigelow ("Zero Dark Thirty”), Quentin Tarantino ("Django Unchained”) and Ben Affleck ("Argo”).
Spielberg likely will win – although, really, it should be Bigelow. “I find her to be an incredibly modern storyteller who takes on weighty subjects and makes profound films,” her leading lady, Jessica Chastain, said at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards this week. “Being on set with Kathryn is a master class.”
The Globes distinguish between dramas and comedies/musicals in the best picture and leading acting categories, but not between original and adapted screenplay. It’s a fierce competition and perhaps slightly unfair to those who didn’t have a book, article or other movie as a springboard for their work.
The team of rivals here include Tony Kushner for “Lincoln” (based upon Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book), David O. Russell for “Silver Linings Playbook” (based upon Matthew Quick’s novel), Chris Terrio for “Argo” (based upon Joshuah Bearman’s article in Wired), Tarantino for “Django Unchained” (inspired by the 1966 spaghetti Western “Django”) and Mark Boal for “Zero Dark Thirty” (based upon his own reporting).
Kushner will win, but Boal should. “Mark Boal researched this film from the ground up, with a diligence and a meticulous fervor that certainly was inspiring on the page,” Bigelow said.
Best performance by an actor – drama
The leading men in the drama category are Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln”), Denzel Washington (“Flight”), Joaquin Phoenix ("The Master”) and two who were snubbed by Oscar – Richard Gere ("Arbitrage”) and John Hawkes ("The Sessions”).
Day-Lewis is the clear favorite, and even money says the notoriously method actor will win. “On the last shot of the last day, minutes after the film was completely done, Daniel embraced me and spoke to me for the first time in four months with his English accent,” Spielberg said. “That made me cry even harder.”
But what about someone who has been less talked about winning, another method actor like Phoenix?
“He is a wonderful actor,” said his “Master” co-star Amy Adams. “He was so invested and entrenched in being this unhinged person. His performance in this is beyond anything I’ve ever seen before.”
Best performance by an actress – drama
The competitors are Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Marion Cotillard (“Rust and Bone”), Helen Mirren ("Hitchcock”), Naomi Watts ("The Impossible”) and Rachel Weisz ("The Deep Blue Sea”).
Of these, only Chastain and Watts have Oscar nods, but Chastain has the edge. “Zero Dark Thirty” is a procedural, however, and despite Chastain being a great actress, it’s not the best showcase of her work.
But Cotillard has never given a finer performance as a woman who loses her legs in a tragic accident. “It’s really about her relationship to her body,” Cotillard told CNN. “Before, she was empty, because she didn’t enjoy her life. And after, she had to learn to live again. She has a fuller life without legs. It’s an unconventional love story.”
Best performance by an actor – comedy or musical
If only the great comedians didn’t have to go up against the great musical performers, because there’s only one leading man in this category who’s both funny and sings: Jack Black for “Bernie.”
Black’s competition includes Hugh Jackman (“Les Miserables”), Bradley Cooper (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Ewan McGregor ("Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”) and Bill Murray ("Hyde Park on Hudson”).
Jackman will win for his portrayal of Jean Valjean, but the most truly insane performance of the year belongs to Cooper. DiCaprio called it “unbelievable.” Josh Brolin called Cooper “amazing.” We call him another should-be winner.
Best performance by an actress – comedy or musical
Jennifer Lawrence, Cooper’s “Silver Linings” co-star, has some stiff competition in this category – Meryl Streep (“Hope Springs”), Maggie Smith (“Quartet”), Judi Dench ("The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”) and Emily Blunt ("Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”).
Despite facing off against such heavyweights, Lawrence should win for her portrayal of a promiscuous widow with a depressive disorder who ropes Cooper into a dance competition. “When she came over the transom with her Skype audition, I was like, ‘Oh my God, who is this?’ ” director David O. Russell said. “Even though I had seen her on the Oscar circuit (for ‘Winter’s Bone’), I never understood who she was, and she showed up on Skype dressed as the character and knocked me out. She’s a weapon waiting to be fired.”
Best performance by an actress in a supporting role
And here the separation between drama and comedy/musical ends – too bad for anyone who isn’t Anne Hathaway (“Les Miserables”).
Hathaway’s competitors include Amy Adams (“The Master”), Sally Field (“Lincoln”), Helen Hunt ("The Sessions”) and Nicole Kidman ("The Paperboy”). Kidman is the only one here who didn’t make it in the Oscar nominations – Jacki Weaver ("Silver Linings Playbook”) replaced her for the nod.
Only Field seems geared up to give Hathaway a run for her money. Her turn as Mary Lincoln was a tour de force.
Best performance by an actor in a supporting role
The supporting actor nominees are Alan Arkin (“Argo”), Tommy Lee Jones (“Lincoln”), Philip Seymour Hoffman ("The Master”) and Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio (both for “Django Unchained”), with only the latter (and the youngest) not receiving an Oscar nod this year.
Jones is the clear favorite for his portrayal of Thaddeus Stevens, with Hoffman not far behind as the charismatic leader of a cult. But Waltz’s performance as a German bounty hunter in the Deep South had more meat to it.
Best animated feature film
There’s no clear consensus in this category on which movie should win. “Brave,” “Frankenweenie,” “Hotel Transylvania,” “Rise of the Guardians” and “Wreck-It Ralph” all have a good shot, even if “Brave” might the closest thing to a favorite.
But “Frankenweenie,” Tim Burton’s passion project that began as one of the director’s first short films before becoming a full-length feature almost 30 years later, is the only one to have been part of a popular, if macabre, Museum of Modern Art exhibition.
Best foreign-language film
With the Oscar nominations, “Amour” broke out of the foreign-language category and infiltrated the best picture field, so it’s a clear favorite here – one that should win.
Although the film is an Austrian entry, thanks to director Michael Haneke, “Amour” is in French, and its lovely competitors include “A Royal Affair” (Denmark), “Kon-Tiki” (Norway), “The Intouchables” (France) and “Rust and Bone” (also France).
If there is an upset, expect it to be from one of the French rivals since all three deal with the bonds between disabled people and the caretakers who love them (in different ways ).
Best original score
John Williams (“Lincoln”), Dario Marianelli (“Anna Karenina”), Alexandre Desplat ("Argo”), Mychael Danna ("Life of Pi”) and Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil (all for “Cloud Atlas”) are the nominees.
Williams – the most celebrated of the bunch – will win for creating a score accurate to the musical sensibilities of the 19th century. But the “Cloud Atlas” trio had to create something described in David Mitchell’s book as a piece for six instrumental voices, with each solo interrupted by its successor, only to be recontinued in order (just like the book and movie’s plot).
Put another way, that’s six separate plots in six separate genres, serving as the connective tissue of the larger story. It should win, hands down.
Best original song
Keith Urban and Monty Powell (“For You,” from “Act of Valor”), Bon Jovi (“Not Running Anymore,” from “Stand Up Guys”), Taylor Swift ("Safe & Sound,” from “The Hunger Games”) and Adele ("Skyfall,” from “Skyfall”) are up against the “Les Miserables” juggernaut, which has a new original song in “Suddenly.”
The latter’s director, Tom Hooper, said, “In the novel, there’s an extraordinary description of what it’s like for Jean Valjean to discover what it’s like to love a child who is in his care, and I felt it was the one thing in the original musical that was slightly underplayed. I asked Claude-Michel Schonberg if they could write a song to show this evolution, and here it is.”
“Suddenly” will win – if “Skyfall” doesn’t – but wouldn’t it be a thrill if Swift and “The Hunger Games” could be like Katniss Everdeen in the arena, and come out the surprise victor? May the odds be ever in their favor.