As the first awards show of the calendar year, the Golden Globes is often an opportunity to honor a series or star for the first time. The voting committee of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. often seems to pride itself on celebrating the unexpected and putting fresh faces on the kudos map.
While that is certain to be the case again with the 2019 awards for freshman series such as Amazon’s “Homecoming” and acting talent like “Killing Eve’s” Jodie Comer, there are also a number of repeat performers that may prove impossible to ignore. A-list actors including Julia Roberts and Emma Stone migrated mediums to the small screen this year, and last year’s comedy queen Rachel Brosnahan along with her streaming series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” are favored for repeat attention on the ballot.
On the film side, the group tends to ratchet up the Oscar season intrigue with its comedy/drama category splits, which keep a number of contenders top of mind just before Motion Picture Academy voters receive their annual ballots. This year, best-picture recognition for the hit music biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” and crossover comedy sensation “Crazy Rich Asians” could be a windfall for those respective Oscar campaigns as they and other films like “Black Panther” and “A Star Is Born” aim to infuse the Academy Awards with more popular options.
Nominees for the 76th annual Golden Globes will be announced on Dec. 6. Here, Variety predicts which titles and names are likely to be heard.
SERIES – DRAMA
“The Americans” (FX)
The critical darling has never been nominated for drama series by the HFPA, but with its six-season run coming to an end this year with an Emmy nod in the category, and wins for lead drama actor and drama writing, plus its topical tale of Russian involvement in the U.S., the foreign press may not be able to ignore it anymore.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)
Last year’s winner in the category was shut out at the Emmys this year, but it still seems inevitable that it will be honored once again. The second season of the dystopian drama extended its oppression beyond the confines of Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name and also explored what life was like outside Gilead, including spending more time internationally, in Canada.
The half-hour drama from executive producer and director Sam Esmail (“Mr. Robot”) combines two seasons of the podcast of the same name into one tight 10-episode season starring Golden Globe favorite Julia Roberts in her first small-screen series regular role. A psychologically twisty tale told over two timelines, the series launched just last month, which allows the HFPA to be the first to shower it in accolades.
“Killing Eve” (BBC America)
Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s BBC America drama couldn’t break onto the Emmy ballot, but it’s hard to imagine the HFPA passing up the chance to celebrate the genre-subverting female relationship drama that shot Sandra Oh to greater global stardom and caused Jodie Comer to become a celebrated name among critics.
The majority of the cast of Ryan Murphy and Steven Canals’ ballroom culture period piece were newcomers to television, but pulled off intensely emotional storylines about getting diagnosed with HIV in 1980s New York and creating a family after rejection. Having launched its first season in June, it missed the Emmy eligibility window by a hair, but it was the talk of the summer.
“This Is Us” (NBC)
The HFPA isn’t known for repeating nominees often, but this broadcast family drama is becoming something of a staple on awards ballots. Even though the second season delivered answers on Pearson patriarch Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) death, the current third season is diving deeper into story and going all out with production values to tackle a tale about the Vietnam War.
LEAD ACTOR – DRAMA
Sterling K. Brown
“This Is Us”
Last year’s winner still has major momentum with a new season storyline that dives into politics in a human and emotional way. He’s been nominated across two categories for the last two years, and odds are stacked in his favor that this year will be a trifecta.
“The Good Doctor”
Highmore nabbed a nom from the HFPA last year for playing a doctor with autism and savant syndrome in the Alphabet’s then-new medical drama. A repeat is likely given how widely Highmore’s star power has spread across demographics and datelines.
“Better Call Saul”
A triple-nominee (for the past three consecutive years), Odenkirk’s job has only gotten more complicated as seasons have gone on. His increasingly layered performance of manipulation in the fourth season only serves to prove why the HFPA loves him so much.
After winning the Emmy in September, Rhys has extra heat behind him for another run at the Globe. The HFPA would be remiss to pass up celebrating him one last time as Soviet spy Philip Jennings after not nominating him last year.
Schreiber has been a staple on the Globes ballot since 2014 and shows no sign of being left behind now that his Showtime drama has switched coasts and pushed him into new emotional territory. A stint hosting “Saturday Night Live” right before the noms will increase his visibility among voters.
“This Is Us”
Ventimiglia’s work keeps getting more nuanced with each season of the emotional family drama. In the third season, airing now, he dives into Jack Pearson’s past as a soldier in Vietnam, making the timing right for the HFPA to honor his consistent work as the heart of the ensemble series.
LEAD ACTRESS – DRAMA
Previously nominated for three consecutive years, this time she is balancing romance with horrors of early American life, including slavery. Despite its North American setting this season, the show still holds international appeal, and Balfe’s history with the HFPA is sure to keep her top of mind again.
English actress Comer is exactly the kind of performer the HFPA loves to celebrate. She has instant international appeal due to her roots and global-reaching series, and was overlooked at Emmy time, allowing this to be her first major awards acclaim.
“The Handmaid’s Tale”
Moss won the Globe in January but lost the Emmy in September. Still, Moss’ chances are on top as her emotional character work only became more complicated — and heartbreaking — with a rape and a decision to give up her child in the second season of Hulu’s dystopian drama.
A previous Globe winner (for her supporting role on “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2006), Oh’s lead turn in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s drama earned critical praise and an Emmy nom and, assuming HFPA voters aren’t concerned about pitting her against her co-star Jodie Comer, she should score again here.
The HFPA won’t be able to pass up a chance to reward Roberts, an eight-time film nominee (she won three times), for moving over to the small screen in her first series regular role. But it’s not just lip service: her quiet but complex, nuanced work screams for accolades beyond star power.
“House of Cards”
Wright was nominated three times (and won once) for this role in the past, but in the sixth and final season, finally without the ball and chain of Frank, Wright commands attention and respect whether she’s dealing with new political threats or breaking the fourth wall to speak directly to viewers.
SERIES – MUSICAL or COMEDY
The 2017 winner in the category had to sit out last year’s Globes race due to not airing a new season in the eligibility window. But when the second season finally launched, it was with a vengeance, breaking the boundaries of comedy even further with more standalone, character-driven episodes that played with tone and format. Such artistic expression is the bread and butter of the HFPA.
The HBO hitman-turned-actor comedy from Bill Hader and Alec Berg was a dark horse at the Emmys, but its chances of cementing a spot on the Globes ballot will certainly be boosted by the summer’s awards buzz. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that with Hader writing, producing, directing and starring, this falls under the category of auteur comedy, which the organization has a track record of loving.
Jenni Konner and Lena Dunham received Globe accolades for their HBO comedy “Girls,” and now they followed that project with a slightly more mature premium cable comedy that drew the star power of Jennifer Garner, who the HFPA loves, and David Tennant, who it seems like the HFPA would love but has thus far been known more for genre TV, which rarely gets global awards attention. Now might be the time to rectify that.
Netflix’s 1980s women’s wrestling comedy couldn’t crack the ballot last year, though its star Alison Brie did, but its second season delivered even more nuanced stories of female friendship, as well as offered unfortunately timeless tales of sexual harassment and racism. Its meta show-within-the-show episode alone is reason enough for the HFPA to take notice this year.
“The Good Place” (NBC)
Mike Schur’s afterlife comedy slyly reinvents itself every season to keep audiences and voters on their toes. In the third season, airing now, it sent its characters back to Earth but that grounded location has only opened up its humor and its heart. And after star Ted Danson’s Emmy nom this year, the time certainly seems right for the HFPA to acknowledge the sleeper.
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)
Last year’s Globe winner and this year’s Emmy darling seems a shoo-in once again, but its second season premiere date is the day before nominations are announced, which might complicate things for those voters who didn’t receive early access and can’t binge immediately. Still, Rachel Brosnahan’s pitch-perfect stand-up sets are sure to score with the group again.
LEAD ACTOR – MUSICAL or COMEDY
The third time could be the charm for Anderson. Nominated for the past two years, he’s not likely to be overlooked again, considering his character, Dre Johnson, has stayed topical by dealing with stories of teaching his young son the dangers of being a black man confronted by the cops.
A six-time nominee on the film side (he won twice), Carrey blended melancholy and heart in his first leading TV role. A tonal performance reminiscent of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” which was the last time the HFPA nominated him, it is likely to earn him another nom now.
“The Good Place”
Nominated almost a dozen times in the past (and having won three), Danson is surely back on the HFPA’s radar for his charming demon in NBC’s afterlife comedy. But it is his Emmy nom from earlier this year that may be the boost he needed to finally get pushed onto the ballot.
“The Kominsky Method”
The last time Douglas graced the small screen — in “Behind the Candelabra” — he was not only nominated for a Globe but he also won, so it’s almost a sure bet the HFPA will honor his return, this time for a starring role as an a former famous actor now making his living as an acting coach.
Glover won the comedy acting Globe in 2017, but wasn’t eligible last year. In the second season of the FX comedy he created, he didn’t just expand his character of Earn’s relationship with his baby mama and cousin-slash-client, but he also took on the headline-grabbing role of Teddy Perkins.
The HFPA loves to celebrate new faces, and even though Hader has been acting for years, he is the freshest face in this race, never having been nominated before. He is also coming off a whirlwind of a year, in which he won the Emmy for his titular role in the HBO comedy he co-created.
LEAD ACTRESS – MUSICAL or COMEDY
Brie broke onto the ballot in 2018 and will likely keep her spot after the second season saw her character, Ruth, dealing with a #MeToo moment, stepping into a producer role without getting the credit for it and finally having it out with her former best friend.
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Hot off her 2018 Globe and Emmy wins, Brosnahan is not only a shoo-in for the 2019 ballot but also the one to beat in the race overall. The second season sees her struggling to let her family and friends in on her new life as a standup and navigating the muddy waters of an industry not kind to women.
Garner was nominated four times for “Alias” (she won once), but this would be the HFPA’s first time celebrating her in the comedy category. And what better way to welcome her back to the small screen — and for playing such a specific, high-strung character — than with such an accolade?
“Will & Grace”
Messing was nominated six times for the original run of this NBC comedy, but didn’t quite make the cut for the first of its revival seasons in 2018. This time, though, she has the boost of a more dramatic #MeToo episode to show off more than just her usual physical comedy prowess.
Rae has become a staple on the ballot the past two years and is likely to score a third nomination for a season that saw her character navigating dating while dipping her toe into new career opportunities. Her Emmy nom certainly boosted her profile, too.
Usually one new leading lady breaks into this race; Rudolph seems like the best bet this year. The former “SNL” star took a darker turn on Amazon’s afterlife comedy. Death was the start of a new chapter for her character and may well be the same for Rudolph’s relationship with the HFPA.
LIMITED SERIES or TV MOVIE
“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” (FX)
It seems like the HFPA always saves a spot for a Ryan Murphy limited series so this Emmy-winning tale of homophobia and violence in the gay community is sure to make the cut.
“Escape at Dannemora” (Showtime)
Premiering just before nominations, this real-life tale of a prison escape is the definition of prestige TV with Ben Stiller as producer and director and global stars Benicio Del Toro, Patricia Arquette and Paul Dano at the center of the story.
Drawing Jonah Hill and Emma Stone to the small screen is nothing to sneeze at, but this trippy tale of treatment for two trauma survivors has the added weight of director and executive producer Cary Fukunaga (and creator Patrick Somerville) behind it. Individual episodes bend genres, too, giving the HFPA the best of many worlds all in one show.
“Sharp Objects” (HBO)
The premium cable series based on Gillian Flynn’s first novel had some series star power behind it, from lead and executive producer Amy Adams, who made her small-screen return after a decade, to showrunner Marti Noxon and director Jean-Marc Vallee. Tackling generations of trauma among women kept the tale topical for viewers all over the world.
“A Very English Scandal” (Amazon)
The HFPA has had a love affair with Amazon over the last few years, and this Hugh Grant-led project has extra appeal for voters given its real-life roots in Parliament’s political history.
LEAD ACTOR – LIMITED SERIES or TV MOVIE
A three-time nominee on the film side, the HFPA is likely to reward Banderas’ step to the small screen with a nomination for his commitment to embodying the titular complicated artist and womanizer.
“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
Criss captivated audiences with his soulful take on spree killer Andrew Cunanan as he explored the boy he was and the man he became. He won the Emmy for the role in September, so the HFPA would be remiss not to celebrate him as well.
Cumberbatch has only been nominated on the TV side of the Globes once before, in 2013 for “Sherlock,” but nimbly moving between decades and stages of both addiction and trauma to bring the character from Edward St. Aubyn’s novels to life on-screen is sure to earn him another.
Benicio Del Toro
“Escape at Dannemora”
Voters won’t be able to look away from Del Toro’s first small screen role in almost three decades that saw him take on the persona of a real-life prison inmate who planned and executed an escape in 2015. The last time he was nominated was in 2001 (he also won), so a follow-up is certainly due.
“A Very English Scandal”
Grant has been beloved by the HFPA for decades, seeing four noms (one win). His turn as real-life British politician Jeremy Thorpe had him walking a thin line between charismatic and narcissistic but even when he was doing bad things, it was impossible to keep one’s eyes off of him.
The 2006 Cecil B. DeMille Award winner delivered nothing less than a commanding performance for a classic tale as the title role in Amazon’s adaptation. Breathing new life into something that has seen many previous adaptations is no easy feat and deserves recognition.
LEAD ACTRESS – LIMITED SERIES or TV MOVIE
Adams brought to life the troubled protagonist of Gillian Flynn’s novel like no one else could have. She carried a quiet grace that made the audience root for her, even when she was exhibiting bad judgment. Add to it that this is her first TV role in 12 years and voters are sure to reward her return.
“Escape at Dannemora”
Past HFPA love came as three nominations for Arquette’s starring role on “Medium” and a win for the film “Boyhood,” but the role of Tilly, a prison worker who helped two inmates escape, is truly transformative, and such commitment to the craft can’t go unnoticed.
Coon has been a critical darling since “The Leftovers” but has yet to crack the HFPA. Her role as staunch mother and communal living leader Vera on the second season of USA’s limited series could be ticket, though, given the show’s heat with the organization in year one.
Dern won a Globe in 2018 for her role in “Big Little Lies” and now seems a shoo-in to return to the ballot for her starring role in the TV movie about childhood sexual abuse. The five-time Globe winner is beloved by the HFPA and the sober topic of the film is awards bait to boot.
King’s emotional work as a grieving mother in Netflix’s limited series earned her an Emmy earlier this year and will surely be followed up with Golden Globe love. After all, the story that deals with abuse of power and cover-ups is topical, and the power of her performance reached across the aisle.
Stone won a Globe in 2017 for “La La Land” and is likely to follow it up with her first TV nomination for her role as a young woman who can’t properly grieve her sister’s death and ends up on a genre-bending adventure during a pharmaceutical trial in Netflix and Cary Fukunaga’s limited series.
MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
“Bohemian Rhapsody” (Fox)
“First Man” (Universal)
“If Beale Street Could Talk” (Annapurna)
“A Star Is Born” (Warner Bros.)
The HFPA really digs “Bohemian Rhapsody,” so watch for it to make an impact here. The drama category is difficult to pin down this year, though, even with “Roma” relegated to the foreign-language film category. “Black Panther” may not be the sensation here that observers are expecting, while “First Man” has lost some steam after its festival bows. Flip a coin?
LEAD ACTOR – DRAMA
Steve Carell (“Beautiful Boy”)
Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”)
Willem Dafoe (“At Eternity’s Gate”)
Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”)
John David Washington (“BlacKkKlansman”)
We’re taking a flyer on Carell making the cut here. If anyone else could slide in, it might be Ryan Gosling for “First Man.”
LEAD ACTRESS – DRAMA
Glenn Close (“The Wife”)
Lady Gaga (“A Star Is Born”)
Nicole Kidman (“Destroyer”)
Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)
Natalie Portman (“Vox Lux”)
Word is the group is high on Natalie Portman, deemed a lead in “Vox Lux” for their purposes, so she could push someone out. Kidman has a couple shots between “Destroyer” here in lead and “Boy Erased” in supporting, so that could go either way.
PICTURE – MUSICAL or COMEDY
“Crazy Rich Asians” (Warner Bros.)
“The Favourite” (Fox Searchlight)
“Green Book” (Universal)
“Mary Poppins Returns” (Disney)
With “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “A Star Is Born” opting to compete in the drama field, things clear up a bit in the musical/comedy category this year. Late-summer hit “Crazy Rich Asians” has a real shot at joining the lineup, while Adam McKay’s “Vice” — which is drawing a split critical reaction — should find a spot, despite those in the organization who disagree with its categorization.
LEAD ACTOR – MUSICAL or COMEDY
Christian Bale (“Vice”)
Paul Giamatti (“Private Life”)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Mary Poppins Returns”)
Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book”)
Robert Redford (“The Old Man & the Gun”)
Giamatti was moved to lead by the group and could pop up in the lineup along with co-star Kathryn Hahn (see below). He would join a parade of stars, from Bale to Miranda to Mortensen and Redford, just like the HFPA likes it.
LEAD ACTRESS – MUSICAL or COMEDY
Emily Blunt (“Mary Poppins Returns”)
Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”)
Elsie Fisher (“Eighth Grade”)
Kathryn Hahn (“Private Life”)
Constance Wu (“Crazy Rich Asians”)
Blunt will likely emerge the frontrunner in this category, which could bear a surprise or two in the nominations. We’ll look to Fisher and Hahn to make good on their critical bonafides.
Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”)
Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”)
Paul Greengrass (“22 July”)
Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite”)
Rob Marshall (“Mary Poppins Returns”)
There could be a totally unexpected player in the director category this year, such as Greengrass, whose “22 July” impressed many voters. While “Roma” isn’t eligible in best picture, Cuarón is available here.
“Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch”
“Isle of Dogs”
“Ralph Breaks the Internet”
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”
Unlike animators in the Academy, the HFPA rarely refines its search for the best in toon features, so studios tend to rule the day. Watch for something like Universal’s “The Grinch” to get in over acclaimed indie fare like “Mirai” and “Ruben Brandt, Collector.”
“Cold War” (Poland)
“The Guilty” (Denmark)
“Never Look Away” (Germany)
The chatter is voters dig the German entry “Never Look Away,” which could turn up on the Academy’s upcoming shortlist of final Oscar competitors. “Cold War” and “Roma” are the sure things, while “Girl” and “The Guilty” continue to amass fans. The spoiler would probably be Lebanon’s “Capernaum.”