If you’re placing bets on Sunday’s Golden Globe winners, here’s something worth considering: Your guess is as good as mine.
Judging by some of the awards already handed out, the predictions from various industry experts and those strangely accurate gambling websites, there’s little consensus over who’s sure to win at the Globes. You might think “Carol,” a gay drama starring the glamorous Cate Blanchett, would be favored over “Spotlight,” a story about rumpled newspaper journalists. You might think last year’s overlooked director, Alejandro Innaritu (“Birdman”), would win this year for his masterful new movie, “The Revenant.” And surely you’d think Sylvester Stallone, reprising his Rocky Balboa role in “Creed,” wouldn’t stand a chance against — well, anyone.
You’d be wrong. It’s tough to say anything with certainty in a year when the sci-fi thriller “The Martian” has been nominated for best comedy or musical (it’s competing with “Spy” and “Trainwreck,” among others). One reason this awards season lacks cohesion is that, for a variety of reasons, many of last year’s films simply didn’t galvanize moviegoers as a whole. “Room,” about a woman impregnated by her kidnapper, suffered from “Gone Girl” syndrome: artfully done, but too dark for many viewers. “Steve Jobs” should have been this year’s “The Social Network” — Aaron Sorkin wrote both screenplays — but audiences suffered Apple fatigue, and the film has made a scant $25.5 million. A far more topical movie, “The Danish Girl,” starring Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne as a transgender artist, hasn’t become a must-see film like “The King’s Speech” (both were directed by Oscar winner Tom Hooper).
As a result, many movies have strong followings, but none has yet built up a critical mass. The only sure bet at this year’s Globes is that fourth-time host Ricky Gervais will get on someone’s nerves. That said, here are my picks for the winners of the Golden Globes, which will be telecast Sunday night at 8 on NBC/4.
BEST MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
SHOULD WIN “The Revenant.” The story of a frontiersman mauled by a bear and attacked by Indians may not be the most pleasant moviegoing experience, but it’s one you’ll never forget, thanks to the mind-boggling action sequences, many of them shot in a single take.
WILL WIN “Spotlight.” Tom McCarthy’s crisp, compelling drama about The Boston Globe journalists who exposed sexual abuse within the Catholic Church is both inspiring and true — a winning combination when it comes to awards.
BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA
Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Brie Larson, “Room”
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
SHOULD WIN Blanchett. The surprise here wasn’t that Blanchett could be convincing as a sophisticated gay woman in the early 1950s, but that she’d do it with such high style and erotic allure. It’s a mesmerizing performance.
WILL WIN Blanchett
BEST ACTOR, DRAMA
Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”
Will Smith, “Concussion”
SHOULD WIN DiCaprio. As the real-life early American Hugh Glass, DiCaprio does more grunting than talking, but what his performance lacks in nuance it makes up for with intensity and commitment.
WILL WIN DiCaprio. Don’t be surprised, though, if the critically-acclaimed Cranston steals it.
BEST MUSICAL OR COMEDY
“The Big Short”
SHOULD WIN “Spy.” If we’re taking this category at face value, then Melissa McCarthy’s action-farce — featuring a self-spoofing Jason Statham — is definitely the funniest comedy on this list.
WILL WIN “The Martian.” There’s only one reason this un-comedic nonmusical was nominated, and that’s because the Globes want to give it an award. Expect endless mockery from Gervais on this one.
BEST ACTRESS, MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”
Melissa McCarthy, “Spy”
Amy Schumer, “Trainwreck”
Maggie Smith, “The Lady in the Van”
Lily Tomlin, “Grandma”
SHOULD WIN Lawrence. As a woman modeled on Joy Mangano, the Long Island entrepreneur behind the Miracle Mop, Lawrence gives us a serious heroine in a somewhat loopy movie.
WILL WIN Schumer. Although “Trainwreck” didn’t meet all expectations, it proved that this edgy Rockville Centre-raised comedian could be bigger than television and viral videos. An award for Schumer would also lend the Globes a bit of female-power credibility, something the movie industry overall could use.
BEST ACTOR, MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Steve Carell, “The Big Short”
Matt Damon, “The Martian”
Al Pacino, “Danny Collins”
Mark Ruffalo, “Infinitely Polar Bear”
SHOULD WIN Damon. Because he’s so funny? No, because his one-man charm offensive turns a virtually plotless film into an engaging sci-fi adventure. Without Damon, the movie would be lost in space.
WILL WIN Damon
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jane Fonda, “Youth”
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Helen Mirren, “Trumbo”
Alicia Vikander, “Ex Machina”
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”
SHOULD WIN Winslet. Though “Steve Jobs” was populated by symbols rather than real characters, Winslet’s Joanna Hoffman was an exception, a Jiminy Cricket figure with an inner life of her own.
WILL WIN Winslet
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Paul Dano, “Love and Mercy”
Idris Elba, “Beasts of No Nation”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Michael Shannon, “99 Homes”
Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”
SHOULD WIN Shannon. Playing a crooked real estate broker capitalizing on the mortgage crisis, Shannon radiates evil, cynicism and old-fashioned American opportunism in a riveting performance.
WILL WIN Rylance. The veteran character actor provides both comic relief and a whiff of tragedy as a sad-sack spy in Spielberg’s Cold War Drama. Still, many experts predict Stallone will win for his seventh portrayal of Philadelphia fighter Rocky Balboa.
Todd Haynes, “Carol”
Alejandro G. Inarritu, “The Revenant”
Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Ridley Scott, “The Martian”
SHOULD WIN Inarritu. The single-take virtuosity that made “Birdman” such a whirlwind ride turns “The Revenant” into a nonstop assault on the senses. By rights, Inarritu and Miller (“Mad Max”) should split this award for delivering the year’s two most aggressively thrilling films.
WILL WIN Scott. “The Martian” is both visually distinctive (red deserts, glaring suns) and thoroughly crowd-pleasing (it’s been a $593 million hit). Though the Globes tend to tie this award to the best dramatic picture, “The Martian” will be an exception.