Who's the studio to beat at this year's Golden Globes?
Here's a hint: You probably pay them $15.99 a month.
Netflix, the streaming service and production company, has three of the five films in the running for this year's prize for best dramatic motion picture, considered the top award at the Golden Globes. Aside from the statistical edge, Netflix also has quality on its side. Its three contenders — Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman," Noah Baumbach's "Marriage Story" and Fernando Meirelles' "The Two Popes" — have been some of this year's best-reviewed films, drawing praise for their directorial polish and top-notch performances. Netflix, which nearly conquered last year's Oscars with Alfonso Cuarón's black-and-white epic, "Roma," has come a long way since 2017's "Bright," its big-budget turkey starring Will Smith.
The strong showing for Netflix at the Golden Globes isn't just further proof that small-screen entertainment is on the rise. It also brings up questions about the future of movies and the awards they receive every year. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which has been handing out the Globes since 1944 — Sunday's show will be the 77th edition — has traditionally split its awards between television and movies, but that division is starting to look a little arbitrary. Why is "The Irishman," a three-and-a-half-hour true-life crime-saga, categorized as a prestigious-sounding "motion picture" rather than the lesser-sounding "motion picture made for television?" The answer is simply that Netflix cleverly released it in theaters briefly before streaming it to televisions, tablets and smartphones. At some point, awards-bodies like the Globes and perhaps even the Oscars may have to rethink their definitions.
For the moment, though, the movies still feel like the big leagues. Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood," which brought together two major stars, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, is up for five Golden Globes, including best musical or comedy (always the Globes' most capricious category). Jennifer Lopez dazzled audiences with a career-high performance as a savvy stripper in "Hustlers," while Adam Driver cemented his Great Actor status in "Marriage Story" — one of four movies he appeared in this year. "Parasite," a comedy-thriller that tackles issues of class and capitalism, became an unlikely must-see from South Korea. And Awkwafina, the star of the art-house hit "The Farewell," could make Globes history as the first actress of Asian descent to win best actress in a comedy or musical.
Here's how this year's Globes are likely to shape up:
BEST MOTION PICTURE — DRAMA
“The Two Popes”
SHOULD WIN "Marriage Story." Noah Baumbach's drama about divorce is this century's "Kramer Vs. Kramer," a deeply personal reflection on contemporary relationships and parenting.
WILL WIN "The Irishman." The Scorsese machine — which includes Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and first-time collaborator Al Pacino — looks likely to muscle its way to the top.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE — DRAMA
Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”
Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”
Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”
Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”
Renée Zellweger, “Judy”
SHOULD WIN Zellweger. The movie wasn't a major hit, but Zellweger's performance as Judy Garland is a proverbial showstopper: Subtle and forceful by turns, with an undercurrent of tragedy.
WILL WIN Zellweger.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE — DRAMA
Christian Bale, “Ford v Ferrari”
Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”
Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes”
SHOULD WIN Driver. He's so convincing as a regular guy whose personal life is imploding that he barely seems to be acting. It's easy to overlook what a stellar performance this is.
WILL WIN Phoenix. The Globes can't resist a full-immersion transformation, something Phoenix does better than anyone. This is also their chance to give a big award to what is at least nominally a superhero movie.
BEST MOTION PICTURE — MUSICAL OR COMEDY
“Dolemite Is My Name”
“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”
SHOULD WIN "Dolemite Is My Name." Eddie Murphy's comeback movie about a struggling comedian hits all the right notes: funny, poignant, relevant, inspirational. It's one of the year's best.
WILL WIN "Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood." Tarantino's movie is a strange beast — a period-piece-fantasy-shocker — but it's also a love letter to cinema, which always scores points with the Globes.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE — MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Ana de Armas, “Knives Out”
Awkwafina, “The Farewell”
Cate Blanchett, “Where'd You Go, Bernadette”
Beanie Feldstein, “Booksmart”
Emma Thompson, “Late Night”
SHOULD WIN Awkwafina. Few things resonate as well as a strong performance in a funny-sad movie, and Awkwafina became a critical darling for this one. What's more, the competition here is slim — mostly straight-up comedic turns without a lot of nuance.
WILL WIN Awkwafina.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE — MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Daniel Craig, “Knives Out”
Roman Griffin Davis, “Jojo Rabbit”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”
Taron Egerton, “Rocketman”
Eddie Murphy, “Dolemite Is My Name”
SHOULD WIN Murphy. As Rudy Ray Moore, a real-life comic who by sheer force of will becomes a movie star, Murphy is clearly playing a version of himself. Rarely has an actor put so much love into his character.
WILL WIN Murphy.
BEST MOTION PICTURE — FOREIGN LANGUAGE
"Pain and Glory"
"Portrait of a Lady on Fire"
SHOULD WIN "Parasite." Though somewhat overhyped, this is an undeniably ambitious movie that addresses current obsessions with social status and material wealth in inventive ways.
WILL WIN "Parasite."
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN ANY MOTION PICTURE
Kathy Bates, "Richard Jewell"
Annette Bening, "The Report"
Laura Dern, "Marriage Story"
Jennifer Lopez, "Hustlers"
Margot Robbie, "Bombshell"
SHOULD WIN Lopez. As a stripper whose golden heart finally turns to stone, Lopez is really a colead in "Hustlers." The category-shuffle, however, should help her win some gold in a competitive year.
WILL WIN Lopez.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN ANY MOTION PICTURE
Tom Hanks, "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood"
Anthony Hopkins, "The Two Popes"
Al Pacino, "The Irishman"
Joe Pesci, "The Irishman"
Brad Pitt, "Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood"
SHOULD WIN Pitt. As a taciturn stunt-double who does his talking with his fists, Pitt turns in his coolest, toughest, funniest performance since "Fight Club."
WILL WIN Pitt, though there's a chance for Pesci — a nostalgic favorite — to steal this award away.
BEST DIRECTOR — MOTION PICTURE
Bong Joon Ho, "Parasite"
Sam Mendes, "1917"
Todd Phillips, "Joker"
Martin Scorsese, "The Irishman"
Quentin Tarantino, "Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood"
SHOULD WIN Tarantino. Over Scorsese, you ask? Both delivered hugely ambitious films this year, but Tarantino's vivid palette and wild energy can't be ignored.
WILL WIN Bong . Most viewers won't have seen "Parasite," but it's been a critical smash and an art-house success. Its South Korean director seems likely to win at the international-minded Globes.
WHERE TO WATCH
Before the show
"E! Countdown to the Red Carpet" (4 p.m., E!)
"E! Live from the Red Carpet" (6 p.m., E!)
"Golden Globes Arrival Special" (7:30 p.m., NBC/4)
"77th Annual Golden Globe Awards" with Ricky Gervais hosting (8 p.m., NBC/4) from the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. The ceremony will also be available on various streaming platforms including arious streaming platforms Hulu Live TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, Fubo TV, and YouTube TV.
After the show
"E! After Party" (11 p.m., E!)