2020 Golden Globe predictions: Our final picks in every movie and TV category

Kevin Polowy and Ethan Alter
Photo: Everett Collection, Apple TV+
The Irishman and The Morning Show (Photo: Everett Collection, Apple TV+)

The New Year won't even be a week old when Hollywood delivers its first major awards show with Sunday's star-studded 77th Golden Globe Awards.

Considering the statuettes are decided on by a voting body of fewer than a hundred people (the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, or HFPA) and they double up on winners by dividing films into dramas and muscials/comedies to maximize the number of A-listers in attendance, the Globes telecast — which is bringing back sharp-tongued host Ricky Gervais for the fifth time — tends to viewed as entertainment (tipsy celebs!) more than a predictor of the Big Show, the Academy Awards. (In the movie categories, anyway, the Emmys are ancient history.)

But there's no doubt the Globes carry some weight when it comes the Oscars. This year, the Globes come right in the thick of Oscar voting (which opened Thursday and closes next Tuesday, with Oscar nominations unveiled on Jan. 13), so major wins (and buzzy speeches) on the national stage could possibly sway Academy ballots.

Here are our picks in the movie categories (updated from our Dec. 9 instant predictions following the nominations), as well as predictions on the television side.


Best Picture, Drama

There were a couple minor surprises in the Globes's top film category, with Todd Phillips's Joker becoming the second comic-book movie in as many years to make the cut (after last year's groundbreaking Black Panther nod) and Netflix's comedic The Two Popes beating out more straightforward dramas like Little Women, Ford v Ferrari and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Yet, the bigger story here is that Netflix accounts for 60 percent of the contenders, with The Irishman and Marriage Story also in the running. It’s the former, Martin Scorsese's much-hyped epic mob story, that has emerged as award season's early overall favorite.

The Irishman
Marriage Story
The Two Popes

Prediction: The Irishman

Best Picture, Musical or Comedy

Netflix also is represented here, courtesy of the Eddie Murphy comeback vehicle Dolemite Is My Name. The well-reviewed biopic is joined in this race by Toronto International Film Festival winner Jojo Rabbit, Rian Johnson's hilarious whodunit Knives Out (which has emerged as a viable awards contender after also notching an AFI mention) and the summer hits Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Rocketman. Not making the cut: Universal's much-maligned Broadway adaptation Cats, which screened early for the HFPA but only earned a nod for Best Original Song (yes, they found a way to get Taylor Swift to the Globes). After The Irishman, Quentin Tarantino's Hollywood is considered the second biggest threat in the Oscar race at this point.


Dolemite Is My Name
Jojo Rabbit
Knives Out
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Prediction: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Director

The aforementioned top dogs The Irishman and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will go head-to-head here, with Scorsese and Tarantino joined by Bong Joon Ho (Parasite) and Sam Mendes (1917) and, in a bit of a surprise, Joker helmer Todd Phillips. Unfortunately, it's another male-only race for the fifth straight year after Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) and Lulu Wang (The Farewell) were left off the ballot. While Mendes could be a threat for the technical virtuosity he displays in the extended shots of the World War I epic 1917, pundits see this one as a three-way race among Scorsese, Tarantino, and Joon Ho, whose Parasite continues to eat up accolades as more and more audiences discover it. Giving this one to the Korean-born Joon Ho would be a strong way for the HFPA to spread the love in its major categories.


Bong Joon Ho, Parasite
Sam Mendes, 1917
Todd Phillips, Joker
Martin Scorsese, The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Prediction: Bong Joon Ho, Parasite

Best Actress, Drama

Little Women will be represented in Best Actress (as well as Best Original Score, its only two nominations), where 25-year-old Saoirse Ronan claimed her fourth Golden Globe nomination in her young career (she won Best Actress Musical or Comedy two years ago for Gerwig's Lady Bird). But Ronan faces stiff competition from the likes of Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Charlize Theron (Bombshell) and Renée Zellweger (Judy), with Zellweger considered to be the odds-on favorite for the Globe (and Oscar) for her dazzling portrayal of showbiz great Judy Garland.


Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Renée Zellweger, Judy

Prediction: Renée Zellweger, Judy

Best Actor, Drama

While The Irishman received five film nominations, its lead actor Robert De Niro was snubbed (it is possible the press-shy screen great may have been penalized for a lack of personal campaigning). De Niro's demotion opened up the door for Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari) to join the race (and maybe get a boost for the ultra-competitive Oscar countdown, despite the fact he should be gunning for Best Supporting Actor). Adam Driver (Marriage Story) and Joaquin Phoenix (Joker) are considered the favorites here, though, and given the HFPA's surprising affinity for Joker, Phoenix could have the leg up.


Christian Bale, Ford v Ferrari
Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes

Prediction: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Best Actress, Musical or Comedy

Because the Golden Globes dedicate separate categories to musical/comedy, the result can be surprising (head-scratching?); here we see two prime examples with the nominations of Cate Blanchett (for the otherwise critically drubbed Where'd You Go Bernadette?) and Emma Thompson (for the underperforming Late Night). But the category also is generating some deserving publicity for otherwise unlikely Oscar contenders like Ana de Armas (Knives Out) and Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart). Finally, there’s possible Oscar contender Awkwafina, who becomes the instant favorite for what's actually a dramatic turn in The Farewell.


Ana de Armas, Knives Out
Cate Blanchett, Where'd You Go Bernadette?
Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart
Emma Thompson, Late Night
Awkwafina, The Farewell

Prediction: Awkwafina, The Farewell

Best Actor, Musical or Comedy

Daniel Craig (who scored his very first Golden Globe nomination for Knives Out) and young Jojo Rabbit breakout Roman Griffin Davis (same) go into the "just happy to be nominated" camp. They're joined by three viable Oscar contenders in Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Taron Egerton (Rocketman) and Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name). Egerton deserves to follow in the steps of Rami Malek, who won a Globe last year in the drama category as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, for playing Elton. But he'll have to fend off HFPA favorite DiCaprio, who has now been nominated 12 times by the group, and Murphy's feel-good comeback story. This could easily go one of three ways.


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

Prediction: Taron Egerton, Rocketman

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Lopez is one step closer to hustling an Oscar nomination after her first Golden Globe nomination in more than 20 years for Hustlers (her first and only previous nod came in 1997 for Selena). Annette Bening (The Report, which has been earning her awards buzz since last January) and Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell, premiered in early December) prove it is never too early or too late to join the race. Bombshell's Margot Robbie edged out Once Upon a Time in Hollywood's Margot Robbie. Laura Dern could very well win the case for her scene-stealing turn as a divorce lawyer in Marriage Story. But something tells us the hype surrounding J.Lo's cinematic triumph will score her the gold here.

Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Annette Bening, The Report
Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers
Margot Robbie, Bombshell

Prediction: Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers

Best Supporting Actor

While Robert De Niro was left out of the lead-acting race, The Irishman ensemble is still well represented as Al Pacino and Joe Pesci battle against one another in this category. Tom Hanks landed his 10th Golden Globe nomination for his delightful turn as Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (the film's only nod from the HFPA), and he'll also be honored with the evening's honorary Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. But it's likely Brad Pitt who will speed into the winner's block, which would mark the 55-year-old's first Globe win since 1995's Twelve Monkeys.

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

Prediction: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Screenplay

Unlike the Oscars, the Globes does not differentiate between original and adapted screenplays, which means original works from Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and Bong Joon Ho (Parasite) will compete against The Irishman, which Steve Zaillian adapted from Charles Brandt's 2004 novel I Heard You Paint Houses, and The Two Popes, which Anthony McCarten adapted from his own 2017 play. It's the three "originals" that stand the best shot here, and expect this to be Marriage Story's time to shine.

Steve Zaillian, The Irishman
Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Bong Joon Ho, Parasite
Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes

Prediction: Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story

Best Animated Feature

The HFPA has weighed in on the debate over whether Jon Favreau’s CGI remix of The Lion King is a live-action or animated feature, giving the film an unexpected nomination among more traditional Pixar, Disney and DreamWorks fare: Toy Story 4, Frozen 2 and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, respectively. They're joined by Laika's box-office misfire Missing Link, which eclipsed the Netflix holiday play Klaus for the final slot. Expect Toy Story 4 to follow in the steps of Part 3 and net Pixar an eighth win over the 14 years this category has existed.

Frozen 2
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
The Lion King
Missing Link
Toy Story 4

Prediction: Toy Story 4

Best Foreign Film

It's been an excellent year for international cinema, as evidenced by the nominees here — even if the inclusion of The Farewell has drawn some blowback. It's one of the best films of the year, no doubt, but it's about a Chinese-American New Yorker (Awkwafina) who visits her family overseas. In other words, it's an American drama that happens to be heavily subtitled. Regardless it's hard to see anything topping Parasite.

The Farewell
Les Miserables
Pain and Glory
Portrait of a Lady on Fire


Best Score

It's also been an excellent year for film scores, and heavy hitters up for the Globe include composers Alexandre Desplat (Little Women, 10 previous noms), Randy Newman (Marriage Story, six previous noms), and his cousin Thomas Newman (1917, three previous noms). And while neither Noah Baumbach or his partner Greta Gerwig made the cut in Best Director, their films are favorites here.

Little Women
Marriage Story
Motherless Brooklyn

Marriage Story

Best Original Song

Justice for Cats? Sorry, T-Swift fans, but it's hard to see the mega-pop star winning here given how reviled Tom Hooper's Broadway adaptation has proven (at least she won't get Kanye'd again). We might not even see justice for Elsa, whose ubiquitous power ballad "Let It Go" from 2014's Frozen got upset by U2's "Ordinary Love" from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom before eventually winning the Oscar. This year it could be Elton John taking down the queen for his Rocketman original "I'm Gonna Love Me Again."

"Beautful Ghosts," Cats
"Stand Up," Harriet
"Spirit," The Lion King
"I'm Gonna Love Me Again," Rocketman
"Into the Unknown," Frozen 2

"I'm Gonna Love Me Again," Rocketman

— Film picks by Kevin Polowy


Best Drama

With Game of Thrones snubbed for a final-season statue, the Drama field lacks an obvious frontrunner. HBO is still in the hunt for the crown with two non-Westeros shows, Big Little Lies and Succession, both coming off dramatically different second seasons. Where BLL’s victory lap got bogged down in onscreen storytelling lapses and behind-the-scenes controversies, Succession found a second life with audiences, especially on social media, where the series became a meme-generating machine. Giving the big prize to Succession would endear the HFPA to #TVTwitter, but history suggests that the HFPA prefers Netflix’s highly bingeable royal drama, The Crown, which has the added bonus of featuring Globes favorite Olivia Colman in its third season. With BBC America’s Killing Eve nabbing the “honor just to be nominated” spot, the real dark horse is Apple TV+’s big-budget, star-powered The Morning Show, which got off to a rough start critically, but built a vocal fanbase over the course of its eight-episode freshman season, culminating in a finale that achieved what Game of Thrones couldn’t: satisfy loyal viewers. A surprise Morning Show win might raise eyebrows, but it would also make waves — something that the HFPA enjoys doing with its TV picks.

The Crown
The Morning Show
Big Little Lies
Killing Eve

Prediction: The Morning Show

Best Musical or Comedy

Are awards voters tired of giving Phoebe Waller-Bridge statues? Not bloody likely. The Fleabag mastermind is all but certain to repeat her Emmy night triumph with a Globes victory for Best Comedy. The only serious challenger is Bill Hader’s equally beloved HBO series Barry, which semi-infamously lost out to Netflix’s The Kominsky Method last year. A repeat victory for that Michael Douglas series is unlikely, and a surprise victory for Ryan Murphy’s inaugural Netflix comedy, The Politician, is even more unlikely. As for that marvelous Mrs. Maisel, she’ll just be happy knowing that the statue is going to a fellow Amazon Prime comedy superstar.

The Politician
The Kominsky Method
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Prediction: Fleabag

Best Actress, Drama

HFPA royalty Olivia Colman could very easily win back-to-back Globes for playing back-to-back queens: her performance as Queen Anne was a Favourite with voters last year, and this year she handily donned Queen Elizabeth’s Crown previously worn by Claire Foy. But as the Globes are a democracy, after all, this category seems more likely to come down to the two A-list Morning Show candidates: Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. And with Witherspoon having already won an acting statue in 2018 for her other show, Big Little Lies, Aniston seems on track to win the morning… uh, day.

Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show
Olivia Colman, The Crown
Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Reese Witherspoon, The Morning Show

Prediction: Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show

Best Actor, Drama

The betting money is definitely on Brian Cox taking home his first Golden Globe as the ruthless Roy patriarch on Succession. But don’t count out Pose’s Billy Porter, who was nominated last year and is coming off a historic Emmy night victory — and a superb acceptance speech — that people are still talking about. The category is… upset win, y’all.

Brian Cox, Succession
Tobias Menzies, The Crown
Billy Porter, Pose
Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot

Insta-prediction: Billy Porter, Pose

Best Actress, Musical or Comedy

Whether it’s Gina Rodriguez for Jane the Virgin or Rachel Bloom in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the HFPA has a history of awarding this particular statue to the nominee you’d least expect. In other words, there’s a very real chance that you’ll hear an acceptance speech from either Natasha Lyonne or Christina Applegate for their acclaimed performances on Russian Doll and Dead to Me, respectively. But Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge still seems to have the edge based on her pop-culture imprint and all-around popularity with awards voters.

Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kirsten Dunst, On Becoming a God in Central Florida
Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

Prediction: Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

Best Actor Musical or Comedy

When they last met in this category, age trumped youth as The Kominsky Method’s Michael Douglas fended off Barry’s Bill Hader for the statue. This year, look for Hader to win the rematch based on the strength of his performance in the title role, as well his behind-the-scenes creative involvement, including directing one of Season 2’s finest half-hours.


Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
Bill Hader, Barry
Ben Platt, The Politician
Paul Rudd, Living With Yourself
Ramy Youssef, Ramy

Prediction: Bill Hader, Barry

Best Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

To the surprise — and dismay — of many, the HFPA snubbed Ava DuVernay’s acclaimed Netflix miniseries, When They See Us, in all Limited Series categories. That omission would seem to pave a clear path to victory for HBO’s equally celebrated Chernobyl, which squared off against When They See Us throughout Emmy season. But wait! Netflix still has a believable shot at an upset victory thanks to Unbelievable, which emerged as an end-of-year, word-of-mouth favorite with critics and viewers for its searing dramatization of a real-life rape case.

Loudest Voice

Prediction: Chernobyl

Best Actress, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

In case contorting her body like Broadway legend Gwen Verdon wasn’t awards-worthy enough, Fosse/Verdon star Michelle Williams all but sealed her Globes victory with a rousing Emmy speech that made a forceful case for equal pay. (She’ll also hit the red carpet sporting a new beau and a new baby bump.) The only serious challenger is Merritt Wever, a widely adored actress within the industry whose performance in Unbelievable has been winning unbelievable praise for months now.

Helen Mirren, Catherine the Great
Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon
Merritt Wever, Unbelievable
Kaitlyn Dever, Unbelievable
Joey King, The Act

Prediction: Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon

Best Actor, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Jared Harris is very likely to benefit from a likely Chernobyl sweep. But it’s also worth nothing that — like any awards body — the HFPA is fond of giving actors statues for dramatic transformations. That means Russell Crowe’s extreme makeover into Fox News mastermind Roger Ailes for The Loudest Voice could make some serious noise with voters, especially since John Lithgow’s Bombshell performance as Ailes isn’t in contention on the film side. On the other hand, those same voters might be more persuaded by Sacha Baron Cohen’s makeup-free foray into drama in the under-the-radar Netflix serial The Spy.

Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon
Russell Crowe, The Loudest Voice
Jared Harris, Chernobyl
Christopher Abbott, Catch-22
Sacha Baron Cohen, The Spy

Prediction: Jared Harris, Chernobyl

Best Supporting Actress, Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

The second season of Big Little Lies may have been divisive, but one thing that everyone can agree on is that Meryl Streep’s delightfully weird performance as Alexander Skarsgård’s mother was the reason to tune in week after week. No lie: This would be the oft-nominated actress’s ninth Golden Globe victory overall and the first in the Supporting Actress in a Series category. Should Unbelievable pull off upset victories in other categories, though, Toni Collette could emerge as the Streep-slayer.

Toni Colette, Unbelievable
Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies
Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown
Patricia Arquette, The Act
Emily Watson, Chernobyl

Prediction: Meryl Streep, Big Little Lies

Best Supporting Actor, Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Where Fleabag goes, the Hot Priest is sure to follow. After regularly stealing scenes as the Moriarty to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock, Andrew Scott hit a whole new level of “That guy!” fame as the man of the cloth that becomes the man of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s dreams. Expect Twitter to get all hot under the collar — in a good way — when Scott takes the stage for his speech.

Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method
Kieran Culkin, Succession
Henry Winkler, Barry
Andrew Scott, Fleabag
Stellan Skarsgard, Chernobyl

Prediction: Andrew Scott, Fleabag

— Television picks by Ethan Alter

The 2020 Golden Globe Awards, hosted by Ricky Gervais, will air live Sunday, Jan. 5 beginning at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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