The Golden Globes are known for throwing up surprises. Voted for by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), an idiosyncratic group of about 90 international journalists, it’s the show that gave the critically maligned caper The Tourist (2010) three nods in 2011, named Aaron Taylor-Johnson Best Supporting Actor for Nocturnal Animals (2016) over Mahershala Ali in Moonlight (2016), and this year, recognized Emily in Paris (2020) while I May Destroy You (2020) was ignored entirely.
What twists could the 2021 ceremony bring following the realignment of the industry in the wake of the pandemic? Ahead of the awards ceremony on February 28, we present our predicted winners in all 25 categories.
Best Picture — Drama
Predicted winner: Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
The Trial of the Chicago 7
The HFPA’s seemingly endless appetite for films about Hollywood (2016’s La La Land, 2019’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) could benefit David Fincher’s Mank and Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 also has a shot, but Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland is indisputably the best film of the year.
Best Picture — Musical or Comedy
Predicted winner: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
This face-off between Thomas Kail’s big-screen version of Hamilton and Jason Woliner’s Borat sequel might see the latter triumph given its two leads are also expected to win in their categories.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama
Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
Andra Day (The United States vs Billie Holiday)
Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman)
Frances McDormand (Nomadland)
Predicted winner: Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)
Any of the five powerhouse performances in this lineup would be deserving, but the HFPA have made their enthusiasm for Promising Young Woman known by also nominating it for Best Drama, Best Director and Best Screenplay. Carey Mulligan’s fiery turn is certainly difficult to overlook.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama
Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal)
Predicted winner: Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
Anthony Hopkins (The Father)
Gary Oldman (Mank)
Tahar Rahim (The Mauritanian)
It’d be baffling for this prize to go to anyone other than Chadwick Boseman, the actor who passed away last August and is extraordinary as a fleet-footed trumpeter in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy
Predicted winner: Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm)
Kate Hudson (Music)
Michelle Pfeiffer (French Exit)
Rosamund Pike (I Care A Lot)
Anya Taylor-Joy (Emma)
As the only actor in contention who is also likely to be nominated for an Oscar (barring a late surge from Michelle Pfeiffer), Maria Bakalova seems to be a shoo-in for her hilarious work on Borat.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy
Predicted winner: Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm)
James Corden (The Prom)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton)
Dev Patel (The Personal History of David Copperfield)
Andy Samberg (Palm Springs)
A double acting nominee this year for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and The Trial of the Chicago 7, Sacha Baron Cohen took home his first Golden Globe for 2006’s Borat. He could easily do it again.
Best Supporting Actress — Motion Picture
Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy)
Olivia Colman (The Father)
Jodie Foster (The Mauritanian)
Predicted winner: Amanda Seyfried (Mank)
Helena Zengel (News of the World)
If she can fend off competition from Golden Globe favourites Glenn Close, Olivia Colman and Jodie Foster, who have all won three awards each, Amanda Seyfried could have this all sewn up for her role as bubbly starlet Marion Davies in Mank.
Best Supporting Actor — Motion Picture
Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7)
Predicted winner: Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah)
Jared Leto (The Little Things)
Bill Murray (On the Rocks)
Leslie Odom Jr (One Night in Miami)
Judas and the Black Messiah may have been a late entry into the awards race, but Daniel Kaluuya’s electrifying embodiment of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was targeted by the FBI and eventually killed in 1969, should carry him all the way.
Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman)
David Fincher (Mank)
Regina King (One Night in Miami)
Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7)
Predicted winner: Chloé Zhao (Nomadland)
This year, the Golden Globes made history by nominating more women than men for directing for the first time. The most worthy among them? Chloé Zhao for her soulful road movie Nomadland.
Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman)
Jack Fincher (Mank)
Predicted winner: Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7)
Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller (The Father)
Chloé Zhao (Nomadland)
Already a two-time Golden Globe winner and one of the most respected writers in the industry, Aaron Sorkin could be honoured here, especially if he loses out on Best Director and Best Drama.
Best Picture — Animated
The Croods: A New Age
Over the Moon
Predicted winner: Soul
Endlessly inventive, ambitious and delicate, Disney and Pixar’s Soul is the clear frontrunner.
Best Picture — Foreign Language
Another Round (Denmark)
La Llorona (France, Guatemala)
The Life Ahead (Italy)
Predicted winner: Minari (USA)
Two of Us (US, France)
After the controversy surrounding Minari’s categorisation as a “foreign” film despite being made in the US (it’s predominantly in Korean and the Golden Globes require films to be at least 50 per cent in English to compete for Best Drama or Best Musical or Comedy), this award is surely its to lose.
Alexandre Desplat (The Midnight Sky)
Ludwig Göransson (Tenet)
James Newton Howard (News of the World)
Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor (Mank)
Predicted winner: Jon Batiste, Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor (Soul)
Music is key to the effectiveness of the animated epic Soul, the story of a jazz pianist whose soul and body are accidentally separated. With Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor (previous Golden Globe recipients for 2010’s The Social Network) also nominated for Mank, this trio look poised to win.
Fight For You (Judas and the Black Messiah)
Hear My Voice (The Trial of the Chicago 7)
Io sì (The Life Ahead)
Predicted winner: Speak Now (One Night in Miami)
Tigress & Tweed (The United States vs Billie Holiday)
Leslie Odom Jr, recognised for his supporting role in One Night in Miami and also a major player in Best Musical or Comedy contenders Hamilton and Music, co-wrote Speak Now with Sam Ashworth. This prize could be the perfect way to pay tribute to the performer’s remarkable year.
Best Drama Series
Predicted winner: The Crown
The blockbuster fourth season of The Crown — starring Olivia Colman as the Queen, Emma Corrin as Princess Diana and Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher — could sweep the board and that starts here. It last won this category in 2017 with the first series, and this one is arguably the strongest since.
Best Musical or Comedy Series
Emily in Paris
The Flight Attendant
Predicted winner: Schitt’s Creek
Following its record-breaking winning streak at last year’s Emmy Awards, Schitt’s Creek seems ready to dominate yet again, though an upset could come in the form of Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso.
Best Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Predicted winner: The Queen’s Gambit
The Queen’s Gambit, Small Axe and The Undoing will be fresher in the minds of voters, and the former — the captivating miniseries set in the world of competitive chess that was watched by 62 million households in its first 28 days — has the edge.
Best Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Cate Blanchett (Mrs America)
Daisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People)
Shira Haas (Unorthodox)
Nicole Kidman (The Undoing)
Predicted winner: Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit)
With nominations for Emma and The Queen’s Gambit, it’d be a crime for Anya Taylor-Joy to leave empty-handed. The odds are in her favour here, for her exquisite turn as a troubled chess prodigy.
Best Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Bryan Cranston (Your Honor)
Jeff Daniels (The Comey Rule)
Predicted winner: Hugh Grant (The Undoing)
Ethan Hawke (The Good Lord Bird)
Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much Is True)
Despite two recent nominations (for 2016’s Florence Foster Jenkins and 2018’s A Very English Scandal), Hugh Grant’s only Golden Globe win was for 1994’s Four Weddings and a Funeral. It’s high time he got a second statuette, and this deliciously dark performance as a narcissistic sociopath could do the trick.
Best Actress — Drama Series
Olivia Colman (The Crown)
Jodie Comer (Killing Eve)
Predicted winner: Emma Corrin (The Crown)
Laura Linney (Ozark)
Sarah Paulson (Ratched)
After winning in this category last year, Olivia Colman should make way for Emma Corrin’s take on a restless young Princess Diana, before Elizabeth Debicki inherits the part for seasons five and six.
Best Actor — Drama Series
Predicted winner: Jason Bateman (Ozark)
Josh O’Connor (The Crown)
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
Al Pacino (Hunters)
Matthew Rhys (Perry Mason)
This race is wide open, but Jason Bateman could swoop in as this is his third consecutive nod for Ozark, and the show received other nominations, unlike Better Call Saul, Hunters and Perry Mason.
Best Actress — Musical or Comedy Series
Lily Collins (Emily in Paris)
Predicted winner: Kaley Cuoco (The Flight Attendant)
Elle Fanning (The Great)
Jane Levy (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist)
Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek)
While screen veteran Catherine O’Hara would make a worthy winner (astonishingly, this is her first nomination), the buzz has steadily been building for Kaley Cuoco’s madcap murder mystery.
Best Actor — Musical or Comedy Series
Don Cheadle (Black Monday)
Nicholas Hoult (The Great)
Eugene Levy (Schitt’s Creek)
Predicted winner: Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso)
Ramy Youssef (Ramy)
The surge for Ted Lasso could push Jason Sudeikis over the line for his heartwarming titular turn.
Best Supporting Actress — Television
Predicted winner: Gillian Anderson (The Crown)
Helena Bonham Carter (The Crown)
Julia Garner (Ozark)
Annie Murphy (Schitt’s Creek)
Cynthia Nixon (Ratched)
Just as Meryl Streep won an Oscar for playing Margaret Thatcher, Gillian Anderson is widely tipped to take home the Golden Globe for her portrayal of the steely prime minister in The Crown. From her raspy voice to her carefully calibrated mannerisms and immovable bouffant, it’s a startling transformation.
Best Supporting Actor — Television
Predicted winner: John Boyega (Small Axe)
Brendan Gleeson (The Comey Rule)
Daniel Levy (Schitt’s Creek)
Jim Parsons (Hollywood)
Donald Sutherland (The Undoing)
Unless Daniel Levy clinches it, this award is John Boyega’s for his masterful work in the BBC and Amazon Prime’s Small Axe, Steve McQueen’s powerful anthology series about London’s West Indian community between the 1960s and 1980s.
Originally published on Vogue.com