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73rd Golden Globe Awards (2015-16):
Film Nominations Preview and Predictions

Watch the Golden Globe Awards nominations announced live
this Thursday, December 10th at 8 AM Eastern/5 AM Pacific:

The Golden Globes have always been treated like a premature, insignificant warm-up act to the Academy Awards. Star-driven, not as respected a tradition, and selected not by the people who make up the entertainment industry but a strange assortment of 90 or so international journalists who comprise the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Hold on to your globes... he's back. Ricky Gervais hosts the 2016 Golden Globe Awards -- official poster
My appreciation for the Golden Globes has grown over the years. It is based on the appeal of their reliably fun hosts, which have assigned three-year runs to the duo of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as well as Ricky Gervais (who's back this year, after vowing to never again emcee the event); the unpredictability of the results (which have been preceded by about a month of critics' awards, not the three all-encompassing ones that the Oscars follow); and the inclusion of Academy-neglected works in their separate Comedy or Musical categories.

The Globes are not the Oscars, but nor should they be. They're their own event, one with less pomp and tradition and more alcohol and humor. There are actually a number of nominees and victors at recent Golden Globes that I have preferred to the Oscars' choices (from The Lego Movie to Greta Gerwig to American Hustle), which makes it easier to forgive them when they do something ludicrous, like leaving The Muppets out of Comedy or Musical contention, outright forbidding animation from competing for Best Picture, and nominating crap like The Tourist, Alice in Wonderland, and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.

On Thursday, December 10th, nominations for the 73rd Annual Golden Globes will be announced at 8 AM Eastern/5 AM Pacific. You can watch them live at the top of this page! But you don't have to wait until then to know the movies, actors, and filmmakers whose names will (probably) be announced. Because I'm going to give you some well-informed predictions for the movie categories, having seen all but a few of the potential contenders. As usual, you're on your own for television, since I haven't seen anywhere near enough to pretend to be an authority on that medium.

Without further ado, here are my film category predictions and the reasoning behind them. The HFPA has been known to surprise, but I'm pretty confident about most of these picks, which are arranged from most likely to least likely.

"Spotlight", about the Boston Globe's four-member investigative journalist team, is the film to beat this awards season.

Best Picture - Drama
The Revenant
Bridge of Spies
The Hateful Eight

Next in line: Carol, Creed, Room, Steve Jobs, The Danish Girl, Youth, The Walk, Mad Max: Fury Road

This year has been better than most in terms of quantity and quality of serious year-end cinema. Most of it has been classified as drama, too, which is not that unusual. I would not be surprised if the Globes expanded this category to squeeze in a sixth and maybe even a seventh nominee as they have done in certain years past. Spotlight has emerged as something of a frontrunner for the entire season, though it has yet to spark the backlash that comes from that status by sweeping critics' awards, which both The Social Network and Boyhood did before losing the Oscars' top prize. Any of the thirteen above could crack the field without feeling out of place and with the exception of Spotlight, all thirteen could also miss out without feeling like a jaw-dropping snub. That level of unpredictability is most welcome, especially this early in the season.

Ha ha ha! Matt Damon stars as a NASA botanist stranded on Mars in the hilarious comedy "The Martian."

Best Picture - Comedy or Musical
The Martian
The Big Short
The Intern

Next in line: Grandma, Cinderella

Should have been contenders: Inside Out, Anomalisa

The Globes went from being proud to bestow Best Picture awards upon animated features to completely eliminating them from competition in either Best Picture category (unless they were called Avatar).
That rash and curious practice has made the Oscars, with their expanded and more inclusive Best Picture field, suddenly the ones more likely to recognize animation with major nominations. This year should force the Globes to reconsider their eligibility standards, especially based on what we have here, which is one all-out comedy (Trainwreck), a bunch of movies that have been gifted comedy classification, and The Intern, which is a comedy but not a great one. The Globes took an uncharacteristic hard stance against allowing certain films in here. Youth, The Walk, and Trumbo all seem feasible here and their inclusion would be less objectionable than The Martian's, whose unsuitable comic tone is the main reason I did not like it. I would love to see the far better Joy or The Big Short beat it for this honor, which they could if voters really enforce the award designation. With Burnt and Our Brand Is Crisis completely striking out with both critics and moviegoers, I don't think they get in, despite being seemingly tailor-made for this award.

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Posted December 7, 2015.

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