By now, most people know the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the shadowy voting body behind the Golden Globes, is full of tepid air and free catering. The group of approximately 90 journalists are allegedly based in Southern California and allegedly report for foreign publications, but it’s difficult to verify any of this because the HFPA famously doesn’t release a list of it members. Yet it wields enormous power: On the first Sunday of January every year, millions of people (almost 19 last year) tune in to find out which movies and TV shows they should have paid attention to last year.
Though the ceremony has morphed into the weird drunk uncle of awards season, it does matter, often boosting the visibility of movies otherwise forgotten—sometimes for good reason. Since 2011, the Globes successfully predicted the Oscar Best Picture six times. Last year, Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book took home the Best Picture Globes (comedy/musical and drama, respectively), and both went on to score multiple (and arguably, unearned) Oscar noms, with Green Book ultimately landing Best Picture.
Given the stakes, it’s important to know who’s actually deserving of a trophy and the mic—and who’s just as confused to be up there as you. Below, a break down of who’s likely to win big on Sunday—and who should, in case the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences needs some ideas.
Best Motion Picture – Drama
- The Irishman
- Marriage Story
- The Two Popes
What should win: Sixty percent of the movies on this list made headlines for some sort of controversy, from the interminable Scorsese/Marvel feud to the Joker incel allegory to Adam Driver walking out of a Terry Gross interview during Marriage Story promotion. But 1917 is the only movie here that feels truly innovative; the WWI epic was filmed to look like a single take, evoking the immediate, visceral terror of war like I’ve never seen before. There’s a shot in the last quarter of the film that I haven’t been able to get out of my head since mid December.
What will win: The Irishman is arguably the holy grail of contemporary cinema: the highest tier of marquee names (Scorsese, De Niro, Pacino, Pesci), unprecedented de-aging technology, a four-hour time commitment, and the ability to screen it from literally anywhere. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association won’t pass up the chance to give this Netflix triumph its first major award.
Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
- Dolemite Is My Name
- Jojo Rabbit
- Knives Out
- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
What should win: Knives Out was one of the most entertaining films to emerge from a season drowning in formulaic biopics and unoriginal scripts. Writer and director Rian Johnson delivers a contemporary whodunnit worthy of Agatha Christie herself, subverting expectations with every shot and supplying breakout Ana de Armas with a career-defining leading role.
What will win: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is the equivalent of The Irishman in this category: bro-y mainstream appeal; two of the last great movie stars teaming up for a buddy caper; a female lead without much to do; and the kind of controversies only a Tarantino film can incite. In other words, Globes catnip (sorry to this Cats).
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
- Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
- Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
- Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
- Charlize Theron, Bombshell
- Renee Zellweger, Judy
Who should win: None of these movies are particularly compelling. Harriet, Bombshell, and Judy are wholly unoriginal based-on-a-true-story submissions, while Marriage Story‘s intensity falls flat and Little Women, while lovely, suffers from exaggerated performances. Ronan edges out the competition here simply because she’s good in everything.
Who will win: If the Globes are looking to drum up buzz and, perhaps, controversy, Theron’s portrayal of former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly is the obvious choice.
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
Who should win: The Best Actor category is particularly stacked this year, and though Antonio Banderas gives a career-best performance in Pain and Glory, a roman à clef based on director Pedro Almodóvar’s own career, he’s at risk of getting shut out of the Oscar convo. A Golden Globe could give this role a much-needed visibility boost.
Who will win: Adam Driver feels like the current frontrunner in the Oscar conversation, but I can see the Globes opting for the more controversial choice: Joaquin Phoenix.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
- Ana de Armas, Knives Out
- Cate Blanchett, Where’d You Go Bernadette?
- Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart
- Emma Thompson, Late Night
- Awkwafina, The Farewell
Who should win: Awkwafina had a meteoric 2018 thanks to her comedic efforts in Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians, but she defied typecasting with The Farewell, a heartrending portrait of a grieving family who collectively choose not to tell its matriarch about her terminal cancer. Awkwafina brings humor and pathos to Billi, the American granddaughter who returns to China to quietly say goodbye to her beloved grandmother.
Who will win: This category is all over the place (who actually watched Where’d You Go Bernadette? in 2019?) but Awkwafina remains the clear winner.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
- Daniel Craig, Knives Out
- Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
- Taron Egerton, Rocketman
- Roman Griffin Davis, Jojo Rabbit
- Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name
Who should win: Dolemite Is My Name is the perfect Golden Globes movie: fun, slightly ridiculous, and fortified by a good script and strong performances. This is a category where Eddie Murphy could and should shine.
Who will win: There’s Oscar bait, and then there’s Golden Globes bait: kooky, not very good, often a musical. Rocketman is all of the above, and if Taron Egerton’s (surprisingly excellent) performance as a young Elton John is going to land an award, it’ll be the Globe.
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
Who should win: Bong Joon Ho crafted one of the most incisive films of the year, a thriller about class, privilege, and desperate measures that broke into the awards conversation in a way few non-English language movies do. Of every film nominated in this category, Parasite is the most compelling, executing Bong’s story in a way that’s both accessible and utterly ingenious.
Who will win: With Scorsese himself hinting that The Irishman is his last film as director, voting bodies everywhere will be falling over themselves to give him his final directing statue.
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
- Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
- Bong Joon Ho & Jin Won Han, Parasite
- Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes
- Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
- Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
Who should win: It’s Bong again, along with his writing partner, Jin Won Han, for an inventive narrative that’s equally hilarious and tragic.
Who will win: If the HFPA decides to shut out Marriage Story from the other categories, it will likely award Baumbach here.
Best Television Series – Drama
- Big Little Lies
- The Crown
- Killing Eve
- The Morning Show
What should win: The second season of Succession, HBO’s is-it-actually-a-comedy sleeper about the dysfunctional family behind a hulking media conglomerate, dominated the internet in 2019. If the HFPA actually judged on sophistication and smarts, this would be the clear winner.
What will win: I smell new iPhones for every member of the HFPA. The Globes love lauding a new show before anyone else has the chance (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel won two Globes in 2018, a month after it dropped on Amazon Prime), so don’t be surprised if The Morning Show sweeps come Sunday night.
Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
- The Kominsky Method
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
- The Politician
What should win: Fleabag took home the Emmy in this category for good reason: Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s searing half-hour comedy opened its second season with one of the best-written television episodes of the decade, a dinner party from hell that teeters on the brink of hysteria before exploding into choreographed chaos. And that episode doesn’t even account for the enduring cultural impact of Hot Priest™.
What will win: Given Fleabag‘s Emmy success, the Globes might look to award something fresher. Enter The Politician; Ryan Murphy’s campy dramedy about an aspiring high school class president appeals directly to the HFPA’s silliest instincts.
Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
- The Loudest Voice
What should win: Though HBO’s Chernobyl crafted an empathetic, addictive viewing experience out of one of the worst catastrophes of the 20th century, Unbelievable unraveled the bewildered desperation of a rape survivor with dignity and respect, catapulting a topic often shunted out of view to the forefront of everyone’s Netflix feeds. It has the slightest edge here.
What will win: Fosse/Verdon, an FX miniseries about the creative and romantic partnership between choreographer Bob Fosse and dancer Gwen Verdon, hosted powerhouse performances from Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams but failed to fully explore the nuances of their dynamic. Still, this glitzy period piece is exactly the kind of content the HFPA salivates over.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
- Joey King, The Act
- Kaitlyn Dever, Unbelievable
- Helen Mirren, Catherine the Great
- Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon
- Merritt Wever, Unbelievable
Who should win: As rape survivor Marie Adler, Kaitlyn Dever grounds the drama of Unbelievable in a barely-contained panic that’s often difficult to watch.
Who will win: Though she could split the vote with Merritt Wever, Dever’s performance is powerful enough to get her a win here.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
- Christopher Abbott, Catch-22
- Sacha Baron Cohen, The Spy
- Russell Crowe, The Loudest Voice
- Jared Harris, Chernobyl
- Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon
Who should win: Jared Harris is an under-appreciated character actor who should get his due for Chernobyl. His portrait of a chemist racing to mitigate the wider damage of the nuclear disaster as the fallout ravages his own body is a career best.
Who will win: Sam Rockwell feels like HFPA’s obvious choice here, but don’t be surprised if they opt for a truly unpredictable pick in Christopher Abbott or Sacha Baron Cohen.
Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series – Drama
- Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show
- Olivia Colman, The Crown
- Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
- Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
- Reese Witherspoon, The Morning Show
Who should win: Jodie Comer continues to deliver one of the most fascinating and flawless performances on TV with Killing Eve. She’s unparalleled in this category.
Who will win: The Crown is a Globes favorite, and the HFPA won’t miss a chance to award Olivia Colman the first of what’s sure to be many accolades.
Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series – Drama
- Brian Cox, Succession
- Kit Harington, Game of Thrones
- Tobias Menzies, The Crown
- Billy Porter, Pose
- Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Who should win: It would be ridiculous for the Globes to honor anyone other than Billy Porter, who brings an electric current of energy to his Pose scenes.
Who will win: Billy Porter, see above.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
- Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
- Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
- Kirsten Dunst, On Becoming a God in Central Florida
- Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
- Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag
Who should win: Voting bodies have largely snubbed Natasha Lyonne’s subversive, dimension-hopping Netflix series Russian Doll (it received five primetime Emmy noms but no wins) so this is the HFPA’s chance to do the right thing.
Who will win: There’s always one unexpected upset, and Christina Applegate in Dead to Me just feels right here.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
- Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method
- Bill Hader, Barry
- Ben Platt, The Politician
- Paul Rudd, Living With Yourself
- Rami Youssef, Ramy
Who should win: Hulu’s Ramy was an under-the-radar gem in 2019, grounded in Rami Youssef’s sensitive portrayal of a young man wrestling with his family’s traditional Muslim values and the contemporary American life. The show deserves much more praise than it’s getting, and the Globes are the perfect place to restart the conversation.
Who will win: The HFPA inexplicably worships at the altar of The Kominsky Method, so don’t be surprised when it wins Sunday night.