Golden Globes Nomination Film Predictions: ‘The Irishman,’ ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ … And What Else?

Steve Pond

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has always been an idiosyncratic group with shifting tastes and agendas, and these days it seems particularly hard to figure out how the 87 voting members might cast their ballots for the Golden Globe Awards. Will the more conservative members get “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and “Ford v Ferrari” and “Richard Jewell” onto the slate of nominees, or will more adventurous and looser voters land “Joker” and “Dolemite Is My Name?” on the list?

We don’t really know, but here are our best guesses as to what we’ll see when nominations are announced on Monday morning.

And yes, there may well be some bewildering, head-scratching choices that we’re not anticipating, because it wouldn’t be the Golden Globes if there weren’t at least a chance of those.

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Best Motion Picture – Drama
Globes voters can’t ignore Martin Scorsese and “The Irishman,” which has already won the top prize from the National Board of Review and New York Film Critics Circle. They can’t deny the late-breaking “1917” from Sam Mendes, or shrug off the critical love for Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” even though those close to the group say they’re mixed on the latter film.

Of the other films in the running, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “Bombshell” and “The Two Popes” all have a shot, and a significant number of bolder voters are said to have loved “Uncut Gems” and “Joker.” But the cinematic pleasures of “Ford v Ferrari” will probably win out, and a lineup of male-dominated films could use Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” for balance.

Predicted nominees: “Ford v Ferrari,” “The Irishman,” “Little Women,” “Marriage Story,” “1917”

Watch out for: “Joker,” “Richard Jewell,” “Uncut Gems”

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
The two locks seem to be Toronto Film Festival audience winner “Jojo Rabbit” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” which was submitted as a comedy by Sony Pictures and accepted as one by the HFPA. “Knives Out” has proven to be unexpectedly popular with awards voters, so it probably finds a place here.

Options for the last two spots include “Dolemite Is My Name,” which has big fans in the HFPA but also has way too many swear words for some older members; “Rocketman,” which has been the beneficiary of avid campaigning from Elton John, and would also help justify the musical part of the category’s name; “Cats,” which slipped in under the wire in some form; “Hustlers,” which would bring J-Lo’s star power to the game; and “Booksmart,” which has managed to at least stay in the conversation since its release in May.

Predicted nominees: “Dolemite Is My Name,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Knives Out,” “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” “Rocketman”

Watch out for: “Booksmart,” “Cats,” “Hustlers”

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Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
Like the Academy, the Globes had more than 90 entries in this category this year. The big ones, of course, are Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite,” which would definitely be in the running if it were eligible in the Best Motion Picture category, and Pedro Almodovar’s “Pain and Glory,” which benefits from a starring performance by four-time Globe nominee Antonio Banderas.

Among films also competing for the Oscars, Mati Diop’s “Atlantics” and Ladj Ly’s “Les Miserables” are two of the strongest contenders – but the Globes love to nominate movies that aren’t in the Oscar race, which could be good news for “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.”

The odd entry here, though, is Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell,” which would be competing for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy if it weren’t predominantly not in English. It would be an unusual nominee for this category, but it’s hard to imagine Globe voters not giving it some love.

Predicted nominees: “Atlantics,” “The Farewell,” “Pain and Glory,” “Parasite,” “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”

Watch out for: “Invisible Life,” “Les Miserables,” “The Traitor”

Best Motion Picture – Animated
The HFPA tends to go with major studios, giving fewer slots to indie animation than the Oscars does. That means that Disney’s “Frozen II,” Pixar’s “Toy Story 4,” DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden” world and Laika’s “Missing Link” are the strongest bets, with “Abominable,” “Klaus” and “The Secret Life of Pets 2” threatening to make it a studio sweep.

But over the last three years, at least one indie has grabbed a slot each year. The hand-drawn French film “I Lost My Body” may be the best bet if it’s not too weird for the HFPA, though the Japanese hit “Weathering With You” or the movie-themed “Bunuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles” could be in the running as well.

Predicted nominees: “Frozen II,” “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” “I Lost My Body,” “Missing Link,” “Toy Story 4”

Watch out for: “Abominable,” “Klaus,” “Weathering With You”

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Best Director
Over the last five years, an average of three Globes directing nominees a year have come from films also nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama, while a little more than one a year has come from films in the top comedy/musical category. Martin Scorsese, Sam Mendes and the dueling couple of writer-directors, Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, are the likeliest from the first of those categories, while Quentin Tarantino is the one lock from the second category.

But “Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho seems likely to follow “Roma” director Alfonso Cuaron as a nominee whose film wasn’t eligible in either of the top categories because it isn’t in English, while Clint Eastwood might just be the occasional director who cracks this category even though his film isn’t nominated for one of the top awards. (Ridley Scott, Tom Ford and David Fincher have all done that in recent years — and Eastwood apparently had voters eating out of his hand at a recent HFPA press conference for “Richard Jewell.”)

Predicted nominees: Bong Joon Ho, “Parasite”; Greta Gerwig, “Little Women”; Sam Mendes, “1917”; Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”; Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”

Watch out for: Noah Baumbach, “Marriage Story”; Clint Eastwood, “Richard Jewell”; Taika Waititi, “Jojo Rabbit”

Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
The HFPA’s recent decision to move “Uncut Gems” from the comedy to drama category seemingly killed Adam Sandler’s chances of landing a nomination for his performance, because he’s now in a fearsome category whose favorites include Joaquin Phoenix for “Joker,” Adam Driver for “Marriage Story,” Robert De Niro for “The Irishman,” Antonio Banderas for “Pain and Glory”, Jonathan Pryce for “The Two Popes” and Christian Bale for “Ford v Ferrari.”

Phoenix, Driver and De Niro seem to be locks, and Banderas should be. It’s not unheard of that Sandler could grab that fifth slot, but it’s not likely.

Predicted nominees: Christian Bale, “Ford v Ferrari”; Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”; Robert De Niro, “The Irishman”; Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”; Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”

Watch out for: Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes”; Brad Pitt, “Ad Astra”; Adam Sandler, “Uncut Gems”

Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
The New York Film Critics Circle’s choice of “Us” star Lupita Nyong’o for best actress is the kind of delicious shock that just might be repeated by the HFPA in a category that is otherwise dominated by Renee Zellweger (“Judy”), Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”) and maybe Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story”). Three-time Globe nominee Saoirse Ronan will definitely be in the mix for “Little Women,” as will Cynthia Erivo for “Harriet” and Alfre Woodard for “Clemency.”

Predicted nominees: Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”; Lupita Nyong’o, “Us”; Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”; Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”; Renee Zellweger, “Judy”

Watch out for: Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”; Kristen Stewart, “Seberg”; Alfre Woodard, “Clemency”

Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
It feels as if the top four in this category are spoken for: Eddie Murphy for “Dolemite Is My Name,” Taron Egerton for “Rocketman,” Leonardo DiCaprio for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” and Daniel Craig for “Knives Out.” But after that, things are up in the air, with the preteen star of “Jojo Rabbit,” Roman Griffin Davis, perhaps holding a slight edge over Himesh Patel from “Yesterday” and Shia LaBeouf from “The Peanut Butter Falcon.”

Predicted nominees: 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”

Watch out for: Shia LaBeouf, “The Peanut Butter Falcon”; Himesh Patel, “Yesterday”; Will Smith, “Aladdin”

Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
This category may well end up full of actresses from films that didn’t quite make the cut for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy: Beanie Feldstein for “Booksmart,” Constance Wu for “Hustlers,” Emma Thompson or Mindy Kaling for “Late Night,” Awkwafina for the ineligible “The Farewell.” But Ana de Armas, the closest thing to a female lead in the “Knives Out” ensemble, should also be here. And if Angelina Jolie gets in for “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” we’ll know Globe voters really, really want her to come to their party.

Predicted nominees: Ana de Armas, “Knives Out”; Awkwafina, “The Farewell”; Beanie Feldstein, “Booksmart”; Emma Thompson, “Late Night”; Constance Wu, “Hustlers”

Watch out for: Emilia Clarke, “Last Christmas”; Kaitlyn Dever, “Booksmart”; Angelina Jolie, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”

Best Supporting Actor
Just like at the Oscars, the contenders in this category include lots of guys who actually gave co-lead performances: Brad Pitt in “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” Al Pacino in “The Irishman” (or will they recognize his subtler co-star, Joe Pesci?), Tom Hanks in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” Anthony Hopkins in “The Two Popes,” Willem Dafoe in “The Lighthouse.”

Predicted nominees: Willem Dafoe, “The Lighthouse”; Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”; Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes”; Al Pacino, “The Irishman”; Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”

Watch out for: John Lithgow, “Bombshell”; Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”; Wesley Snipes, “Dolemite Is My Name”

Best Supporting Actress
By far the most wide-open of the acting categories, supporting actress should allow for the feel-good nomination of the 75-year-old, scene-stealing grandma from “The Farewell,” Zhao Shuzhen, and for the stripper-pole gymnastics of Jennifer Lopez in “Hustlers.” Beyond them, Laura Dern and Margot Robbie feel like the surest bets for “Marriage Story” and “Bombshell,” respectively, while Annette Bening’s channeling of Dianne Feinstein in “The Report” will likely get attention.

But don’t underestimate Florence Pugh, whose performance in “Little Women” could be recognized as a way to also salute a year that included “Midsommar” and “Fighting With My Family.”

Predicted nominees: Annette Bening, “The Report”; Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”; Jennifer Lopez, “Hustlers”; Margot Robbie, “Bombshell”; Zhao Shuzhen, “The Farewell”

Watch out for: Florence Pugh, “Little Women”; Da’Vine Joy Randolph, “Dolemite Is My Name”; Meryl Streep, “Little Women”

Best Screenplay
The Globes don’t separate adapted and original screenplays, so the competition will be tougher here and will likely focus on the films that seem most formidable and the screenplays that have lots of words, “The Irishman,” “Marriage Story” and the always-verbose Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” among them. “Jojo Rabbit,” “The Two Popes,” “Little Women” and “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” are clearly in play as well, while the intricate whodunnit “Knives Out” could be a dark horse.

Then there’s “Parasite,” which is vying to become the fourth non-English screenplay (and the second in two years, after “Roma”) to be nominated in this category.

Predicted nominees: “The Irishman,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Marriage Story,” “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” “Parasite”

Watch out for: “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “Little Women,” “The Two Popes”

Best Original Score
There are lots of adventurous choices in the category this year, among them Daniel Lopatin’s score for “Uncut Gems,” Michael Abels’ for “Us,” Mark Korven’s for “The Lighthouse” and Hildur Gudnadottir’s for “Joker.” But there are also plenty of more straightforward scores that are likelier to get attention from the voters, like Thomas Newman’s “1917,” his cousin Randy Newman’s “Marriage Story,” Alexandre Desplat’s “Little Women,” Michael Giacchino’s “Jojo Rabbit” and, one presumes, John Williams’ final “Star Wars” score.

Predicted nominees: “Joker,” “Little Women,” Marriage Story,” “1917,” “Us”

Watch out for: “Avengers: Endgame,” “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” “Uncut Gems”

Best Original Song
Here’s a category in which who you are (and how famous you are) has been known to mean something. With that in mind, how do Globe voters ignore “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” the new Elton John song from “Rocketman,” or “Beautiful Ghosts,” the Taylor Swift/Andrew Lloyd Webber collaboration from “Cats,” or “Spirit,” the new Beyonce song from “The Lion King”? The answer: They don’t ignore them, they nominate them. Along with “Into the Unknown,” the new song from “Frozen II,” of course.

Also in the running: the ever-reliable Diane Warren’s “I’m Standing With You” from “Breakthrough”; star/singer/songwriter Cynthia Erivo’s “Stand Up” from “Harriet”; “Randy Newman’s “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from “Toy Story 4”; “Speechless,” the Alan Menken/Pasek & Paul collaboration from “Aladdin”; Jackson Browne and Leslie Mendelson’s affecting ballad “A Human Touch” from the documentary “5B”; and the country anthem that serves as a grand finale to the indie gem “Wild Rose,” “Glasgow (No Place Like Home).”

Predicted nominees: “Beautiful Ghosts” from “Cats,” “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman,” “Into the Unknown” from “Frozen II”, “Spirit” from “The Lion King,” “Stand Up” from “Harriet”

Watch out for: “Glasgow (No Place Like Home)” from “Wild Rose,” “I’m Standing With You” from “Breakthrough,” “Speechless” from “Aladdin”

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