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Dave Karger predicts the Golden Globe

”Up in the Air,” ”(500) Days of Summer,” and Daniel Day-Lewis are on our critic’s short list of should-be Golden Globe honorees

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Best Drama
[X] Up in the Air
You can count out Precious and The Hurt Locker, which have scored with critics but lack the star power to win a Golden Globe in such a tight race. Inglourious Basterds, meanwhile, seems a better fit in a few other categories. Avatar certainly has the momentum in the overall awards-season race, so if the Globe voters are going for prescience, that’s their best bet. But with the most Globe nominations this year (six in all), the starrier Up in the Air should steal it.
Also nominated: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds and Precious

Best Comedy or Musical
[X] (500) Days of Summer
With its award-laden cast, eye-popping musical numbers, and bevy of nominations, Nine would appear to be the favorite. But will the Hollywood Foreign Press want to anoint a film that’s so clearly fading from Academy contention? If not, The Hangover is too crass, while Meryl Streep’s legion of fans may find themselves split between her two comedies. So the quirky (500) Days seems poised for an upset. After all, it’s a comedy with the best musical number of the year.
Also nominated: The Hangover, It’s Complicated, Julie & Julia, and Nine

Best Actor – Drama
[X] George Clooney (Up in the Air)
One of the closest races, it’s a three-way battle between Bridges, Clooney, and Firth. Give the edge to Clooney, thanks to his surprisingly emotional turn in Up in the Air. Plus, as the voters know, the guy gives good speech.
Also nominated: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), Colin Firth (A Single Man), Morgan Freeman (Invictus), and Tobey Maguire (Brothers)

Best Actor ? Comedy or Musical
[X] Daniel Day-Lewis (Nine)
A dramatic actor going the singing-and-dancing route usually gets bonus points here, even if he’s not a slam dunk for an Oscar nod (witness Globe winner and Academy snubbee Richard Gere for Chicago). So Day-Lewis should traipse off with the trophy.
Also nominated: Matt Damon (The Informant!), Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes), Joseph Gordon-Levitt ((500) Days of Summer)), and Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man)

Best Supporting Actor
[X] Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
Along with Best Screenplay, this is the Quentin Tarantino opus’ best shot at a win. Certainly the Foreign Press members will be impressed with Waltz’s quadrilingual breakout performance as an SS colonel.
Also nominated: Matt Damon (Invictus), Woody Harrelson (The Messenger), Christopher Plummer (The Last Station), Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)

Best Director
[X] James Cameron (Avatar)
Tarantino is a long shot for a spoiler victory here. But the real race is between friendly exes Bigelow and Cameron. Bigelow is clearly the critical favorite, but the HFPA adores Avatar, which is likely enough to make Cameron the King of the Globes.
Also nominated: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), Clint Eastwood (Invictus), Jason Reitman (Up in the Air), and Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)

Best Actress – Drama
[X] Carey Mulligan (An Education)
With Meryl Streep in the comedy category, dramatic upstarts Mulligan and Sidibe will vie for the win. Unless the HFPA wants to reward Bullock for her fab year, they’ll probably go with the poised Mulligan.
Also nominated: Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria), Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side), Helen Mirren (The Last Station), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious),

Best Actress ? Comedy or Musical
[X] Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia)
Unlike at the Oscars, actors can compete against themselves for a Globe — hence Streep’s two nods here. It’s Complicated may be her more recent vehicle, but her Julia performance is without question the stronger awards bait.
Also nominated: Sandra Bullock (The Proposal), Marion Cotillard (Nine), Julia Roberts (Duplicity), and Meryl Streep (It’s Complicated)

Best Supporting Actress
[X] Mo’Nique (Precious)
The supporting races are by far the easiest to call this year. Cruz is beguiling, the Up in the Air ladies are lovely, and it’s a crime that Moore’s mantel is empty. But with her devastating turn in Precious, Mo’Nique is in a league of her own.
Also nominated: Penélope Cruz (Nine), Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air), Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Julianne Moore (A Single Man)

Best Animated
[X] Up
Globe voters have always been big Pixar fans — they even gave Toy Story 2 the prize for Best Comedy or Musical in 2000. Wes Anderson’s delightful Fantastic Mr. Fox is the only upset possibility, but Up‘s critical and commercial success seals the win. Also nominated: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Princess and the Frog

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