Plus, who we really want to see give an acceptance speech

By Nicole Sperling
Updated January 06, 2016 at 12:00 PM EST
Everett Collection

It’s pretty close to impossible to figure out how the wacky 80-member Hollywood Foreign Press Association will vote its top pics for Sunday’s big night. Once upon a time, the Globes snubbed James L. Brooks, Mike Nichols, and Ingmar Bergman to award Best Director to Barbra Steisand (for Yentl!). But the HFPA has made an effort in recent years to be more than just a televised party. This year, they have once again put forth a pretty legitimate group of movie nominees for its 73rd annual telecast, which will no doubt make for a good night of must-see television and could possibly feel like a precursor to the actual Academy Awards.

Let’s break it down category by category (for television predictions, head here).

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Best Picture, Drama

What will happen: With no clear front-runner in this category, the votes could sway any one of the five directions. But in the end, the HFPA does consider itself a group of journalists and as such they are likely to vote for Spotlight.

What we want to happen: Give it to Mad Max: Fury Road. The look of shock on George Miller’s face for a movie that he spent decades getting to the big screen would be priceless and make for a really great moment.

Best Picture, Comedy

What will happen: Not everyone within the HFPA was happy when Ridley Scott’s space adventure The Martian was deemed a “comedy.” Does that hurt its chances on Sunday? Maybe, though there’s a lot of goodwill for Matt Damon and Ridley Scott. If so, the group could hand the best comedy prize to The Big Short.

What we want to happen: Hand it to The Big Short and get a great TV moment when Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, and Christian Bale join the very funny, very smart director Adam McKay on stage for what hopefully will be a politically-charged moment.

Best Actress, Drama

What will happen: The HFPA loves a good discovery. They first nominated Leonardo DiCaprio back when he was still a wet-behind-the-ears 19-year old. Angelina Jolie won two Golden Globes before she finally had her Oscar breakthrough. So it would make sense that they extend their generosity to Brie Larson for her performance in Room. Could anyone else sneak in? Perhaps Saoirse Ronan for her turn in Brooklyn. (The HFPA first nominated her back in 2008 for Atonement).

What we want to happen: The voters continue their statement-making by anointing either Rooney Mara (Carol) or Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) for their lead performances as a rebuke to the studios mounting Oscar campaigns for these two actresses in the supporting category.

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Best Actress, Comedy

What will happen: Nothing would make the Golden Globes seem more up-to-date than a prize for Amy Schumer. It’s unlikely Schumer will be recognized by the Academy, so this is the HFPA’s opportunity to deliver that viral moment that surely won’t be replicated at the Oscars.

What we want to happen: Schumer for the win!

Best Actor, Drama

What will happen: Everyone is expecting this prize to go to Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s been loyal to the HFPA for years and in return they have rewarded him with two Golden Globe awards (for The Aviator and The Wolf of Wall Street). And the theory goes that he’ll be rewarded again for the torture he endured making the never-ending Revenant.

What we want to happen: Could Bryan Cranston take it from Leo for his role as Dalton Trumbo? Stranger things have happened and we all know how much the HFPA already loves Cranston — he won for Breaking Bad. Now that would make for some stellar TV.

Best Actor, Comedy

What will happen: Matt Damon’s got this one in the bag. Not only is he a friend of the HFPA but he’s deserving — if not exactly the funniest nominee in the comedy category. The Martian would never have grossed the nearly $600 million without him in that lead role.

What we want to happen: Despite a few gaffes this past year, Damon’s a hard guy to root against. 2016 Golden Globes — Top Movie Nominees | PrettyFamous

Best Supporting Actor

What will happen: Seems like the only one who could upset Paul Dano for his role as a young Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy is Sylvester Stallone. But Dano is on a roll, nabbing prizes from critics groups across the country, and he’s playing by the HFPA’s rules — attending their parties, playing nice with the voters. He looks like the winner.

What we want to happen: I for one would like to see the TV moment Stallone creates should he be crowned the winner for stepping back into the character that made him famous, but with a twist — essentially playing the role that landed Burgess Meredith an Oscar nomination some 40 years ago.

Best Supporting Actress

What will happen: Despite the healthy competition, it’s hard to imagine someone other than Helen Mirren’s name being called Sunday night for her role as red-baiting Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. The HFPA are said to be big fans of Trumbo and the combination of old Hollywood and journalism, even in its darkest form, may be too irresistible to resist.

What we want to happen: Jane Fonda. Like Mirren, she’s an HFPA favorite, with three previous wins. And what other celebrity has the wherewithal to deliver a provocative and political speech that will get people talking? There has to be something bugging this life-long activist that she’d like to get off her chest and who wouldn’t want to hear that?

Best Director

What will happen: It looks like the best director race could come down to a charming older man contest. Neither Ridley Scott nor George Miller have ever won either an Academy Award or a Golden Globe. In the end, this year’s accolades will likely go to Scott, who’s been nominated three times by the HFPA but has never won.

What we want to happen: Like Matt Damon, it’s hard to vote against Ridley Scott.

Best Screenplay

What will happen: The competition in this category is stiff this year with two powerhouses: Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs) and Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight) going up against each other. It’s possible the two men, who have both won before, will cancel each other out, and the prize will go to Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer for Spotlight.

What we want to happen: The room is shocked when Irish author Emma Donaghue, who adapted her own novel, is rewarded for her splendid work.

Best Score

What will happen: With The Hateful Eight possibly falling short in the other categories, we think the HFPA will throw a little love at Ennio Morricone for his big, powerful score in Tarantino’s Western.

What we want to happen: Daniel Pemberton, who composed three different scores for the three acts of Steve Jobs, walks away with the top prize.

Best Original Song

What will happen: This category is a toss-up. Will the HFPA choose one of the year’s most popular songs, See You Again by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth from Furious 7 — a song that also happens to be a tribute to the beloved Paul Walker? Or do they go for the television moment, picking Brian Wilson’s One Kind of Love so they get the Beach Boy up on stage? I think 1960s nostalgia wins out with this crowd.

What we want to happen: Besides Dr. Eugene Landy, who doesn’t want to see Brian Wilson on that stage?

Best Animated Film

Inside Out, done and done.

Best Foreign Language

What will happen: It will be hard to beat Hungary’s Son of Saul. It’s got the momentum and the harrowing Holocaust subject matter, all of which point to a big win for this Oscar frontrunner.

What we want to happen: Deniz Gamze Ergüven is the Turkish-born filmmaker who made Mustang, which tells the story of five orphan sisters whose adolescent sexuality is oppressed by their grandmother and the mores of their small Turkish village. In the brave new world of Katniss and Rey, the sisters’ story is a reminder that women are still extremely vulnerable in many parts of the world, and a Golden Globe would give Ergüven a greater platform to be heard.