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Wish lists and reality checks ahead of the Golden Globes

Awards season kicks off tonight with the Golden Globes and a film line-up stronger than ones in recent memory.
Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Event signage appears on the red carpet prior to the start of the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

PORTLAND, Ore. — Awards season kicks off shortly with the Golden Globes and a film line-up stronger than ones in recent memory.

The season began with a bang with the raw populist energy of Joker anchored by Joaquin Phoenix's bizarro performance and coalesce with the plucky feminist charm of Little Women. In between, we've ebbed from The Irishman in all of its deliberate bloat, and flowed to the shores of L.A. as Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson stabbed at each other with their words in Marriage Story. Knives Out surprised us with its unique charm and Parasite introduced the world at large to a fresh cinematic voice that we definitely haven't heard the last of.

So without further ado, here's my wish lists and my reality checks for tonight's major film categories at the Golden Globes.

You can watch the Golden Globes live at 5 p.m. tonight on KGW.

Best Picture - Drama

Nominees

  • The Irishman
  • Joker
  • Marriage Story
  • The Two Popes
  • 1917

Wish List and Reality Check

I'm at a disadvantage because 1917 has not received a wide release yet and I haven't seen it. However, from what I've read and snooped, it sounds like a stunning technical achievement by director Sam Mendes and legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins. However, its audacious style has been described as surface-level gimmickry, so I feel safe ruling it out. The Two Popes feels too niche and too small to make a dent in the voting bloc, and I think the Hollywood Foreign Press will choose to honor Marriage Story's performances rather than the film as a whole. That leaves Joker and The Irishman. Both have a shot, but I think voters will reward the sheer star-powered audacity of Martin Scorsese's 3 1/2 hour epic that serves as both a culmination of his career and a retrospective of the genre.

Best Picture - Musical/Comedy

Nominees

  • Dolemite Is My Name
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Knives Out
  • Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood
  • Rocketman

Wish List

I'm a sucker for a murder mystery. I grew up watching Clue with my dad and laughing my butt off when Tim Curry would hustle around the mansion piecing together what unfolded during one of the movie's three endings. At the end of Knives Out, I felt the same way I felt after watching Clue for the first time. Ana de Armas is sneakily brilliant as the nurse of a man who kills himself (or does he?!) but Daniel Craig is the one who steals every scenes he's in. Man, that accent was a risky choice that paid off. I really hope it wins...

Reality Check

...but it won't. Quentin Tarantino has this one in the bag. The Hollywood Foreign Press love nothing more than slobbering all over the magic and star power of Hollywood and Once Upon a Time has that in spades. This is all but a sure thing. I suppose there's a chance Rocketman could pull a "Bohemian Rhapsody" and take it all, but I doubt it.

Best Actress - Drama

Nominees

  • Cynthia Erivo (Harriet)
  • Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)
  • Saoirse Ronan (Little Women)
  • Charlize Theron (Bombshell)
  • Renée Zellweger (Judy)

Wish List

I would be thrilled with either Scarlett Johansson or Saoirse Ronan winning this. Both turned in incredibly nuanced performances about women trying to find their own voices, but in the process showed us radically different facets of womanhood.

Reality Check

It sure sounds like Renée Zellweger has a lock on this one with her portrayal of a late-in-life Judy Garland. Award shows love to give statues to actors who turn in big performances of famous people.

Best Actor - Drama

Nominees

  • Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari)
  • Antonio Banderas (Pain & Glory)
  • Adam Driver (Marriage Story)
  • Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
  • Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes)

Wish List

Either Antonio Banderas or Adam Driver walking away with a statue would make my day. This has been a very showy year for Driver who capped off the decade with his best performances to date and his final entry into the Star Wars saga. Meanwhile, I got lost in Banderas' vulnerable, tender performance as an aging director coping with health issues and a brand new addiction to heroin.

Reality Check

The Hollywood Foreign Press love a Hollywood moment and it doesn't get much bigger than Joaquin Phoenix dancing on stairs in full clown make-up. Sounds like he's gonna win this one.

Best Actress - Musical/Comedy

Nominees

  • Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart)
  • Emma Thompson (Late Night)
  • Ana de Armas (Knives Out)
  • Awkwafina (The Farewell)
  • Cate Blanchett (Where'd You Go, Bernadette)

Wish List

You can't not for root for Ana de Armas when she's on screen. Somehow, facing down powerful A-list stars like Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, and Chris Evans, she never gets lost; on the contrary, she takes control. Her easy chemistry with Christopher Plummer is genuinely touching. It would be great to see her win.

Reality Check

The Farewell was phenomenal, but I wasn't as blown away with Awkwafina's performance. But I've accepted that I'm in the minority and she appears to be the frontrunner to win this one.

Best Actor - Musical/Comedy

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)

Wish List

My answer was Leonardo DiCaprio until I saw Eddie Murphy's return to SNL. Now I'm rooting for him the whole way.

Realty Check

Eddie has a chance, but I think Leo's layers in Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood will put him over the top.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees

  • Margot Robbie (Bombshell)
  • Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell)
  • Annette Bening (The Report)
  • Laura Dern (Marriage Story)
  • Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers)

Wish List and Reality Check

This is award is going to one of two women, both of whom deserve it fully. Laura Dern switches between nurturer to slasher with no warning at all as a successful divorce attorney. But Jennifer Lopez turned me straight when she danced to Fiona Apple, so that by itself is award-worthy.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees

  • Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)
  • Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes)
  • Al Pacino (The Irishman)
  • Joe Pesci (The Irishman)
  • Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood)

Wish List and Reality Check

Al Pacino and Joe Pesci were impeccable, but they will cancel each other out tonight. Brad Pitt is walking away with this award and nobody deserves it more.

Best Director

Nominees

  • Martin Scorsese (The Irishman)
  • Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood)
  • Bong Joon Ho (Parasite)
  • Sam Mendes (1917)
  • Todd Phillips (Joker)

Wish List and Reality Check

If recent reports are to be believed, there are few people in Hollywood more universally beloved in this moment than Bong Joon Ho. And if his charm matches his talent, nobody deserves it more. If he doesn't win, we riot.

Best Screenplay

Nominees

  • Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story)
  • Bong Joon Ho, Han Jin Won (Parasite)
  • Anthony McCarten (The Two Popes)
  • Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood)
  • Steven Zaillian (The Irishman)

Wish List

The way Noah Baumbach introduces tiny details that come back to take on significant meaning is nothing short of brilliant. In addition to the way characters love and dote on each other one minute and then cut each other down in the next, this is script that proves the violent potential of words. Marriage Story should win. (Sidebar: Knives Out and Little Women were robbed.)

Reality Check

If the Golden Globes are anything like the Oscars, this category will also predict what wins best film. Using that logic, I think The Irishman has a good chance in this category.

Best Picture - Foreign Language

Nominees

  • The Farewell
  • Les Misérables
  • Pain and Glory
  • Parasite
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Wish List and Reality Check

The praise being heaped upon Parasite from day one cannot be ignored. Since it wasn't nominated in the Best Picture - Drama category, I think there is no way it doesn't win this category. I wouldn't be surprised if the Oscars one-up the Globes and give it a Best Picture nod. The film certainly earned it.