There are many great reasons to tune in to the Golden Globes Sunday evening – not the least among them being the awards themselves, which are chosen by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Of course, critics and fans won't necessarily agree with their selections. Here's a look at how the race is shaping up in the film division:
"12 Years a Slave" – Conventional Wisdom, Critics' Choice
"Gravity" – Fan Favorite
This race really is a tossup. "12 Years a Slave" was an important, conversation-starting portrayal of slavery at a time when race issues still rile the fabric of our nation. Not to be overlooked is its near-perfect cinematic execution. But "Gravity" was groundbreaking in its cinematic technique – a milestone not just for science-fiction movies but for filmmaking in general, and that's not to mention Sandra Bullock's moving performance and the film's emotional storyline. A sign that "12 Years a Slave" might win out is that it co-led in the nomination count.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Cate Blanchett ("Blue Jasmine") – Conventional Wisdom, Critics' Choice
Sandra Bullock ("Gravity")
Judi Dench ("Philomena") – Fan Favorite
Emma Thompson ("Saving Mr. Banks")
Kate Winslet ("Labor Day")
Who doesn't love Judi Dench playing the humble, cheesy romance novel-reading Irish lady in search of the son she was forced to give up for adoption? Sandra Bullock also was a crowd-pleaser in "Gravity," as well as in this summer's "The Heat" and just in life in general. But whether critics loved or hated "Blue Jasmine," they pretty much agree that Cate Blanchett's performance was awe-inspiring: full of grace, elegance, self-delusion and a mental breakdown all at once. The Hollywood Foreign Press is likely to agree.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Chiwetel Ejiofor ("12 Years a Slave") – Critics' Choice
Idris Elba ("Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom")
Tom Hanks ("Captain Phillips")
Matthew McConaughey ("Dallas Buyers Club") – Fan Favorite
Robert Redford ("All is Lost") – Conventional Wisdom
Robert Redford has an American legacy that extends far beyond his Hollywood profession, and his role in "All Is Lost" as a doomed boat captain (with only a few words of dialogue) has been hailed as the culmination of his career. Critics are considering him a sure bet for the award Sunday, even if some prefer Chiwetel Ejiofor's performance in "12 Years a Slave." Fans, meanwhile, rocked by Matthew McConaughey's physical and performative transformation, likely will be disappointed as well.
Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
"American Hustle" – Conventional Wisdom
"Inside Llewyn Davis" – Critics' Choice
"The Wolf of Wall Street" – Fan Favorite
David O. Russell is on a roll, with his last film, "Silver Linings Playbook," winning this category last year and its predecessor, "The Fighter," cleaning up on the awards circuit as well. His star-packed "American Hustle," which also scored the most noms, looks like it will edge out "The Wolf of Wall Street" – a film beloved by the cult of Martin Scorsese but bemoaned by critics for its length and alleged glamorization of Wall Street corruption. They would rather see "Inside Llewyn Davis" or even "Her" win: the former for its poignant blend of humor and sadness, the latter for its quiet inventiveness.
Best Actress In A Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Amy Adams ("American Hustle") – Conventional Wisdom, Fan Favorite, Critics' Choice
Julie Delpy ("Before Midnight")
Greta Gerwig ("Frances Ha")
Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("Enough Said")
Meryl Streep ("August: Osage County")
Amy Adams pulled off some daring necklines and a whole lot more in "American Hustle." Even critics lukewarm on the film have raved about her performance, and she has the fan support and industry momentum to carry her right to the podium.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale ("American Hustle")
Bruce Dern ("Nebraska") – Conventional Wisdom
Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Wolf of Wall Street") – Fan Favorite