Golden Globes 2021 predictions: Borat 2, Minari, Chloé Zhao, Chadwick Boseman, Carey Mulligan

The 2021 edition of the Golden Globe Awards is scheduled to get simulcast in India on 1 March at 4 am.

The New York Times February 27, 2021 15:16:39 IST
Golden Globes 2021 predictions: Borat 2, Minari, Chloé Zhao, Chadwick Boseman, Carey Mulligan

When it comes to predicting winners at the Golden Globes, you have to imagine an array of conflicting agendas. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the ceremony, likes to bestow its trophies on films that already have plenty of Oscar momentum, but the small size of the group — around 90 eccentric journalists who vote for the Globes — leaves every category open to a shock winner.

This year, the pandemic deprived association members of the chance to rub shoulders with big celebrities, a glamorous perk that can often influence their selections. The HFPA is also under fire after a raft of recent articles exposed double-dealing practices and an insular membership that includes no Black voters, which may explain why none of the past year’s acclaimed Black-led ensembles like Da 5 Bloods and One Night in Miami made the Globes’ best-drama lineup.

Will voters try to mitigate those controversies by picking a diverse set of worthy winners, or will traditional Globe anarchy prevail? I expect a bit of both. Here are my projections for this year’s film races at the Golden Globes.

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Andra Day, United States vs. Billie Holiday

Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman

Frances McDormand, Nomadland

Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

This race may come down to McDormand and Mulligan, each fronting zeitgeisty films that were also nominated in the drama, director and screenplay categories. Since Mulligan’s role as the avenging, utterly contemporary Cassie is a major change of pace for a star often seen in period pieces, I project her to win in a squeaker.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal

Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Anthony Hopkins, The Father

Gary Oldman, Mank

Tahar Rahim, The Mauritanian

Boseman’s status as the Oscar favourite is so presumed that if the Globes went a different way, they’d invite further scrutiny and controversy at a time when they hardly need more it. That isn’t to say the category lacks powerhouse alternatives: In any other year, Hopkins, Ahmed or Oldman might easily cruise to victory here. But not this time.

Best Motion Picture, Drama

The Father



Promising Young Woman

The Trial of the Chicago 7

For all their strengths, The Father and Mank feel less urgent when pitted against three Big Issue dramas. Promising Young Woman would be the provocative, spiky pick, but Globe voters tend to gravitate toward a film with a serious chance at winning the best picture Oscar, and by that metric, Nomadland and The Trial of the Chicago 7 have the highest hopes. This could go either way, but I’m projecting Chicago 7, written and directed by two-time Globe winner Aaron Sorkin.

Best Actress, Musical or Comedy

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Kate Hudson, Music

Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit

Rosamund Pike, I Care a Lot

Anya Taylor-Joy, Emma

Bakalova delivered one of the year’s breakthrough performances as Borat’s daughter, and though she’ll be campaigned as a supporting actress for the Academy Awards, the Globes’ comedy/musical categories offer her a prime opportunity to dart into the lead race and snatch a high-profile trophy. Over a handful of contenders with long-shot Oscar hopes, she’s good as gold.

Best Actor, Musical or Comedy

Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

James Corden, The Prom

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

Dev Patel, The Personal History of David Copperfield

Andy Samberg, Palm Springs

Baron Cohen won this Golden Globe for the first Borat, and his only real competition here is the well-liked Miranda. Still, Hamilton peaked five years ago, and the HFPA doesn’t like to feel like the last to arrive at a party. Expect more votes for Baron Cohen, whose acceptance speech could spice up a socially distanced night.

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm



Palm Springs

The Prom

Palm Springs and The Prom aren’t significant Globe threats, and the nominations for Music drew such ridicule that voters will probably shy away from further recognition for the Sia-directed fiasco. That leaves just Hamilton and Borat, and since the Disney+ taping of Hamilton won’t be Oscar-eligible, the HFPA should favour Baron Cohen’s suited prankster.

Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Colman, The Father

Jodie Foster, The Mauritanian

Amanda Seyfried, Mank

Helena Zengel, News of the World

Just two years ago, Close won best actress in a drama for The Wife, while Colman took best actress in a musical or comedy for The Favourite. What happens when you put those two Globe winners head to head in this year’s supporting-actress race? Potentially, it creates enough daylight for Seyfried to slip through, but I think Colman still has the upper hand against Close for a better-reviewed film that scored Globe nominations across the board.

Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Jared Leto, The Little Things

Bill Murray, On the Rocks

Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami

With Odom sitting pretty in the best-song category and Baron-Cohen likelier to win for Borat, will voters spread the wealth here and pick someone else? Kaluuya’s magnetic performance as Black Panther leader Fred Hampton has a lot of Oscar heat, but the Globes have gone wacky in this category before — or don’t you remember when Nocturnal Animals star Aaron Taylor-Johnson beat out Mahershala Ali of Moonlight? That’s why I’m tempted to predict a victory for Leto, who has found baffling awards traction for The Little Things: It just wouldn’t feel like the Globes without one chaotic win at the top of the show.

Best Director

Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

David Fincher, Mank

Regina King, One Night in Miami

Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

This category often goes to the most technically tricky movie, which would seem to favour Fincher for the gleaming, expensive Mank. But Zhao is considered an Oscar front-runner, and the HFPA has taken plenty of heat for rarely recognizing women in this race. I project Zhao will become the first female director to triumph here in almost four decades, since Barbra Streisand won this Globe for Yentl.

Best Screenplay

Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman

Jack Fincher, Mank

Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller, The Father

Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

It’s the promising upstart Fennell versus the veteran Sorkin in this category. If the HFPA decides Zhao is their best-director pick, the screenplay race offers a much more natural place to reward Sorkin, and I expect the voters will seize the opportunity.

Best Foreign Language Film

Another Round

La Llorona

The Life Ahead


Two of Us

The immigrant story Minari couldn’t be more American, but an outdated HFPA rule shuffles it off to the foreign-film category because its characters often speak in Korean, and an even more pernicious rule decrees that those foreign films then aren’t eligible for a best-drama nomination. Knowing this, the Globes will probably reward Minari in an attempt to tamp down all the controversy, but the real win would be scrapping those rules altogether next time.

Best Animated Feature Film

The Croods: A New Age


“Over the Moon



The much-admired Wolfwalkers has underdog potential, and the Globes often go for that: Just last year, the far more modest Missing Link won over juggernauts like Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2. That said, I’m still projecting Pixar’s Soul to win, as it showed enough strength with the HFPA to nab one other nomination. Speaking of which …

Best Original Score

Alexandre Desplat, The Midnight Sky

Ludwig Goransson, Tenet

James Newton Howard, News of the World

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Mank

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste, Soul

Reznor and Ross are double nominees here — and will probably repeat at the Oscars — but in a best-score category, you have to assume the film about music has the edge. Expect their work with Jon Batiste on Soul to triumph.

Best Original Song

'Fight for You' (Judas and the Black Messiah)

'Hear My Voice' (The Trial of the Chicago 7)

'Io Sì' (The Life Ahead)

'Speak Now' (One Night in Miami)

'Tigress & Tweed' (The United States vs. Billie Holiday)

Leslie Odom Jr and Andra Day received dual nominations for acting and songwriting in their films, but the Globes clearly preferred One Night in Miami (which also got a best-director nomination) to Day’s Billie Holiday biopic, so 'Speak Now,' which Odom wrote with Sam Ashworth, has a better shot at being heard here.

Kyle Buchanan c.2021 The New York Times Company

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