Golden Globes Predictions: The Most Likely Nominees In The Major Movie Categories.

west side story, dune, belfast, and tick tick boom are possible contenders for the Golden Globe Awards
(Image credit: Warner Bros, Focus Features, Netflix, Searchlight)

2021 was probably the worst year in the Golden Globes’ 77 year history. They were rightfully called out earlier this year for a total lack of Black members, as well as other unethical practices, resulting in NBC refusing to air their ceremony for 2022. 

The HFPA is currently in the process of making reforms to their organization, and has recruited 21 new members this year (their total prior was about 86). It was uncertain if the HFPA would even announce nominees and winners for the films of 2021, but on October 15th they confirmed they would hold a ceremony in some capacity, with nominations to be announced December 13th at 6 A.M. PST. 

A consequence of the chaos this year for prognosticators is that we don’t actually have confirmation on what films will be campaigned in comedy or musical, making predicting films like CODA much more difficult. So in my predictions below I’m also predicting category placements.

Motion Picture Drama

If Belfast, Dune, King Richard, and The Power of the Dog don’t all show up here, I’d be shocked. In my mind that leaves open one slot for a wildcard to sneak in. Part of the challenge predicting this year is that we don’t know which films will be slotted in comedy or drama. If CODA is in drama, I think it has a shot here. Despite underwhelming reviews, we shouldn’t underestimate Nightmare Alley or Being the Ricardos either. Spencer and The Tragedy of Macbeth could certainly contend, as could either of Ridley Scott’s films: House of Gucci and The Last Duel. Right now I’m hesitantly predicting CODA, but I expect to be swapping out this slot up until nomination morning.

Drama Actor

Will Smith (King Richard), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog), and Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth) are near-locks in this category. The remaining two slots are tricky, as much of the competition they’ll face at the Oscars is on the comedy/musical side. Joaquin Phoenix has a shot for his understated performance in C’mon C’mon (assuming that’s in drama), and though it's a long shot, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nicolas Cage sneak in for Pig. For now, I’m predicting Javier Bardem for his portrayal of Desi Arnaz in Being the Ricardos, and Bradley Cooper for Nightmare Alley.

Drama Actress

Don’t bet against these four: Kristen Stewart (Spencer), Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos) and Lady Gaga (House of Gucci). As for that final slot, Penélope Cruz and Olivia Colman are certainly in the conversation for their roles in Parallel Mothers and The Lost Daughter respectively, but those films could be a little under the radar for the Globes. They love actors who play musical icons (see Andra Day’s shocking win last year), so I’m predicting they’ll nominate Jennifer Hudson for her portrayal of Aretha Franklin in Respect

Motion Picture Comedy / Musical

This was the best year for musicals in recent memory, and unlike some years, the Globes have plenty of riches to pick from in this category. West Side Story, Tick, tick… Boom!, Cyrano, and In the Heights all have a great shot to make it into this lineup. But they’ll be competing with comedies Licorice Pizza and Don’t Look Up. I expect the lineup will be pulled from these six films. In the Heights and Cyrano are probably the most vulnerable of the musicals. Though recency bias would favor Cyrano, I’m predicting it to miss, as it’s the least acclaimed the bunch. Or maybe both will show up at the expense of Don’t Look Up, whose divisive reactions could work against it.

Comedy / Musical Actor

There are four actors in this lineup that no one should be betting against: Andrew Garfield (Tick, tick… Boom!), Peter Dinklage (Cyrano), Leonardo DiCaprio (Don’t Look Up), and Anthony Ramos (In the Heights). The final slot is keeping me up at night. I would love for them to go with Simon Rex for Red Rocket, but that’s probably wishful thinking. I could honestly see them going for Ansel Elgort in West Side Story, but in a year where the organization is on thin ice, I think they’ll know better than to bring that sort of controversy their way. I’m perhaps optimistically going with Cooper Hoffman for Licorice Pizza. Although he is young and hasn’t been as seriously in the awards conversation as his co-star Alana Haim, it certainly helps that he is part of a bigger overall contender. 

Comedy / Musical Actress

The two no-brainers here are Alana Haim for Licorice Pizza and Rachel Zegler for West Side Story. I also expect Emma Stone may pretty easily get a nomination for Cruella, considering that things start to get a little thin beyond here. If CODA is in comedy, Emilia Jones will be nominated. And if Haley Bennett is lead for Cyrano, I’d say the same. If not, the most realistic options in my mind are Melissa Berrera (In the Heights), Jennifer Lawrence (Don’t Look Up), and Renate Reinsve (The Worst Person in the World). I am far too cynical to pick the latter, but I would jump for joy if it happened. I’m settling for Berrera and Lawrence for now.

Supporting Actor

I’m expecting both Ciaran Hinds and Jamie Dornan will make it in for Belfast and Belfast respectively. Jared Leto has a shot here for House of Gucci, especially considering he was surprise nominated for The Little Things last year. For the remaining two slots there are a lot of options. Jon Bernthal has a great shot at coat-tailing off of King Richard. And I’d love to see Robin de Jesus in for Tick, tick… Boom!, a film I expect they’ll adore. I’m predicting those two for now. Kodi Smit-McPhee has been garnering lots of critics awards, but I’m skeptical he’ll perform as well with certain major precursors. Troy Kotsur has been gaining steam for CODA, but like Yuh-Jung Youn or Paul Raci last year, he may be too unknown for the HFPA. I’m also watching out for Mike Faist (West Side Story), Bradley Cooper (Licorice Pizza), and Ben Affleck (The Tender Bar). Unfortunately I don’t have much hope for Jason Isaacs (Mass).

Supporting Actress

Four performances widely expected to be nominated here are Ariana Debose (West Side Story), Caitriona Balfe (Belfast), Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard), and Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog). Fighting for that last slot we have Cate Blanchett (Nightmare Alley), Meryl Streep (Don’t Look Up), Ruth Negga (Passing), and Ann Dowd (Mass). I am also considering Rita Moreno for West Side Story. Though this is somewhat of a long shot, it could be a great moment for the Globes to pick a veteran all-star for what will likely be their favorite musical there. But considering how CODA seems like it’s starting to take off, I’m going with Marlee Matlin.


The contenders who seem most likely here are Steven Spielberg (West Side Story), Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), Denis Villeneuve (Dune), and Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog). Many are predicting Paul Thomas Anderson for Licorice Pizza. I am skeptical. The director has never been nominated for a Golden Globe before. We can’t count out Adam McKay (Don’t Look Up), who was nominated for Vice and The Big Short. Nor should we underestimate Reinaldo Marcus Green (King Richard) or Guillermo del Toro (Nightmare Alley). However, I’m going with Lin Manuel Miranda for Tick, tick… Boom! Some would call this a long-shot, but I think the film is stronger than many are assuming and this feels like just the kind of celebrity actor-director nomination they’re notorious for embracing.


To make up for the director snub, I’m predicting Paul Thomas Anderson will land his first Golden Globe nomination in screenplay for Licorice Pizza. I also feel confident writer-directors Jane Campion and Kenneth Branagh will be nominated for their widely celebrated films. Despite Being the Ricardos’ lackluster reviews I cannot in good conscience underestimate 7-time nominee, 3-time winner Aaron Sorkin in this category. I’ve got my eye on Don’t Look Up here, as well as King Richard. But I feel the love for West Side Story will be so strong that Tony Kushner will take a nomination.

With the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award nominations both taking place Monday the 13th, there will surely be a lot to discuss in terms of how it shapes the Oscar race. Check back here on Cinemablend for more awards analysis in the coming weeks.