[UPDATE: Check out the full list of winners at the 2016 Golden Globes!]
When it comes to handing out awards for TV, the Golden Globes offers something distinctly different than the Emmys. Thanks to the unique tastes of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the trophies doled out to the best television has to offer are usually a varied affair, ranging anywhere from the welcome wouldn’t-have-guessed-that surprises all the way to the more inexplicable choices that will undoubtedly rankle more than a few TV lover and critics alike.
This year, the nominees run the gamut from new series, like Mr. Robot and Casual, to familiar faces, like Game of Thrones and Orange is the New Black. What makes the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards so interesting (and all Golden Globe ceremonies, really) are the kinds of shows and performances that have been nominated. Everything from critical darlings like Transparent and Veep are represented along with surprising (and surprisingly welcome) additions like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Mozart in the Jungle.
As is the case with the nominations, it’s all but impossible to guess what’s going on inside the minds of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. But that won’t stop us from making our best prediction of who will win, who should win, and which dark horse nominee might go home with the award in an upset.
Best Television Series, Drama
Predicted Winner: Mr. Robot
Mr. Robot took the zeitgeist by storm this summer, ushering in a new world of prestige drama to the otherwise pedestrian enclave of USA Networks’ original programming. Created by Sam Esmail, the show was visually inventive and tonally consistent throughout what often proved to be an astonishingly well made first season that didn’t live down to its weird title. Bolstered by incredible performances (from nominees Rami Malek and Christian Slater), this is without a doubt the show to beat.
Should Win: Mr. Robot
There are some great shows on this list, but none of them managed to make quite as big a splash as Mr. Robot did in its first season. The series debuted at SXSW, winning the audience award, and still it took its sweet time seeping into viewers’ collective conscience. This was a true slow-burn series that eventually became one of the biggest conversations in television in 2015. A phenomenon in many ways, but one that feels deserving of the title.
Potential Upset: Game of Thrones
The Emmys certainly fell in love with HBO’s lavish adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy novels, and there’s no reason to suggest the Globes won’t follow suit. Season 5 of the series raised the bar in many ways – if this were based on ‘Hardhome‘ alone, GoT might be a lock – but it’s facing an uphill battle against the poised and ingenious upstart from USA Networks.
Should’ve Been a Contender: The Americans, Mad Men
Nothing against Narcos or Outlander, both are fine shows, but perennially overlooked The Americans is consistently a marvel to watch for its phenomenal performances across-the-board as well as its fantastic writing and consistently wonderful direction. Mad Men, on the other hand, turned in seven outstanding episodes for its final season that summed up what was so great about the show to begin with. Both should have been here.
Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy
Predicted Winner: Transparent
Transparent took home this award last year, and there’s no reason to think the show isn’t coming to the Beverly Hilton for seconds. The series was simply a marvel in its second season, rising above the heights of its first in many ways as the storytelling moved into a wonderful visual rhythm that was kicked off with a killer static shot. Jill Soloway and the rest of the Transparent crew will be likely be making an appearance on stage Sunday night.
Should Win: Transparent
There are some interesting choices in this category. Silicon Valley is certainly deserving of its nomination, as are Veep and Orange is the New Black. Casual was probably a surprise for many, but the charming comedy/drama from Hulu managed to tap into the same emotional well as Transparent, especially in the latter half of the season. Despite the competition, this is still Transparent‘s award to lose.
Potential Upset: Veep
The acerbic political comedy just keeps getting better every season (which is likely why it continually takes home the Emmy in its category). Like Game of Thrones, there’s reason to believe the love shown for this series from other award shows will bleed over into the HFPA, so an upset here wouldn’t be unheard of. It also wouldn’t feel like that much of an upset.
Should’ve Been a Contender: Difficult People, BoJack Horseman
To be honest, the HFPA put up a good list. It’s a little quirky with Mozart in the Jungle, but that just makes it feel more balanced. There’s not a whole lot that could have been changed, but given the Globes’ budding reputation for recognizing smaller shows with a unique voice of their own, it would have been nice to see either Hulu’s Difficult People or Netflix’s BoJack Horseman, both of which succeed in skewering celebrity and Hollywood culture in different ways. Then again, maybe that’s why they’re not on here. And now, come to think of it, let’s nominate Difficult People stars Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner to be the hosts of the 74th Golden Globes in 2017.
Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Predicted Winner: Fargo
You have to love the Golden Globes for putting Flesh and Bone in this category and doing so with a straight face. Nevertheless, that shouldn’t detract from the fact that Fargo was one of the best shows on TV this year and, like Transparent, also took home the award for which it was nominated last year. Expect to see Hawley’s smiling face – and possibly his sockless feet – on stage come Sunday.
Should Win: Fargo
Sure, it’s not the surprising choice, but it is the right choice. Noah Hawley did what he set out to do with Fargo season 2: tell a sprawling, Midwestern crime story and fill it with more memorable characters than you can shake a mustachioed Colin Farrell at.
Potential Upset: Wolf Hall
It’s a sure sign that there’s too much good television when a series as terrific as Wolf Hall basically goes unnoticed come awards season. The historical miniseries starring Mark Rylance and Damian Lewis was impeccably made and filled top to bottom with thoughtful, passionate performances. If the series is going to pull off the upset, it might do it here.
Should’ve Been a Contender: Show Me a Hero
This is a lot like the Mad Men situation. Its star, Oscar Isaac, deservedly represents David Simon’s tremendous Show Me a Hero here and yet, the series itself isn’t nominated. Again, it’s great to see a quirky (some might say questionable) choice like Flesh and Bone here, but one has to wonder whether HFPA tuned in to HBO in mid-to-late August.
Best Performance By An Actress In a Television Series, Drama
Nominees: Caitriona Balfe, Outlander, Viola Davis, How To Get Away With Murder, Eva Green, Penny Dreadful, Taraji P. Henson, Empire, Robin Wright, House of Cards
Predicted Winner: Viola Davis
This might be playing it safe given Davis’ win earlier this year, but there’s no reason to think she won’t have a shiny Golden Globe to set alongside (or behind) the Emmy after Sunday night. But Davis is the logical (maybe too logical) choice here; her performance on HTGAWM is always strong and manages to legitimize the series in ways it might struggle with if it didn’t have her.
Should Win: Taraji P. Henson – no, wait, Eva Green
This almost feels like an impossible choice. Both actresses consistently bring their A-game to a pair of television shows that are incredibly fun to watch, even if they tend to stray from being great television from time to time. Honestly, if either woman were to win for this category it would feel like a win for television in general. Henson is long overdue for some recognition for her work on Empire – and that series is only halfway through its second season, if that tells you anything. Green, meanwhile, has been making Showtime’s macabre, gothic adventure program, Penny Dreadful, her own since that series’ second episode.
Potential Upset: Robin Wright
Let’s not count out the fact that the HFPA has been a fan of House of Cards and Robin Wright before. Sure, it’s been nearly a year since the series had a new episode, but anticipation for season 4 might be enough to spur the passion of those voting.
Should’ve Been a Contender: Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Mad Men had one of the deepest benches in terms of talent that television has ever seen. But it never relied on anyone more so than Elisabeth Moss, who was both generous in her scenes with other actors and dominating when she needed to be. By the end, Peggy Olsen was as synonymous with the series as Don Draper. With this being the last time Moss can be nominated for her consistently amazing work on Matthew Weiner’s series, this feels like a real missed opportunity.
Best Performance By An Actor In A Television Series, Drama
Nominees: Jon Hamm, Mad Men, Rami Malek, Mr. Robot, Wagner Moura, Narcos, Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul, Liev Schriber, Ray Donovan
Predicted Winner: Jon Hamm
Hamm won a Golden Globe for his career-making performance as Don Draper back in 2008 and has been nominated four times since (including this year). He finally took home a much-deserved and overdue Emmy earlier this year, and with 2015 bringing about the end of Mad Men (and the show’s surprising absence from the Globes in any other category), this feels like a good time to recognize the series one last time.
Should Win: Jon Hamm
Rami Malek was fantastic in Mr. Robot and there’s reason to guess he might take home the award (look below), but Hamm made Don Draper such a rich and interesting character for seven seasons, it’s hard to think that he hasn’t earned another nod for his contribution to one of the best television series in history.
Potential Upset: Rami Malek
If Mr. Robot wins Best Drama, there’s a good chance its star will also be recognized. It makes sense that the two would go together. And besides, Malek took on a complicated, potentially disastrous role as the troubled Elliot and turned it into an affecting and exciting example of just how fascinating an unreliable narrator can be when placed in the hands of such a talented performer.
Should’ve Been a Contender: Matthew Rhys, Mads Mikkelsen
We can go on about The Americans all day. The show is deserving of more recognition, as is its cast – particularly Matthew Rhys, whose depiction of a man gradually becoming overwhelmed by his conscience is one of television’s best. Elsewhere, you have Mads Mikkelsen’s role as the cannibalistic Dr. Hannibal Lecter, which redefined the character and made him frightening and frighteningly romantic all at the same time.
Best Performance By An Actress In A Television Series, Musical, or Comedy
Nominees: Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Jamie Lee Curtis, Scream Queens, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep, Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin, Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie
Predicted Winner: Gina Rodriguez
Honestly, this one is a crapshoot. There isn’t a performer on here who doesn’t have a legitimate claim to the award given the work they’ve done this year. Rodriguez took the Globe home last year, and since we’ve inadvertently started a trend that 2016 will be the year of the repeat, we’ll bet that Rodriguez goes home with it again.
Should Win: Rachel Bloom
Again, this one is a tough call, but Bloom is so good in her performance in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend that it’s harder to argue against her than anyone else. Like so many shows, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is far better than its title suggests and it owes so much of its success to Bloom’s effervescent, musical portrayal of Rebecca Bunch that you just want her (and by extension, the series) to get a big win here.
Potential Upset: Rachel Bloom
Looking at the nominees and the Globes’ recent history in the category, it might actually be Bloom’s time to shine. The Globes rightly took The CW seriously before anyone else did, and they might do it again, this time spreading the love around to a show that not only deserves it, but could also use the exposure.
Should’ve Been a Contender: Sharon Horgan, Catastrophe
Amazon’s Catastrophe is a little six-episode gem that you can watch the entire first season of in the better part of an afternoon. But the effect the series, and its co-lead performance by Horgan as a middle-aged woman facing a pregnancy as the result of a brief romantic tryst, is one that will stay with you long after it has ended. Horgan is at times strong, funny, and vulnerable in a role that could have been played with much less subtlety. She deserves to be here.
Best Performance By An Actor In A Television Series, Musical, or Comedy
Nominees: Aziz Ansari, Master of None, Gael García Bernal, Mozart In The Jungle, Rob Lowe, The Grinder, Patrick Stewart, Blunt Talk, Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Predicted Winner: Jeffrey Tambor
Although Transparent season 2 focused more on the Pfefferman clan as a whole than on Maura, this year it still feels like Jeffrey Tambor’s award. The performance for which he was nominated is as good, if not better, than season 1 and with the show having been praised so much this year, it would be surprising if that trend didn’t continue at the Golden Globes.
Should Win: Aziz Ansari
This is the sort of pick you make with your gut. Ansari doesn’t necessarily deliver the same kind of performance in Master of None as his fellow nominees do in their series, but it gets big points for being as honest and as heartfelt as it is. Besides, if anyone is going to deliver an unforgettable speech after winning a Golden Globe, it’s Ansari. Maybe he could take his dad up on stage with him.
Potential Upset: Rob Lowe
The Grinder is easily one of the funniest comedies on TV at the moment, and it’s certainly the funniest new comedy of the season. While his performance is a little reminiscent of his character on Parks & Recreation, that show never received the attention it deserved. If Lowe were to win here, consider it a win for P&R as well.
Should’ve Been a Contender: Andre Braugher, Brookly Nine-Nine
FOX’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine made a big awards splash its first season, and then seemingly shifted away from the spotlight. That’s too bad, because it is has become one of those shows that is too good for its own good, and Braugher is a big part of why that is true. His performance as Capt. Ray Holt has grown into one of the most consistently hilarious roles in a comedy today.
Best Performance By An Actress In A Limited Series Or Motion Picture Made For Television
Nominees: Kirsten Dunst, Fargo, Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel, Sarah Hay, Flesh and Bone, Felicity Huffman, American Crime, Queen Latifah, Bessie
Predicted Winner: Kirsten Dunst
Yes, it’s hard to not want to see the spectacle of Lady Gaga taking home an award for the spectacle that is AHS, but Dunst is the odd-on favorite here. Her performance as Peggy Blumquist was spot on from beginning to end, showing off Dunst’s dramatic range as well as her comedic timing. This is the kind of role many actresses likely dream of and Dunst was open and engaging for the entirety of the season. This was a great performance from start to finish.
Should Win: Kirsten Dunst
There’s a reason she’s the odds-on favorite, Dunst made hard work look easy for 10-episodes and made Peggy the sort of character that you liked and maybe even rooted for, in spite of her shortcomings. That’s a tall order for any actress and Dunst shined throughout.
Potential Upset: Lady Gaga
Look, never underestimate the power of Lady Gaga or the pull of seeing a crossover talent be validated by winning an award. Gaga didn’t put in the same sort of performance as Dunst did, but that’s never stopped these shows from handing out awards. This would be the biggest upset of the night for sure.
Should’ve Been a Contender: Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Hotel
In the absence of Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson has stood up and taken hold of the series to legitimize it beyond it’s love of excess and spectacle. She has been afforded a slightly different character to the one she usually plays in Ryan Murphy’s aging series and the result is a commanding performance that deserves to be singled out.
Best Performance By An Actor In A Limited Series Or Motion Picture Made For Television
Nominees: Idris Elba, Luther, Oscar Isaac, Show Me a Hero, David Oyelowo, Nightingale, Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall, Patrick Wilson, Fargo
Predicted Winner: Oscar Isaac
No one’s 2015 could possibly compare to Oscar Isaac’s 2015. The guy was everywhere and yet you still felt like you couldn’t get enough. A lot of that is due to him turning in intimate, challenging performances like he did in Show Me a Hero, while also being the best damned fighter pilot in the resistance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He’s the sort of superstar that seems destined to attract as much blockbuster attention as awards recognition.
Should Win: Oscar Isaac
Isaac was phenomenal in Show Me a Hero as embattled Yonkers mayor Nick Wasicsko. Playing a real-life human being whose story ended as tragically as Wasicsko’s did is the sort of challenging material most actors dream of. But at the same time, it’s the most daunting – there’s really no room for error. Thankfully, Isaac turned in a riveting performance that also honored the memory of Wasicsko.
Potential Upset: Patrick Wilson
Fargo season 2 was great. Patrick Wilson was great in it. There’s not really much more that needs to be said here, but in an age where every hero seems to have a dark side, Wilson’s performance as a young Lou Solverson demonstrated there is still plenty of room for good-natured, virtuous, white-hatted heroes.
Should’ve Been a Contender: Bertie Carvel, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Carvel turned in an exceedingly exuberant performance during one of the more enjoyable miniseries on TV in 2015. His Jonathan Strange held his own against Eddie Marsan’s Mr. Norrell, to bring the dynamic duo of Susanna Clarke’s weighty tome to life. The show came and went without much recognition, but Carvel’s lively performance deserves a bit of the spotlight here.
Best Supporting Actress In A Series, Limited Series, Or Motion Picture Made For Television
Nominees: Uzo Aduba, Orange Is The New Black, Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey, Regina King, American Crime, Maura Teirney, The Affair, Judith Light, Transparent
Predicted Winner: Uzo Aduba
Uzo Aduba is going to win awards for her role on Orange is the New Black for as long as that series is running – or as long as she stays on it. But the thing is, Aduba absolutely deserves the accolades that have been heaped upon her. She has given Suzanne Warren, a character with a nickname like ‘Crazy Eyes,’ the sort of abundance of character and compassion that transcends such a shallow moniker.
Should Win: Judith Light
Like Fargo, it feels as though Sunday night could be Transparent‘s night. And if there’s a performer on the series that deserves recognition, it’s Judith Light. As mentioned above, the series shifted its focus ever so slightly to make room for more exploration of the ensemble cast. As a result, Light was given much more to do as Maura’s ex-wife Shelly Pfefferman, and the actress didn’t waste a minute of her increased screen time.
Potential Upset: Regina King
King already took home an Emmy for her role in American Crime (and she deserves another for The Leftovers), so seeing her win a Golden Globe wouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Her role wasn’t as showy as the others, but it demonstrated what a terrific actress King is and why she’s one of those performers who makes things better just by being in them.
Should’ve Been a Contender: Melanie Lynskey, Togetherness
Melanie Lynskey is one of the best things about HBO’s sharp, funny low-stakes comedy Togetherness. Her role as the increasingly dissatisfied Michelle is affecting without being maudlin or dipping into mawkishness. As an actress, Lynskey is a lot like King: the product is simply going to be better just by her being in it.
Best Supporting Actor In A Series, Limited Series, Or Motion Picture Made For Television
Nominees: Alan Cuming, The Good Wife, Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall, Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline, Tobias Menzies, Outlander, Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
Predicted Winner: Ben Mendelsohn
This is a great list of nominees, with each performer genuinely having made an impression in each of their respective series. And yet, Mendelsohn is the guy to beat by a country mile. In Bloodline, he brings the full Mendelsohn – you know, that wiry, nervous energy or someone utterly untrustworthy yet unnervingly likeable – to his role as Danny Rayburn, the black sheep of the otherwise morally gray Rayburn family. It’s such a thrilling performance that it pushes the utter okay-ness of Netflix’s Florida noir series into the background.
Should Win: Ben Mendelsohn
What else needs to be said here? Mendelsohn for the win is the all that’s necessary.
Potential Upset: Damian Lewis
There’s really no chance at an upset in this category, but Lewis was great in Wolf Hall and that show deserves some love. If not for Mark Rylance, then Lewis for his generous performance as Henry VIII, which shined at times but always gave the floor to Thomas Cromwell (Rylance) when necessary.
Should’ve Been a Contender: Noah Emmerich, The Americans, John Slattery, Mad Men
Both actors have been notoriously overlooked for the contributions made to their respective series. Emmerich is such an integral part of The Americans that it feels at times like he could take the lead and the show wouldn’t miss a beat. Meanwhile, Slattery deserves a nod for the mustache he wore in the final season alone. There’s also his getting drunk with Peggy in an empty office, so it bears repeating: Why isn’t he on this list?
Those are Screen Rant’s picks for who should and who will win at the 73rd Annual Golden Globes. Follow along with us on Sunday night to see if your picks match ours and which one we got right.
The 73rd Golden Globe Awards will air Sunday, January 10 @8pmET on NBC.