[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.