Who will win big as movie award season approaches

This weekend’s Golden Globes herald the official start of awards season for the film world. Esther McCarthy predicts who’ll be making acceptance speeches over the next few weeks.

Best Picture

While the Golden Globes are too often talked up as an Oscars predictor (they’re voted for by 90-odd members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association), what they can do is build momentum in the minds of Hollywood guilds and Oscar voters. The Globes divide the Best Picture category into drama and comedy/musical, so not all films shortlisted will make the cut at the Oscars.

But the consensus is that Bradley Cooper’s cracking melodrama A Star Is Born and Moonlight director Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk (both Globes nominated) will have a serious Oscar run.

At this point, it would be a shock if Yorgos Lanthimos’ wickedly warped and darkly funny period film The Favourite, produced by Ireland’s Element Pictures, didn’t get Oscar nominations and it will be interesting to see how it fares at the Globes. Alfonso Cuaron’s moving Netflix drama Roma should get a nod, along with stirring race drama Green Book. Several others, including Blackkklansman, Vice, and First Man, will fancy their chances.

I’d personally love to see the excellent A Quiet Place in the running, but horror/thrillers rarely get Oscar’s attention. A Star Is Born is currently clear favourite for Best Picture.

Best Director

The Globes have shortlisted Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Alfonso Cuaron for Roma, Peter Farrelly for Green Book, Adam McKay (Vice), and Spike Lee (Blackkklansman). At this point, Cooper and Cuaron look like locks for an Oscar nod, but the other places will be hotly contested.

Barry Jenkins could well nab a place in the Oscars final five, while Lanthimos could sneak in if The Favourite continues to gather the strong momentum of recent weeks. I’d consider it a real shame if Damien Chazelle wasn’t in the running for his terrific work on the underloved First Man.

Best Actress

Again, the Globes awards lead acting in two categories so not all nominees will make the grade. It’s becoming apparent that Oscar night could be an awards-off between Glenn Close, excellent in The Wife and nominated six times before (she’s never won), and Lady Gaga for her great work in A Star Is Born.

Olivia Colman is also regarded as a lock and she’s terrific in The Favourite. After that it’s anyone’s guess in the most competitive contest in years.

Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) and Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns) will be jostling for a place. Yalitza Aparicio, so wonderful in Roma, has never acted before so what a story an Oscar nomination would be. I’d love to see Toni Colette make the grade for Hereditary.

This is bad news for Saoirse Ronan, likely to be squeezed out for Mary Queen of Scots.

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born) and Viggo Mortensen (Green Book) are currently regarded as frontrunners in a contest that has yet to take shape.

Christian Bale is building momentum for his role as Dick Cheney in Vice, though the film is proving divisive. Rami Malek would be a popular inclusion for his great take on Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, as would John David Washington for Blackkklansman.

I’m hoping Ethan Hawke will build some awards season momentum for his great work on Paul Schrader’s First Reformed.

Best Supporting Actor/Actress

The Globes have gone for Mahershala Ali, excellent in Green Book, fan favourite Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy), Adam Driver in Blackkklansman, Richard E Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and Sam Rockwell for Vice.

The bookies differ, fancying Sam Elliott for A Star Is Born, who deserves an Oscar nomination. For best supporting actress, Irish eyes will be on The Favourite, with both Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone in the running — both are Golden Globe nominated.

Again, it’s a tight category, with Amy Adams (Vice) and Claire Foy (First Man) in contention. Regina King is currently regarded as a favourite here for If Beale Street Could Talk.

Come the Oscars, I’d love to see Emily Blunt sneak in for her work on A Quiet Place.

Best Original and Adapted Screenplay

The Favourite, with its offbeat story and structure and script packed with barbed put downs, could well emerge as a frontrunner for original screenplay and a win at the Globes this weekend would give it a huge nudge.

But there’s a lot of competition — the writers of Roma, If Beale Street Could Talk, Vice, and Green Book, all nominated for the Globes, will fancy their chances.

First Reformed could sneak in in this category, with momentum also building for coming-of-age drama Eighth Grade.

For adapted screenplay, Blackkklansman could well get Oscar love here, especially if it’s squeezed out in other categories. A Star Is Born and If Beale Street Could Talk are also likely to feature, with Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Black Panther, and First Man also competing for places.

Best Cinematography

Top Irish lensman Robbie Ryan is regarded as a likely Oscar nominee for his stunning work on The Favourite, but again this will be a tight race.

Alfonso Cuaron’s beautiful work on Roma, and the movement he captures of the street life in Mexico City, have made him a big favourite to win. Other contenders could include the striking and immersive First Man, A Star Is Born, and If Beale Street Could Talk.

Cold War, Black Panther, and The Rider could all also sneak a nod. Strangely, the Golden Globes do not have an award for cinematography or other technical categories.

Best Foreign-Language Film

Another Globes quirk is that a foreign-language film can’t be nominated in the best picture categories, so expect to see Roma run away with the foreign-language award at the Globes.

Other nominees are much-loved Japanese drama Shoplifters (the Palme d’Or winner at Cannes); Germany’s Never Look Away, about the artist Gerhard Richter; France’s Girl, which tells of a girl born in the body of a boy who wants to be a ballerina, and Lebanon’s Capernaum, the Jury Prize winner at Cannes.

Bizarrely, Pawel Pawlikowski’s widely admired Cold War didn’t make the cut at the Globes, but is regarded by bookies as the main rival for an Oscar to Roma.


  • The Golden Globes take place on Sunday, Jan 6. RTÉ will broadcast a highlights show on Monday.
  • The Globes are voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the 90 journalists and broadcasters who report on the entertainment industry for outlets outside the US.
  • Vice — the story of reviled American politician Dick Cheney — has six nominations, while movies with three nominations are The Favourite, Green Book and A Star Is Born.
  • The nominations for the Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, Jan 22. The ceremony itself will take place on Sunday, Feb 24.
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