This weekend, the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards air live on NBC, under the protectful (!) watch of British comedian (and Globe winner) Ricky Gervais. While many film enthusiasts will be closely watching the film winners as future indicators to next month's Academy Awards, people like me will be content seeing whcih TV stars make off with Globes of their own.
Speaking of Globes, check out Joyful Noise this weekend, starring Dolly Parton!
Last year, the Golden Globes ignored the Emmy voters by shutting down Mad Men in favor of Boardwalk Empire for Best Drama, while fading-fast Glee stole the award for Best Comedy from Modern Family. Last year's most shocking acting win went to Sons of Anarchy star Katey Sagal, for a role which went ignored yet again this year. Other surprise winners in recent years have included Dexter's Michael C. Hall, Big Love's Chloe Sevigny, True Blood's Anna Paquin and Californication's David Duchovny. Will someone walk off with an unexpected win this Sunday? Let's hope so.
Let's take a look at each television category, followed individually by my picks to win.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A SERIES, MINISERIES OR TELEVISION FILM
The Nominees Are...
Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones as Tyrion Lannister
Paul Giamatti – Too Big to Fail as Ben Bernanke
Guy Pearce – Mildred Pierce as Monty Beragon
Tim Robbins – Cinema Verite as Bill Loud
Eric Stonestreet – Modern Family as Cameron Tucker
I can't say it enough how unfortunate it is that the Golden Globes combine television comedies, television dramas, made for television films and miniseries into these two supporting categories. I realize we can't watch a six-hour telecast, but it just feels like TV isn't given a ton of respect. In any event, I must decide between a group of nominees I have little-to-no idea of their respective roles. Last year, Chris Colfer walked off with the Globe for FOX's Glee, but is conspicuously absent from the nominees this year. As far as Glee has fallen, much praise is still given to Colfer and Jane Lynch. Also absent is this past year's Emmy winner, Ty Burrell, for Modern Family.
Peter Dinklage captured the Supporting Actor in a Drama Emmy for Game of Thrones, which gives him a slight advantage. Eric Stonestreet puts forth consistent efforts as Cameron on Modern Famiy, and has an Emmy for the role, but I strongly doubt he'll capture his first Golden Globe. That leaves Dinklage against the trio of film actors competing in made-for/miniseries roles. Paul Giamatti and Tim Robbins are fine actors however odds are that Emmy winner Guy Pearce will take home the Globe for Mildred Pierce over Giamatti and Robbins. I'm giving the edge to Peter Dinklage, in what I feel is the less likely winner, but I might as well take the chance here.
And the winner is... Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A SERIES, MINISERIES OR TELEVISION FILM
The Nominees Are...
Jessica Lange – American Horror Story as Constance Langdon
Kelly Macdonald – Boardwalk Empire as Margaret Schroeder
Maggie Smith – Downton Abbey as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham
Sofía Vergara – Modern Family as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett
Evan Rachel Wood – Mildred Pierce as Veda Pierce
Much like the Supporting Actor counterpart, Supporting Actress doesn't feature many precursors by which I can predict the winner. Last year's Globe winner, Jane Lynch for Glee, is MIA, as is the Emmy winners for Supporting Actress in a Comedy (Julie Bowen, Modern Family) and Drama (Margo Martindale, Justified). That leaves the Emmy winner for Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey. Can she take the Globe as well?
Last year, Kelly Macdonald and Sofia Vergara both received Globe nods for Boardwalk Empire and Modern Family, respectively. For Macdonald, it's a pleasure to be nominated, but I doubt she will eke out the win. Same for the ever-reliable Vergara as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett. Next year could be her year to take home the Emmy award, but again, I doubt she will take the Golden Globe this Sunday. One of the bright spots on the FX schedule has been American Horror Story, and at the center of the horror drama is Jessica Lange putting in a terrific performance as Constance Langdon. She is the frontrunner as far as weekly series goes, but that puts her up against Smith for Downton Abbey and Evan Rachel Wood for Mildred Pierce. Smith and Wood battled it out at the Emmy awards with Smith taking the win, which I strongly feel leaves out Wood as a potential upset. And finally, I just feel there is too much critical acclaim heaped on Downton Abbey to ignore Maggie Smith beating out Jessica Lange for the Globe win.
And the winner is... Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Laura Dern - Enlightened as Amy Jellicoe
Zooey Deschanel - New Girl as Jessica "Jess" Day
Tina Fey - 30 Rock as Liz Lemon
Laura Linney - The Big C as Catherine "Cathy" Jamison
Amy Poehler - Parks and Recreation as Leslie Knope
The battle of the two newcomers: the much-buzzed about New Girl star against the little seen lead of HBO's Enlightened. At the start of the season, I predicted New Girl star Zooey Deschanel would not only be nominated for next September's Emmy Awards but would also win the award, which meant I would predict the same for the Golden Globes. Now, I'm not so certain of the outcome. The odds-on-favorite remains Deschanel, especially when taking into consideration how much the Golden Globes love to give a television award to a newcomer with lots of buzz. But one can't ignore the fantastically night-and-day performance from Laura Dern on the minimally-watched HBO comedy. She's terrific in the pilot.
Where does that leave the remaining three nominees? The newcomers could split the votes, leaving it open for last year's winner, Laura Linney, or newcomer to the category, Amy Poehler. Tina Fey, the subject of last week's Ecks Factor, has already won two Golden Globes for 30 Rock, and with the aging comedy not attracting the same critical acclaim, I can't imagine she has a fighting chance. I would also argue that they won't give it to the same actress two years in a row, but Sarah Jessica Parker won this award three years in a row (1999-2001).
As it stands, I'm keeping it between Deschanel and Dern. My heart tells me Deschanel will win the award for playing quirky, silly, light-hearted Jess, while my head tells Dern's turn as Amy will continue the streak of cable actresses taking home the award since 2009 when Toni Collette won for United States of Tara.
And the winner is... Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Alec Baldwin – 30 Rock as Jack Donaghy
David Duchovny – Californication as Hank Moody
Johnny Galecki – The Big Bang Theory as Leonard Hofstadter
Thomas Jane – Hung as Ray Drecker
Matt LeBlanc – Episodes as Matt LeBlanc
The most unpredictable award of the night in television will likely prove to be the most shocking. Last year's winner (and thought-to-be-perpetual nominee) Jim Parsons is completely off the ballot, leaving co-star Johnny Galecki to fend for himself against the four remaining nominees.
So let's talk about precursors: Alec Baldwin has won this award three times already (2006, 2008-09) for 30 Rock. David Duchovny took home an upset win in the 2007 TV year for Californication, during the writer's strike edition of the Golden Globes. Remember how depressing that was? Thomas Jane was nominated last year for the HBO comedy Hung, while Matt LeBlanc scored nods in this award for Friends from 2002-04. Johnny Galecki is new to the category.
I really can't pinpoint who will win this award on Sunday. Baldwin has already won three, but his work is consistent. You never ignore the most popular Baldwin brother. Duchovny being nominated four times now for Californication is equally consistent yet surprising. Could he win again? Galecki, for me, is vastly superior to his Big Bang Theory co-star, and being the rookie of the bunch gives him an advantage in the eyes of Globe voters. They love a rookie. Having never seen Jane's work on Hung, I can't speak on quality, but repeat nods speak for themselves. I just don't see that leading to a win. That leaves LeBlanc, who has notched back-to-back nominations at the Emmys in September and now at the Globes. When the name is announced on Sunday, I don't think it'll be Matt LeBlanc for Episodes.
I'm going to have to go out on a limb here and say the award will go to...
And the winner is... Johnny Galecki, The Big Bang Theory
BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Claire Danes – Homeland as Carrie Mathison
Mireille Enos – The Killing as Sarah Linden
Julianna Margulies – The Good Wife as Alicia Florrick
Madeleine Stowe – Revenge as Victoria Graysona
Callie Thorne – Necessary Roughness as Dr. Danielle "Dani" Santino
Talk about recognizing a few new faces. The only nominee to remain on the ballot from any previous year for the same series is The Good Wife star (and Globe winner) Julianna Margulies (who also has three nods for ER fro 1997-99). Mireille Enos, Madeleine Stowe and Callie Thorne are all competing for their first ever Golden Globes, while Claire Danes is competing for her third Golden Globe. It just so happens that Danes has won her previous two awards, one last year for Temple Grandin (Best Actress in a Miniseries or Made-for-TV Film) and another in 1994 for My So-Called Life in this very category. A winning trend?
Let's discuss who's out: Callie Thorne for Necessary Roughness. That she's nominated is more than enough recognition for the USA drama star, but really, who saw this coming? She was top-notch on FX's Rescue Me, and although I have not seen Necessary Roughness, the reviews have been ho-hum so far. If she wins, I promise I won't predict any more awards shows from here on out. Mireille Enos has the unfortunate burden of being nominated for a series that received a universal backlash for its season finale last year. She's the outside shot here, but I don't believe she can win.
This leaves the race down to Homeland's Claire Danes, The Good Wife's Julianna Margulies and Revenge's Madeleine Stowe. Julianna won the award two years ago for the CBS drama, but can she repeat? I'm not predicting her to, but I've been known to be wrong. A lot. Meanwhile, Stowe is absolute perfection in her icy cold portrayal of Victoria Grayson. The only person who might deserve the nomination more is her Revenge co-star, Emily VanCamp. I sincerely hope the Emmys pick up on that in the summer.
It's all a moot point either way, as I don't see how the Globes will ignore Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison on the Showtime series. It'll make for an interesting news story the next day to say she had previously won the same award almost twenty years ago.
And the winner is... Claire Danes, Homeland
BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Steve Buscemi – Boardwalk Empire as Nucky Thompson
Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad as Walter White
Kelsey Grammer – Boss as Tom Kane
Jeremy Irons – The Borgias as Pope Alexander VI
Damian Lewis – Homeland as Nicholas Brody
Last year, Steve Buscemi beat out all except one other nominee (Bryan Cranston) that didn't receive a repeat nod this year. Can he do it again?
Kelsey Grammer is one of the most nominated actors out of any of the nominees on television this year: 8 for Frasier and his first dramatic nod for Starz' Boss. He captured two Globes for the comedic portrayal of Dr. Frasier Crane, but will his dramatic acting chops reward him with a third Globe? Jeremy Irons, meanwhile, is nominated for a series many didn't expect to be recognized: The Borgias. Five nominations precede him for various projects, but I doubt he'll be standing on stage accepting this award.
Bryan Cranston has scored three for three at the Emmys so far, but only received his first nomination last year for AMC's Breaking Bad. He's been largely forgotten by the Globes, but I think he has a shot at breaking that spell this year with an overdue win. However only one actor has been given an overdue win in the last twelve years: Michael C. Hall. The other winners have, by and large, been newcomers to the category. This will greatly hurt Cranston on Sunday. That leaves Damian Lewis for playing Nicholas Brody on Showtime's Homeland. He's every bit as good as Claire Danes, but I just don't see him winning this award. They won't give more than one acting award to any series this year.
With Irons and Lewis out, it's down to last year's winner, Buscemi, and newcomer Grammer and Cranston. I want to say it will go to Cranston for Breaking Bad, but something is telling me they will opt for the lesser-seen performance from veteran actor Kelsey Grammer. He deserves it after a tumultous seven years following Frasier's finale, including two failed sitcom runs and a nasty divorce.
And the winner is... Kelsey Grammer, Boss
BEST COMEDY SERIES
A category chock-full with new nominees. HBO's Enlightened, Showtime's Episodes and FOX's New Girl are all in the infant stage of television, having either completed one season or are in the middle of their first seasons. Meanwhile, three-peat nominee Modern Family joins repeat winner (and three-peat nominee) Glee to round out the nominees. After somehow winning the award last year and being nominated for a lackluster year, Glee's chances of a third straight win are about as likely as Happy Endings ever getting nominated at the Emmys or Golden Globes. Sadly.
That leaves Modern Family against the newcomers. First off, let's assume Episodes has zero chance at a win here. It doesn't have the buzz, doesn't have the acclaim and is riding on the back of its American star, Matt LeBlanc. It's great to see something different get recognition, but that's all it will get is recognition. Of the two remaining new series, New Girl has a slightly polarizing effect on viewers: either you love it or you don't. Star Zooey Deschanel has a much stronger chance at winning the award for Best Actress than the series does at winning Best Comedy. Same goes for HBO's Enlightened. It's easy to get away with nominating a show few people have seen (one episode was viewed by 90,000 people). Much more difficult to give these same shows the big awards.
But of course you know that leaves just Modern Family. After screwing up by giving it to Glee last year, and without a clear-cut second choice, the voters have to give it to Modern Family. It's now or never. The show may not be as strong as it was in its first season, but the Globes, every once in a while, give it to a show that more or less deserves it for a few years of good service more than anything else. An award for past achievements they forgot to reward.
And the winner is... Modern Family
BEST DRAMA SERIES
American Horror Story
Game of Thrones
And I thought Best Comedy had lots of newbies. FX's American Horror Story, Starz' Boss, HBO's Game of Thrones and Showtime's Homeland battle it out with last year's winner from HBO, Boardwalk Empire. It's the battle of the cable dramas this Sunday, a sure sign that the real television is found on cable. But do any of the new programs pose a threat to last year's winner?
Starz has been offering a few television shows in the last few years, most notably an adaptation of the 2005 Best Picture winner, Crash. They seem to have found a viable drama in Kelsey Grammer-led Boss, but that doesn't mean the cable network is in for a win this Sunday. In fact, I'm betting against it completely. Giving the award to a show no one really knows about yet isn't going to happen. HBO's Game of Thrones has successfully adapted the George R.R. Martin book series to the small screen, and thanks to Peter Dinklage, I don't think it will get shut out this Sunday, but I don't think it will challenge for Best Drama. It's too far outside the realm of viewing for voters. Same goes for FX horror drama American Horror Story, the second Ryan Murphy-created series to be up for the biggies (Glee being the other). It's innovative, it's different, it's fresh, it's scary. All great qualities in ensuring it won't win Best Drama.
That leaves it to second-year Boardwalk Empire and first-year Homeland. Looking back over the years, the Globes have notoriously given this award to a less-likely winner: Grey's Anatomy, Nip/Tuck, The Shield, The X-Files and Party of Five. Yes, that Party of Five. If we're going to go with that indicator, it's Homeland's to lose. For every surprise win, they go with traditional winners as well: The Practice, The Sopranos, The West Wing, Mad Men and 24. That would point towards Boardwalk Empire's second-straight victory.
When it comes down to it, there are heaps of acclaim being given to the Showtime drama, and I've said it so many times: the Golden Globes love a new show with buzz. I'm giving it to Homeland.
And the winner is... Homeland.
For the heck of it, the miniseries/made-for acting wins will go to Dominic West for The Hour and Kate Winslet for Mildred Pierce. Best Miniseries or Television Film will also go to Mildred Pierce.
-TV Land's Hot In Cleveland has reportedly been renewed for a fourth season. Love Betty White! ... if only this show was funnier...
-HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher returns tonight for an all-new season, featuring an interview with ex-presidential hopeful Herman Cain. Nothing funny here, just promoting it for the sake of comedy gold.
-USA has renewed Psych for a 7th season of 16 episodes. There really is no excuse for why you're not watching it. Yes, you. No, not you that's already watching. I mean you.
-Channing Tatum and Zooey Deschanel will host NBC's Saturday Night Live in February. I find this news boring and awesome, respectively.
And now for a new addition to Ecks Factor...
-Wednesday's numbers for NBC's Whitney and Are You There, Chelsea? (5.79 million/2.0 demo; 6.18 million/2.3 demo) prove there's still an audience for sitcoms that aren't funny. My thoughts on Are You There, Chelsea? will be coming next week.
-Tuesday's airing of ABC's Work It, in its second week, proves there may be a TV God: it shed almost 3 million viewers from already-diluted Last Man Standing, while scoring just a 1.5 in the 18-49 demographic. Looks like Work It will soon be out of a job! ... will you allow me another? Looks like Work It will soon be Worked Out! One more, please? Looks like Work It will be on the unemployment line soon enough. Hmm, should've quit while I was ahead.
-Sunday's debut of NBC's The Firm leaves much to be desired with a paltry 6.29 million viewers and a scant 1.4 in the 18-49 demo. Looks like The Firm will be going soft soon enough... nope, still not cutting it.
All right, that does it for my look at the Golden Globes this Sunday. Be sure to tune in to see all the fun of a group of celebrities patting each other on the back for a job well done! And feel free to add your own predictions below for this Sunday's Golden Globes. I'll be sure to include who has the best percentage correct in next week's column.
Speaking of next week I'll be back with a special midseason edition of Pilot Roundup, as I take a look at Work It, The Firm, Are You There, Chelsea?, House of Lies and more.
Until then, stay tuned.