Most of the world may have left 2015 behind; but for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, as well as movie and television fans, 2015 remains a phenomenal year for entertainment. Explosive action films like The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens broke box office records. Audiences continued to revel in a golden age of television brought on by non-traditional outlets like Netflix and HBO. Two Pixar movies came out in the same year! Of course, the achievements of film and television made in 2015 will be celebrated at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards this Sunday, January 10th. Before you tune into the broadcast, take a look at some of the films, shows, and actors that stand out as top contenders at this year’s ceremony.
Best Motion Picture
The race for the best dramatic motion picture is a tight one. Mad Max: Fury Road is the clear commercial winner here in terms of box office numbers and diversity appeal, and director George Miller has spent over fifteen years bringing this vision to life. Spotlight has undoubtedly been the most popular film of the year among critics and journalists, and features a nigh-unbeatable cast. Considering that the winner is decided by a press association…Spotlight has a slight edge over the competition.
In the comedy/musical category, there are a few odd contenders: including an alien. That’s right: Ridley Scott’s action space comedy-drama, The Martian, has been categorized as a comedy to the befuddlement of nearly everyone. Still, the film’s terrific direction and standout performance from Matt Damon means that it stands a fair chance against the other big contender: The Big Short. While not a commercial hit, the film boasts an all-star cast and unique subject matter, bolstered by it’s comedic mastermind-of-a-director, Adam McKay. It’s tough to determine how much being considered a comedy will hurt/help The Martian’s chances, so it’s an extremely close race.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture
There are a bevy of young, talented ladies vying for the Best Actress in a Drama Golden Globe. Considering her emotional performance as the tortured lover of a transgender woman in The Danish Girl (and her chilling performance as AI in Ex Machina, for which she is also nominated), Alicia Vikander is a serious contender for the award. However, critics have also been singing the praises of Rooney Mara for her performance as a quietly introspective woman puzzled with her sexuality in Carol; a performance for which she was recognized at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Despite Mara’s outstanding performance, we think this one will go to Vikander for her breakout year.
Assuming Golden Globe darling Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t win on reputation alone, we think the Best Actress award in the comedy or musical category is a toss-up between Lily Tomlin and Amy Schumer. While 2015 marked the year that Schumer went from stand-up comedian to comedy superstar with her film Trainwreck; critics were also impressed by Tomlin’s raucous return to a big screen leading role in Grandma after over two decades of supporting parts.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture
Concerning the drama category, there has been a lot of talk about how deserving Leonardo DiCaprio is for the trials and tribulations experienced during the filming of The Revenant. Not only does Leo deliver a haunting, gritty performance, but he also went above and beyond the call of an actor to deliver as realistic a portrayal as possible. His biggest contender also tackled a psychologically taxing role this year in The Danish Girl: Eddie Redmayne. The young actor won the award last year for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, and looks to repeat if DiCaprio is snubbed once again.
Surprisingly, the nominees for the comedy category feature some of the most talented dramatic actors of our time. Al Pacino, Christian Bale, Steve Carell, and Mark Ruffalo are nominated, but the odds are on Matt Damon to win for The Martian. His performance as a stranded, isolated, Machiavellian jokester was unparalleled, and you can count on him being nominated for an Oscar later this year.
Best Television Series
The race for Best Drama Series looks to be down to Game of Thrones or Mr. Robot. While Game of Thrones is consistently fantastic (last season’s turbulent events being no exception), Mr. Robot has become the breakout series of the year. Its edgy approach to a most modern subject is refreshing and original, making it a frontrunner for the Best Drama Series race.
Even after winning the award last year, Transparent seems set to take home the Golden Globe for Best Comedy Series, yet again. Critics have praised Jeffrey Tambor for an more compelling performance in the series’ second season, while they’ve seemingly cooled on the latest season of Orange is the New Black.