Tonight’s Golden Globes Could Be Most Exciting in Years

With betting odds too close to call in the Best Picture and Acting categories, Sunday’s 75th Anniversary Golden Globes, presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and telecast live on NBC at 8 p.m. (ET) from the Beverly Hilton International Ballroom, should be one of the most exciting in years.

The party atmosphere, with free-flowing bottles of wine and cocktails, will be enhanced by the “Twin Peaks” style of SNL alum Seth Myers, in his first hosting gig since the 2014 Emmys. “Hollywood, we have a lot to talk about!” he said, and it’s not all good.

Myers follows in the recent footsteps of SNL alums Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. He is quite adept working an audience. It will either be a walk-on-eggshells evening, with the sexual harassment issues of the last few months, or a no-holds-barred fest of witty repartee.

The Golden Globes will air in more than 210 countries and is one of the few award ceremonies to include movies and TV achievements.

With too-close-to-call nominees in several categories (the closest in years) and the Oscars still two months away (March 4), hardly anything is a done deal in the wild ride to victory. That bodes well for suspense and surprise at the first-out-the-gate Golden Globes.

Doug Jones in “The Shape of Water”

Drama frontrunners are Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy romance “The Shape of Water,” which racked up seven nods including Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress honors for Sally Hawkins and Oscar-winner Olivia Spencer’s performances; romantic sexual-coming-of-age drama “Call Me by Your Name”; and vengeful black comedy “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Then, there’s “The Post,” Steven Spielberg’s “All the President’s Men”-type expose drama of the publication of the Pentagon Papers, and Christopher Nolan’s WWII “can we get our boys home alive” drama “Dunkirk,” which shows all too vividly the horror of war (but with too much CGI).

The Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical field, which this year has little of both, seems to be in the service of improving wins or giving exposure to deserving films. Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, “Lady Bird,” leads the pack with four nominations including a Best Actress nod for Saoirse Ronan. “I, Tonya” follows with three.

Oprah Winfrey (right) will receive the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Award, which Golden Globes’ board of directors bestows “on a person who has made an incredible impact on the world of entertainment.” It seems years too late, but certainly couldn’t be more well-deserved considering the impact Ms. Winfrey has made and continues to make.

Best Motion Picture, Drama
“Call Me by Your Name” (Frenesy/Cinefacture/Sony Pictures Classics)
“Dunkirk” (Warner Bros./Syncopy)
“The Post” (Dreamworks/20th Century Fox)
“The Shape of Water” (Double Dare You/Fox Searchlight)
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) (Blueprint/Fox Searchlight)

All five nominees have reaped acclaim, as have the actors in four of the films. Cold War fantasy romance “The Shape of Water” leads the field with seven nominations, closely followed by six for “The Post,” which has a daunting pair of beloved Globe Globe darlings, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. But in this year of top-grossing indies, “Call Me By Your Name” and “Three Billboards” may cause an upset.

“Lady Bird”

Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
“The Disaster Artist”
“Get Out”
“The Greatest Showman”
“I, Tonya”
“Lady Bird”

“The Greatest Showman” mixes history, often turning it upside down with lots of contemporary and hip twists, and is too reminiscent of the style of “Moulin Rouge.” But director Craig Gillespie and writer Steven Rogers achieve the impossible: melding true-life incidents, stupidity and violence into a well-crafted satire on winning at all costs.

Hilarious, sometimes sad and devastatingly well-written, “Lady Bird” tackles mother/daughter tensions. “Get Out” offers the unique combination of biting social satire and a metaphor on racism. In the indiest indie of the year, “Disaster Artist,” James Franco takes a cow’s ear and spins gold and, once and for all, proves he’s a triple threat: actor, director and producer (along with Seth Rogen and 20 others).

Motion Picture, Actress, Drama
Jessica Chastain, “Molly’s Game”
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”
Michelle Williams, “All the Money in the World”

Even with strong contenders Hawkins, Streep and Williams, could a Golden Globe finally go to McDormand, with six GG nominations, for her poignant portrayal of a mother out for revenge?

Motion Picture, Actor, Drama
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Tom Hanks, “The Post”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Can the expertly-played performances of three powerhouse artists prevent a win in the heated competition between Chalamet in a stirring sexual coming-of-age tale and longtime favorite Oldman, who is transformed into British statesman Winston Churchill? While Oldman, with his jowls, paunch and cadence, gives audiences a living, breathing Churchill, it’s hard to top Chalament’s final silent, tearful moments in stark close-up in front of that roaring fireplace.

Best Motion Picture, Actress, Comedy or Musical
Judi Dench, “Victoria & Abdul”
Helen Mirren, “The Leisure Seeker”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan“Lady Bird”
Emma Stone, “Battle of the Sexes”

Not long after Greta Gerwig came on the scene as Hollywood’s new darling, Ronan came calling. The two acclaimed up-and-comers have bonded for “Lady Bird,” with Gerwig not only in her directorial debut but also directing Ronan. One also has to admire Robbie’s ability to make the ice skating world’s talented but not well-respected Harding a sympathetic character.

Best Motion Picture, Actor, Comedy or Musical
Steve Carell, “Battle of the Sexes”
Ansel Elgort, “Baby Driver”
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Hugh Jackman, “The Greatest Showman”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”

Jack-of-all-trades and master of most, Franco brilliantly captures the absurdist and can-do spirit of indie jack-of-all-trades/master of none Tommy Wiseau. He has stiff competition from Kaluuya as “Get Out’s” young African-American man terrorized by his white girlfriend’s family, and Elgort (“The Fault in Our Stars”) as the partially hearing-impaired getaway driver caught up in the comedy camper “Baby Driver‘s” crime maelstrom.

Motion Picture, Supporting Actress
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Hong Chau, “Downsizing”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

It’s even odds between 2017’s overbearing, shoot-from-the-hip and damn-the-consequences mothers: the always magnificent Metcalf of “Lady Bird” and “I, Tonya’s” equally magnificent Janney.

Sadly, and most puzzling, the nominators didn’t recognize Oscar winner Melissa Leo’s Jekyll-and-Hyde benevolent/monster-from-hell Mother Superior in “Novitiate.”

Motion Picture, Supporting Actor
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Armie Hammer, “Call Me by Your Name”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Plummer excels in director Ridley Scott’s brave reshoot of over 20 sequences for “All the Money in the World.” But after waiting years to find the role that will place him back in the big leagues, in “Three Billboards” Rockwell delivers one of the most memorable performances ever—akin to Cagney, grapefruit in hand, in “Public Enemy.”

Motion Picture, Director
Guillermo del Torro, “The Shape of Water
Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk
Ridley Scott, “All the Money in the World
Steven Spielberg, “The Post

Michelle Williams in “All the Money in the World”

In the what-were-the-nominators-thinking shocker that you can bet the Oscars won’t repeat, they forgot this was the year of female empowerment and racial diversity in the industry. Not one woman made it into the category. Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow (“Detroit”), Oscar-winner Sofia Coppola (“Beguiled”), Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”), Patty Jenkins (“Wonder Woman”), and Dee Rees (“Mudbound”) made films that were, in most cases, acclaimed and box office champs.

TV Series, Drama
The Crown” (Netflix)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
This Is Us (NBC)

TV Series, Comedy
black-ish” (ABC)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
“Master of None” (Netflix)
Smilf (Showtime)
Will & Grace (NBC)

TV Movie or Limited-Series
Big Little Lies (HBO)
Fargo (FX)
Feud: Bette and Joan (FX)
The Sinner (USA)
Top of the Lake: China Girl (Sundance TV)

For more information, a complete list of motion picture and TV nominations, clips and photos, visit

Ellis Nassour is an Ole Miss alum and noted arts journalist and author who recently donated an ever-growing exhibition of performing arts history to the University of Mississippi. He is the author of the best-selling Patsy Cline biography, Honky Tonk Angel, as well as the hit musical revue, Always, Patsy Cline. He can be reached at