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Rotten Tomatoes Predicts the 2021 Golden Globe Nominations!

Get the jump on the nominations with our predictions for who will be nominated and why.

by and | January 29, 2021 | Comments

Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman

(Photo by ©Focus Features)

After much delay, awards season kicks into gear on Wednesday with the announcement of the 2021 Golden Globe nominations. Which of the past year’s movies and TV shows will earn the love of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) – and, for those in the film categories, move one step closer to Oscar glory?

Well, it’s a little tougher to predict this year, particularly on the film side, with the Coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc on theatrical release schedules – a bummer for many major studios – but opening up an opportunity for streamers like Netflix and Amazon to dominate. The flow of TV was less affected by the COVID-19 crisis, but the sheer amount of content, and what feels like unprecedented quality, makes predicting nominees in those categories equally fraught.

Good thing we’re just game and foolhardy enough to name names. Looking at factors such as Tomatometer scores, awards buzz, where the campaign dollars are going, historical precedent, as well as the politics of awards like this, we’ve given our five top picks for noms in categories ranging from Best Motion Picture – Drama to Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries, or TV Film. (Yes, they combine them all in that last category – and yes, it’s one of the most difficult to predict.)

Check out our picks for the nominations below, and let us know who you think will be nominated in the comments.


Best Motion Picture – Drama

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

(Photo by Joshua Richardson/©Searchlight Pictures)

Who will be nominated?





And why? Couple the uniqueness of this awards season with the HFPA’s notoriously finicky tastes – which can often exist in a vacuum away from other awards shows – and it will be a difficult ceremony to predict even with limited choices. However, in the Drama category, we’re confident that some earlier season favorites will find recognition, including Oscar Best Picture frontrunners The Trial of the Chicago 7, Nomadland, and One Night in Miami. Rumor has it that the HFPA has had some pressure from the traditional studios not to have a streamer-heavy Drama category, which we think will be what puts Paul Greengrass’s News of the World (released by Universal) in over David Fincher’s Mank (a Netflix film). Still, we would not be shocked if the Old Hollywood biopic about Citizen Kane‘s prickly screenwriter sneaks in.


Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Who will be nominated?





And why? When the HFPA bucked convention and allowed the feature film recording of the original Broadway production of Hamilton to compete on the film side, most in the know assumed it was done not just to recognize the incredible work on screen but also to guarantee that the film’s bankable stars would be in attendance as nominees – which in turn would hopefully get those rabid Hamilton fans to tune in to the show in late February. With that in mind, we’re confident it will be nominated, and currently is the odds-on favorite to win. Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat sequel is also a lock, as he is one of the HFPA’s favorite performers. We’ve included A24’s On The Rocks, but wouldn’t be shocked to see it left off the slate in favor of the Focus Features release, Emma. – but the safe money is on the Sofia Coppola comedy.


Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama

Who will be nominated?

Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman
Vanessa Kirby – Pieces of A Woman
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Zendaya Malcolm & Marie
Frances McDormand – Nomadland

And why? In the category with the stiffest competition of this season, it’s hard to say who the HFPA members will favor. HFPA icon Sophia Loren (The Life Ahead) is always a strong contender, however, we think that to avoid having four nominees from Netflix, either she or Kirby will likely be left out this year in favor of the star power of newcomer Zendaya. It could shake out either way, but we are betting Frances McDormand and Viola Davis are in no matter what happens: Boasting 10 nominations and two previous Golden Globe wins between them, the Nomadland and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom leads, both of whom have already dominated the critics-awards circuit, are almost a foregone conclusion to be announced on nominations morning.


Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

(Photo by David Lee/NETFLIX)

Who will be nominated?

Anthony Hopkins – The Father
Gary Oldman – Mank
Tom Hanks – News of the World
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal

And why? This is one of the more straightforward categories, with three prior Golden Globe winners and two beloved actors. We predict the performances we selected are relatively safe – however, if we see any surprises it will likely be from Da 5 Bloods standout Delroy Lindo. Spike Lee films aren’t quite the Golden Globe darlings you’d assume them to be, so we’re picking Riz Ahmed to take what we’ll call the fifth slot; the other four names have been the consensus choices for the HFPA since they started screening for critics.


Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy 

The Prom

(Photo by © Netflix)

Who will be nominated?

Meryl Streep – The Prom
Anya Taylor-Joy – Emma.
Michelle Pfeiffer – French Exit
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Cristin Milioti – Palm Springs

And why? Another light category, so we’re looking to star power as the main factor in our selections. Meryl Streep was the best part of The Prom for many viewers, and both she and Ryan Murphy are beloved by the Globes voters. Our wild-card pick here is Rosamund Pike, who, despite not getting a ton of press for her hilarious turn in I Care a Lot, could pull a surprise nomination as she did in 2018 on the Drama side for A Private War. Rashida Jones is also in the mix for On The Rocks, but we think that the film’s best positioning is with the Best Supporting Actor and Best Comedy/Musical categories.


Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy 

Who will be nominated?

Andy Samberg – Palm Springs
Dev Patel – The Personal History of David Copperfield
Lin-Manuel Miranda – Hamilton
Leslie Odom Jr. – Hamilton
Sacha Baron Cohen – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

And why? Another category where things have been consistent for a while, our only chance of an upset here would likely to be Will Ferrell for Eurovision. But, again, to cut back on the streamer domination, we are thinking the Globes will side with Dev Patel in The Personal History David Copperfield over the Netflix comedy, allowing at least one studio film in the category.


Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture

Amanda Seyfried in Mank

(Photo by © Netflix)

Who will be nominated?

Ellen BurstynPieces of A Woman
Amanda Seyfried – Mank
Glenn Close – Hillbilly Elegy
Jodie Foster – The Mauritanian
Olivia Colman – The Father

And why? There are a few names that we also consider contenders here, like Hamilton stars Renee Elise Goldsberry and Phillipa Soo, but with the pedigree above… good luck picking who to leave off this list to make any room. Ron Howard’s Hillbilly Elegy was dead on arrival with critics, but even those who hated the film praised Glenn Close’s performance. Also, this is Glenn Close(!) and the HFPA loves her. (I mean so do we, so we don’t blame them.)


Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture

Daniel Kaluuya

(Photo by Warner Bros.)

Who will be nominated?

Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah
Bill Murray – On the Rocks
Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Leslie Odom Jr. – One Night In Miami
Hugh Laurie – The Personal History of David Copperfield

And why? Our Best Supporting Actor selection process was a bit like playing musical chairs. Though we are confident with our picks, Charles Dance, Mark Rylance, Yahya Abdul Mateen II, Kingsley Ben-Adir, and Paul Raci could all pop in over most of our choices. We are most confident that Murray and Cohen will be chosen among the pack. Though Daniel Kaluuya was a late addition to the awards race, for Judas the Black Messiah, his performance is so visceral and thrilling he quickly became one that rose above all of the other exceptional supporting performances.


Best Director – Motion Picture

One Night In Miami

(Photo by Patti Perret/Amazon Studios)

Who will be nominated?

Chloé Zhao – Nomadland
David Fincher – Mank
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Spike Lee – Da 5 Bloods
Regina King – One Night In Miami

And why? The HFPA has a huge issue with its lack of recognition for female directors. Though many assume they aren’t bothered by such criticism, we think they would be at risk of losing all credibility if they don’t honor Zhao, who has swept every major Best Director contest this year. (Seriously, she’s won all of them.) We think that Regina King will join her as the Globes’ first double female nominee, but News of the World director Paul Greengrass is also a possibility.


Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

Aaron Sorkin on the set of The Trial of the Chicago 7

(Photo by © Netflix)

Who will be nominated?

Christopher Hampton – The Father
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Kemp Powers – One Night In Miami
Jack Fincher – Mank
Paul Greengrass, Luke Davies – News of the World

And why? Another category with strong consistency among pundits this year, and we’re betting that here is where the HFPA will choose to honor Paul Greengrass rather than in the Best Director category. This gives an organization known for “spreading it around” various contenders another opportunity to give a traditional studio some love.


Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language

Steven Yeun and Alan S. Kim in Minari

(Photo by Melissa Lukenbaugh/©A24)





And why? There has been much controversy around what is categorized as a “Foreign Language” film by the Golden Globes, with many calling foul that the 100% Certified Fresh Minari, starring Steven Yeun, was relegated to this grouping rather than the Drama category, despite clearly being an American immigrant tale that just happens to have 70% of its dialogue in Korean. (This is made worse after films like Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds could compete outside the category despite being centered on, and taking place, primarily in Europe, with less than 30% of the dialogue in English.) Still, we’re confident the A24 drama will be honored here alongside current Oscar frontrunner, Another Round.


Best Motion Picture – Animated

Who will be nominated?





And why? Soul, Onward, and Wolfwalkers are the safe picks here, and we believe that Over the Moon is the strongest of Netflix’s offerings – but their other big 2020 animated feature, The Willoughbys, is also in the mix and could slip in over the recent Universal release – and box office force – The Croods: A New Age.


Best Television Series – Drama

Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton keyart

(Photo by © Netflix)

Who will be nominated?





And why? If past is precedent, HFPA voters love a British period piece, so we’re betting The Crown and Bridgerton will turn up in nominations; otherwise, respect for Ozark and its stars has only grown since the crime drama’s first season with the series hitting a Tomatometer high of a Certified Fresh 98% in its third and most recent season, and genre series Lovecraft Country and The Mandalorian were popular favorites this year. We wouldn’t be surprised, however, Matthew Rhys fans in the voting block pull Perry Mason into the mix.


Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Schitt's Creek

(Photo by ©CBC / courtesy Everett Collection)

Who will be nominated?





And why? The big question for this year’s Golden Globes is: Will Schitt’s Creek dominate the comedy categories the same way it swept the Emmys? Well, while the Emmys are voted on by the artists’ peers, the Globes are voted on by members of the foreign press in Hollywood, and the results more frequently skew slightly in favor of international stars and programming than at the Emmys. Shot in Canada and created by and starring Canadians, Schitt’s Creek is definitely invited to the party. But how will they fare against the U.K.-set The Great and Ted Lasso, which both have Americans in lead roles but predominantly British casts, and What We Do in the Shadows’ New Zealand provenance and a trio of British lead actors?


Best Miniseries or Television Film  

Unorthodox

(Photo by Anika Molnar/Netflix)

Who will be nominated?





And why? It’s hard to believe that Unorthodox is in contention against The Queen’s Gambit; it feels like it was released in another year altogether. Such is the space-time warping caused by excessive quarantining. Both series were Certified Fresh above 95% on the Tomatometer, as is Mrs. America. Normal People is Certified Fresh at 90% – slacker – while The Undoing is at 77%. Another thing the HFPA loves? Stars named Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman. If that prediction is too cynical, look for I May Destroy You to take a spot.


Best Actor – Television Drama

Perry Mason

(Photo by Merrick Morton/HBO)

Who will be nominated?

Matthew Rhys – Perry Mason
Jonathan Majors – Lovecraft Country
Josh O’Connor – The Crown
Pedro Pascal – The Mandalorian
Jason Bateman – Ozark

And why? Welsh actor Rhys is no stranger to this category, having been nominated twice in it for his role in The Americans. Similarly, Bateman has enjoyed two nominations for his Ozark role; meanwhile, Majors and O’Connor delivered buzzworthy performances in their respective series, and Pascal finally got some screen time without his helmet on The Mandalorian. All that said, Bob Odenkirk had an excellent fifth season on Better Call Saul – as Jimmy moved even closer to his Saul alter ego – and he could easily knock any one of the above out of the running.


Best Actor – Television Musical or Comedy 

Ramy Youssef in Ramy -- "frank in the future" - Episode 208

(Photo by Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

Who will be nominated?

Eugene Levy – Schitt’s Creek
Jason Sudeikis – Ted Lasso
Ramy Youssef – Ramy
Matt Berry – What We Do in the Shadows
Nicholas Hoult – The Great

And why? Levy is the shoo-in for a nomination and Youssef is the incumbent winner in this category, while Sudeikis, Berry, and Hoult are under threat from a wide and diverse group of contenders, perhaps most especially Ben Platt for The Politician, executive produced by Ryan Murphy – and the HFPA certainly does love those (even when a Murphy series scores below 60% on the Tomatometer).


Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film 

Bad Education

(Photo by HBO)

Who will be nominated?

Hugh Jackman – Bad Education
Mark Ruffalo – I Know This Much Is True
Hugh Grant – The Undoing
Ethan Hawke – The Good Lord Bird
Paul Mescal – Normal People

And why? We’re predicting a Hugh-on-Hugh Golden Globes deathmatch when Jackman meets Grant on the best actor field of battle. As we said for Ruffalo during the Emmys, the man played twin brothers; therefore, he did twice the work and deserves award recognition.


Best Actress – Television Drama 

Ozark SEASON 3 EPISODE 3 PHOTO CREDIT Steve Deitl/Netflix

(Photo by Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu)

Who will be nominated?

Olivia Colman – The Crown
Laura Linney – Ozark
Jurnee Smollett – Lovecraft Country
Caitriona Balfe – Outlander
Emma Corrin – The Crown

And why? The Crown also lands two strong contenders in the best drama actress category with Colman and Corrin, who play Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana, respectively, in season 4, which is Certified Fresh 97% on the Tomatometer, the highest score yet for any of the series’ seasons. At the same time, unexpected twists and dramatic turns for the characters played by Linney and Smollett position the actresses for award consideration. Balfe is a perennial favorite nominee in this category – maybe this is her year!


Best Actress – Television Musical or Comedy

The Flight Attendant trailer screencap

(Photo by HBO Max)

Who will be nominated?

Catherine O’Hara – Schitt’s Creek
Elle Fanning – The Great
Kaley Cuoco – The Flight Attendant
Issa Rae – Insecure
Lilly Collins – Emily In Paris

And why? So what does the Golden Globes international bias mean in the talent categories? It means that talented international stars have more of a shot at a nomination than at the Emmys. (See: Irish actress Caitriona Balfe, nominated four times for a best TV drama actress Golden Globe for her role in Outlander, but not once for an Emmy.) In addition to our short list of contenders above, Dead To Me stars Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini may also be in the running, along with Jane Levy for her role in Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, but when guessing between potential Globe nominees, it’s safest to give the international star the edge.


Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film

I May Destroy You

(Photo by HBO)

Who will be nominated?

Anya Taylor-Joy – The Queen’s Gambit
Shira Haas – Unorthodox
Cate Blanchett – Mrs. America
Nicole Kidman – The Undoing
Michaela Coel – I May Destroy You

And why? Kidman’s performance in The Undoing was a bit stiffer than her usual, according to critics, but that won’t stop the HFPA from nominating her, we’re betting. The other performances in the category were each powerful and distinctive and will make this an especially difficult category when it comes to predicting a winner.


Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries, or Television Film

Small Axe

(Photo by Amazon Studios)

Who will be nominated?

Dan Levy – Schitt’s Creek
Brendan Gleeson – The Comey Rule
Mahershala Ali – Ramy
Tom Pelphrey – Ozark
John Boyega – Small Axe: Red, White and Blue

And why? Levy won the Emmy for comedy supporting actor, Emmy-winner Gleeson is a three-time Globe nominee, and two-time Oscar-winner Ali is also an awards favorite. Pelphrey and Boyega, meanwhile, will have to fight for the last spots in this – perhaps too broad – category, fending off the likes of Tobias Menzies (The Crown), Donald Sutherland (The Undoing), Jim Parsons (Hollywood), and Ben Whishaw (Fargo).


Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries, or Television Film

The Crown

(Photo by Des Willie / Netflix)

Who will be nominated?

Gillian Anderson – The Crown
Uzo Aduba – Mrs. America
Annie Murphy – Schitt’s Creek
Julia Garner – Ozark
Jessie Buckley – Fargo

And why? It’s difficult to exclude Helena Bonham Carter from this list for The Crown, but as extraordinary as season 4 of the series was, it wasn’t her season. Anderson stole the spotlight for her remarkable portrayal of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Aduba and Murphy both won the supporting actress Emmy awards in 2020, while Garner has yet to be recognized by the Globes for her Ozark role, and to some that would suggest she’s overdue. Buckley’s scenery-chewing performance as homicidal nurse Oraetta Mayflower in Fargo alone recommends season 4.


Nominations for the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards are announced on Wednesday, February 3, at 8 a.m. ET / 5 a.m. PT. Check back at Rotten Tomatoes to see who gets a nod! 

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Thumbnail image: Minari: Josh Ethan Johnson / © A24, Queen’s Gambit and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: Netflix

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